6 Wisconsin Drive-Ins to Add to Your Summer Bucket List, Ranked

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By Fiona Hatch

July 18, 2023

Our favorite local drive-in theaters to visit while the weather is still nice!

Summers fly by quickly here, and locals know they must take advantage of every moment they can (comfortably) spend outside. Luckily, Wisconsin is home to a surprising number of drive-in theaters. We ranked six of the state’s most popular from “worth the trip” to “two thumbs up.”

6. Starlite 14 Drive-In, Richland Center

Starlite 14 is a drive-in theater associated with Center Cinema, located just off of the Frank Lloyd Memorial Highway between Madison and La Crosse. It’s also one of the last 11 drive-ins still in operation from the 79 original theaters established in Wisconsin during the 1950s. If you prefer to sit outside of your car, portable radios for movie audio are available for rent at a flat fee of $10 dollars/night. 

5. Field of Scenes, Freedom

Located right in between Appleton and Green Bay, Field of Scenes is the perfect drive-in movie destination for Wisconsin’s upper peninsula. But it’s more than just a screen–arrive before the movie starts to shoot some hoops or partake in a friendly round of mini golf! Movies start at dusk, which is typically around 8:30 – 9 pm during the summer. 

TIP: Be prepared for a late night! Field of Scenes runs two movies per night, and the entry price is the same whether you stay for one or both. 

4. Big Sky Twin Drive-In, Wisconsin Dells, WI

Big Sky Twin is the best drive-in theater to visit around Wisconsin’s capital. Located an hour north in the Dells, this theater is open from May through the fall. Because of its prime location, there are plenty of things to do. From nearby water parks like the Kalahari to a day wandering State Street in downtown Madison, make a day trip of it before ending the night at the drive-in. 

3. Stardust Drive-In, Chetek

Stardust Theater is one of the only drive-ins in Western Wisconsin, and fortunately, it doesn’t disappoint. Stardust has camping chairs and portable radios available to rent for the night if your car’s seats and speakers won’t do the trick, and there are plush loungers in the front row if you prefer a closer view. This drive-in is open every weekend during the summer, and gates open at 6:30 pm. P.S. Tickets are only $5 dollars on Thursdays!

2. Skyway Drive-In Theater, Fish Creek

If you’re in the Green Bay area and willing to drive up Wisconsin’s peninsula, the Skyway Theater is for you. Wisconsin’s longest continuously-running drive-in, this venue is complete with a snack bar, a playground, and a nostalgic 1950s aesthetic. 

TIP: Bring your whole family! Dogs are allowed on a leash and children under 4 get in for free!

1. The Milky Way Drive-In, Franklin

Located in a suburb of Milwaukee, the Milky Way is Wisconsin’s newest drive-in and the first drive-in to be built in more than 50 years. Boasting a 40 ft LED screen and a parking lot that accommodates 150 cars, it’s no wonder that the Milky Way made the top 50 drive-in theaters in the US! Although you’re not allowed to bring your pets, you can pack your own food or concessions.

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