Drive-in theaters seem to be an endangered species, but there may be a resurgence on the horizon. Why leave the house when you can stream any movie right from your couch? The answer is simply that nothing can compete with the engrossing film experience a drive-in movie theater provides. The next time you go, make sure you get the best seats in the house. Of course, since you “drive in” to a drive-in theater, your car seats are your “best seats.” So is there anything you can do to enhance your drive-in theater seating? It really depends on your car, but there are ways to make it more enjoyable and comfortable for everyone.
Because front bucket seats recline, many sedans and wagons make for excellent drive-in theater seating, but only for two, and even then you can’t get very close for a romantic movie. Uncommon in newer cars, a front bench seat allows for two people to get cozy, or even three or four can squeeze in the front seat alone, plus another three or four in the back. Because many sedans and some wagon back seats don’t recline, they don’t end up being as comfortable, but if you throw down a couple of pillows and blankets, you’ll be cozy in no time.
Generally speaking, the bigger your vehicle, the more options you have regarding drive-in theater seating. As they were originally designed to be, sport utility vehicles are exceptionally versatile. An SUV’s size sometimes means most passengers are relegated to the back rows at the drive-in theater, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t have the best seats in the house. You could take advantage of the extra height, since SUVs sit taller than most vehicles, and pull straight into the spot to watch the movie. Generally, you can treat it like a sedan, with some older SUVs having that super-comfy front bench seat.
Then again, who says you can’t back a wagon, crossover, SUV or pickup truck into the parking space? Open the rear door, whether it’s a liftgate, tailgate or swing-gate, and fold flat the rear seats. This will give you a nice flat floor to work with, and then you can fit just about anything back there — pillows, blankets, sleeping bags or even a mattress. If you’re driving a cargo van or pickup truck, you can forget the pillows and blankets, and just toss a love seat back there. Of course, lawn chairs and loungers are excellent options, too. Just be mindful to not block the view of the cars behind you if you open the liftgate or swing-gate.
There is no rule that says you have to sit in your car at all. You can always put folding chairs in front of your vehicle, but make sure to pull as far into your space as possible. If you have a substantial roof rack, can you do something with that? One intrepid outdoor movie enthusiast attached a passenger van bench seat to the roll bars of a Jeep Wrangler, backed into the last row parking space at an upstate New York drive-in theater and instantly had the best seats in the house!
A final note, when considering many of these open-air drive-in theater seating options, don’t forget bug spray and blankets, as well as a backup plan, just in case it decides to rain! Most of all, have fun and enjoy the show!
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Ben has been taking things apart since he was 5, and putting them back together again since he was 8. After dabbling in DIY repairs at home and on the farm, he found his calling in the CGCC Automobile Repair program. After he held his ASE CMAT for 10 years, Ben decided he needed a change. Now, he writes on automotive topics across the web and around the world, including new automotive technology, transportation legislation, emissions, fuel economy and auto repair.