West Wind Drive-In Hacks and Tips!

What’s more classic than going to a movie at the drive-in? When I added the drive-in experience to our summer bucket list, the kids were intrigued.  The thought of watching a movie while in the car was totally foreign to them. When I went to explain the concept, I myself tried to remember the first time I ever went to the drive-in.  I do remember seeing several movies growing up and after discussing it with my own mom, she confirmed. 

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At that time, it was one of the few affordable places she could take us.  My mother was a single mom and would bundle us up in the car and head to the Capitol San Jose drive-in.   For a few hours she wouldn’t think about bills or any of the stresses life was throwing her way.  We could all enjoy an affordable movie in the comfort of our car.  She remembers that we saw one of the Gremlins movies there which totally ages me-anyone remember THAT movie?

drive-in hacks

The San Jose Capitol West Wind drive-in still holds that old-school magic there with its vintage popcorn and snack shop but a few new changes. A mini play structure sits outside the snack shack, video games line the table area.  The staff was incredibly sweet and let us roam around, twirling and taking photos. It’s hard to believe that earlier in the day the space hosts an outdoor flea market.  Hundreds of people come to buy and sell their wares, but by the time the drive-in opens, the lots are clean and the area is ready to host movie night! 

We spent one summer night earlier this month checking out the drive-in and seeing The Incredibles 2.  The kids had a fantastic time running around the grounds.  Since we hadn’t been to the drive-in in years much less with children, I did some crowd-sourcing for drive-in hacks and tips! Some friends came up with some great ideas and I’ve included them below!

drive-in tips
drive-in movies

Movie Drive-In Hacks and Tips!

1.  Arrive Early to Get a Good Spot! Just like traditional theaters, the best spots at drive-ins tend to fill up quickly. Make sure you arrive early so that there are plenty of choices for where to park your vehicle. Aim to arrive at least 30-45 minutes before showtime to secure a prime spot, especially on weekends or during popular movie releases.

2. Make sure your car battery is charged OR bring a portable radio.  You don’t want to drain your battery and since it’s usually warm enough in the summertime to leave your car off, a portable radio will be useful.

3. Check the Weather and Dress Accordingly! Drive-in theaters are exposed to the outdoor elements, so it’s essential to check the weather forecast before heading out. Be prepared for various conditions by bringing appropriate clothing, such as jackets or blankets for cooler evenings, and umbrellas or rain gear if there’s a chance of showers.

4.  Bring lots of blankets and maybe even a pillow.  The girls felt like we were camping out in the trunk of the car and bundled up in their jammies when it got dark.  The pillow and blankets just brought some extra comfort since the trunk has no padding.

5.  Bring cash for entrance and for snacks!  While we packed some candy and the kids requested fresh popcorn.  The snack shack is a short walk from all the lots.

6.  Pack some chairs if you don’t plan on utilizing your trunk.

7.  Sitting inside the car?  Let the kids take in the front while the parents sit in the back!

drive-in hacks and tips
drive-in capitol

Our San Jose drive-in movie experience was fun and the kids had a blast. We cannot wait to go back!

West Wind has drive-in locations throughout California and Nevada.  Click here to learn more!

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  1. Haha! Looked for this link bc Im heading to this same drive in to see Gremlins!

    1. Love it!! Have fun 🙂

  2. Ha! A year later, I’m looking at this post because we are going to see Gremlins too. We will be at Red Rocks – something new for them.

    1. I hope you all have a great time!!

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