Michigan Drive-ins

Back during the 50's heyday of the American Drive-in theatre,
there were more than a hundred outdoor cinemas operating
within the state of Michigan. Since that time, 90% of them
have gone dark or have been demolished, and presently,
only 10 Drive-ins remain for us to enjoy and preserve.

    photo:  Greg O'Sullivan
 Burton, Michigan 
 by Greg O'Sullivan

  • Burton (Genesee County) Michigan
    Miracle Twin Drive-in:  810-744-3800
    located at 6383 East Court Street North

    This large deuce has a capacity for up to 1000 cars
    amidst its two screens and still has some traditional
    Dr'in speakers; primarily FM radio sound; screening
    double features, seasonally, April thru September ..
    Admission: 12&up $6;  ages 5-11 $2.50; under5 free.

     Hi-Way Drive-in  (Carsonville, MI)

  • Carsonville (Sanilac County) Michigan
    Hi-Way Drive-in:  810-657-6684
    located at 2778 East Sanilac Road
    (5 miles east of Sandusky)

    The oldest  of Michigan's remaining Drive-in theatres ..
    (first lit back in 1947) had gotten to the point that it was
    showing its years ..  and then it was purchased by new
    owners (2001 is their third season), who've been doing
    much to revive it, and the increased attendance reflects
    their commitment to making the most of it. The restored
    Hi-Way screens double features from Memorial Day thru
    Labor Day, using traditional speakers plus FM radio for
    the movies' soundtrack.  Admission: adults $6; kids $1.

 Coldwater, Michigan

  • Coldwater (Branch County) Michigan
    Capri Drive-in:  517-278-5628
    located at 119 West Chicago Road - Hwy.12
    (10 minutes west of Interstate 69)

    The Capri was first lit in 1964 and has been operated
    continuously ever since by the same family that built it.
    Each of their twin screens is lit-up with a pair of double
    features, seasonally, March thru October; on weekends
    during spring & fall; 7 nites during peak summer season.
    It's a popular tradition here to end the year with a really
    cool sendoff - a wrap party on Halloween weekend; make
    the scene, but if you go, go-as: anything but what you are!
    Movie audio is provided with AM & FM radio broadcasts.
    Admission: $6 per person (2 movies); kids under 12 free.

     Ford Wyoming Drive-in  (Dearborn, MI)

  • Dearborn - Detroit area (Wayne County) Michigan
    Ford Wyoming 1-2-3-4-5 Drive-in:  313-846-6910
    located at 10400 Ford Road, ½ west
    of the Intersection of Ford & Wyoming

    This is America's largest Drive-in Theatre, with 9 screens
    and parking for 3,000 cars collectively. They are also open
    year-round (except in the most extreme weather), and have
    traditional in-car heaters as well as traditional speakers
    (FM Stereo broadcasting is also available for all movies).
    Admission: $6.75 for adults; and free children under 11.

    * "Largest" in this context refers to the FW's capacity ..
    but if you want to count screens, Florida's Thunderbird -
    which opened with a single screen in 1963, now has 13.

  • Dearborn - Detroit area (Wayne County) Michigan
    Ford Wyoming 6-7-8-9:  313-582-1011
    located 2 blks north of Ford Road, on Wyoming

    The other half of the Drive-in movie complex above --
    all the benefits of a mega-multiplex cinema, minus all
    those cheezy little screens and the cramped seating!

  • Dowagiac (Cass County) Michigan
    Five Mile Drive-in:  616-782-7879
    located at 28190 State Route 152 (M152)

    Originally built in 1961, The "Fiver" is an immaculately
    maintained Drive-in and one of the few that still has the
    traditional playground for the wee folk. Local vicinity
    radio broadcasts have replaced traditional speakers
    for delivering the movies' soundtrack, providing both
    AM (530) and FM (87.9) frequencies. The Fiver is open
    seasonally - weekends only:  Friday-Saturday-Sunday;
    screening double features Memorial Day thru Labor Day.
    Admissiion: $4.00 per person; free for children 5 & under.

     23 TWIN DRIVE-IN 
 Flint, Michigan

  • Flint (Genesee County) Michigan
    23 Twin Drive-in:  810-238-0751
    located at 5200 Fenton Road
    (Hill Road exit from I-475 or US-23 expswy)

    Admission: $5 age12&up;  $2 ages 5-11;  under5 free.

  • see also: Burton (Genesse County)

  • Grand Rapids (Kent County) Michigan
    Dove Drive-in Theatre:     DARK
    formerly located at 1 Monroe Center Street NW

 Hartford, Michigan

  • Hartford (Van Buren County) Michigan
    Sunset Drive-in:  616-621-4194
    located at 69017 Red Arrow Highway West

    Solo screen, lit with double features, seasonally;
    wknds only, May - Sept.  They have a capacity for
    up to 300 cars; movie audio: FM radio broadcast.
    Admission: $7 per carload - covers all passengers.

     Cherry Bowl Drive-in  (Honor, MI)

  • Honor (Benzie County) Michigan
    Cherry Bowl Drive-in:  231-325-3413
    located at 9812 Route 30 -aka: Honor Highway
    (18 miles southwest of Traverse City on US31 South)

    For almost half a century people have been coming
    here - to the buckle on Michigan's rural cherry belt -
    in the northwest corner of the state, to watch the
    movies under the stars. You'll even see some who
    are watching the popcorn popper ..  which is also
    a vintage item, dating back to 1953.  THIS  is one
    of our favorites, a Drive-in that really retains and
    preserves a sense of what the boom years were
    like at an American Drive-in ..  although FM radio
    broadcasting is used to deliver the movies' audio,
    original  vacuum tube  Motiograph amplifiers are
    still powering speakers here on speaker posts
    (which are all crowned with festive vintage red
    glow lights, now a rare sight at a Drive-in). Their
    screen stays lit in very classic fashion with intro
    reels, vintage trailers, and even the cartoon reels
    screened before & between the movies - always a
    double feature (but only films rated G, PG, or PG13).
    Open from the 1st weekend in May, thru September;
    on Fri/Sat nites only at first, until mid-June; and then 7
    nites a week in summer, thru Labor Day; and back to
    weekends only (Fri/Sat) for the balance of September.
    Admission: $7 ages 12&up;  under 12 free, with adult.

    Something else that you only see at very  few  of the
    remaining Drive-ins, which was common in the 50's --
    a miniature Golf course ..  the one at the Cherry Bowl
    has 19 holes (plan to get their early!) with obstacles
    ranging from a castle & draw bridge, to rotating dice.

 Manistique, Michigan

  • Manistique (Schoolcraft County) Michigan
    Cinema 2 Drive-in:  906-341-5920
    located on Highway 2

    Solo screen lit with double features,
    open seasonally. Audio for the movies'
    soundtrack is provided primarily with
    FM radio broadcasts, in addition to
    maintaining some traditional speakers.
    This is one of the few Drive-ins which is
    still screening pre-show cartoon reels.
    Admission: $5 age 12&up; 11 & under free
    (except when they screen Disney releases).

 Muskegon Heights, Michigan

  • Muskegon Heights (Muskegon County) Michigan
    Getty 4-Screen Drive-in:   231-798-2608
    located at 920 East Summit Avenue

    It was looking like: Tango Utah and lights-out for this
    huge outdoor quad, with a capacity for 1200 cars
    (which is the last remaining Drive-in operating in
    western Michigan) .. with a property sale pending,
    for a proposed 156-unit housing development ..

    word is, however, that the sale fell-through, and the
    Getty's four screens will remain lit for Season 2003,
    with a double-feature on each, on through September.
    Admission: $7 age 12&up; $3.50 age 6-12; 5&under free.
    Tues/Wed Bargain Nites: $3.50 age 12&up; $2.50 age 6-12.
    There is also a FleaMkt swap-meet held here on wknds.

  • Saginaw (Saginaw County) Michigan
    Twilite Drive-in:  DEMOLISHED
    formerly located at 5810 State Street

  • Sandusky (Sanilac County) Michigan
    * see listing under:  Carsonville

If you are aware of any Drive-ins
that we seem to have missed, or
would like to contribute any
information to our efforts,
please use this envelope
to send a letter to us.



 The Guide to Drive-in Movie Theatres

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