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Comprehensive Guide to 12 Free Outdoor Movie Series in NYC

There are a million free things to do every summer in New York, but nothing quite tops a free evening movie screening outdoors — especially when great skyline views are involved. Here’s a comprehensive list of where to catch free flicks throughout New York City this summer. Some screenings already started, while others begin this month. Most series last through August. Happy watching.


Bryant Park Movie

HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival (Photo: Michael Alexander/Flickr CC)


HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival: Every Monday from June 16 through Aug. 18, catch a free flick on the lawn of Bryant Park in Midtown. The series kicks off with Saturday Night Fever and includes National Lampoon’s Vacation (July 21) and The Shining (Aug. 18). Feel free to bring blankets and food, but no chairs, tables or dogs are permitted on the lawn.

Front/Row Cinema at the South Street Seaport: The South Street Seaport is a hotbed of free events this summer, with films, music, performances and more. The outdoor film series started up May 23 and goes until Aug. 31 — films typically screen on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Upcoming movies include The Goonies (July 30), the New York classic When Harry Met Sally (Aug. 2) and Disney’s Frozen (Aug. 22).

Hudson River Park’s River Flicks: Calling all families! This film series, held at Pier 46 in Hudson River Park, shows family-friendly films every Friday. The series starts up July 11 and goes until Aug. 22. Bring you kids to see classics like Ghostbusters (July 18) and The Wizard of Oz (Aug. 22). And from July 9 to Aug. 20, Hudson River Park also hosts Big Hit Wednesdays on Pier 63. Movies include American Hustle (June 16) and The Hunger Games (Aug. 13).

Intrepid Summer Movie Series: For a truly unique viewing experience, head to the Intrepid Museum and catch an evening film right on the museum pier. A screening of National Treasure is the next one up on July 21, and the series lasts until Aug. 23. Guests can bring their own food, lawn chairs and blankets.

Central Park Film Festival: Every summer, New York’s most famous park hosts a free week-long screening of outdoor films at Rumsey Playfield. The festival spans the week of Aug. 18 to 22. The theme for this season is “Scenes from our City,” and include movies like Big, The Way We Were and Rear Window.


SyFy Movies With a View: The name says it all — this outdoor screening comes with spectacular views of Lower Manhattan. This series takes place at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1, near Dumbo. It kicks off July 10 with the film Duck Soup, then lasts until Aug. 28, when the final film will be decided by a public vote. There is even free bike parking at the event when you arrive.

SummerScreen: This film series lives at one of Brooklyn’s coolest public spaces, McCarren Park in Williamsburg. It is held on Wednesday evenings in July and August, and picks includes The Big Lebowski (Aug. 6) and Heathers (July 30). There are also food vendors at the site, as well as live music before the flicks begin.

Red Hook Flicks: It’s not easy to get to Red Hook, but the relaxed vibe of this film series, as well as the incredible views of Lady Liberty, are worth the trek. Films begin July 8 (Dazed and Confused) and last until Aug. 26 (On the Waterfront). You can bring your own food and beverages, but local vendors set up for each film and sell tasty snacks.


Socrates Sculpture Park: This gorgeous Queens park, which fronts the water and offers great views of Manhattan, is holding screenings from July 2 to Aug. 20. This year Socrates is hosting an international film festival, focusing on a different country every Wednesday. Many of the films are accompanied by music and dance performances.

Movie Nights in Astoria Park: Another great Queens park with views of the city. Astoria Park will host films once a week from July 28 until Aug. 25 on the great lawn. Despicable Me is screening Aug. 4th, Dirty Dancing is Aug. 18.

Newtown Road Backyard Film Festival: For an off-the-radar, more unique outdoor film experience, check out this series that takes place in a private Queens backyard. Now in it’s eighth year, the founder carefully selects movies pertaining to a theme. This year’s theme is “Your Destiny. Follow Your Dream” and films include The Godfather (Aug.16) and Midnight Cowboy (Sept. 13). The series begins June 14 and lasts through Oct. 4. The guest guidelines are very important, considering this takes place on private property.


Don’t forget to check out the schedule for Rooftop Films, who screen outdoor movies (some free, some not) all over the city until early fall.

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