Recapturing that movie magic at the drive-in

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

By Ken Striplin

City Manager

Motion pictures have captivated audiences around the world since the earliest known exhibition of the technology more than 140 years ago. Over the years, as Hollywood developed into the motion picture capital of the world, Santa Clarita also built its reputation as a desired place to create movie magic, particularly through the filming and production of early Westerns. It is no wonder then that Santa Clarita is home to thousands who work in the entertainment industry, creating masterpieces for global audiences.

Truly captivating films are produced for audiences of all ages, and going to the movies is a one-of-a-kind experience, no matter how old you are. Whether you went with friends to see a pre-pandemic summer blockbuster in Canyon Country or Valencia, or you were at the Mustang Drive-In Theater (1966-1984) off Soledad 

Canyon Road (near present-day Golden Valley Road) when The Beatles’ animated film, “The Yellow Submarine,” debuted, each of us can point to a moment when we saw a movie that was transformative on our life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, major movie releases have gone straight to streaming platforms in order to reach their audience. However, this has left something to be desired by casual moviegoers and film buffs alike. The City of Santa Clarita is changing that by introducing a new event for residents called “City Cinemas.”

City Cinemas is a pop-up drive-in movie experience that will give residents an opportunity to watch a movie under the stars from the comfort and safety of their own vehicle. You will feel the nostalgia of piling into the car to head to the drive-in, while also making new memories with your loved ones.

Premiering in March at East Walker Ranch Open Space, south of the 14 Freeway off Placerita Canyon Road, City Cinemas will be a monthly event showcasing a variety of films to enjoy. This will be an innovative use of the City’s open space, taking an area that is already closed at sunset and offering an event with minimal traffic, noise and light concerns. Be on the lookout for an announcement from the City with details on the upcoming movie lineup and showtimes.

In keeping with all public health protocols, attendees at City Cinemas will need to remain in their vehicle, and each vehicle should contain only members of the same household. To ensure a safe distance can be kept between vehicles, a limited amount of tickets will be offered for each showing.

Be sure to get your tickets as soon as they are available so that you can secure your spot at the next City Cinemas event. Information on ticket prices, as well as how to purchase a ticket, will be announced shortly and posted to the City’s social media accounts.

I hope you and your family enjoy a trip to City Cinemas for a one-of-a-kind experience you won’t soon forget!

Ken Striplin can be reached at kstriplin@ The views expressed in his column are those of the City and do not necessarily reflect those of The Signal. 

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