Drive-In Movie Theaters Around Chicago

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Summer may be the season where Hollywood puts out most of its big blockbusters, but it’s also the time of year meant to be spent outside. Drive-ins are the ideal option for movie-goers who also want to enjoy the outdoors. However, you won’t find a lot of places to watch a film from the comfort of your own car around Chicago, unless you have a television in your vehicle already.

The question arises, “what happened to all the drive-ins?” A lot of people grew up with drive-in movie theaters close to home but have seen the majority of those businesses close. In Illinois, there have been a total of 154 drive-in movie theaters that were in operation at some point. Today, only 12 theaters remain open for business in the entire state, according to

The memories of family outings and taking a date out for a special night live on only in the minds of those lucky enough to live in that era. Fortunately, some drive-ins remain relatively close to the city and in popular vacation spots for Chicagoans.

Cascade Outdoor Theater: The closest physical theater to the city is located in West Chicago right near route 66. This theater has one screen, opens its gates seven nights a week and features two movies per night. This theater is usually open for business from March through November.

Route 66 drive-in: Formerly known as “Green Meadows Drive-In,” Route 66 opened in 1978, closed 4 years later, and reopened in 2002 in Springfield, Illinois. This theater now features two screens and is typically open from Memorial Day to Labor Day, according to the company web site. This movie theater is very family-friendly, with a neighboring theme park so you can expect to see a lot of little ones at this location.

Keno Family Drive-In: Pleasant Prarie, Wisc., is located just north of the Illinois and Wisconsin border. This theater has space for roughly 800 vehicles and features two movies that play back-to-back per night. This theater is owned by the same company as Cascade so all of the amenities that the venue in West Chicago offers is available in Pleasant Prarie. These features include a full-service food station and a picnic area.

The next time a movie hits the big screen, consider viewing it under the night sky.

The Essentials:

Cascade Outdoor Theatre
1100 E. North Ave.
W. Chicago, IL 60185
Phone: (630) 231-3150 (showtimes)
Phone: (630) 231-3151 (contact)
Official Website:

Route 66 Drive-In
1700 Knights Recreation Drive
Springfield, Illinois 62711
Phone: 217-698-0066
Official Website:

Keno Family Drive-In
9102 Sheridan Rd.
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
Phone: (262) 694-8855 (showtimes)
Phone: (262) 694-8710 (contact)
Official Website:

Pat Howard

About Pat Howard

Patrick grew up in Jefferson and Norwood Park on Chicago's northwest side. He spent most of his childhood playing sports, but when he wasn't holding a bat or shooting free throws he found he needed a creative outlet for his thoughts. He found he had a love of storytelling and how it brings people together. This is when he started writing creatively and talking to people... a lot. He attended college at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota where he graduated with a degree in journalism and English. He soon returned to Chicago where he is currently working at a career as a journalist.

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