Five Dinner-and-a-Movie Road Trips

By David Schuller

There are two things that define America: the automobile and the cinema. During the post-war boom, the American economy soared into the ‘50s with cars the average middle-class family could afford and entertainment exploding out of Hollywood. Connected by a web of interstate highways, Americans kindled a love for movies, food and the open road. Now you can experience that same sense of exploration and wonder - all without leaving your car. Here are five drive-in theaters and diners that are sure to make a road trip you won’t forget.

The Appleton Way

Tom’s Drive-InLittle Chute
Field of Scenes Outdoor TheaterFreedom

Swing by Tom’s for a variety of burgers (and even mini corndogs!) before heading up the road to the Field of Scenes Drive-In. You can even kill some time before the movie starts with mini-golf, basketball and volleyball, all on the drive-in theater’s grounds.

The Oconomowoc Run

KiltieOconomowoc
Highway 18 Outdoor TheaterJefferson

A classic “car-hop” drive-in, Kiltie is a smack of nostalgia with a contemporary menu. A staple in Oconomowoc for years, Kiltie has custard you won’t forget. After you’ve had your fill, get out of town and head past Jefferson to check out the Highway 18 Outdoor Theater.

Better Take the Ferry

Albatross Drive-InWashington
Skyway Drive-In TheaterFish Creek

Make the haul to Washington Island and have a meal at the Albatross Drive-In. Make sure to keep an eye on the clock, though. You don’t want to miss your showing at the Skyway Drive-In down in Fish Creek.

The Lake Wissota Swirl

La Grander’sChippewa Falls
Gemini Drive-InEau Claire

Located just off of Ray’s Beach on Lake Wissota, La Grander’s Drive-in & Ice Cream offers all the fast food staples you’ve come to love, as well as Magnum gourmet ice cream! Then head south across Dells Pond to visit the Gemini Drive-In, a gem of a theater tucked away just off Highway 12.

The Long Haul

RumbleSeatsSpring Green
Starlite 14 Drive-In Theater Richland Center

Make this trip with the “long haul” in mind. Stop at Rumble Seats, a classic ‘50s style drive-in before heading out in the boondocks to the Starlite 14 Drive-In. Opened during the drive-in heyday, the Starlite has been around for 60 years and shows no sign of fading out.

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