One of the more famous past times that locals in Austin love to do is watching movies in outdoor theatres. Nowadays, theaters of this kind are quite rare, so make sure to drop a visit if you happen to find yourself in Austin, Texas one day.
1. Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive in
Location: 1901 E., 51st St, Austin, TX
Many would describe the Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive In as something that came straight out of an 80s show; it looks and functions just like a retro drive in. You can sit in your car in front of a big screen and enjoy a bucket of buttery popcorn – a classic movie treat.
The theater only accepts 30-50 cars per night to make sure that the place wouldn’t get too crowded. Two movies are usually played in a night. The theater opens their gates 1 hour before the first movie and 30 minutes before the second. You can place reservations but you must show up 30 minutes before the movie starts. Individuals without their own cars are still welcome, but Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-in does not provide blankets so you must bring your own.
Aside from having the screen outdoors, what makes them different from usual movie houses is that they only play movies that were made in the 1940’s to the 1980’s when movie drive-ins were the still very popular. Indie movies and individual shorts are also featured. They also have a rain policy wherein if the weather is not suitable, they provide rainchecks which are usable at any future show.
For the ultimate movie night treat, they give you a s’mores kit that contains everything that you need to make s’mores with. The theatre provides a controlled fire pit located at the concession stand where you can toast your mallows using skewers. Enjoying this gooey goodness completes the outdoor experience.
2. Zilker Hillside Theatre
Location: 2206 William Barton Dr, Austin, TX
If you’re not in the mood for movies, you can enjoy a Texas-style musical at the Zilker Hillside Theatre. The theater strives to spread the magical experience of stories coming to life by doing live performances of exceptional classics that Central Texans have all known to love. The plays and musicals feature local and award-winning talents who perform free of charge. The idea was first crafted in 1959 as one of the projects of the Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department.
The audience is requested to bring their own blankets and chair rentals are available by the hillside. A strong sense of community is fostered and the audience is respectfully asked to take only the space they actually need to be comfortable and to accommodate the comfort of others as well. Pets are not allowed in the area. If they wish, people can bring their own food and drinks to enjoy during the performance.
Witnessing a story come to life outdoors is an experience you cannot just stumble across in any city. Make sure to grab the chance of doing so when you visit Austin. It is one of the unique and best things that you can cross off your bucket list.
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