Go Back to the 1950s Right Here in Washington

COVID-19 and physical distancing has a lot of us wishing we could travel back in time to the 1950s. We might not be going to sock-hops and wearing poodle skirts, but we can go to drive-in movies.

While we may not have mastered the art of time travel, that doesn’t mean you can’t temporarily feel transported to 1950s Washington. We’ve rounded up a few ways to get that blast from the past without straying too far from home.

Catch a movie at a drive-in theater

Drive-in theaters were at the height of their popularity in the ’50s and ’60s, and are a nostalgic symbol for many Americans. While there aren’t nearly as many still in operation, there are currently four drive-in theaters operating in Washington State. The largest, Rodeo Drive-In,  is located in Bremerton and operates from March to December. Skyline Drive-In in Shelton and the Wheel-In Motor Movie in Port Townsend also operate Spring through Fall, while the Blue Fox Drive In in Oak Harbor shows movies year-round.

Even Canlis in Seattle set up a temporary drive-in.

Cruise through a classic car show

Even if you don’t know much about classic cars, it can still be fun to spend a day checking out retro rides. There are classic car shows held in the area throughout the year, with events happening more often during the warmer months. The South Tacoma Business District holds a car show every summer, and XXX Rootbeer Drive-In  in Issaquah holds car shows every weekend from March-September. Websites like Old Ride  and Hemmings maintain a list of car shows across the country, so you can search their listings to find one nearest to you. If you can’t see the cars in person, cruising the sites for pics of old rides is the next best thing.

Go roller skating

Roller rinks might not be open right now, but you can slip on your quads and hit up the pat at Green Lake or Alki.

When they do open, roller skating is a fun, family friendly activity that is also good exercise. While maybe not as popular of a pastime as it once was, there are still plenty of roller rinks operating in Washington. It’s usually quite affordable, too. Many roller rinks offer 21+ only skating events, so consider strapping on a pair of wheels and taking a spin for you next date night! Some even offer special events with live music, like Southgate Roller Rink in Seattle. And if you don’t know how to skate yet (or it’s been a while) don’t worry; most skating rinks hold regular lessons.

Eat at a retro restaurant

If you want to have a fully immersive 1950s experience, check out one of the retro ’50s-themed restaurants that we have in Washington. The 59er Diner, with locations in Leavenworth and Cashmere, serves classic burgers, fries, and milkshakes along with other hearty fare and all-day breakfast in a fully decked-out 1950s atmosphere sure to take you back in time. They also offer retro cabin accommodations, perfect for guests wanting a unique place to stay when visiting Leavenworth. Or try XXX Rootbeer Drive-In in Issaquah, known for its ’50s decor, root beer, giant hamburgers, thick milkshakes and weekend car shows.

XXX Rootbeer Stand image by ehughes

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Grace Carlson

Grace Carlson is a writer living in the Pacific Northwest. When not writing she enjoys reading, traveling, and baking things with chocolate, which she believes is the best medicine for most ailments. Find her online at gracecarlsonwriting.com.



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