Hi-Way Drive-In

3085 Santa Maria Way,
Santa Maria, CA 93455

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Hi-Way Drive-In

Just south of the Sunset Drive-In in San Luis Obispo (and closer to Santa Barbara), this ozoner has a slightly larger screen and serves as a swap-meet on the weekends. It opened in 1959 and its programming mirrors the Sunset Drive-In’s schedule and it’s packed with appreciative audiences nearly every night. The flashing red Hi-Way in neon on the marquee outside is pretty spectacular, in its own simple way.

Contributed by MagicLantern

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

GaryParks on August 3, 2004 at 12:06 pm

I drove by this theatre about ten years ago and photographed the sign. I don’t typically photograph drive-ins (I love them, but, one has to specialize sometimes). I’m glad to know it is still open and appreciated. Santa Maria lost all of its old downtown theatres, including the large Fox Santa Maria, which was demolished for a mall because Mervyn’s department store, one of the prospective anchor tenants, didn’t want to be located next to a movie theatre (Thank you, Mervyn’s, we all know how badly we need more of YOU!!)

At least there is the Hi-Way Drive-In, and, if you head a few miles West across flat agricultural land to the tiny town of Guadalupe, there is the little Royal Theatre, now used for town meetings and events, but with a nice restored neon marquee and sign.

bojeta on July 17, 2006 at 9:07 pm

I know a man who tried desperately to buy out the Hi-Way so that he could expand his housing subdivision and get rid of the “negative” impact the drive-in would have on sales. The Hi-Way owner turned him down every time. He said “I’m a drive-in guy” or at least that what I was told. He expected me to share in his indignation, but all could think was “Cool! Chock up one for the good guys!!”

Here a link to a pic of my `47 Plymouth a little before the start of Superman Returns at the Hi-Way Drive-In:

View link

juliagreen on May 12, 2008 at 10:09 am

Interesting but not suprising that this subdivision does indeed go RIGHT UP to the drive-in’s fences. There appears to be zero easement on some of the homes. Check it out on Google Earth (type in the Hi-Way’s address).

Long may you run, Hi-Way!

bonnach on September 14, 2008 at 7:36 pm

My parents used to own a rental house right across the street from the Hi-Way. I always wanted them to move into the rental so we could live closer to the drive in. They were showing pornos there in the mid to late 70s and that might have had something to do with my parents laughing at me. It’s not like we would have been facing the screen or anything…

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm

David,great shot.Thanks.

MagicLantern on July 19, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Opened 1959, accordingly to this rather informative 2005 article: View link

Logan5 on October 6, 2014 at 10:49 am

On Friday June 21, 1991 “The Rocketeer” opened at the Hi-Way Drive-In, only a mile or two from the Santa Maria Public Airport, where part of the movie was filmed.

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