Drive-in Movie Tips for Peeps and Pups

Hitting a double-feature at a drive-in is one of the most fun old-timey summer activities there is, and bringing your dog along doubles the fun. But maybe your dog’s never been to a drive-in movie. Heck, maybe you’ve never been to a drive-in movie! After all, you can stream a lot without leaving home these days. In either case, we’ve assembled some drive-in movie tips to ensure everypuppy has a nice time.

1. Make Sure Pup’s Allowed

Lots of drive-in theaters welcome pets—but not all of them. While you’re perusing the internet for upcoming showtimes, make sure the drive-in you plan to visit is down with dogs. We have some dog-friendly drive-in theater lists for Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, and Washington readers.

2. Consider Your Bud’s Behavior

There are some questions to ask yourself before your trip to a dog-friendly drive-in. Does your dog prefer art house films or blockbusters? Do they dig action or romance? And most importantly: Are they going to be good around crowds, kids, loud noises, and other dogs for the length of a movie—or perhaps a double feature? There’s kind of a lot going on at a drive-in movie, so make sure your buddy is the kind of pup who will enjoy the experience more than he would renting Bridget Jones’s Diary and hanging out on the couch. 

3. Read up on the Rules for Dogs

Drive-in protocol varies from theater to theater, so check the website before you go so you and pup know what to expect. Some drive-ins ask that dogs stay in the car, others allow them to explore the grounds—but just about every theater will require your furry moviegoer to be leashed at all times, typically on a lead no longer than six feet. They’ll want your dog to have a human chaperone at all times, and they kindly ask that reactive dogs who tend to bark or disturb other moviegoers pick a different activity. 

4. Read up on the Rules for Humans

While you’re at it, make sure you know what the rules and requirements for people are. (The only plot twists should be in the movie!) Drive-ins aren’t your typical theater-going experience; some of these places have been around since the 1950s and haven’t changed all that much. They might be cash-only, and they probably prohibit outside food and drink (support the snack stand!) or ask that you pay for an outside food permit. 

The theater itself will open long before the movie starts, and if you don’t get there early you risk missing out. Often theaters arrange moviegoers by type of vehicle, so expect that your big truck, hatchback, or SUV will get directed to the rear rows. Again, all of this will vary from theater to theater, so it helps to read the website closely or give them a call if you’re still not clear on the rules. 

5. Pack a Doggy Bag

Don’t forget to bring the canine adventure essentials. Treats, toys, water, water bowl and/or bottle—all of the stuff your pup wants when they’re out and about. Most drive-in theaters have a designated area for dogs who need to do their business, so bring bags to handle that. And bring stuff to make your trunk/truck bed/passenger seat movie experience cozy! Blankets, pillows, and big cozy sweatshirts are all highly recommended when you’re catching a movie with Fido al fresco. 

Are there any drive-in movie tips we fur-got? Give us a bark in the comments, and pawlease tag us in all your movie-going pics.

Featured photo: @cubwub

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagramthen check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

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