Sante Fe Springs Swap Meet & Drive-In

13963 Alondra Boulevard,
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

1000 cars

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Ed Collins
Ed Collins on December 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm


Each year the Santa Fe Springs Drive-In reopens for just two nights a year. This year those nights are this Wednesday and Thursday, December 19th and 20th.

The box office will open at 6:00 pm. The first feature is the delightful 1990 comedy “Home Alone” starring Macaulay Culkin. This movie begins at 6:30 pm.

The second movie is the 1946 classic, “It’s A Wonderful Life” starring Jimmy Stewart. This movie begins at 8:30 pm.

Admission on the day of the event is $15.00 per car. Pre-sale tickets are available right now for $10.00.

The sound will be broadcast over your car’s FM radio.

Come on out and enjoy the show!

Santa Fe Springs Drive-In 13963 Alondra Boulevard Santa Fe Springs, California 90670 (562) 921-4359 (extension 0)

Ed Collins
Ed Collins on November 6, 2010 at 10:34 pm

Reminder: Each year the La Mirada Drive-in (now called the Santa Fe Springs Drive-In) reopens for just two nights a year. This year those nights are Monday, November 8th and Tuesday, November 9th.

Just like last year, I will not be the manager on duty. (Although I still work for the company, I no longer work at the swap meet/drive-in.)

Admission is almost certainly still $5.00 per car.

Bring the kids and enjoy the show!

Santa Fe Springs Drive-In
13963 Alondra Boulevard
Santa Fe Springs, California 90670
(562) 921-4359

coweyhere on November 6, 2010 at 8:52 pm

A shot of the neon sign from August 2010:

View link

1956 on September 3, 2009 at 1:28 pm

My Folks took us kids to La Mirada Drive-In often in the 50’s & 60’s. I have fond memories of The Swap-O-Rama on the weekends in 1969. I used to help this old Hippie dude sell[anyone remember] The flower power wired plastic flowers or black light posters, Lava Lamps? There was a house that went along side of the entrance. The family that lived there, The daughter was good friends with my older sister, and from time to time we’d get in for free.On Monday or Tuesdays {I can’t remember} it was a Buck a carload. We saw a lot of good flicks back then.When movies were really made to watch, and be entertained= La Mirada still ROCKS!!!!!

kencmcintyre on October 6, 2008 at 1:52 pm

Thanks for the update, Ed. There are some photos on this page:

Ed Collins
Ed Collins on October 6, 2008 at 1:31 pm

For the record, as it does every fall, the Santa Fe Springs Drive-in reopens again, for two nights only. This year that’s tonight (Monday) and tomorrow night (Tuesday)!

This year’s movies are “Nanny McPhee” and “Evan Almighty.”

Admission is $5.00 per car.

This year I will NOT be the manager on duty. (Although I still work for the company, I no longer work at the swap meet.)

Bring the kids and enjoy the show!

Santa Fe Springs Drive-In
13963 Alondra Boulevard
Santa Fe Springs, California 90670
(562) 921-4359

Ed Collins
Ed Collins on August 17, 2007 at 1:39 pm

Each year the La Mirada Drive-in (now called the Santa Fe Springs Drive-In) reopens for just two nights a year. This year those nights are Monday, October 8th and Tuesday, October 9th.

The box office will open at 6:30 pm. The animated cartoon “Curious George” will play first at 7:00 pm followed immediately by “You, Me & Dupree” at approximately 8:30 pm.

Admission is $5.00 per car. The snackbar will be open with a limited menu.

I expect to be the manager on duty both evenings.

kencmcintyre on June 13, 2007 at 7:15 pm

Here is an excerpt from an LA Times article dated 9/21/75:

The La Mirada Drive-In, which is actually located in the city of Santa Fe Springs, has become what municipal planners proudly call “a multiple land use”. On weekdays it is a Park and Ride facility for the Southern California Rapid Transit District. On weekends, the drive-in is transformed into one of the most successful swap meets in Southern California, the legendary Swap-O-Rama. The La Mirada Drive-In also shows movies.

dkvietzke on January 12, 2006 at 6:27 am

Thanks for the clarification – still…it’s nice.
I will certainly forward any photos that I find to you. I am contacted by more new people each week. I send out a monthly newsletter – so I will make this a special request :)
Debbie Jones vietzke

Ed Collins
Ed Collins on January 12, 2006 at 6:18 am

Hi Debbie,

Please note that we only show movies at the La Mirada Drive-in (now called the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet & Drive-In) once a year… usually for two consecutive days, in September or October.

The only photos I have of the drive-in would all be current. I have nothing prior to 1999. But I would also be interested in seeing old photos of the either the drive-in or the swap meet.

Ed Collins
Assistant Manager
Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet

dkvietzke on January 12, 2006 at 5:43 am

My name is Debbie Vietzke and I maintain a photo collection website, Our La Mirada (, for those of us who grew up in La Mirada during the first 25 years or so. (roughly 1950-1980).
I would be interested in featuring the La Mirada Drive-in, but am wondering if anyone might have a few photos I can use on the site.

I am very excited to hear that they are actually showing movies there again. This is amamzing.
My personal memories of the drive-in are limited to the 1969-72 era. Although I was raised in La Mirada (1955-1971) I was not allowed to attend theaters. However, when later out on my own my husband would take me there on dates. I wish I could remember what movies I saw there – I will have to ask him as he has a much better memory for movies than I do. It was a fun place and close to home.

RobertR on January 2, 2006 at 4:14 pm

An ad from 1975 shows this running a triple feature of porn.

McDaddyo on January 1, 2006 at 10:19 pm

My parents bought a new tract home in La Mirada in 1953 when I was five years old. My father owned a milk route with Royal Farms Dairy out of Dairy Valley now called Cerritos. He was early to rise and early to bed. My mother was a grocery checker at the ThriftyMart (Big T) grocery store in Buena Park. Mom was a night owl and loved movies. During the summers of 1957-1962 on week nights my dad would send my younger brother, sister and I to bed at 7:00PM so he could get some sleep himself. After he was asleep we kids would get up and pack snacks, pillows & blankets and wait for our mom to get home from work. As soon as she pulled in the driveway we would run out to her car and beg her to take us to the La Mirada Drive-In. It always worked.

skunk on June 28, 2005 at 7:04 am

Wow people still miss the ol'days i love going to the LA MIRADA drive in.Dont like the name change thought.I wish we could get back some of those great things we’ve lost over time.Ill never forget sitting in the riverbed with my am radio watching the movies for free.I still remember the movies in the car too.To bad times have to change well keeep the sprit alive in you thoughts PEACE OUT…….SKUNK

mcady on April 16, 2005 at 2:54 pm

My family and I went there my whole childhood. What was great was the atmosphere and the tailgate picnic’s. It wasnt about the movie, it was about Kentucy fried chicken and bon bon’s. I miss those days. And running around from the car to the playground and snack bar.

Ed Collins
Ed Collins on September 5, 2004 at 11:02 pm

Thank you Ross. That information is correct. In fact, I will be the manager working both of those evenings. I’ve been a manager at the swap meet for the past 5 ½ years and I’m usually the one who runs our summer drive-in event. (Most likely because of my experience working as a movie theatre manager for SRO back in the early ‘80s.)

I think our most entertaining drive-in night was back in 1999, when we presented “Grease” starring John Travolta and Oliva Newton-John. Many of our patrons arrived in classic cars and during intermission we had an Elvis impersonator entertain our small crowd!

Alas, the Santa Fe Springs Drive-in capacity is not anywhere near what it used to be. I’m sorry to say that we have, at best, room for maybe 25 cars. This is because hundreds of permanent buildings and storage containers are now located inside the grounds. (Along with nearly as many tarps and canopies!) These structures are used by our weekend swap meet vendors to store their merchandise.

If you come out either evening, ask for me. I’d be happy to chat with you for a moment or two!

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on September 3, 2004 at 12:11 pm

According to their website, “The Santa Fe Springs Drive-in reopens for two big nights! On Monday, September 13th and Tuesday, September 14th, we are proud to announce HULK, starring Eric Bana and BRUCE ALMIGHTY starring Jim Carey will both be showing on our giant movie screen. HULK will show once at 7:30 pm and BRUCE ALMIGHTY will show once at 10:00 pm. The box office will open at 7:00 pm. Admission is just $5.00 per car. An AM radio is required to hear the sound.”

Ed Collins
Ed Collins on September 3, 2004 at 12:19 am

Over 55 years ago, in 1948, 18 acres of land was purchased and construction began on what was to be known as the “La Mirada Drive-In Theatre.” At the time, the land consisted of a dairy and an orange orchard. The area was unincorporated and known as “Dairy Valley.” This was prior to the existence of the city of Santa Fe Springs and thus the name “La Mirada” was chosen since that was the nearest city to this location.

In 1950, two years later, the large, single-screen theatre first opened for business. It was one of the largest drive-in theatres in the country, with the capacity to hold approximately 1,000 cars.

One unique aspect of the theatre design was that a large area in front of the grounds, between the screen tower and the front of the street, was reserved with the idea of building walk-in theatres, restaurants, or other future projects. There was even some speculation to build a “heli-port” and set up a helicopter transportation service to transport executives from La Mirada/Downey to downtown Los Angeles. For whatever reason, this idea never quite materialized.

This was all prior to the construction of the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) which now runs directly south of the property.

15 years later, in 1965, the “La Mirada Swap Meet” opened for the first time… and has been open continously ever since. The dirt field in front of the property became an ideal parking area for the thousands of visitors who would eventually attend the swap meet. Attendance of more than 600 daily vendors and more than 1,500,000 customers annually has become common throughout the years.

In 1990, with the advent of multi-plex theatres and the general decline of drive-in movie theatre attendance, coupled with the popularity of the swap meet, the drive-in was closed (with the exception of special events) and stadium lighting installed. Doing so enabled the drive-in to open up the first Los Angeles area outdoor/night-time swap meet “under the lights!” Currently the swap meet is open five days a week… during the day Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday, and during the evenings on Friday from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.

In the early ‘90s the name was changed to “Santa Fe Springs Drive-In Theatre and Swap Meet” to more accurately reflect the actual location. The drive-in and swap meet are owned and operated by Newport Diversified, Inc. Since 1999, the drive-in has re-opened for two nights each year, during the summer.

William on November 15, 2002 at 10:29 am

The last chain to operate the La Mirada Drive-In was SRO. The La Mirada’s capacity was 990 cars. Today the La Mirada Drive-In is used as a Swap-Meet site.