Library Blog

Summer at the Drive-In

Drive in theater movie vintage sign

Summer is the best time to hit up the Drive-In movie theatre!  Open windows, bring your own snacks, and enjoy a movie on a hot summer evening with family or friends!

In Camden, New Jersey on June 6, 1933, Richard M. Hollingshead Jr. opened the first ever drive-in movie theater featuring a 40-foot by 50-foot screen with 400 parking spots. The drive-in concept quickly became popular, and by the late 1950s, nearly 4,000 of them were found across the United States. Unfortunately, the invention of VHS tapes and VCRs drastically changed how people watched movies, resulting in the closure of numerous drive-ins across the country. By 1995, there were just under 600 drive-in theaters left in the United States, according to a report by Statista. In recent years, DVDs and Blue Rays have caused even more drive-ins to close, and the latest threat are all the streaming services that are so popular now. As it stands, the number of drive-ins still in operation in the United States has held steady at 321 for the last three years.

Still, while the world continues to move toward all-digital streaming, the one glimmer of hope for the survival of the drive-in movie theater is the current health crisis. With social distancing and lowered building capacities, going to regular movie theaters can be a challenge. But with an outdoor venue, the drive-in movie is the perfect way to still enjoy a movie while being safe. As a result, drive-in theaters have been making a comeback as the go-to movie watching experience.

With that in mind, if you’re looking for something to do or feeling nostalgic, head over to a drive-in and enjoy a movie this weekend! DriveInMovie.com reports that Ohio has the third largest number of drive-in theaters still in operation, coming in at 24 theaters, which is just behind the 28 that Pennsylvania and New York both have. Below is a list of the drive-in theaters located closest to Youngstown for your convenience.

Blue Sky Drive-In Theater (Wadsworth, OH)

Elm Road Drive-In Theatre (Warren, OH)

Hilltop Drive-In Theater (Chester, WV; just south of East Liverpool, OH)

Magic City Drive-In Theater (Barberton, OH)

Midway Twin Drive-In Theatre (Ravenna, OH)

Skyway Twin Drive-In Theatre (Warren, OH)

Kelly M.

Kelly is an Adult Librarian in the Canfield Unit at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. She earned her Master’s in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania in 2019. Kelly loves all things bookish, from playing word games to dabbling with creative writing. And, of course, reading as many books as possible from all genres, though she especially enjoys romance and YA novels. Kelly also likes crafting, baking, listening to country music, and spending time with her family.