I’m absolutely here for the outdoor movie experience. I took my wife to The Getty on one of our first dates, and we’ve seen movies at all the drive-in joints nearby.
Drive-in movies just hit different. Parking your car as the sun descends and gravel crackles under your car tires is pure summer magic.
And drive-ins are perfect for date nights – get cozy with your boo under some blankets, hold hands, and steal moonlit kisses. Or, take the fam! Let your kiddos run around before the showing. Once the movie starts, grab some popcorn and sugary snacks and let your kids munch with abandon.
Look, summers in West Michigan are special. Capitalize on the warm weather and watch a flick outdoors. I’ve got the skinny on all the best spots in the area.
- Where to Watch Drive-In Movies near Grand Rapids, MI
- The best theater with something for everyone: Getty Drive-in
- The best option for families: Sunset Drive-In
- The best single-screen option: 5 Mile Drive-In
- The best drive-in since 1964: Capri Drive-In
- The best outdoor option that’s not a drive-in: Movies in the Park
- What happened to the outdoor movies at Ah-nab-Awen Park?
Where to Watch Drive-In Movies near Grand Rapids, MI
The best theater with something for everyone: Getty Drive-in
If you’re a West Michigander, odds are good that you’ve seen a movie at “The Getty” – no one calls it Getty Drive-in.
Watching a movie at The Getty is like being transported through a time machine. The “Getty” sign is a pure 1960s space-age throwback. You can tune your car radio to a specific station to hear your movie’s sound. Or, even better, grab one of the speakers from a nearby post and hang it from your car door. The speakers are heavy, vintage metal, and the crackling movie audio they provide isn’t crystal clear. But for me, it’s exactly what you want for those outdoor movie vibes.
What’s popping at concessions? Classic theater fares like soda and popcorn (one free refill on each), cotton candy, and hot dogs. The popcorn is delicious – one free refill may not be enough.
All movies here are double features. So, with the price of admission, you’ll be able to catch two of the latest Hollywood blockbusters. Cheapskates everywhere, rejoice!
The Getty has four screens in total. So whatever you’re looking for – a family-friendly option, a date night rom-com, or a comedy to catch with your crew – they’ve got you covered.
The Getty is in Muskegon, a 45-minute-ish drive from Grand Rapids.
- Address: 920 E Summit Ave, Muskegon, MI 49444
- Website: The Getty
The best option for families: Sunset Drive-In
Just 30 bucks get you and your entire carload into Sunset Drive-In. Cram in a big enough crew, and that’s a pretty cheap night at the movies.
The Sunset is a single-screen affair. If you’ve got kids, this is the drive-in for you. Movies here are generally PG, maybe PG-13. And lemme tell ya. I took my kiddos to see the Minions movie at the Sunset last year, and they had the time of their lives. They pounded Red Vines and Dots with gluttonous abandon.
Even though it’s a one-screen joint, concessions are available at the Sunset. Salty popcorn, sweet sodas, and other movie theater eats are a quick walk away. You can also bring in outside food. Like The Getty, all showings here are doubleheaders. Movies don’t start until it’s dusk, so you’re in for a late night if you elect to stay for both films.
Sunset Drive-In is in Hartford, an hour and 15 minutes southeast of Grand Rapids.
- Address: 69071 Red Arrow Hwy, Hartford, MI 49057
- Website: Sunset Drive-In
The best single-screen option: 5 Mile Drive-In
5 Mile Drive-In is the sister theater to Sunset Drive-in – the two theaters are very similar. They’re both one-screen theaters. Movies are always doubleheaders, and 30 bucks will get you and whoever you can squeeze into your car past the ticketing booth. There’s some overlap in the movies they screen, as well.
The concessions are of the salty and sweet variety. Candy, nachos, pizza, and – of course – buttery popcorn.
5 Mile Drive-In is in Dowagiac (pronounced duh WAH jack), around 1.5 hours away from Grand Rapids.
- Address: 28190 M-152, Dowagiac, MI 49047
- Website: 5 Mile Drive-In
The best drive-in since 1964: Capri Drive-In
The Capri is so old its last name is “osaurus.” Okay, that’s a yo momma joke.
Seriously, though. The fact that The Capri is still going some 60 years later is a testament to how well-run the family-operated theater is.
The Capri doesn’t charge by the carload – they charge by the person. There are two screens here, and the movie sound is projected into your car via FM radio.
Let’s talk about the snack bar at The Capri. It deserves a special shout-out. Beyond theater staples like candy and popcorn, The Capri has burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, and pizza that are way better than you’d expect from a drive-in movie theater.
- Address: 119 W Chicago Rd, Coldwater, MI 49036
- Website: Capri Drive-In
The best outdoor option that’s not a drive-in: Movies in the Park
If an hour-long trek to a drive-in place isn’t in the cards for you, or you’re looking for an option that’s completely free, check out Movies in the Park.
These movies are put on by the city of East Grand Rapids, thanks to financial support from local companies. The outdoor movies are held at John Collin’s Park, which overlooks the lovely Reed’s Lake. There are a handful of tables and benches, but I’d advise you to bring a blanket or beach chair for a better view of the film. Each year four films are selected, and they are typically family-friendly.
Looking for dinner and a show? Big Bob’s is a quick walk away, and many locals list it as their favorite pizza joint. I’m also fond of the new kid on the pizza block Pera, which serves wood-fired pizza (and fantastic Mediterranean dishes) out of the frontage that once held Rose’s Express.
- Address: 650 Lakeside Dr. SE, East Grand Rapids, MI 49506
- Website: Movies in the Park
What happened to the outdoor movies at Ah-nab-Awen Park?
If you’ve lived in Grand Rapids for a few years, you likely have fond memories of the summer movie series at Ah-nab-Awen Park. Blast! Movies are no longer shown there.