Summer of Truce: Unofficial Drink of the Drive-In

Recipe for a classic American summer: baseball games, fireworks on the 4th of July, and drive-in movies. We have a ton of options when it comes to the first two, but when was the last time you went to a drive-in? It’s the perfect summer activity no matter the company: date-night in a convertible, family outing in the SUV, or all of your friends and your friends’ friends packed into a couple cars.

Unfortunately, we’re down to only two drive-in movie theaters within reasonable driving distance of the Twin Cities. There’s Vali-Hi Drive-In to the East in Lake Elmo and Starlite Drive-In to the West in Litchfield. Both are great options, but Vali-Hi is much closer and insanely cheap. While most theaters charge over $10 a ticket to see one movie, Vali-Hi is only $8.50 and they show three movies a night! Yup, three movies every night of the week. Sure, if you stay for all of them you’ll be up until at least 3am, but what’s summer without at least one all-nighter?

Of course, snacks are an essential part of the drive-in experience. While we’re not going to tell you to stay away from popcorn, we do suggest switching out your supersized sodas for some A.M.P. One of our seasonal summer juices, A.M.P. is a refreshing mix of apple, mint, and pineapple. Here’s why a cooler full of these is 100x better than fountain soda: 


  • Great for the health-conscious: organic and vitamin-packed produce makes this the perfect summer drink you don’t have to worry about running off in the morning.
  • Great for everyone else: the sweet blend of ingredients will be a hit with picky eaters—kids and adults.
  • Mint is a natural stimulant when ingested, helping you stay awake for the late movies.
  • Pack a cooler of A.M.P. and you’ve got an 100% organic drink at your fingertips, no waiting in concession lines and no wondering what all the chemicals are in your pop.

Fountain soda

  • Non-diet sodas contain loads of refined sugar (aka the bad kind of sugar) while diet sodas contain other harmful chemicals to replace them.
  • The caffeine will give you a burst of energy only for you to crash later (most likely before the best part of the movie).
  • Buying soda for everyone in your group means paying a huge markup for a very cheap and unhealthy drink. If you want to support the drive-in by buying concessions, get some popcorn without butter and use the vintage photo booth.

The films change every week at Vali-Hi and Starlite, so check back every week if you’re not excited about the current lineup. Honestly though, the drive-in is more about the experience than the movies, so don’t worry too much about what’s playing. I recently saw Blended at Vali-Hi and still had the best time ever—so there you go.

-Alex Lauer


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