With so many of our favorite spots in Los Angeles still closed, now is the perfect time for a new adventure: one that you can enjoy from the safety and comfort of the family car. Plan some outings with our fun list of drive-through experiences for families.
Drive-Thru Experiences Ending Soon:
Happy Place – The Drive Thru
Westfield Century City
10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067
Happy Place – The Drive Thru is a “one-of-a-kind event” that families can enjoy and experience through the safety of your car. The “journey begins on the 3rd floor of Westfield Century City’s parking structure, covering over 50,000 square feet and leading you up to the picturesque rooftop.” You’ll view over 18 unique exhibits during this special activity designed to bring some happiness to your day! Ticket information is available online. Don’t delay; Happy Place runs through January 10th.
Hikari at Tanaka Farms
5380 3/4 University Drive, Irvine 92612
Loosely translated, Hikari means “shine” in Japanese. Tanaka Farms does indeed shine with over a mile of twinkling lights. Families will drive through the 30-acre farm and be “dazzled by farm-themed lighting from trees, to scarecrows, tractors,” and more. Tickets are available online. Hikari runs now through Sunday, January 10th.
Santa’s Speedway Christmas Lights Drive-Thru
500 Speedway Dr., Irwindale, CA 91706
You can extend that Christmas spirit a little bit longer, by making sure to visit Santa’s Speedway Christmas Lights Drive-Thru. This special event continues through January 10th, 2021. The Irwindale Speedway has been transformed into a “magical display of lights and attractions including a record setting Christmas Tree of lights towering over 100 feet.” Tickets are available online.
All New Drive-Thru Experiences:
Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru Experience
Del Mar Fairgrounds
2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar, CA 92014 and
1001 Rose Bowl Dr., Pasadena, CA 91103 and
Orange County Fair and Event Center
88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa, CA 92626 and
1101 W. McKinley Ave., Pomona, Ca 91768
At the Jurassic Quest Drive-Thru Experience, families will see over 80 true-to-life size dinosaurs in the “nation’s largest touring dinosaur exhibit.” As families remain in their cars, they will view animatronic dinosaurs displayed in realistic scenes. Each family will also receive a “safari-style photo of your vehicle and family transported back in time via a Jurassic setting complete with a dinosaur backdrop.” From January 1st-10th, the dinosaurs will be at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. From January 15th-31st, the show heads to the Rose Bowl. On February 5th-14th, you can experience it at the Orange County Fair and Event Center. And finally, from February 19th through the 28th, the end of the California tour takes the event to the Pomona Fairplex. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are available online.
Stranger Things: The Drive-Into Experience
Skylight ROW DTLA
777 S. Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90021
“Travel back in time to 1985 and become a Hawkins resident – in real life.” From the safety of your car, you’ll “dive into and explore a living, breathing story to savor some of the best moments from the Netflix series and maybe even witness some unforeseen and unusual occurrences.” The experience lasts about an hour and is recommended for families with children ages 13 and older. Tickets are available online. The experience runs through Sunday, March 14th.
Insomniac’s Electric Mile
Santa Anita Park
285 W. Huntington Dr., Arcadia, CA 91007
Insomniac’s Electric Mile is a “drive-thru audiovisual experience” available now through January 24th. Families will “journey through seven unique worlds of Insomniac’s most iconic festival and brands” complete with “music, lights, art, visual effects, installations, and more.” Electric Mile is family-friendly and designed for all ages.
14846 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91423 and
8585 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90069
1670 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404
Make going out to eat an event the whole family will remember. While indoor dining may be prohibited, now is the perfect time to re-discover the fun of the “carhop.” The large menu offers something for everyone – whether you’re in the mood for eggs, hamburgers, milkshakes, or something else entirely, you’ll find it on the Mels menu. As of this writing, these 3 locations are listed as currently open and offering Carhop Service all day; be sure to check the website for the most up-to-date information.
Bob’s Big Boy
4211 W. Riverside Dr., Burbank, CA 91505
For a bit of nostalgia, take the family to Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank, home of the “original double deck hamburger.” This location was built in 1949 and is the “oldest remaining Bob’s Big Boy in America.” However, you’ll find much more than just hamburgers on this large menu, meaning even the picky-eater members of the family will find something they like to eat. As of this writing, CarHop service is available every day.
1128 W. Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, CA 92805
The Anaheim location of Ruby’s Diner not only offers delivery and take-out, they also offer CarHop service! Ruby’s offers breakfast all day, a large selection of appetizers and sides, hamburgers and sandwiches, salads, “big plates,” a special kid’s menu, and of course, tasty milkshakes and malts.
Frisco’s Carhop Diner
16460 Whittier Blvd., Whittier, CA 90603
Frisco’s Carhop Diner is a 1950s-style diner offering a fun time with their Carhop service. Established in 1981, many families visit Frisco’s again and again, for the good food and good times. Their menu offers a bit of everything including salads, sandwiches, hamburgers, a kid’s meal, and ice cream and milkshakes.
The Donut Hole
15300 Amar Rd., La Puente, CA 91744
People go to The Donut Hole as much for the donuts as to see the giant donut hole landmark. Kids will love the chance to “drive through a donut.” As you drive through, you can view your options through the glass windows. In business since 1968, you’ll find such varieties as the “Texas Sized Donut,” the “Blueberry Cake” donut, and the “Chocolate Chips” donut on their menu. (Keep in mind – this was a cash-only establishment; not sure if that is still the case. Have cash with you, just in case.)
Green Forest Express Car Wash
Multiple locations including
4044 W. Martin Luther King Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008
A dinosaur-themed automatic car wash? This unique idea is completely family-friendly. Different options are available for your car wash including a “Bubblecano Foam Bath” complete with lights and the feeling you’re driving into a volcano. This is one errand/chore the kids won’t mind.
Montebello Sanitary Dairy
505 S. Maple Ave., Montebello, CA 90640
Take the kids for a unique drive-through experience and treat everyone to a cold bottle of milk. Broguiere’s glass-bottle products may be found in your local market, but it’s a lot more fun to take a drive to Montebello and purchase it from the drive-through Dairy. Check the website for the latest operating hours.
United Oil Car Wash
4700 Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90056
Turn a chore into an adventure. Get the car washed while you take the kids on a “trip.” The car wash resembles a freeway on-ramp, and the kids will think you’re driving up to the sky. The whole station has a very futuristic, space-age look to it.
Rooftop Cinema Club
Santa Monica Airport
3233 Donald Douglas Loop S, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Rooftop Cinema Club has a wide range of movies planned. You’ll find family-favorites like Toy Story 4 and Trolls World Tour as well as adult-only films such as Pulp Fiction. Movies are current favorites as well as popular, stand-the-test-of-time films such as Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Tickets are available online. Check the website for a schedule. Movies are currently scheduled throughout the month of January.
The Roadium Drive-In
2500 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Torrance, CA 90504
Enjoy a drive-in movie at The Roadium. Each Friday night throughout January and February, you’ll find another family-favorite movie being screened. Upcoming films include Uncle Buck (starring John Candy) and Disney’s Lady and the Tramp, to name a few. Tickets are available online. Check the website for a schedule.
Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatre
10798 Ramona Ave., Montclair, CA 91763
The Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatre is a popular, Polynesian-themed drive-in theatre. Four different screens offer four different movies each night. And you can’t beat the price. Adults are $10; children ages 5-9 years of age are just $1 each.
And see our list of Drive-in Theaters all over SoCal.
Wendy Kennar is a mother, writer, and former teacher who has lived her entire life in the same Los Angeles zip code. You can read more from Wendy at http://www.wendykennar.com where she writes about books, boys, and bodies (living with an invisible disability).