Lompoc Valley Drive-In – Lompoc, California - Atlas Obscura

Lompoc, California

Lompoc Valley Drive-In

With its peeling paint and faded sign, this theater-turned-recycling plant is a nostalgic relic of 1950s Americana. 

This local landmark and roadside attraction offers passersby a healthy dose of nostalgia. Ignore the peeling paint and neglected look, and it’s easy to imagine the giant screen looming above a sea of retro cars packed with Saturday night moviegoers.

In its heyday (the 1950s and ‘60s), the drive-in theater was a popular hangout for local teens and any other cinema enthusiasts. It was both a great date spot and a place the whole family could have fun. People gathered to watch the latest new films from within the comfort of their cars, with a star-speckled sky as their ceiling. There was also a miniature golf course in the front, for those looking to be a bit more active.

Sadly, as happened with many drive-in theaters across the United States, the one in Lompoc Valley eventually screened its last film and bade farewell to its loyal audiences. Now, with its paint peeling and fading, its enormous screen is merely a relic of 1950s Americana.

The site isn’t entirely abandoned, though. A recycling plant took up residence in 2002, and there’s also a gardening and landscaping store nearby. In 2015, a local resident rallied enthusiasm for his campaign to restore the place to its original cinematic purpose. Unfortunately, his plan did not have a happy ending, as the property owners put a stop to the project.