Movies Under the Stars: The Dallas Motor VU Drive-In

By Emy Sloan


The Dallas Motor VU Drive-In is the perfect destination for family fun during these hot summer nights in the valley! It’s also a great place to go on the not-s0-hot summer nights! There’s nothing quite like watching a movie outdoors on the big screen from the comfort of your vehicle. Or even better- cuddled up under the stars! 

Located about 15 miles East of Salem in Dallas, the Motor VU opened for business in 1953 and is still in operation today. It’s one of the very last drive ins left in Oregon. It’s got a great nostalgic feel to it. From the retro snack bar to the old-fashioned speaker box posts, it really is like stepping back in time.



Earlier this summer we took our kids for the first time. It was on one of those not-so-hot summer nights. In fact it had been raining on and off throughout the day and we almost called it off. We had made plans to meet some people and there was a break in the rain so we decided to take a chance and go anyway! We threw some blankets, pillows and a few folding chairs into the back of the van, packed everyone up and headed out!

It was actually pretty perfect. Because of the weather it wasn’t very busy. We were able to drive right in without waiting in line and we found a spot to park right in the front row!



The kids had a great time chasing each other around in the field before the first movie began. There used to be a playground, but it’s not there anymore. The equipment was pretty old and probably caused a safety concern.



With or without a playground, it’s nice that kids are still able to use that area to run around in and burn off some energy before sitting back to enjoy the show!




The snack bar serves the usual movie snacks, plus a little more. There’s popcorn, soda, hot dogs, corn dogs, nachos, pizza, pretzels and  a great coffee selection! You’re able to bring your own snacks from home (we did!) but of course no alcohol is permitted on the grounds.

The restrooms are located behind the snack bar.




Right before showtime it started to sprinkle a little bit. We abandoned the idea of sitting out in the chairs and snuggled up together in the van in a big pile of blankets and pillows. We busted out the snacks as the previews started.

The movie was Finding Dory. The kids LOVED it. We all did. It was a great experience.

We left before the second feature started. It was around midnight and the kids needed to go home and get to bed (if they had fallen asleep we would have stayed- but we had no such luck. Finding Dory was THAT good.)

We had the best time!



The Dallas Motor-Vu Drive-In is open seasonally.

There are two feature films.

Gates open at 7 (or earlier is there is a line) and the first movie starts at dusk!


315 SE Fir Villa, Dallas, OR 97338 ~ 503-623-4449 (Showtimes)


20 Min Vehicle Occupancy Charge
1 to 4 people = $20
5 or more people = $5 each
Ages 4 and up

More information:


Have you been to the Dallas Motor VU Drive-In? We’d love to hear about your experience!


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