4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Your guide to movie theater parking

San Diego's prime cinema parking real estate

Find the parking less traveled
Find the parking less traveled

The impetus for this public service announcement began two weeks ago when I was trying to attend a 10:30 a.m. screening at Arclight La Jolla. A mall without a multiplex is as useless as a restaurant that shows movies. Until UTC decided to add a cinema to their already overbuilt shopping facility, there was no pressing need to familiarize myself with the lay of this plot of Westfield earth.

Being the only one in the county not hip to the fact that their parking lot had recently been reduced to rubble to make way for a new outdoor structure, I arrived at 10:10, thinking there’d be ample time to grab a Starbucks en route to the screening. At 10:35 — after parking close to Sears and huffing and puffing my way toward the theater — I found myself standing before a locked gate with a sign in place that read, “This Gate Must Remain Unlocked at All Times.”

Securing a spot at UTC has always been a bear, but until the time comes when the cyclone fences are down and the gravel is smoothly tarred over, when visiting Arclight it’s best that you park at AMC La Jolla and walk.

What follows is a list of prime parking real estate at the dozen cinemas that I frequent most. Know of any sneak spots at other theaters? Your cartographic comments are welcome.


Place

AMC Fashion Valley

7037 Friars Road, San Diego

AMC Fashion Valley 18

Try Parking Structure B just south of the theater. If it’s not too sunny, park on the roof. In the event of a scorcher, try one floor below and hop the stairs.

Place

AMC La Jolla

8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego

AMC La Jolla

Follow the Nobel Drive exit and take your first left (between Islands and California Pizza Kitchen) into the La Jolla Village Square. Do not waste your time looking for an outdoor space, particularly anywhere near the Ralph’s. Turn right into the underground facility and park near the Best Buy.

Place

AMC Mission Valley

1640 Camino del Rio North, San Diego

AMC Mission Valley

Enter the parking lot from Camino Del Rio North and veer to the left. If no one’s looking, ignore the sign, hang a U-turn just before entering the underground structure, and turn right. If you’re not the thrill-seeking type, enter the garage legally and turn left. All roads lead to Aisle Y. Look for the metal stairway at the end of the row and park as close to it as possible. When the movie lets out, use the exit door closest to theater 19. If everything goes as planned, your car awaits at the foot of the stairs.

Place

Angelika Film Center and Café

11620 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego

Angelika Film Center

Take the Carmel Mountain road exit off the 15. Hang a left at the second stoplight (Rancho Carmel Drive). Proceed to the second entrance on your right. Once inside Carmel Mountain Plaza, turn left and park next to the theater. When the movie’s over, exit through the side door.

Place

Edwards Mira Mesa

10733 Westview Parkway, San Diego

Edwards Mira Mesa 18

Avoid the Mira Mesa exit off the 15 at all costs; one can finish Moby Dick in the time it takes to make a left turn into the mall. Use Carroll Canyon as a substitute. Follow it to Black Mountain Road and turn right. Proceed to Hillery Drive and turn right. You’ll pass the Home Depot and turn left onto Westview Parkway. Just past the Legacy Apartment Homes and before the Old Navy, you’ll find an entrance on your right. Follow it and park in back on the side of the theater.

Place

Landmark Hillcrest

3965 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Landmark Hillcrest Cinemas

Enter the parking facility on the Fifth Avenue side. After the machine spits out a ticket, you’ll come to a dead end. Unlike the rest of the lost lambs, you’ll want to make a left to find parking.

Place

Landmark Ken

4061 Adams Avenue, San Diego

Landmark’s Ken Cinema

Street parking. You’re on your own.

Place

Digital Gym Cinema

2921 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego


Media Arts Center Digital Gym

See above.

Place

Reading Cinemas Grossmont with TITAN XC

5500 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa

Reading Cinema Grossmont 15

You’re going to have to work a little harder to gain access to the county’s largest screens, but it’s worth it.

Grossmont Center Drive is a must to avoid. Exit the 8 at Jackson Drive and head north to Center Drive. Turn right and follow it until right before you hit Grossmont Center Drive (look for the Bank of America) and turn right into the mall. The theater is located at the opposite end of the lot.

Place

Reading Cinemas Town Square

4665 Clairemont Drive, San Diego

Reading Cinema Town Square

Take Clairemont Mesa Boulevard to Clairemont Drive and head north. Turn right on Lakehurst Avenue followed by another quick right and look for a space. The entrance to the mall is located at the south end of the lot.

Place

United Artists Horton Plaza

475 Horton Plaza, San Diego

UA Horton Plaza 8

Access the Garage of Fruits and Vegetables on the Fourth Street side and veer to the left. Follow the coiling path to Red Onion, Level 6, and pull up a stall.

Place

UltraStar Mission Valley at Hazard Center

7510 Hazard Center Drive, San Diego

UltraStar Mission Valley at Hazard Center

Take the Friar’s Road East exit off the 163 to Frazee and turn right. Turn right just past B.J.’s and park by the Starbucks. In the event of a Chargers game, stay home and watch it on the radio.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Belated Belushi bio

There was a year-and-a-half stretch when Belushi was clean and sober, and it showed in his work.
Next Article

Hip hop auctions bring vinyl and boombox boom

DJ Mike recently parlayed his personal hip-hop records and boomboxes for a down payment on a house.
Find the parking less traveled
Find the parking less traveled

The impetus for this public service announcement began two weeks ago when I was trying to attend a 10:30 a.m. screening at Arclight La Jolla. A mall without a multiplex is as useless as a restaurant that shows movies. Until UTC decided to add a cinema to their already overbuilt shopping facility, there was no pressing need to familiarize myself with the lay of this plot of Westfield earth.

Being the only one in the county not hip to the fact that their parking lot had recently been reduced to rubble to make way for a new outdoor structure, I arrived at 10:10, thinking there’d be ample time to grab a Starbucks en route to the screening. At 10:35 — after parking close to Sears and huffing and puffing my way toward the theater — I found myself standing before a locked gate with a sign in place that read, “This Gate Must Remain Unlocked at All Times.”

Securing a spot at UTC has always been a bear, but until the time comes when the cyclone fences are down and the gravel is smoothly tarred over, when visiting Arclight it’s best that you park at AMC La Jolla and walk.

What follows is a list of prime parking real estate at the dozen cinemas that I frequent most. Know of any sneak spots at other theaters? Your cartographic comments are welcome.


Place

AMC Fashion Valley

7037 Friars Road, San Diego

AMC Fashion Valley 18

Try Parking Structure B just south of the theater. If it’s not too sunny, park on the roof. In the event of a scorcher, try one floor below and hop the stairs.

Place

AMC La Jolla

8657 Villa La Jolla Drive, San Diego

AMC La Jolla

Follow the Nobel Drive exit and take your first left (between Islands and California Pizza Kitchen) into the La Jolla Village Square. Do not waste your time looking for an outdoor space, particularly anywhere near the Ralph’s. Turn right into the underground facility and park near the Best Buy.

Place

AMC Mission Valley

1640 Camino del Rio North, San Diego

AMC Mission Valley

Enter the parking lot from Camino Del Rio North and veer to the left. If no one’s looking, ignore the sign, hang a U-turn just before entering the underground structure, and turn right. If you’re not the thrill-seeking type, enter the garage legally and turn left. All roads lead to Aisle Y. Look for the metal stairway at the end of the row and park as close to it as possible. When the movie lets out, use the exit door closest to theater 19. If everything goes as planned, your car awaits at the foot of the stairs.

Place

Angelika Film Center and Café

11620 Carmel Mountain Road, San Diego

Angelika Film Center

Take the Carmel Mountain road exit off the 15. Hang a left at the second stoplight (Rancho Carmel Drive). Proceed to the second entrance on your right. Once inside Carmel Mountain Plaza, turn left and park next to the theater. When the movie’s over, exit through the side door.

Place

Edwards Mira Mesa

10733 Westview Parkway, San Diego

Edwards Mira Mesa 18

Avoid the Mira Mesa exit off the 15 at all costs; one can finish Moby Dick in the time it takes to make a left turn into the mall. Use Carroll Canyon as a substitute. Follow it to Black Mountain Road and turn right. Proceed to Hillery Drive and turn right. You’ll pass the Home Depot and turn left onto Westview Parkway. Just past the Legacy Apartment Homes and before the Old Navy, you’ll find an entrance on your right. Follow it and park in back on the side of the theater.

Place

Landmark Hillcrest

3965 Fifth Avenue, San Diego

Landmark Hillcrest Cinemas

Enter the parking facility on the Fifth Avenue side. After the machine spits out a ticket, you’ll come to a dead end. Unlike the rest of the lost lambs, you’ll want to make a left to find parking.

Place

Landmark Ken

4061 Adams Avenue, San Diego

Landmark’s Ken Cinema

Street parking. You’re on your own.

Place

Digital Gym Cinema

2921 El Cajon Boulevard, San Diego


Media Arts Center Digital Gym

See above.

Place

Reading Cinemas Grossmont with TITAN XC

5500 Grossmont Center Drive, La Mesa

Reading Cinema Grossmont 15

You’re going to have to work a little harder to gain access to the county’s largest screens, but it’s worth it.

Grossmont Center Drive is a must to avoid. Exit the 8 at Jackson Drive and head north to Center Drive. Turn right and follow it until right before you hit Grossmont Center Drive (look for the Bank of America) and turn right into the mall. The theater is located at the opposite end of the lot.

Place

Reading Cinemas Town Square

4665 Clairemont Drive, San Diego

Reading Cinema Town Square

Take Clairemont Mesa Boulevard to Clairemont Drive and head north. Turn right on Lakehurst Avenue followed by another quick right and look for a space. The entrance to the mall is located at the south end of the lot.

Place

United Artists Horton Plaza

475 Horton Plaza, San Diego

UA Horton Plaza 8

Access the Garage of Fruits and Vegetables on the Fourth Street side and veer to the left. Follow the coiling path to Red Onion, Level 6, and pull up a stall.

Place

UltraStar Mission Valley at Hazard Center

7510 Hazard Center Drive, San Diego

UltraStar Mission Valley at Hazard Center

Take the Friar’s Road East exit off the 163 to Frazee and turn right. Turn right just past B.J.’s and park by the Starbucks. In the event of a Chargers game, stay home and watch it on the radio.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Mayor Faulconer cancels Thanksgiving holiday for San Diego

Thanksgrumping
Next Article

Sign of the times

“Even if you’re a hater, I’ll sit and talk with you. We can find some common ground.”
Comments
4

I cannot speak to the accessability of many of these venues, but your UTC Arclight experience rang a bell of sympathy. There's a ton of construction going on up there and it's a miracle anyone goes to this theater at all right now. I am told the next phase includes the demolition and rebuilding of Nordstrom on the east side of the complex.

At present, I turn south on Genesee from La Jolla Village Drive, make a left at the light at Nobel and left again into the boulevarded entry to the south side of UTC where Macy's and Red Robin Restaurant are located. Head north to where Macy's adjoins the massive dig and park at the edge of nomansland. Enter Macy's doorway, go through menswear and look for daylight of an inner mall door, past the Mac cosmetics counter to the outdoor playground, past the pool with fish statues. Hang a left at the first intersection where directional signs point to the Arclight. Its escalator is on the right, just past an Italian caffe and gelato shop.

March 16, 2016

Stop the music! Wasn't it a minor parking inconvenience that caused you to eschew the Gaslamp? Were I to follow your directions, a trail of breadcrumbs would be needed to find my way back to the car. ;)

March 17, 2016

Scott, I've had much better luck at the Landmark in Hillcrest by entering off of the University Ave. exit from 163 South. If one's travels takes them that way, this entrance puts you right in the middle of the garage and usually close to a few empty slots. Also, don't forget that nice little parking lot two doors west of the Ken. If you get there 15 or 20 minutes early there are always plenty of empty spots. Lastly, don't forget there's lots of parking in the underground garage at the Ultrastar Hazard Center. You access that by taking Frazee to the end and taking a right on Hazard Center Dr.. Several entrances to the garage are on the right. Thanks for all the info. There's nothing worse than being late to the movie because you couldn't find a damn place to park!

March 16, 2016

You'll find me using the lower garage entrance across from the trolley stop at Hazard tonight and any other night I venture that way...

March 19, 2016

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close