There are few things as time-tested and classic as the American drive-in movie theater. In fact, we are fast approaching the 100-year anniversary of the very first drive-in theater in the U.S., which first attracted movie-loving motorists in Camden, New Jersey on June 6th, 1933. The blissful weather of Southern California makes it an idyllic setting for outdoor cinema, and the ongoing pandemic makes staying in your vehicle for a movie even more appealing. Whether you’re in the mood for a night out with the family, a date night idea, or a special Valentine’s Day evening, we’ve got you covered. Here is every best pop-up drive-in and outdoor movie night in Los Angeles for your enjoyment:
(Always refer to each venue’s website for the latest updates regarding scheduling and COVID-19 requirements/closures)
The movie nights at Pizzeria Da Michele is one of the more innovative additions to the LA outdoor movie scene, featuring showings Thursday-Sunday, from Sundown-9 pm. Compared to the other venues on this list, Da Michele is doing things a bit differently, with an emphasis on the overall experience and delicious pizza. But the best part? Their movie nights are absolutely free and every night’s selection is a surprise!
*The movies’ audio is broadcast through each car’s radio on an FM station
1534 N. McCadden Place
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Rooftop Cinema Club had a wonderful setup for watching movies outdoors before the pandemic, complete with City Views, personal headphones, deckchairs, cozy blankets, delicious food and drinks, and (of course) iconic movies. But they’ve managed to shift into car-based showings at the Santa Monica Airport.
Movies are projected onto a 52-foot screen, while audio is broadcast through the FM transmitter radio in your car. Attendees can bring their own food and beverages, however, local eats are available from The Cloverfield (with contactless order and pickup). Restrooms are both and regularly sanitized. Please note: Rooftop will be showing their final screenings of the season on February 6th, so buy your tickets pronto! Multiple nights are already sold out.
*Lawn chairs, picnic blankets, and other external seating outside the vehicle are not permitted.
Price: $30-45 per vehicle, depending on occupancy and screening time.
3233 Donald Douglas Loop S,
Santa Monica Interim Open Space
Santa Monica, CA 90405
The Hollywood Legion Drive-In is a special gem — it is the first-ever drive-in cinema in the heart of Hollywood and boasts a state-of-the-art 4K projection system. The team at Legion has been working hard since April 2020 to bring this magnificence together, aiming to offer public screenings seven days a week. Plus, they won’t be stopping there! Plans are already in the works to add 35 mm projection to the drive-in cinema, something film aficionados would die for. In addition to the public screenings, the drive-in is also available for private parties, studio premieres, and event rentals.
Attendees can bring outside food and drink (but alcoholic beverages are prohibited). Restrooms are available and will undergo thorough cleaning before every screening. Audio is broadcast through an FM radio station to the vehicles. Valentine’s Day hopefuls! There are still tickets available for When Harry Met Sally on February 14th.
Price: $65 ticket price is for the car (up to 4 people), unlimited popcorn, one soda, and one candy of your choice
2035 N. Highland Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90068
If female-driven cinema is what you are searching for, the Hollywood Roosevelt is the spot for you! Their January offerings are chock full of female leads.
Unlike other locations, The Roosevelt drive-in theater has three different options for movie-goers: VIP, Preferred, and General Parking. Every guest receives complimentary popcorn, and a full menu and bar are available, courtesy of 25° Burger Bar. The price includes up to 6 guests per car. Guests may bring chairs that fit in front of their vehicle.
Price: $45-$75 per car, depending on the ticket level
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel
7000 Hollywood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90028
The Electric Dusk Drive-In actually predates the pandemic and is actually LA’s longest-running pop-up drive-in (their new location took over the Sears parking lot, RIP Sears). Outside food and drinks are welcome, but alcohol is prohibited. However, pre-orders for prepackaged snacks are available, as is a wide variety of candy, popcorn, and beverages.
*Sitting outside of your vehicle is prohibited
Price: Car parking $23 (includes one ticket)
Additional tickets: $8 per person
236 N Central Avenue
Glendale, CA 91203
In 1948, the 15-acre Roadium opened in Torrance as a drive-in cinema. It transitioned to an outdoor swap meet in the 80s, but the pandemic has brought it full circle with Friday Night Flicks. COVID protocols dictate that their snack bar is currently unavailable, and sitting outside your vehicle is prohibited.
Price: $30 per vehicle
2500 W. Redondo Beach Blvd.
Torrance, CA 90504
Some of the following pop-ups from 2020 have not yet released their 2021 schedules, so stay tuned!
- The Sunset Strip Presents: Late Night Drive-in at the Andaz West Hollywood
- The Plant Drive-In (Van Nuys)
- Movies in your Car/Concerts in your Car (Ventura, CA)
- Level 8 Drive-Thru at The Grove
- Cinespia at the Greek
- ArcLight at the Drive-In (City of Industry)
- Amazon Presents: A Night at the Drive-In
- Cinema Drive-Ins (Woodland Hills)
- LA Arts Society Drive-In (Gardena, CA)
- PCH Movies & Moonlight (Long Beach)
- Sony Pictures Drive-in Experience (Culver City)
- Fairmont Poolside Cinema (Santa Monica)
- Cinemauto (Chinatown)
- OutFest LA (Malibu)
- Drive-In at the Park
- Drive-In Flix (Carson)
- Malibu Film Society
- Melrose Rooftop Theater (Currently closed due to COVID)