Travel + Leisure
June 22, 2009

Happy days are here again. The drive-in movie theater, all but extinct a few short years ago, is making a comeback. Since 2000, 11 drive-ins across the country have been restored and reopened, and six new ones have been built. With 433 theaters in operation in the United States (see or for one near you) and three more slated to debut this year, it's time to go back—and take the gang. Today's drive-ins are being recast as family entertainment centers, with pre-theater magic shows and name-that-tune contests as well as playgrounds, miniature-golf courses, even bumper cars and go-carts (just don't try them after a barrel of popcorn). Forget second-run flicks and those problem-prone speaker poles—these theaters are showing first-run blockbusters, with sound that's loud and clear, transmitted via your car radio. Coming soon: digital projection, which will cast a clearer picture on the big screen. Thankfully, one thing hasn't changed all that much—a double feature still costs only about $10 a carload.
—Emily Holt

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