Guide to Pittsburgh’s Drive-Ins: Check them out before they “Go Digital or Go Dark”

Waiting for the start of the double-feature at...

Waiting for the start of the double-feature at the Fork Union drive-in. Show starts at sundown. Drive-ins rock, and we have one of the last ones in America. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Summertime and warm weather bring the indoor activities outside with concerts, markets, and movies. The iconic drive-ins are opening for the Summer 2013 season. While many aren’t around anymore, Pittsburgh and the surrounding area boast several spots to watch the flicks under the stars.

A unique and affordable activity (most theaters charge under $10 a ticket), drive-ins are a creative alternative to the megaplex where you get gum stuck to your shoe, and people answer their phones in the middle of the movie. Plus, they have those fun animations before the feature films begin.

Unfortunately, many of these spots are in jeopardy due to the “Go Digital or Go Dark” switch from 35mm film to digital projection. Indoor theaters across the country have been making the switch, and now drive-ins are being asked to do the same. According to NPR:

“Switching to digital reduces production and shipping costs, and the picture quality is better. The transition away from film started several years ago, but many drive-ins and mom and pop theaters put it off because of the high cost of new projectors.”

Todd Ament, owner of the Riverside Drive-In in North Vandergrift, says the prices of the digital projectors vary. “We are basically on our own to raise the funds for the Digital Projection equipment. Somewhere from $30,000 (Used) to $60,000 (New). We’re doing what we can to raise the funds from Flea Markets on Sundays to a Poker Run on Saturday July 27th.” The Riverside Drive-In is also accepting donations at the snack bar.

Other drive-ins have already made the transition. According to its site, Dependable Drive-In in Moon installed digital projectors at the end of its 2012 season.

Although no cut-off date has been announced, movie-goers should take advantage of the summer standard while local drive-ins remain open.

 Guide to Pittsburgh Drive-Ins (UPDATED)

Dependable Drive-In

  • Where: 549 Moon Clinton Road, Moon Township, PA
  • Phone: 412-264-7011
  • When: Open 7 days a week, shows start at sundown
  • What Else: double features on every screen, cash only

Evergreen Drive-In Theater

  • Where: 309 Drive-In Lane, Mount Pleasant, PA
  • Phone: 724-547-4747
  • When: Open 7 days a week, shows start at sundown
  • What Else: double feature on every screen, cash only, pets allowed (on leash)

Riverside Drive-In

  • Where: 2780 River Road, Vandergrift, PA
  • Phone: 724-568-1250
  • When: Open 7 Days a week, shows start at sundown
  • What Else: Poker Run fundraiser July 27th

Twin Hi- Way Drive-In

  • Where: 5588 Steubenville Pike, Robinson Township
  • Phone: 412-494-49
  • When: Open Weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun)
  • What Else: double feature on every screen, classic car night every Saturday.

Comet Drive-In

  • Where: Morrell Road – Off Hwy 119, Connellsville (Dunbar) Pa.
  • Phone: 724-628-6160
  • When: Open 7 Days a week, shows start at sundown
  • What Else: Double features on every screen, Flea Market every Sunday starting at 5a.m.

Brownsville Drive-In

  • Where: 6229 National Pike, Grindstone, PA
  • Phone: 724- 785-7190
  • When: Open Weekends (Fri, Sat, Sun)
  • What Else: Double features on every screen

Pioneer Drive-In

  • Where: 1985 N. Main Street, Butler, PA
  • Phone: 724-284-5003
  • When: Open 7 Days a week, shows start at sundown
  • What Else: $14 car load Thursday, admission for an entire car only $14
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Blogging and social media are like breathing for life-long yinzer and cheese addict Emma. With a degree in English and communications, she spends most of her days writing, reading, and wondering where to eat next.

One Pingback/Trackback

  • Becky Willis

    Great list, Emma! I haven’t been to a drive-in for years (tried last year but the night I went it was sold out) but this is on my “Summer Must” list.

  • Mike Sarnowski

    Twin Hi-Way is open 7 days a week.

  • Pingback: Mommys, Drive-Ins Need Your Help | Brown Mommys()

  • Joe

    What about Kane Road Drive-in in Hopewell?

  • Emma Diehl

    Great reccomendations! We added them in!