Whether it’s the Hotel Del Coronado or your local park, outdoor movies are playing all over San Diego
If there is anything better than a movie star, it might just be a movie under the stars. At San Diego’s outdoor movie venues, you can watch “The Wizard of Oz” at the beach, catch the lights of “La La Land” from a downtown rooftop, or treat your family to a summer of free movie nights right in your own neighborhood.
Whether you’re lounging in a zero-gravity recliner or hunkered down in your Hyundai, your cinematic summer is ready to roll.
If your idea of good outdoor fun involves Airstream glamping or a gourmet picnic basket packed by someone else, grab your favorite cashmere layering piece and head for the Rooftop Cinema Club Embarcadero or the Hotel Del Coronado, where your deluxe movie experience awaits.
Located on the photogenic roof of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, the Rooftop Cinema Club Embarcadero’s summer series offers moviegoers multiple chair options for singles and pairs; chatter-blocking wireless personal headphones; and an extensive food-and-drink menu that includes the nachos, ahi poke and craft beer and cocktails. The packed schedule features family-friendly fare (“Coco”), recent-vintage classics (“La La Land”) and pet-friendly “Wooftop” screenings (“Up”). Just don’t let the view distract you from the screen. Or do. It’s your night!
The summer series runs daily through Sept. 5 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Films that start at 4:30 p.m. or later are strictly 18 and up. Tickets start at $17.50 for adults and $11.75 for kids. It gets chilly up there, so bring a blanket. Go to rooftopcinemaclub.com.
The silver screen gets a little extra gilding at the Hotel Del Coronado’s “Movies on the Beach” summer soirees, where you can watch family favorites and cult classics from a seat on Del Beach. Food and drinks are available from the Beach + Taco Shack, and if you’re feeling flush, you can splurge on a VIP Family Movie Package that includes a private beach bonfire, s’mores for four people, two Del Beach chairs and a Del Beach daybed. The series kicks off tomorrow with “Jungle Cruise,” followed by “The Goonies” (Aug. 6), “Some Like it Hot” (Aug. 13), and “The Wizard of Oz” (Sept. 3).
Del Beach chair tickets are $25. The VIP Family Movie Package is $350, and it must be reserved in advance. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., and the films start promptly at 8 p.m. Go to hoteldel.com/events for tickets and information.
Bring the family
Sure, you could microwave some popcorn and fire up ye olde Disney+ account. Or you could gather the kids and some blankets and head out for a night of al-fresco moviegoing, courtesy of your friendly neighborhood(ish) drive-in theater or a San Diego County venue near you.
For the classic summer-movie experience, it doesn’t get more old-school than the two-screen Santee Drive-In Theatre and the the three-screen South Bay Drive-In Theatre. Both venues offer double features and full-service snack bars. The South Bay Drive-In snack bar is cash only. Both drive-ins allow chairs (as long as you stay within your parking space), and the Santee Drive-In allows pets, as long as they stay in the car. Both drive-ins are open year-round for your throwback movie enjoyment.
Admission to the South Bay Drive-In is $10 for moviegoers 10 and up and $1 for kids ages 5 through 9. Admission to the Santee Drive-In is $12 for adults and $5 for juniors ages 5 to 12. Kids ages 4 and under get in for free. Go to southbaydrivein.com and santeedriveintheatre.com for information.
There is more family fun in store with “Summer Movies in the Park,” a free summer movie series from the San Diego County Department of Parks and Recreation. The outdoor shows run throughout the week through October in venues ranging from downtown San Diego’s Waterfront Park to Oceanside’s Junior Seau Pier Amphitheatre.
All movies are free, although some venues may charge for parking. Upcoming films include “Encanto,” “Sing 2" and “Space Jam.” Bring your own chairs, blankets and picnics. Some parks allow dogs as long as they remain on a leash. Howdy, neighbors!
For information on “Summer Movies in the Park” locations and schedules, go to SummerMoviesinthePark.com.)
Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean film class is not in session. Thanks to the cinephiles at the Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills and the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla, prepare to enroll in the best night-school ever.
Outdoor movies are a year-round treat at the cozy Cinema Under the Stars, and the summer film series is all about the classics. Each screening gets a brief film introduction from program director Ralph DeLauro, after which you can settle into your zero-gravity recliner, love-seat cabana or a deck chair for an evening in movie paradise. There are space heaters for warmth and a snack bar for fun. The next offering is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which screens on July 29, 30 and 31st at 8 p.m. That old “Moon River” never sounded so good.
Admission to Cinema Under the Stars is $17 for members, $18 at the door and $20 for an online reservation. Go to topspresents.com for information.
As it kicks off its 16th year, “Flicks on the Bricks” is bringing the sublime films of Ernst Lubitsch to the Athenaeum’s outdoor patio. Curated by KPBS film critic and arts reporter Beth Accomando, the three-film series begins on Aug. 11 with “One Hour with You” starring Maurice Chevalier. On Aug. 18, you will be treated to “Trouble in Paradise,” and Aug. 25 brings “Ninotchka,” with the glamorous Greta Garbo. Stars will abound.
“Flicks on the Bricks” is a 21-and-up event. Masks are optional, but proof of vaccination or a negative test within 48 hours of the event is required. Individual screening tickets are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. Tickets for the series are $39 for members and $54 for nonmembers. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the films begin at 8 p.m. Go to ljathenaeum.org/bricks
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