Get Nostalgic With 5 Retro Drive-Ins In Tennessee

It was a magical time.

A time of class rings, bouncy ponytails, and bobby socks. A time before summer blockbusters were in HD-IMAX-3D-whatever requires you to wear flimsy two-toned glasses. A time when John Travolta was winning high school dance competitions and combing his hair, not introducing “Adele Dazeem”. The drive in movie theater is a symbol of a sweet, nostalgic era that is constantly trying to be captured by every hipster retro-blogger, and we love it. Lucky for us, there are still some Tennessee drive-ins carrying the torch for us old-school movie lovers. Load up the car – we’re goin’ to the movies this summer!

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Moonlite

WHERE:

Woodbury, TN

WHY IT’S WONDERFUL:

Moonlite is relatively close, and you’ll feel like you’re stepping back in time. This place shows the latest big releases, and for a simple 7 bucks a person you’ll enjoy a double feature on a single screen on Friday and Saturday nights. Children over 5 are just 5 bucks, and any child younger than that gets in for free! Check out hit films like Tomorrowland and Hot Pursuit for the price of one fancy beer, and make sure you come hungry: the concession stand’s jalapeno poppers are POPPIN’. Cotton candy, blockbuster films, summer nights. We’re all about it.

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Pink Cadillac

WHERE:

Centerville, TN

WHY IT’S WONDERFUL:

Not only do we love the throwback name, but we’re all about the fightin’ spirit of this establishment. Pink Cadillac is constantly campaigning for the drive-in lifestyle, hosting zombie night benefits and keeping people updated on ways to help keep the lights on. This spot opened in 1950 as the Bel Air Drive-In, so the location has a rich history. 9 bucks for adults, and kids under 12 are free! The movies here are a little fewer and farther between, so stay up to date on social media to find out the schedules. You can even like & share photos via Facebook for chances to win free tickets!

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Swingin’ Midway

WHERE:

Between Athens and Etowah on Highway 3o.

WHY IT’S WONDERFUL:

Swingin’ Midway has it goin’ ON. If you have kiddos that just can’t stay still at the movie theatre, this place has your fix. Tons of kid-friendly activities happen around movie time at this throwback spot. Petting zoos and a full playground will keep them occupied while you get your popcorn on. Not to distract you with your phone either, but if you have some urgent email coming through and your 4G is being spotty, there’s free wifi. Take advantage of their awesome organization – you can sign up for a weekly text to stay updated on movie schedules. Don’t miss carload Sundays if you’re short on cash! 6 bucks for a whole carload to get in. During normal hours adults are $7, kids under 12 are $5, and kids under $5 are free. A delicious snack bar will keep ya comin’ back for more, and check out their Flea Market Saturdays for some killer local finds.

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Stardust

WHERE:

Watertown, TN

WHY IT’S WONDERFUL:

Prep your stomachs for this, y’all. We’ve gone a day without eating in anticipation of this snack bar – and no, that is not nutritionist approved – but sometimes you just gotta make room for funnel cake. $7.50 will cover you for your movie (free if you’re under 5), and you’ll want to bring cash for concessions. There are two screens showing the latest releases as double features. If you hate funnel cake (aka if you’re crazy) and want to bring your own outside food, you can buy a $6 food and beverage permit. The sound is quality, the town is quiet, and the place was opened in 2003, so the amenities are pretty up to date. Bring your stretchy pants.

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Sparta

WHERE:

Sparta, TN (hence the name).

WHY IT’S WONDERFUL:

If you want the stillness of a night in the country, Sparta is for you. A little farther than the other locations (when you’re driving from Nashville), the old school sign is a little beacon of nostalgia. Bring your cash for admission (though you can use a Visa, Mastercard, and Discover Card for concessions). Ages 13 and up are $7, kids from 5-12 are $3, and kids under 5 are free. This place is also Fido-friendly (no, not the super-hip coffee shop)! Bring your pets, just keep them on a leash. Sparta delivers on the food front too, with classic drive-in foods like chili pie and snow cones. There are movies here for grown ups (current films are San Andreas & Get Hard), but your inner child is still invited to the retro part-ay.