Del Mar Drive-In

514 Via De La Valle,
Solana Beach, CA 92075

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Del Mar Drive In Entrance c. 1973

The Del Mar Drive-In was opened in 1953 and closed in 1979.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

rivest266 on August 9, 2011 at 3:10 pm

1964 area of the drive-in

There was no drive shown on the photo, are you of its location?

LebowskiT1000 on July 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Located on the corner of Valley Ave and Turfwood Lane in Del Mar (near Via de la Valle).

Valley Ave and Turfwood Lane

jwmovies on September 26, 2012 at 12:56 am

Above address is incorrect. Approx. address for this drive-in was 514 Via De La Valle, Solana Beach, Ca. The entrance was across the street from the racetrack.

restoman1 on July 12, 2014 at 11:50 pm

I worked at the Del Mar Drive-In for a few years on and off in the mid 1970’s. I can’t remember everyone that was there at the time, but Herb Burton and his wife Dixie shared management duties. I do remember Nedra (sorry, but I’ve forgotten her last name) being one of the employees, along with myself. It was a great time. I remember spending a few back to back weekends painting the totem poles with Herb. I was also in charge of changing the marquee every Tuesday (or was it Wednesday) night, along with sitting at the ticket booth after the first movie and intermission had completed. For awhile I was also the lot boy (cleaning up the mess the next day). At the time I was going to college and working in a drive-in was the perfect job. Herb would let me study in the ticket booth after intermission. Herb and Dixie are no longer with us, but those are VERY fond memories for me. I’m glad I found this site.

Ed Bertrand

davidcoppock on October 19, 2018 at 9:07 am

Opened in 1953 and closed in 1979. 700 cars. Located across from the Del Mar showgrounds. Demolished(date unknown?). Site now occupied by various businesses.

MichaelKilgore on April 19, 2023 at 5:59 pm

The Del Mar at the northwest corner of Via De La Valle and Valley Avenue was under construction as early as 1967 and opened in 1970.

Boxoffice, June 22, 1970: “ENCINITAS, CALIF. - The new Del Mar Drive-In held its grand opening Friday night, May 22 … Manager of the Del Mar Drive-In is Herb Burton … (who) has served nine years with Sero Amusement Co., owner of the ozoner”

Boxoffice, Nov. 20, 1972: “Patrons now have better access to Sero Amusement Co.’s Del Mar Drive-In with the opening of the 805 Freeway. The ozoner, built in 1970 by Sero, is located just west of Highway 5 at Via de la Valle Turnoff … Manager of the theatre is Herbert R. Burton, who … helped open the drive-in in 1970.”

The 1977 Motion Picture Almanac listed the Del Mar under Solana Beach, owned by Sero Amusement.

Although its fate had been sealed in development deals announced months earlier, the Del Mar advertised through at least June 1983, which matched its still-intact status in a 1983 aerial photo.

On the other hand, here’s someone who sort of agrees with davidcoppock:

North County Times, April 14, 2002: “One of the area’s most-forgotten drive-in theaters in the long-closed Del Mar Drive-In, which was in Solana Beach on Via de la Valle, across the street from the Del Mar Fairgrounds. "It was built in the early 1950s, recalled Don Terwilliger, former president of the Del Mar Historical Society. "It ran for 15 or 20 years.” "

Was there a nearby drive-in that these historians are misremembering?

MichaelKilgore on April 19, 2023 at 6:06 pm

The Del Mar site is within the Solana Beach city limits, according to Google Maps, which also notes that both the 514 Via De La Valle address and the 92075 Zip Code are assigned to Solana Beach.

Solana Beach didn’t incorporate until 1983, but AFAIK, CT style is to list a closed theater’s site by its current-day city name. So the Del Mar really shouldn’t be under Del Mar.

Jamey_monroe45 on July 29, 2023 at 12:45 am

The entrance is now Pamplemousse Grille.

The theatre itself is now Turfwood condos.

Please update.

MichaelKilgore on June 16, 2024 at 11:11 pm

Just a bump to note that there is no contemporary evidence that the Del Mar existed before 1970, but plenty of photographic proof that there was no drive-in at that site before then. Kudos to anyone who can figure out what was confusing those drive-in historians.

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