• Kate Ivers

4 Drive-ins Rev Up Down the Cape

The impact COVID-19 has had on our communities and economies is no longer news. In the wake of closing entertainment venues and other vacation hotspots that Cape Cod & The Islands are known for, drive-ins are making a comeback. Four drive-in theaters will be open during Summer 2020 - Wellfleet Cinemas, Hyannis Drive-In, Yarmouth Drive-In, and the Nantucket Drive-In. And safety remains the top priority for the Cape Cod community - all theaters are operating under CDC guidelines and Governor Baker’s Orders of social distancing and other COVID mitigation practices.

1. Wellfleet Cinemas - 51 US-6, Wellfleet, MA

The Wellfleet Drive-In has been around for over 60 years and, up until recently, has been the only drive-in theater on the Cape. Being one of the last 300 or so drive-in theaters open in the entire United States, the summer destination attracts both locals and tourists from all over the country.

The venue provides four screens equipped with state of the art technology including Barco digital projection, Dolby Doremi Digital Cinema Servers and Digital 7.1 sound, Professional QSC Amplifiers, and JBL Speakers. RealD 3D is available on most screens. Feel free to spend more than a few hours in this nostalgic paradise - there is a Dairy Bar, Flea Market, and Mini Golf course also on site.

Food & drinks: A snack bar is on-site with food, snacks, and (non-alcoholic) drinks

Movie Schedule: 6/26-6/30 My Spy (8:35pm) & Knives Out (10:20pm). More showtimes to be announced 2-3 days before their showing date

Cost: $1 fee per car; Adults $13/each, Seniors & Children $9/each

How to purchase tickets: Reserve tickets online here

2. Hyannis Drive-In - Main Street, Hyannis, MA

Through a collaboration among the Hyannis Main Street Business Improvement District, Hyannis Film Festival, and Love Live Local, a local parking lot will transform into a drive-in theater for six weeks. This will be Hyannis' first drive-in theater since the one on Route 132 closed in the mid-1980s. The venue, on the corner of Main Street and High School Road, will house a massive 20-foot-by-12-foot inflatable screen and additional entertainment on show nights, such as music performances and even disc jockey. Comfortably with social distancing protocols, the lot can house about 50 cars.

Proceeds from the first three weeks will benefit Love Live Local and the Cape Cod Resilience Fund. The fund, in partnership with the Hyannis business district, was established to provide assistance to Cape Cod business owners to provide relief from the adverse effects brought on by COVID-19. The final three weeks will benefit the Hyannis Film Festival.

Food & drinks: Bringing your own food, or ordering from nearby downtown restaurants, is encouraged

Movie Schedule: TBD, but children's and family movies are expected to be featured. The first movie is scheduled for July 3, 2020.

Cost: $20 per vehicle

How to purchase tickets: Tickets will be available here.

3. Yarmouth Drive-In - 679 Massachusetts 28, West Yarmouth, MA

A Chicago-based company, Innovation Arts & Entertainment (IAE) is making its debut down the Cape. The site was home to a former drive-in theater in West Yarmouth that operated over three decades ago.

With over 20 acres of space for 252 cars, IAE founder Adam Epstein, who has a home on Martha’s Vineyard, said that the theater should fill the void in entertainment left by the coronavirus pandemic in a responsible manner. Epstein stressed that the drive-in would offer more than just films and would eventually include live performances from musicians and comedians as state guidelines relax.

 “We see drive-in venues as a transitional opportunity between quarantine and typical live events with people in close proximity,” said Epstein.

The public will be allowed to weigh in on the proposal during a hearing on the required licenses set for June 30, 2020. Many unset details will be more set in stone after the June 30 hearing.

Food & drinks: TBD

Movie schedule: TBD

Cost: $30 per vehicle

How to purchase tickets: TBD

4. Nantucket Dreamland Drive-In - 7 Nobadeer Farm Road, Nantucket, MA

Nantucket Dreamland Theater, a nonprofit dedicated to film and culture, is a treasure on Nantucket. The spot hosts “Nantucket’s Got Talent,” drama sessions, play readings, and live events. Per Governor Baker’s orders, Dreamland is currently closed, but will to open a week after the Fourth of July, and as soon as Governor Baker and the Town of Nantucket allow it. One movie will be screened each night beginning at around 8:30 pm. 

The theater is opening a drive-in theater in an open space nearby. The projected site can sport 68 vehicles. Dreamland expects the drive-in to open a week after the Fourth of July and as soon as Governor Baker and the Town of Nantucket allow it. One movie will be screened each night beginning at around 8:30pm. 

Food & drinks: TBD

Movie schedule: It will be a mix of new movies and old classics. Tenet is promised!

Cost: One person in one vehicle (non-member) $17, more than one person in one vehicle (non-member) $32. Member discounts are available.

How to purchase tickets: Tickets must be purchased online, not sold at the gate. 

Tell Us What You Think

It’s safe to say that bringing back a mid-century classic is a tiny silver lining to our “new normal.” We’re certainly hoping that the drive-in theater trend becomes an annual one, and we can’t wait to see the success it brings to our communities. Remember to tag @downthecapetravelguide in your Facebook or Instagram drive-in theater photos!