There’s a long tradition in Las Vegas of living it up, having fun, and stretching the boundaries of excess without leaving your car. Take drive-thru wedding chapels for example -- either at Vegas Weddings or the Little White Wedding Chapel. (At last check, no drive-thru divorce courts were available, but give it time.) In a more recent trend, cannabis dispensaries at NuWu and Thrive have added drive-thru windows to make sales quicker and more convenient. Just do the right thing and wait until you get home before lighting up.

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What about drive-in movies? Unfortunately, Vegas has been a bit short in that department. Yet in a new era of social distancing, things are starting to change. But why stop with movies? Las Vegas has a few other full-fledged drive-in experiences to enjoy outdoors. Expect demand to only increase as we begin to cool off from summer and welcome the fall weather.


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Clark County Parks & Recreation
Multiple locationsThe Clark County Parks & Recreation district wants you to get out of the house while being as safe and socially distant as possible. It’s hosting a series of free drive-in movies throughout September in different corners of the valley. Vehicles will be allowed in on a first-come, first serve basis -- no reservations needed. Once inside, cars will be directed to park in staggered patterns with at least 10 feet of space between them. Expect at least one or two food trucks on site with ordering and pick-up notices available by text to minimize crowds.

The free drive-in movie screenings includeSing at the Winchester Dondero Cultural Center (McLeod & Desert Inn) on September 11, The Little Rascals at the Hollywood Recreation Center (Hollywood & Charleston), and a movie to be determined (keep up with our weekly event rundowns for the latest updates) at the Walnut Community Center (Walnut & Cheyenne) on September 25. All movies begin at 7:45pm with doors opening at 6pm.


Southern UtahSomewhere between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City is Yonder Escalante. A big road trip is required to get there, but it"s totally worth it. The luxury-focused glampground has renovated vintage airstreams and customized tiny homes for accommodations -- or you can just pull in and hook up your own RV. The place was redesigned from an old drive-in movie theater, although locals can"t quite agree on how long it’s been around.

The good news: Guests are still welcome to check out outdoor movies on the big screen Thursday through Sunday. For the full experience, rent a vintage car, reimagined as a stylish lounger for $25. Popcorn included. Yonder is planning on putting together themed movie weekends (like Star Wars or National Lampoon’s), but no matter what you watch, the best part is enjoying a flick surrounded by the scenery of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Other perks include telescopes for checking out the constellations at night and dinner kits for cooking meals over a campfire.


North Las VegasGlittering Lights has been one of the most captivating drive-in experiences in Las Vegas for 20 years now. The holiday attraction includes about 2.4 miles of colorful lights that twist and turn throughout the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Drive through them yourself while listening to commercial-free holiday music on the radio and sipping on hot chocolate or munching kettle corn.

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Overall, there are more than four million lights and 600 displays -- many of which change from year to year. Expect a nativity scene and an area dedicated to local Las Vegas sports teams. In a nod to current events, don"t be surprised if you see Santa Claus in a mask. Money raised from ticket sales (starting at $25 per car) is divided among more than 50 children"s charities in Southern Nevada. So check it out. In a year when so many annual events are being cancelled, it’s nice to see something endearing and familiar on the holiday calendar.


Rob Kachelriess has been writing about Las Vegas in stillproud.org for more than six years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Trivago Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Modern Luxury, Leafly, Las Vegas Magazine, and other publications. He’s getting his car’s A/C fixed before taking part in any drive-in experiences. Follow him on Twitter