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Anyone else catch the “Grease” sing-along on CBS this summer? The 1978 musical classic hasn’t, perhaps, aged the best in the 40-plus years since its release, but it invoked a nostalgia for something most Bay Area residents hadn’t seen much in the decades before the pandemic struck: a drive-in movie. 

Even as San Francisco moved into the ”orange” zone for businesses reopening, from hair salons to gyms to (limited) indoor dining, indoor movie theaters were only allowed to reopen yesterday. However, the National Association of Theatre Owners of California/Nevada announced yesterday that its members agreed to keep their theaters closed until the city of San Francisco loosens its COVID -19 restrictions.

Some indoor movie theaters have already reopened with limited capacity in Napa, Marin, Solano and San Mateo counties. Recently, the Regal Cinemas chain announced it will temporarily close all of its movie theaters across the United States starting today.

But if you’re still too worried about catching COVID to attend an indoor movie, that’s OK. Find yourself a Danny Zuko, or at least someone with a license and car, and mosey on over to one of the new theaters of yesteryear. 


Fort Mason

For months, San Franciscans haven’t been able to go to the movies. As of Sept. 18, that has changed. The Fort Mason Flix Movie Festival was designed as a pop-up drive-in theater to bring locals “family favorites and cult classics to blockbusters and arthouse cinema.” The Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture is also collaborating with nonprofits and other film organizations, like SFFILM, to help combat the economic burden of the pandemic. 

Where: Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco, https://fortmason.org/event/flix/

When: 6 and 9 p.m., Tuesdays-Sundays, through Oct. 18

How much: $49 per vehicle, not person, so pile in

Choice flicks: Most are sold out in advance, but keep checking the site 

Pier 70

San Francisco is a city of collaboration. Pier 70 has teamed up with food-entrepreneur incubator La Cocina, as well as a slew of independent theaters including the Roxie, the Vogue and the Balboa to bring the city three weekends of Dinner And A Drive-In

Where: 20th street, Illinois St, San Francisco, https://pier70sf.com/whats-on/dinner-and-a-drive-in/

When: 8 p.m. Saturdays, October 17, 24 and 31

How much: $65 includes a ticket for one vehicle and two meal servings  

Choice flick: It’s sold out, but “Blindspotting” on Oct. 24!


The New Parkway

It’s refreshing to watch a movie in a theater on a sofa. Or on a dining room chair, or even a beanbag. Such is the New Parkway’s way, and this flexibility is why it was able to adapt to outdoor screenings. It’s hosted some outdoor screenings nearby in Oakland’s Uptown District in August and September, and its theaters are available to book for private rentals. But the New Parkway doesn’t plan to reopen to the public until a vaccine is available.

Where: 474 24th St, Oakland with outdoor screenings at Heist, 440 25th St., Oakland, (510) 338-3228,  https://www.thenewparkway.com/outdoor-movie-nights/

When: No outdoor new screenings are scheduled, but keep checking the site


West Wind Drive-In Concord

While hundreds, even thousands, of businesses have closed in the Bay Area due to the pandemic, at least one has been revived. The Concord location of the West Wind Drive-In Movie Theater has reopened to bring back some affordable flicks, including Christopher Nolan’s new film, “Tenet” and a double feature of the “Halloween” (2018)  and “Ouija” this weekend.

Where: 1611 Solano Way, Concord, (925) 825-1951 or (925) 687-6445, https://www.westwinddi.com/locations/solano

When: Every day, shows are in the evening, check schedule for showtimes

How much: $8.50 per person general admission, $2 per children ages 5-11, and free for children age 4 and under. . On Tuesday Family Fun Nights, tickets are $5.50 per person, $2 per children ages 5-11, and free for children age 4 and under. 

Choice flick: “Halloween” (2018)

Alameda County Fairgrounds

Despite canceling the 2020 county fair, the fairgrounds have plenty planned for the rest of the year, including Under the Stars Drive-In Movies with “Hairspray” (2007) screening Friday and “Mission: Impossible” screening Saturday.

Where: 4501 Pleasanton Ave, Pleasanton, (925) 426-7600, https://alamedacountyfair.com/movie-drive-ins/

When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays

How much: $35 for parking

Choice flick: “Hairspray” (2007)


Corte Madera

Marin’s Lark Theater is bringing movies to a parking lot near you — if you live in the North Bay. Drive up to screenings of classics old and new every weekend evening.

Where: North Parking Lot of The Village at Corte Madera, 1557 Redwood Hwy, Corte Madera, (415) 924-5111, http://larktheater.net/movie-category/special-events/larkdrivein/

When: 7 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 9:15 p.m. Saturdays

How much: $15-$35 per vehicle

Choice flicks: “Bridesmaids” today, Thursday, Oct. 8, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on Oct. 16

St. Helena 

Like everyone else, Cameo Cinema had to get creative. They partnered with local eatery Gott’s Roadside to bring St. Helena a family-friendly outdoor theater. 

Where: 933 Main St. (Highway 29), St. Helena, (707) 963.9779, https://www.cameocinema.com/drive-in-movies

When: 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through Nov. 1

How much: $35 per car

Choice flicks: “The Nightmare Before Christmas” on Oct. 16,  “Coco” on Oct. 30


San Jose

West Wind also has a San Jose location, Capitol Drive-In, for those in the South Bay, with an exclusive lineup of double-feature nights featuring some of the most harrowing Halloween films including “The Nun” and “The Rite.” 

Where: 3630 Hillcap Ave., San Jose, (408) 226-2251 or (408) 226-2289, https://www.westwinddi.com/locations/capitol

When: Daily evening screenings 

How much: Same prices apply to this location: $8.50 per person general admission, $2 per children ages 5-11, and free for children age 4 and under. On Tuesday Family Fun Nights, tickets are $5.50 per person, $2 per children ages 5-11, and free for children age 4 and under. 

Choice Flix: “Hocus Pocus” and “Goosebumps” double feature!