5 outdoor movie theaters in San Diego, CA

RCC San Diego 2 -Eric_Scire

Beginning on July 23, Rooftop Cinema club will start its Leo Season Series by screening movies made by or starring Leos. | Photo by Eric Scire

Pass the popcorn, please. Nothing screams “summer” like hitting the town for a bit of nighttime cinema under the stars, stretched out on the grass or kicking back in the bed of a truck.

Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night activity — like a scene out of your favorite rom-com — or just want to hang out with friends, we’ve got you covered with five outdoor movie theaters that will have you feeling like the star in your own motion picture.

RCC San Diego 1 -Eric_Scire

The Rooftop Cinema Club is located on the fourth floor of the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego. | Photo by Eric Scire

🎬 Rooftop Cinema Club

  • Location: Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego
  • Open: Summer season runs through Sept. 5, 2022; expect fresh screenings in the fall
  • Upcoming showings: “Pitch Perfect” at 4:15 p.m. on Sat., July 23, for “Wooftop” — a dog-friendly screening + “10 Things I Hate About You” at 8:30 p.m. on Mon., July 25
  • Ticket prices: $17.50-$24.50
  • Additional features: All seats are socially distanced + include wireless headphones and views of the big screen. The box office sells concessions like popcorn and candy (with vegan options), and features a full bar and food menu whipped up by the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego.

The Santee Drive-In has been open since 1958. | Photo by SDtoday

🎬 Santee Drive-In

  • Location: 10990 Woodside Ave. N., Santee
  • Open: Year-round
  • Upcoming showings: “Nope” begins showing on Fri., July 22 + “DC League of Super-Pets” begins showing on Fri., July 29
  • Ticket prices: $12 adults ages 13+, $5 kids ages 5-12, kids 4 and under are free
  • Additional features: Santee Drive-In has 1,000+ spots for cars and two screens with state-of-the-art digital projectors — and two movies are included in your ticket price. Bonus: This site hosts a Santee Swap Meet — a flea market-style sale — every Saturday + Sunday featuring vintage products, collectibles, electronics, clothing, toys, and more.

🎬 Summer Movies in the Park

  • Location: Varies
  • Open: Until Sat., Oct. 29
  • Upcoming showings: “Encanto” on Fri., July 22, at 8 p.m. at Linda Vista Community Park + “The Princess Bride” on Fri., Aug. 26, at 6 p.m. at San Dieguito County Park in Del Mar
  • Ticket prices: Free
  • Additional features: Some events begin as early as 6 p.m. but the movie start time will typically take place ~15 minutes after sunset.

🎬 South Bay Drive-In Theatre

  • Location: 2170 Coronado Ave. (south of Chula Vista)
  • Open: Year-round
  • Upcoming showings: “Where The Crawdads Sing” and “Bullet Train” are coming soon
  • Ticket prices: $1 kids ages 5-9, $10 adults
  • Additional features: Each ticket gets you admission to two movies playing on the screen. That’s right, you get to see two movies for the price of one here, too.

🎬 Cinema Under the Stars

  • Location: 4040 Goldfinch St.
  • Open: Year-round
  • Upcoming showings: “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” at 8 p.m. on Fri., July 29-Sun., July 31
  • Ticket prices: $17 members, $18 box office, $20 online reservation
  • Additional features: Becoming a member of Cinema Under the Stars has its perks. For a $125 annual fee, members get discounted ticket rates, first pick on seats, no reservation fees, and discounted tickets for guests.
More from SDtoday