After Years of Struggle, the Hi-Way Drive In Theatre Shuts Down

The Hi-Way Drive In Theater here is Santa Maria is now permanently closed.


Dave Alley/KEYT

Hi-Way Drive-In Santa Maria on Tuesday, December 21, 2021.

Have you ever gone to a drive-in theater? If you have then you know that drive-in theaters are much different than normal theaters. The Hi-Way Drive in Theater is one of them, and it’s right here in Santa Maria.

The Hi Way Drive-In Theater has been in operation for over 43 years. It was one of the two drive in theaters that remained here in Santa Maria, but as of January it has shut down permanently.

The Hi Way Drive-In Theater had a capacity of 550 cars and the big movie screen was positioned in a slanted way, so that cars in front of you would not block your view of the movie.

The Hi Way played a lot movies, throughout the years it was opened. With modern streaming services, the business was having trouble staying open, but the true issue was having to shut down for the pandemic.  They were shut down for months, but once they were able to reopen, the first thing they showed was a Metallica concert, back in August, 2020.  Tickets per car were $115, and allowed for up to six passengers.

The last day the Hi Way Theater was open, was January 6th of this year. It officially closed on the seventh, of January. It’s final showing will be “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” A recording on their phone line said this: “It is with great sadness that we announce that today, Wednesday, and Thursday are our last two days of operation. Thank you to everyone who has patronized the Hi-Way over the 40-plus years the Gran family has had it, all our suppliers, and all our wonderful employees who have helped make the Hi-Way Drive-In what it is today.”

Now that the Hi way theater has officially shut down, there will be residential developments taking place o1n the Hi Way property. For more information about what that means for the city, visit this link here.