We’ve always had a few good old-fashioned drive-in movie theaters around the Bay Area, but even more have been popping up during the pandemic, and it’s easy to understand the appeal. Indoor movies might feel a little alarming these days, but it’s easier to social distance from the comfort of one’s own car, snuggled up in the back with, perhaps, some wool blankets, and catch a flick under the stars. From right up on the waterfront of the bay to grassy county fairgrounds, here are six sweet spots to park it at a drive-in. Plus, where to eat nearby, because whether you’re crushing popcorn and candy or craving more substantial tacos or falafel — it’s not a hot date without snacks.Read More
6 Throwback Drive-In Movie Theaters in San Francisco and the Bay Area
Plus, where to eat nearby — because it’s not a hot date without snacks
1. Lark Theater
The charming old Art Deco cinema in Larkspur moved the movies outside this summer, and while they’re winding down for the season, it’s worth catching the last few flicks for Halloween, which include Beetlejuice and Rocky Horror.
What to snack: Stop by the new Hog Island in Larkspur Landing before or after the show for cups of cozy chowder and exceptional grilled cheese sandwiches.
2. Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123
The Fort Mason drive-in made headlines this summer for its breathtaking view of the bay, putting up the big screen amid the historic buildings on the waterfront. Halloween weekend is featuring Ghostbusters and Interview with a Vampire, and November highlights include the Goonies and Shaft.
What to snack: Off the Grid is partnering and parking it at the movies, with a rotating cast of food trucks, including Cochinita tacos, Mozzeria pizza, Capelo’s barbecue, and Waffle Roost chicken and waffles.
3. Pier 70
San Francisco, CA 94107
A pop-up drive-in pulled into the historic shipyards off of Potrero, supposedly just for the month of October, but here’s hoping they extend. The thrilling movie selections have included Bladerunner, Blindspotting, and Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
What to snack: La Cocina is the official partner for this dinner-and-a-movie deal, such as Mexican street tacos from Mi Morena SF.
4. West Wind Solano Drive-In
West Wind was the drive-in destination in Concord well before the pandemic, offering the iconic suburban parking-lot experience. And it’s not winding down for the season, the fun continues with outdoor movies rolling into November and December, including Frozen and Wonder Woman 1984.
What to snack: The tacos dorados at Tortilleria el Molino have inspired their own fan following, for crispy shells stuffed with ground beef and potatoes and avalanched with shredded lettuce.
5. Alameda County Fairgrounds
The grassy fairgrounds are usually home to the hundred-year-old county fair, but instead of rides and games, cars are pulling in for fun movies this year. Movies have included Clueless and Hairspray over the summer, and Sleepy Hollow for Halloween.
What to snack: Food trucks will be in attendance, selling barbecue, churros, and candy.
6. West Wind Capitol Drive-In
West Wind has another retro-classic drive-in in San Jose, with a generous blacktop and fully loaded snack bar. Movie selections look similar across locations, from Halloween gore through holiday favorites later in the season.
What to snack: If you really want to commit to the all-American experience of never getting out of the car, swing by the Falafel Drive-In on the way to the show, for the iconic pita sandwiches, koubby meatballs, and baklava.