What's your start-of-summer tradition?
We mean start of the summer season, of course, which usually kicks off around Memorial Day Weekend. Some people head for the beach -- wait, did we say some? We meant many -- and some people dig out the volleyball and find the nearest park.
But many of us pajama-up, or long to, the way we did when we were tots, and head out in search of a drive-in flick. That's harder to do these days, much harder, given the fact that the majority of alfresco screens are gone, or, worse, looking much worse for wear.
There are still SoCal spots that will take your vehicle, you, and your pajama-up'd kids, teddy bears in tow, though. The vehicle bit is key here; we have many fine outdoor movie experiences, but they tend to be for the lawn-chair-and-blanket set.
Turn your wheels toward...
Electric Dusk Drive-In: This spring-up screen in Downtown LA has a number of car spots that can get sold out, but there are a few held for day-of sales. The films can run to adult fare -- hi, "Goodfellas" -- so check the listings before inviting the tots (there are several fam-friendly choices, too, including "The Princess Bride"). It's open select Saturdays throughout the summer. And, yep, people do sit outside their autos here, so you can pack a chair if you like.
Vineland Drive-In: Outdoor movie enthusiasts often say "City of Industry" and "summer cinema" in the same breath. Why? Because the Vineland keeps on truckin', showing newer flicks -- "Iron Man 3" is on the schedule -- in a classic drive-in setting. Get this: "On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights the first feature is repeated after the second feature is over." Isn't that deliciously old-school? You're doing it right, Vineland!
Mission Tiki Drive-In: It's in Montclair and it has a certain mid-century swagger, which you've got to like (we almost feel half-sorry that we don't pull in driving an avocado-green station wagon from 1962). The Mission Tiki does show newer films, so catch your summer blockies here, and there's a snack bar that looks pulled from Central Casting. Wear your "Mad Men" togs for this joint, but your comfy togs, since you'll be watching movies.