Back April 21, 2021
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The Comeback Kid | Midway Drive-In Theater

Drive-in movie theaters made a comeback

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In the wake of a pandemic, modern indoor cinemas became ghost towns. Not true for the Midway Drive-in located on 91 Palmyra Road–between Dixon and Sterling.

With the weather getting nicer, Midway announced their season re-opening date of Friday, May 7. I know I’m ready for a cozy date night. So, I’m excited to load up the car with fuzzy blankets and snacks to watch a double feature at this nostalgic drive-in theater. 

Since 1950

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Midway Drive-In opened in 1950 and has been in continuous operation ever since. In the early 1950s, there were more than 120 drive-in movie theaters throughout the state, but Midway has become a historical landmark as it is home to the oldest standing drive-In screen. It is now only one of the 20 remaining drive-in theaters left in Illinois.

This single screen, old-fashioned outdoor movie theater still strives to provide the American tradition of the drive-in theater experience. From the retro spaceship-styled ticket booth to the full-service concession stand, a trip to Midway is like entering a time capsule to the 1950s. The good news is that they plan on keeping it that way and are dedicated to preserving this historical landmark.

This historic landmark features state-of-the-art digital projection and sound and classic mid-20th-century architecture. The enormous screen presents double features of first-run family films, classic films, classic movies, and even puts on a Horrorfest every fall.

The complete nostalgic American drive-In experience 

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The Midway strives to recreate the majesty and charm of the classic drive-in era. Classic oldies tunes will play prior to the start of the film. The film presentation starts with the national anthem, which will play on film. Classic coming attractions, short subjects, cartoons, and nostalgic drive-In announcements play before the start of the first feature. At intermission, the classic animated “Dancing Hot Dog” short and other nostalgic vintage concession ads play.

One thing has changed at the Midway–the sound format. Gone are the old in-car speakers. Now the sound is transmitted to your car via FM stereo. Just tune your car or portable radio to 91.3 FM and you will receive the sound in dynamic FM stereo!

Best seats in the House

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It’s not hard to find a spot at Midway, as their spacious lot can hold up to 500 cars. The Midway screen spans a giant 90 feet across, giving a massive film presentation. You can pack up your vehicle with blankets and pillows and be in ultimate cozy comfort as you enjoy the film, or go old-school and set up a fort in the back of a truck bed. 

There is nothing better than watching a film under the stars. The open air provides a better movie-going experience as you can enjoy the weather and find the major star constellations in between eating handfuls of popcorn.

New Policies regarding COVID-19

As Willy Wonka said, “So shines a good deed in a weary world.” The Midway appreciates that patrons honor their COVID policies. Please wear your face coverings in order to create an atmosphere where everyone will feel safe and secure. GO TO –> Covid-19 Policies in detail. 

Reserve tickets online 

All tickets are to be purchased online in advance. Tickets are not sold at the box office at this time. Have your printed ticket or smart device with the QR code to be scanned at the Box Office at the time of entry. They can scan a cell phone or a paper printout of the email.

Order your advance tickets and Food Permit online HERE. Everyone can pay in advance online for their tickets and Food Permit using a PayPal account or credit card.

Bring your own food and beverages
The Midway Concession stand is closed until further notice due to the pandemic. Everyone may bring their own food and drinks. The purchase of a $10.00 Food Permit per vehicle per visit (and admission tickets) is required to enter the Midway.

Upcoming movies

Check out the upcoming blockbuster movie features.

  • The new James Bond film, NO TIME TO DIE
  • Marvel – BLACK WIDOW
  • Disney Pixar’s – LUCA
  • Disney’s CRUELLA
  • Michael Myers is back in HALLOWEEN KILLS
  • The annual Dusk to Dawn Horrorfest
…and more!

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Midway Drive-In Theatre
91 Palmyra Road Located between Dixon and Sterling
IL Old Route 2
Sterling, IL 61081

Website | Facebook | Instagram


 [email protected]
Phone Numbers: Main Office – (847) 647-3124
Recording for Show Times, etc. – (847) 647-3124
Theatre (during operating hours) – (815) 622-2900

Mailing Address:
The Midway Drive-In
P.O. Box 480715
Niles, IL 60714

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There is fun at the festival for the whole family! The day’s activities include wagon rides through the prairie to look for bison, prairie plant exploration hikes, and guided tours that feature scenic photo locations, autumn wildflowers, preserve hideaways, grassland birds, native wildlife, sandstone rock formations, and more. Additional attractions include a Discovery Tent and a live birds of prey display by the Northern Illinois Raptor Rehab & Education. Headons Fine Meat food truck will be on-site to provide drinks & food.

See you there!


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