7 Tips for Summer Drive-In at USA Hockey Arena

Rev Up Your Summer: 7 Tips for USA Hockey Arena Drive-In

In 2022 we made our first ever trip to the Summer Drive-In at USA Hockey Arena. We saw Thor: Love and Thunder. We returned to the USA Hockey Arena Drive-In for Top Gun: Maverick later in the summer. We can’t wait to head to the Plymouth drive-in again this summer!

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About the Summer Drive-In at USA Hockey Arena

There are 3 “theaters” in their parking lot each showing a different movie. They plan to return to offering Double Features in 2023. (In 2022 they only showed one film a night on each screen).

The USA Hockey Drive-in is open Wednesday-Sunday in the summer. They offer preview weekends in May starting on May 19-20.

The movie start time is heavily influenced by when it gets dark. We went on July 8 and the movies started at 9:40p. Later in the summer, movies can start earlier as it gets dark earlier. The gates open at 7:30p allowing you to arrive early for the best parking spots.

Dinner and snacks are available from CJs Brewing Company inside the arena. Between screens 1 & 2, there is a concession trailer that sells popcorn, candy, packaged ice cream treats, soft pretzels, pizza, beverages.

USA Hockey Arena is in Plymouth, MI, just north of M-14 on Beck Rd. It was about 20 minutes from our house.

5 Tips to Prepare for Summer Drive-In at USA Hockey Arena

1 – Pre-purchase your tickets

Tickets must be purchased online in advance. It may be a drive-in, but admission is still by person and not by vehicle. Tickets are $12/adult, $10/child (ages 4-12), Free for children 3 & under.

2 – Rest Early in the Day

Movies start at Dusk. In early summer, this is around 10p. (it was 9:40p when we went on July 8). Expect a late night with many movies running over 2 hours and the return of double features. Make sure to rest earlier in the day – especially for younger children.

Even as a family of night owls (two adults and a teen), with double features we will be resting this summer.

3 – Plan your Vehicle

Gone are the days of piling as many people as you can into your vehicle! Admission is by person, not vehicle.

A truck bed, or back of a minivan or SUV with the tailgate up do provide comfy seating options. But plan to arrive early or you’ll be several rows back. If we had been in my SUV we would have been about 6 rows back when we arrived at 9:15p.

We had been warned by friends and drove my husband’s sedan. The first row is dedicated to cars. At 9:15p we were able to pull right into a center spot in the first row. Unlike a movie theater, the front row is where you want to be at the drive-in!

Summer Drive In at USA Hockey Arena - View from First Row

4 – Plan Where to Watch the Movie

There is plenty of room between the cars at the USA Arena drive-in. So, you can watch from inside the vehicle or in front of it. For our first visit, we kept our options open by bringing chairs. We decided to setup chairs in front of our car.

If you plan to sit outside, make sure to be prepared for the weather! It can get a little chilly at night.

5 – Decide How to Listen to the Movie

The Summer Drive-In at USA Hockey Arena uses local FM broadcast to share the sound for the movie. You can use your vehicles radio, but you’ll need to run the car occasionally to avoid draining your battery.

Instead of the car radio, we brought 2 radio options. A small portable radio was a good option to use inside the car. We also brought a 90s era boom box that would provide better sound quality if we sat outside the vehicle.

Summer Drive-In at USA Hockey Arena - Boombox & Screen

Since we sat outside, the boombox was perfect – and the same thing that the two people next to us were using. I was a bit worried about sound overlap, but we had no issues. Make sure you have enough batteries – or look for a new model that has rechargeable batteries. My daughter and I made a mad dash to the store for 8 D batteries before we went.

We will need a new option for this year. After 30 years, the mode selector switch is getting finicky. The second time we went to the drive-in, we had issues with the selector switch staying in the FM position.

6 – Plan Your Snacks

What’s a movie without popcorn? You can buy it at the concession stand. However we saved a ton of money by bringing our own popcorn and beverages!

When I first looked at the website, I only saw the CJs Brewing Company a full service restaurant. They offer meals/appetizers available inside or to-go. When we arrived, we discovered there is a concession stand.

We did decide to indulge in extra treats from the concession stand. I got an ice cream sandwich, my daughter opted for a box of Raisinettes, and my husband got a soft pretzel.

7 – Plan for Comfort

We brought our camp chairs which were great for sitting. We saw people setting up inflatable chairs, lounging in truck beds, and others setup in chairs like we had.

Summer Drive-In at USA Hockey Arena - Setup for movie

We dressed for cooler night time temperatures. Although I wish I had brought a blanket too to keep my legs warm. I made sure to pack it for our second trip tot he summer drive-in in Plymouth.

Mosquitos are frequently a problem outdoors at night. My husband did see a few mosquitos around as we were setting up. You can use bug spray, but we have found Thermacell devices to be as effective.

The older Thermacell style uses butane cartridges and repellant mats. The newer Thermacell style has rechargeable batteries and a liquid repellant. We have 2 of each. The newer style is much easier to use and we definitely recommend it.

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