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6 Dive-In Theaters To Check Out in the Golden State

6 Dive-In Theaters To Check Out in the Golden State

Iconic flicks, great company, and a swim to tie the experience together—what could be better than going to a dive-in movie theater?


5 min read

August 07, 2021

You’ve heard of drive-in movie theaters, now get ready for dive-in theaters. 

Picture this: You’re watching a great film in an outdoor scenic locale as the sun sets in California, which is already a good enough scenario on its own. Except, you now also have the option to take a refreshing dip in the cool blue waters of a pool or the beach and have an elevated moviegoing experience like no other. Iconic flicks, snacks to munch on, great company, a unique setting, and a swim to tie the experience together—what could be better than going to a dive-in movie theater on a hot summer’s day?

Dive-In Movie Theaters To Go To Now

These are the best dive-in cinemas to go to in the Golden State if you want to watch movies with your boo al fresco in your swimsuits. Forget about Netflix and chill, this is the real deal.

The best way to watch a movie is in a pool or by the sand. If you disagree, then you haven't tried it yet, and frankly, you're missing out.

1. Hotel Del Coronado

Address: 1500 Orange Avenue, Coronado

Hotel Del Coronado takes the dive-in theater experience to the beach. From family movies to cult classics, this theater under the stars sets the perfect scene for an awesome summer date night idea you haven’t thought of before.

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While a classic film is playing on the screen over the sands, cuddle up and make s’mores around a private bonfire, relax in a daybed by the beach, and enjoy relaxing in socially distanced sand chairs scattered all around. The movie screenings start at 8:30 p.m., and food and drinks are available for purchase at the dive-in movie theater as well. For a more special and themed experience, join the Coronado Island Film Festival for special surf screenings on August 8 and 21.

Fun fact: This iconic hotel was also the filming location for the Hollywood classic film Some Like it Hot.

Upcoming screenings: Ferris Bueller’s Day off on August 21, Blue Crush on September 3, Some Like it Rough on September 4.

Movies? Check. Snacks? Check. Ambiance? Check. What's missing? That's right, a pool instead of a couch!

2. The Pearl Hotel

Address: 1410 Rosecrans Street, San Diego

The Pearl Hotel in San Diego knows a thing or two about keeping its guests entertained. As one of the best dive-in theaters in California, the outdoor poolside lounge at The Pearl invites you to watch movies on a 10 by 13-foot projection screen overlooking a vintage, oyster-shaped swimming pool that gives off total retro-modern vibes. 

Every Wednesday at 8 p.m., people enjoy classic flicks, blockbusters, foreign, and independent features from The Pearl’s private library. The moviegoing experience is complemented by food, drinks, and light conversations, making for an interesting social gathering tied together with the love of cinema.

Upcoming screenings: Bill & Ted on August 11, Pitch Perfect on August 18, and E.T. on August 25.

Your poolside days could be because of a vacation, going to a pool party, or even just watching a movie.

3. Loews Santa Monica Beach

Address: 1700 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica

Sip, soiree, swim, and screen a family-friendly classic at the Loews Santa Monica Beach hotel. Head over to the dive-in movie theater every Saturday at sunset to catch cinematic classics screening on the pool deck as you munch on complimentary popcorn. Additional theater bites and snacks such as pretzels and cheese, candy, and ice cream sandwiches are also available for purchase on the curated movie munchies menu.

While the movie screen is displayed poolside, you’ll also see the ocean in the background throughout the evening as well—talk about a seat with a view. 

Upcoming screenings: How to Train your Dragon on August 14, Coco on August 21, The Little Mermaid on August 28. 

They picked the snacks, so we picked the venue. Sit back and relax. The show's about to begin.

4. Fairmont Miramar

Address: 101 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica

The beautiful Fairmont Hotel in Santa Monica has come up with the wonderful idea of making Saturday sunsets all about watching films poolside. Lounge, float, sip, watch movies, munch on tasty meals from FIG Restaurant, and enjoy complimentary popcorn as your next favorite film plays on the screen over the lit-up blue swimming pool. The pool movie nights at Fairmont Santa Monica are all about setting the scene for a quality lounging and movie-watching, so go along with a special someone if you’re in the mood for a cool outdoor date.

Upcoming screenings: Toy Story One on August 14, Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory on August 21, Aladdin on August 28. 

You don't need to travel very far when you want to go out for date night. Just find the nearest dive-in theater for a unique experience.

5. J.W. Marriott L.A. Live

Address: 900 West Olympic Boulevard, Los Angeles

If you feel like it’s already getting a little too chilly for the go-in-the-pool season, but aren’t ready yet to bid them farewell just yet, linger on for the sit-by-the-pool season and watch movies poolside. While you’re at it, have a delicious dinner and enjoy an evening of sunsets and skyline views at the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live.

This beautiful hotel is also an ideal spot for a luxurious staycation in Los Angeles. Check in, spend a fun day in L.A., and come back to the dive-in theater before 8:30 p.m. to enjoy a pool movie night as you wrap up a successful short trip in the City of Angels.

Upcoming screenings: Ironman on August 8, Maleficent on August 22, Legally Blonde on August 29.

6. Seaside Cinema

Seaside Cinema slightly differs from the rest of the dive-in theater experiences on the list—it’s geared more towards private events and ceremonies. Ideal for proposals, birthdays, bachelorettes, anniversaries, and more, Seaside Cinema offers private, pop-up movies in the dreamiest coastal locations in San Diego. All you have to do is book a date, and the company sets up the scene for you to hang out on the sand, under the stars, and in the coziest set-up.

The Classic Cinema experience includes a two-hour booking at sunset, a 100-inch viewing screen, cushioned stadium seating, cozy blankets, and, of course, a film of your choice for a crew of two to twenty people. If you’re booking for a special occasion like a proposal, you can request extra additions to your dive-in cinema experience such as torches, umbrellas, grazing boards, and a photographer to capture the moment.

What do you think about dive-in movie theaters? If you’ve been to any of these spots before, let us know about your experience in the comments section!

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