365 Things to Do in Memphis #282: See a Movie at the Summer Drive-In
Updated April 2017
There are few things more summery, nostalgic and wholesome than parking your car at a drive-in movie theater on a warm July night. Luckily, you can do that in Memphis.
Assignment #282 in the 365 Things to Do in Memphis is to see a movie at the Summer Drive-In.
The Summer Drive-in, which opened in 1966, is one of the last operational drive-in theatres in the country. I finally grabbed and friend and checked it out for the first time over the weekend.
All of the drive-in movies are listed to start at the same time (8:30 p.m.), so we showed up around 8:15 p.m. In retrospect, we should have gotten there closer to 7:45 p.m., because the line to get in was crazy, and we made the mistake of trying to turn left into the drive-in from Summer Ave.
As we waited in line, we tried to figure out what movie we wanted to see. All of the screenings are double features, so you get two movies (usually, the big blockbuster kind) for the price of one. If you can’t make your mind up about what movie you want to see, just pick a number. After you buy a ticket, you pick the lane for whatever screen you’d like.
We parked the car, opened the back hatch, and listened to the old school country music playing on the movie’s FM station while we waited for the movie to start. Around us, people were sitting in lawn chairs around citronella candles (a great idea) and kids were climbing atop cars to get a better view. Though the movies are supposed to start at 8:30 p.m., it seemed like they ran on their own lazy summer schedule, starting closer to 9:15.
I had packed a bunch of homemade burritos to eat during the movie, but if you’re not into making a picnic, there’s a decent concession stand that, in addition to the usual movie snacks, sells Pronto Pups.
The Summer Drive-in is open seven nights per week during the summers. All of the screenings are double features and admission is $7.50 per adult. Kids ages 10 and under get in free. You can bring your own snacks, lawn chairs and blankets. I also recommend that you pack a set of jumper cables. To hear the movies, you tune your car radio to one of the theatre’s FM stations, which could possibly kill your car battery if you stay for the second movie.
5310 Summer Avenue
Memphis , TN 38122