A night under the stars in West Virginia

Last updated: February 2, 2022

The perfect summer night starts under the stars in Almost Heaven, West Virginia.

In Athens, a small community located in Mercer County, West Virginia, the stars align every weekend at the Pipestem Drive-In Theater. Cars line the lot, families pull out lawn chairs and blankets and settle down for their favorite big screen flicks. The atmosphere – that combination of nostalgia and family time – is almost magical and hard to find.

Athens is home to one of the last remaining drive-in theaters in the state. Of the 348 drive-in movie theaters remaining in the United States, West Virginia has only five still in operation. The youngest of West Virginia’s remaining drive-ins, the Pipestem Drive-In opened in 1972.  

Open May through September on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, there is room for 285 cars with sound through speakers or through your car radio. If you sit close to the concession stand, outdoor speakers at the stand are easy to hear as well. It is a throwback to earlier times but with modern conveniences.

Pipestem Drive-In is also famous for its food which includes pizza, hot dogs, popcorn and more. No need to cook on movie night, just come a little early and get your dinner at the concession stand before your favorite double-feature.

“One of the most popular things we do are themed weekends”, says manager Ruth Billings. “Based on the movies we get in, we like to do themed weekends where people dress up and we do popcorn prize giveaways. Superhero and Disney themed weekends are some that we have done in the past.”

One of the best parts of going to the Pipestem Drive-In is the beautiful journey to get there. Home to Concord University, Athens is a trip through the countryside. The scenic two-lane roads passes through farmland and sleepy communities like Speedway.  The trip, especially during sunset, will set the mood for a relaxing, summer evening together.

The Pipestem Drive-In attracts guests from all over the region. Many travelling several hours to take in a double feature. “We get a lot of folks from Charleston, Beckley, Tazwell and Wyoming county” says Billings.

The drive-in is much more affordable than the traditional theater.  Tickets are only $7 and just $4 for children under 11. Sunday nights are only $14 per car load, so pile in and bring the whole family!  Movies begin after dusk. Pipestem Drive-In is located on Hinton Road in Athens, WV.

The 2019 season begins on May 17th and runs through the weekend after Labor Day. On Sunday mornings, the drive-in doubles as a flea market from 6:00 am until noon.

Call 304-384-7382 for show times.