Remember those cool outdoor spaces where you could watch movies from your car? Unfortunately, the number of drive-in theaters has dwindled down to less than 321 across the U.S. according to Statista.

But the good news is South Dakota still has a few of those drive-in theater gems, and they're super fun places to hang out with friends and family.

drive-in theater
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So, why are drive-ins so cool? First off, you get to watch movies from the comfort of your own car. No crowded seats or sticky floors here! Plus, being outside makes it extra special. Picture this - the sun sets, the stars come out, and you're snuggled up with your favorite people, watching a movie in the fresh air.

It's also a place where you can snack on goodies you made yourself, or check out the concession stand to stock up and you can chat, laugh, and make memories that last a lifetime.

I still remember our grandmother taking my sisters and me to our first drive-in movie when we were little kids. She popped up a huge amount of popcorn and we got to wear our pajamas. It is still one of my favorite memories.

drive-in theater screen and speaker
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There are still a few drive-in theaters in South Dakota including:

  • Pheasant City Drive-In – Located about 1 mile north of Redfield. It's been around since 1953, not that far from where the first pheasant hunt in South Dakota took place, according to Travel South Dakota.
  • Hilltop Drive-In – Located 2 miles west of Gregory, the Hilltop is the oldest drive-in theater in our state. It's been inviting movie lovers in since 1946!
  • Midway Drive-In – Located in between Miller and St. Lawrence South Dakota, this special theater has also been showing movies since 1953.
  • Pheasant Drive-In - In northeastern Mobridge, the Pheasant is famous for its concession goodies.
  • Winner Drive-In - Here is another long-time movie theater, having shown movies since 1950 and even surviving a tornado!

Sources: Statista and Travel South Dakota

35 Movies That Take Place in South Dakota

When it comes to South Dakota and Hollywood, we've seen our fair share of films that have used our state as the backdrop for a number of productions over the years. They may not have always filmed here, but movie folk love to set stories here.

We're all familiar with the blockbusters like 1990's Dances With Wolves, 1959's North By Northwest, and more recently, 2007's National Treasure: Book of Secrets. But our state's life on the big screen goes back nearly 100 years.

According to IMDb, it all started with Courtin' Wildcats, a 1929 film which, like so many of the 29 films on this list, is a Western set in the time before South Dakota became a state in 1889.

Gallery Credit: Jeff Harkness/

The 10 Largest Occupations in South Dakota

Where do people in South Dakota work?

If you were a South Dakotan a hundred years ago, chances are you had a job related to farming or ranching. If you weren't doing the farming, you were selling things to the farmers, fixing things for the farmers, or buying things from the farmers.

In the 2020s, things are very different.

Most of us in the SD work in health care or the service industry in one way or another. In fact, there are more nurses in South Dakota than the entire population of the state capital, Pierre.

Today far more people work at a store or restaurant than have probably ever even been on a farm. Time passes and things change, always. Fifty years from now who knows what jobs South Dakotans will be doing

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, these are the top 10 largest occupations in South Dakota (as of 2022).

Gallery Credit: Ben Kuhns

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