The Ultimate Guide to Southern California Drive-In Movie Theaters
Let’s enjoy a night out at the movies! Drive-in theaters may be a thing of the past, but they’re the modern-day solution to help us maintain social distancing. So gather the kids, the snacks, and some cozy blankets to enjoy this favorite American pastime.
Drive-In Moviegoing Tips:
- Buy Tickets Early – Due to limited spaces (and popularity!), tickets for drive-ins sell out extremely fast. Follow the theater’s social media to be the first to know when tickets are released for your favorite movies.
- Arrive Early – Get to the theater early for the best spot. Cars are usually placed on a first-come, first-serve basis. Also, most theaters place tall cars like trucks, SUVs, and raised hatches in the back or side rows to minimize viewing obstruction.
- Plan for a Late Night – Some theaters offer a double-feature, where you get to see two movies for the price of one! The second showing can go on past midnight.
- Dress Comfy – Jammies are your best friend here! You’ll be in the car for quite some time and when the kids get sleepy they’ll already be in their jammies.
- Pack Fun Snacks – Make the night extra special by bringing your own special snacks. Pop your own popcorn and let the kids pick out their own favorite snacks and drinks.
- Bring Blankets – It can get pretty cool late into the night. Bring some blankets to keep everyone warm and cozy.
- Pack a Portable Radio – Drive-ins use FM radio frequencies for movie sounds. You could leave your car on to tune into the FM radio, but it could lead to a dead battery (pack jumper cables!). You can also listen on a radio app on your phone, but that could also mean a dead phone battery and low sound quality. Instead, bring a trusty portable radio so you don’t have to worry about your car or phone.
- Don’t Forget the Bug Repellant – You don’t want pesky mosquitos ruining your night out!
- Bring a Bag for Trash – The trash will start to pile up quickly, so keep the car clean and have a trash bag handy.
- Pack Entertainment – Bring some card games to keep the family occupied before the movie starts.
PCH Movies & Moonlight
2nd & PCH
E. 2nd St. & Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach, CA 90803
Enjoy a free movie experience with marina views every Friday at 2nd & PCH starting July 24 – September 25. Located in the Whole Foods Market parking garage. Arrive early to claim your spot and enjoy shopping, dining, and relaxing at the center. Vehicles and FM radio required. Only 75 spots available. No reservations. First come, first served. No entry before 6 p.m. Follow their social media for updates on movie line-up. Free.
Level 8 Drive-In Theater
Rooftop of The Americana at Brand
889 Americana Way, Glendale, CA 91210
Street Food Cinema, who’s known for hosting outdoor movie experiences across Los Angeles, now hosts a drive-in movie series. Join SFC on the rooftop of The Americana at Brand. They’re taking the classic summer drive-in movies to new heights with a lineup of film favorites, delicious treats and panoramic city views. Car entry, $30; general admission, $8, children (3 and under), free.
Paramount Drive-In Theater
7770 Rosecrans Ave., Paramount, CA 90723
The Paramount Swap Meet has revived a favored American pastime, the drive-in theater! The theater offers two screens with two different showtimes for each movie. Concessions stands and bathrooms available. General admission, $20; children (5-8), $3.50; children (under 5), free.
Port of Long Beach – Twilight Cinema
Granada Beach, enter at Ocean Blvd. and Bennett Ave.
Long Beach Convention Center, enter at Linden Ave. and Shoreline Dr.
Join the Port for socially distanced drive-in movies at the Granada Beach and Long Beach Convention Center parking lots. Reservations are required. Reservations open at 9 a.m. one week before the movie date. Only one reservation is need per vehicle. Food vendors available. Reservations are free.
The Roadium Drive-In
2500 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Torrance, CA 90504
The Roadium has revived its classic 1950s drive-in this summer. Every Friday and Saturday night, guests can enjoy a great film in this throwback retro setting, along with hot food, movie concessions, and more. Car entry, $25. One ticket covers everyone in your vehicle.
Rose Bowl Stadium
1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA 91103
The Tribeca Drive-In is bringing the big screen to America’s backyard this summer to help get communities back together safely through a shared cinematic experience. Cost, $26 per car.
443 Vineland Ave., City of Industry, CA 91746
Four screens with different films everyday. Concession stand is temporarily closed right now. General admission, $10; children (5-8), $4; children (under 5), free.
The Frida Cinema Pop-Up Drive-In
This summer, The Frida Cinema is hosting a pop-up, drive-in series at various locations. Check their website for upcoming shows.
Irvine Summer Drive-In Series
Orange County Great Park
8000 Great Park Blvd., Irvine, CA 92618
The Summer Drive-In Series features movies on the big screen at Orange County Great Park in drive-in format every other Saturday this August. Park your cars, bring a picnic basket, or plan to purchase treats from gourmet food trucks. Due to limited space, this event is open to Irvine residents only, and advance registration is required via yourirvine.org.
Orange County Parks Drive-In
Mile Square Park
16801 Euclid St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Join OC Parks for drive-in movie events. Their showings for Jurassic Park have already passed, but be sure to follow their social media channels for updates on future events. Cost, $10 per vehicle.
Van Buren Drive-In Theatre
3035 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, CA 92503
This historic theater has three screens and offers double-feature movies. Your ticket purchase allows you admission for two movies playing on the same screen. Visit their website for snack bar coupons. Adult admission, $10; kids (5-9), $1.
Starlite Movies Drive-In
Silverlakes Sports Complex
5555 Hamner Ave., Norco, CA 92880
Rediscover (or discover) flashbacks, family favorites, and recently released films on Southern California’s largest outdoor inflatable screen and high-definition FM transmitter. General admission, $29.99 per car. Combo pack, $49.99 includes popcorn and drinks.
Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatre
10798 Ramona Ave., Montclair, CA 91763
The Mission Tiki Theatre originally opened as a single-screen theater back in 1956! They now have four screens and offer double-feature movies. Your ticket purchase allows you admission for two movies playing on the same screen. That means you’ll get to see two movies for half the price! Snack bar available. Bonus tip: visit their website for special coupons. Adult admission, $10; kids (5-9), $1.
Ontario International Airport
Lot 5, Airport Drive, Ontario, CA 91761
Join Street Food Cinema to celebrate some of the best films of all time while staying safe and cozy in your car. Admission is sponsored by the City of Ontario and the Ontario International Airport. Keep checking their website to see when complimentary tickets will be released. Admission is complimentary, but tickets are required to enter.
South Bay Drive-In Theatre
2170 Coronado Ave., San Diego, CA 92154
This theater has three screens and offers double-feature movies. Your ticket purchase allows you admission for two movies playing on the same screen. Visit their website for snack bar coupons. Adult admission, $10; kids (5-9), $1.
This post was written by Kidsguide