San Diego Drive-In Movies: The New “Old Fashioned” Way to See Films

Drive-In’s may seem like an old-fashioned tradition, but they sure have made a comeback! It’s a great date night idea as well as a super fun family excursion. San Diego has two awesome Drive-In movie options.

So, pick up your favorite treat and check out the newest movie releases at these drive-in theaters!

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When was the last time you went to a drive-in movie?

One of the first theaters to open for the summer season was in Warwick, N.Y. and many more are soon to follow. 

Related Article: 52 Fun Things for Families in San Diego

San Diego Drive-In Movies
Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

One summer tradition is moving ahead: drive-in movie theaters and San Diego is no exception. As the sun sets San Diegans will find that an old-fashioned way to get out of the house for some nighttime fun. 

It’s expected that masked ticketholders will be lined up in their cars and ready for a movie theater feature film. The snack bars may not be open yet, so bring your own homemade buttered popcorn, candy, and drink. Plan to watch the movies from the comfort of your car, to begin with and plan to arrive early as there will be more space given to each car.

In fact, in a recent poll of 425 movies goers on Twitter drive-ins coming back was the most popular way to see movies. 

Related Article: Hidden Bridges in San Diego

Santee Drive In Movie Theater 

The Santee Drive-in theater will re-open Friday 15 May 2020 and is scheduled to be open nightly. This outdoor drive-in has two theaters. Each theater has a feature that is shown twice and a co-feature that plays between the screenings of the main feature. Click here for up to date listings of movies.  

They accept cash only.   

What you need to know: Box office opens at 8pm and movies start at 8:30. The Snack Bar will remain closed, bring your own snacks.

Santee Drive-in rules

1. Park 10 feet from other vehicles.

2. Watch the movie inside your vehicle.

3. Wear a mask when exiting your vehicle.

4. Maintain social distancing when you are out of your vehicle.

5. Wash your hands with soap and water after using the restrooms.

Santee Drive-In Prices: Adult: – (13+) Price: $9.00, Juniors: Ages (5 – 12) with parent $4.00, Children 4 and under free

Santee Drive-In Address: 10990 Woodside Ave. North, Santee, CA 92071

Santee Drive-In phone number: 619-448-7447

South Bay Drive In Theater

The drive-in theater is open nightly. Admission includes two movies playing on the same screen. This outdoor drive-in has two theaters. Each theater has a feature that is shown twice and a co-feature that plays between the screenings of the main feature. Click here for up to date listings of movies.  

South Bay Drive-in rules

  • You must view the movie from within your vehicle.
  • You must practice social distancing at all times.

South Bay Drive-In Prices: Adult: – (13+) Price: $10.00, Juniors: Ages (5 – 9) with parent $1.00, Children 4 and under free. All major credit and debit cards accepted.

South Bay Drive-In Address: 2170 Coronado Ave, San Diego, CA 92154

South Bay Drive-In phone number: 619-423-2727

Want dinner and a movie? Pick up one of the best burgers in San Diego as take-out! 

Additional Southern California Drive-In Movie Theaters

Additional drive-in cinemas in Southern California include: 

Mission Tiki Drive-In in Montclair

Van Buren Drive-in in Riverside

Vineland Drive-In in City of Industry

Paramount Drive-In Theatres in Paramount

If the above drive-ins aren’t near you, the best thing to do is a Google search for “drive in movie near me” to find a list of the closest theaters to your zip code.

Since the world is in a state of flux at the writing of this article, make sure to call the theater to verify they are open before you make the drive! 

Top 10 Best Movie Candy 

No movie is complete without some snacks, popcorn, and candy. Here are a few candy classic favorites! The below candies all link to Amazon. 

  1. Necco Wafers
  2. Good & Plenty
  3. Sugar Daddy
  4. Pop Rocks
  5.  Abba-Zaba
  6. SnoCaps
  7. Cracker Jack
  8. Bit-O-Honey
  9. Bottle Caps
  10. 100 Grand Bar

San Diego Drive-In Movies are a super fun way to spend a summer night. What other fun nighttime things do you know of that are currently open in San Diego?

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San Diego Drive-In Movies

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  1. This is such a good idea! I don’t think we have the same in the U.K. (and I don’t have a car anyway ?)

  2. I’ve only been to a drive-in movie once — “Monster’s University” on Cape Cod — but it was quite the experience!

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