Three Reasons Why You Should Spend Family Night at the Drive-In


Since my childhood, going to drive-in movie theatres has been a beloved activity. Each summer, my mom would load up the car and take us to the nearest outdoor theater. Undoubtedly, my memories of watching movies beneath the stars, laughing with family, and eating buckets of popcorn are fond ones. This is a tradition I am overjoyed to now share with my daughter at a San Diego Drive-In. There are two drive-ins in our county, Santee and South Bay, and both are open for business! Here are three reasons you should spend Family Night at the drive-in:

The Admission Price is Right

San Diego drive-in movies are so cost-effective in comparison to indoor theatres! At South Bay Drive-In, adult admission is $10, children ages 5-9 are only $1, and children under age 5 are free. Santee Drive-In also has $10 admission for adults (ages 13 and older), $4 for children ages 5-12, and children under age 5 are also free. The admission price is valid for two new-release movies shown on one screen, which makes the cost per movie even better! Santee Drive-In has 2 screens. South Bay Drive-In has 3 screens, with the added bonus of upgraded digital projectors for brighter picture quality. It is important to note that Santee Drive-In accepts cash only. South Bay Drive-In accepts credit and debit cards for admission, but only cash at their snack bar.

You Have Your Own Space at a San Diego Drive-In 

This is a huge selling point at a time when maintaining social distance is important. Each vehicle has a designated space at the drive-in. I think the outdoor setting is great for young kids in tow. It’s nice to not have to worry about keeping their volume down as much as in an indoor movie theater. Of importance to note, both Santee Drive-In and South Bay Drive-In are currently requiring guests to view movies from inside of their vehicles for the health and safety of all patrons.

Bringing Your Own Snacks is A-OK

While both San Diego Drive-In locations have concessions on-site, bringing your own food and drinks is allowed. This can be a huge money saver and is a great way to ensure everyone in the family gets what they want to snack on. I will say, however, that each drive-in’s concession stands offer an array of tasty theatre snacks that are competitively priced compared to local indoor theaters. Pro tip: South Bay Drive-In’s website offers coupons for concessions purchases here.

Tips to Know Before You Go:

Both Santee Drive-In and South Bay Drive-In offer updated information on their current health and safety practices with regard to CO-VID19. Masks are required when leaving vehicles to go to concessions or the restrooms. Social distancing must be practiced at all times. The websites are updated with showtimes and current movie listings.

Looking for other Family Night ideas? Check out some of our previous posts on the topic here!


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