California Drive-In Movie Theaters

There are 18 drive-in movie theaters across the state of California.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
From the world’s biggest drive-in theater chain to family-owned retro spots, California is home to 18 drive-in movie theaters where you can see new releases or old-school hits on the big screen. 
As the heart of America’s movie industry, California boasts some of the greatest drive-in theaters in the country. We've compiled this guide to help you find one near you.

Mission Tiki Drive-In Theater

Address: 10798 Ramona Ave, Montclair, CA 91763
Schedule: Open 7 days a week, 365 days a year, rain or shine
Ticket prices: $10 for adults, $1 for kids 5-9
Number of screens: 4
Pet-friendly? No, but service animals are permitted 
Mission Tiki
started projecting movies on a single screen in 1956! Now there are a total of 4 screens available and it’s open 365 days a year—rain or shine.


The Mission Tik plays new releases every day, usually as double features. Pick your feature carefully—you don’t have to stay for the second movie, but you won’t be able to turn to a new screen to watch a different picture. 
If you’re only planning to watch the second movie, try to arrive about 30 minutes before it starts. 
If you’re driving a large SUV, you must park near the back so that you’re not blocking the view of other moviegoers. 

How to hear the movie

You can tune into your movie’s audio on your car’s FM radio. If your car doesn’t have an FM transmitter, or if you’re worried about draining the battery, you can bring a portable stereo with speakers instead. 


Since 2006, the Mission Tiki’s concession stand has served pizza, burgers, and Mexican food along with a classic movie snack bar. 
Pro tip: Since the 1960s, the Mission Tiki has been hosting the
Swap Meet
, a world-famous open-air market open on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Swing by for local goods from over 300 vendors and stick around for a double feature when the sun sets! 

Paramount Drive-In Theatres

Address: 7770 Rosecrans Ave, Paramount, CA 90723
Schedule: Open year-round
Ticket prices: $11 for general admission, $5 for kids 5-8, free for kids under 5
Number of screens: 2
Pet-friendly? No, but service animals are permitted
In 1947, chemist Joseph Bianchi moved to Los Angeles to buy “
a piece of Hollywood
.” He purchased a 45-acre cornfield and built a drive-in movie theater called the Roadium, later known as the
. But its screens went dark in 1991, and for years the cornfield sat empty. 
In 2014, Bianchi’s son Glenn invested $1 million in renovating the old Paramount drive-in. Today, its twin 75-foot screens and state-of-the-art digital laser projection allow 21st-century families to drive back in time to the era of classic movie magic.  


The Paramount plays
new releases
daily as double features. You cannot leave and return without paying, and you must turn off all your vehicle’s lights, including interior lights, during the movie. 
Large vans, trucks, and SUVs must park in the designated back rows. 

How to hear the movie

The Paramount uses Dolby Digital radio sound to broadcast movie audio. You can also tune in via a portable radio if you prefer. 


As a kid, Glenn Bianchi used to work at the Paramount’s concession stand, which serves popcorn, soft drinks, and hot dogs. 
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West Wind All-Digital Drive-In

Address: Multiple locations including Sacramento, Concord, San Jose, and Santa Barbara
Schedule: Open 7 days a week, rain or shine
Ticket prices: $8.75 for general admission, $2 for kids 5-11, free for kids 4 and under 
Number of screens: Varies by location
Pet-friendly? No, but service animals are permitted
Family-owned and -operated since 1952,
West Wind
is now the largest drive-in theater chain in the world
In addition to continuously operating multiple theaters in 3 states for nearly 70 years, West Wind continues to revitalize old-school drive-ins that fell into disrepair. The Santa Barbara Drive-in in Goleta, CA and the Solano Drive-In in Concord, CA are the most recent additions to the West Wind family. 


All West Wind theaters use
digital projection technology
to play new releases as either single or double features. They even offer midnight releases and early screenings for new movies. All ticket prices are reduced on Tuesdays for Family Fun Night
If you’re driving a large truck or SUV, you’ll need to park near the back to avoid blocking other viewers.

How to hear the movie

West Wind theatres send a high-quality digital audio signal to your car’s radio, but if your sound system is old or you’re worried about your battery dying, you can listen on a portable radio instead. 


You can order Orville Redenbacher popcorn, freshly-baked pizzas, quesadillas, and Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs at the
West Wind snack bar
. Online ordering is available, so you can spend less time standing in line and more time enjoying movie night! 
Pro tip: West Wind drive-ins are more than theaters: you can also bring your kids to play at the arcades and playgrounds before or between screenings! 

Electric Dusk Drive-In

Address: 236 N Central Ave, Glendale, CA 91203
Schedule: Year-round
Ticket prices: $15 car parking fee, $8-12 per person
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly? Yes, but they must remain in your vehicle
A drive-in with a difference, the
Electric Dusk Theater
was opened in 2012 on a rooftop in downtown Los Angeles. It’s since moved to its current location in Glendale, but it’s still delivering the retro moviegoing experience that gave it its name. 


The Electric Dusk Drive-In screens mainly retro movies in a single nightly showing. A parking attendant will direct you to park, and you must let them know if you plan to leave early. 

How to hear the movie

You can tune into FM station 88.3 to listen to the movie. If you don’t want to listen through your car’s radio, bring a portable FM radio instead! 


You can pre-order snacks, candy, and drinks, or bring your own outside food. 

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As of 2021, there are 18 operating drive-in movie theaters in California.
No, you don’t need to leave your car on during the movie. Run the car for a few minutes as soon as you park to make sure the battery has enough power to last for the whole movie. If your battery does run out, a fellow moviegoer should be able to
help you jumpstart it
Most drive-in theaters continue to show movies in the rain unless the weather is severe. Check the theater’s website or call before you go to make sure they’re still open.
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