Haven’t you heard? Retro is cool again. And in the many years since its heyday in the ’50s, drive-in movie theaters still offer a fun and affordable option for a night out with the family. Dallas-Fort Worth has got a handful of new, new-ish and decades-old outdoor theaters to choose from, including one that’s easily our favorite for maximum family fun.
Here, we give you the highlights so you can plan for your next weekend (or weekday!) night out. All movies begin at the sun goes down, so come before sunset to settle into a parking spot, and pop open your tailgate (or hatch) and start popping that popcorn.
Our favorite destination is here at Coyote, which opened back in 2013. It’s at a great central location too, just across the river from downtown Fort Worth and close by the Stockyards. Right now movies are single showings (rather than double features) every day of the week. Book your tickets online or through the Coyote Drive-In app (worth having on your phone if you’re a cinephile).
You’ll want to arrive early to avoid lines and let the littles play in the children’s play area to shake their sillies out before the movie. Dogs are welcome, too! During the winter season, you can ice skate under the pavilion. Unfortunately no outside food or drinks is allowed, but you can order from the concession pavilion starting at 6pm and have the treats delivered to your vehicle once it’s ready so you don’t miss any part of the show.
Regular tickets are $8 for adults for 12 and older; $5 for children 5–11; free for 4 and younger. $5 on Wednesdays. Follow on Facebook and Instagram @coyotedrivein for the most up-to-date information.
223 NE 4th Street, Fort Worth; 817/717-7767
Ennis, the North Texas town best known for its bluebonnets also boasts the Galaxy Drive-In, North Texas’ biggest drive-in movie theater with seven screens and a retro atmosphere thanks to the concession stand and putt-putt out front. Open since 2004, this theater is only a 30-minute drive south of downtown and the closest consistently-open option for Dallasites.
Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for children and available for purchase at the on-site box office when you enter. Check the website for upcoming screenings (single features) and visit their Facebook page for the most up-to-date info.
5301 I-45, Ennis; 972/875-5505
This family-owned theater 45 minutes southwest of Fort Worth has been in continuous operation since 1952. Watch from your vehicle or from the porch chairs at the full-service snack bar. The drive-in is typically open Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays during the summer for features on its single screen. It’s one of the cheapest family date nights around, at $20 per carload (or $10 per single adults, or $15 for military, police, firemen, teachers, students, doctors, nurses and seniors).
1800 W Pearl St., Granbury; 817/573-1311
Opening in 1948, the Graham Drive-In is one of the oldest drive-in theaters in the state, according to the Texas Film Commission. This small-town drive-in, about 90 miles west of Fort Worth, is typically open on weekends during the summer season, and after Labor Day 2022, it’ll be open on Fridays and Saturdays. Tickets are $7 adults; $5 for seniors, military and children 5–11; free for 4 and younger. Check back on the theater’s Facebook page for their most up-to-date movie line-up, or email grahamdr
1519 4th Street, Graham; 940/549-8478
OK this one’s not technically a drive-in, but we audibly rejoiced when news broke of Rooftop Cinema returning to DFW, this time to Downtown Fort Worth. Set to open on Tuesday, October 4, the venue atop The Terrace at The Worthington Renaissance will offer skyline views, a variety of outdoor seating (like Adirondack chairs or bean bags) and wireless personal headphones for each guest to wear—and of course, entertainment like games and concessions to enjoy before showtime. Tickets, a full October lineup, and more details are expected to be available starting in early September.
200 Main Street, Fort Worth; email@example.com
Photo courtesy of Coyote Drive-In