Nostalgic Fun with Drive In’s and Diners

Remember the good old days?

It wasn’t long ago that Frogger and Pinball were played instead of Xbox and Playstation. Movies, hotdogs and root beer were enjoyed at the drive-in, and meeting friends at the roller rink was the highlight of the weekend.

Feeling nostalgic, we searched greater Kalamazoo and found a number of locations that do not require a time machine to play, eat and be entertained. 

Drive-in movie theaters are no longer a thing of the past. Throw a blanket in the back of the car and enjoy a movie under the stars this summer. 

Read on to discover old-fashion fun around Southwest Michigan.


Kalamazoo fun for families

A Movie Experience Where the Kids can be Noisy

Move over recliner movie seats and bring on a refreshingly low-tech experience this summer. We’ve listed 4 drive-in movie theaters where you can catch a family movie.

Sunset Drive-In | 69071 Red Arrow Hwy, Hartford 

Estimated drive: 45 minutes
Hours: 7:00 PM (Box office); Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday AND special Thursday midnight showings for new releases

Five Mile Drive-In | 28190 M-152, Dowagiac 

Estimated drive: 50 minutes
Hours: 7:00 PM (Box office); Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Capri Drive-In | 119 West Chicago Rd., Coldwater 

Estimated drive: 65 minutes
Hours: 8:30 PM (Box office); Open 7 days/week

Getty Drive-In | 920 East Summit Ave., Muskegon

Estimated drive: 1 hour, 20 minutes
Hours: Gates open at 8:00 PM, Open 7 days/week

Tips to keep in mind for a successful drive-in movie experience:  Bring cash (many do not accept cards), pack plenty of blankets and chairs in case the kids want to sit on the lawn. Verify snack policies as some places do not permit outside food/beverages.

Retro Play is the New Fun

Give the kids a break from electronics as they try their hands at pinball or glide to the music at the roller rink.

Klassic Arcade | 22711 M-40, Gobles 

Klassic Arcade features a large variety of classic video games including Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and over a dozen varieties of Pinball. For a flat fee, kids can play all day.


Great Skate Roller Rink | 10496 Portage Rd., Portage 

Looking for family fun on Friday night? Head to Great Skate Roller Rink for open skate (call to verify, hours subject to change). Skates are available to rent. 

Rollerworld | 7491 Stadium Dr., Kalamazoo

Rollerworld is open three days per week. Tuesdays are “Skate on Your Can Night,” where admission is discounted with a canned food donation. Skate rental is an additional fee.

Classic Dining Options the Family will Love

Power up the jukebox and enjoy classic diners, drive-in’s and other unique dining spots around Kalamazoo.

Apple Knockers Ice Cream Parlour |220 W Prairie St., Vicksburg 

Visit quaint downtown Vicksburg and you’ll find Apple Knockers Ice Cream Parlour, with their award-winning ice cream. Kids can enjoy a blue moon ice cream cone while they fight off a band of pirates aboard a “pirate ship“. They also serve “good ole fashioned comfort food” like pasties, macaroni and cheese, and hamburgers. 

Blue Moon Diner | 6865 W Hickory Rd., Hickory Corners

Open seasonally from April 1 – November 30, this authentic 1941 Silk City diner was moved from Connecticut to the Gilmore Car Museum. It features burgers, Chicago and coney-style dogs and homemade pies.

D’Nicio’s Parlour | 6880 West Main, Kalamazoo

D’Nicio’s Parlour will take you back in time to the 1950s. Known for koney dogs, gyros, and enormous portions of ice cream, this restaurant is a family favorite.



Red’s Root Beer | 813 S Kalamazoo St., Paw Paw

This drive-in restaurant also offers covered picnic tables if you would rather sit at a table than dine in your car. While eating, expect a visit from owner Red to ensure your food is satisfactory. Red’s features hot dogs and root beer as expected; their menu also includes chicken, burgers, and fried pickles.

The Root Beer Stand | 4400 S. Westnedge Ave., Kalamazoo 

Open seven days a week, this drive-in restaurant serves hot dogs and old-fashioned root beer.

West Lake Drive-In | 9138 Portage Rd., Portage 

Located on West Lake in Portage, this drive-in restaurant is known for its burgers and deep fried mushrooms. This restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday. Cash only.

Old Fashioned Fun around Kalamazoo

Rocket Fizz |125 S Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo 

A visit downtown Kalamazoo should include a stop to this self-described rainbow colored explosion of sweets, fun and nonsense” candy shop. This store is packed with candy, sodas, and toys that are difficult to find elsewhere.

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