San Diego-Based Drive-In Movie Theater Announces Impending Closure After 65 Years In Business

December 6, 2023

San Diego's historic Santee Drive-In, which opened in 1958 and is one of the few open-air drive-in movie theaters still operating in the U.S., has announced its impending closure later this month.

Los Angeles-based development company, North Palisades Partners, has purchased the Santee Drive-In Theatre in East San Diego County. The company intends to build a 291,000-square foot industrial building on the 13.5-acre site, which is also the home of the Santee Swap Meet. The property was previously owned by Forte Family Limited Partnership. The property has two movie screens and over 1,000 car spots. On the weekends, it is used to host the Santee Swap Meet. 

"The Santee Drive-In Theatre will be closing its doors after 65 years in business," announced the company on its social media channels. "Sadly, due to the loss of customers, higher costs of business, and competition with streaming services, we can no longer afford to stay open. We want to thank the Santee community for many years of support and ask for your understanding of our family's decision. We hope you will come visit us one last time! Our final day of operation will be December 31st, 2023."

The Santee Drive-In is one of two drive-in movie theaters located in San Diego County. The South Bay Drive-In Theater, also opened in 1958, is located outside of Imperial Beach off the I-5 Freeway in South San Diego County. There are approximately 321 drive-in movie theaters remaining in the United States. 

Santee Drive-In is located at 10990 Woodside Avenue in San Diego's Santee community. For more information, visit