Outdoor movies: Best open-air places to watch movies in LA
Love outdoor movies? Enjoy summer nights with this guide to the best places to watch films under the stars.
Photo courtesy Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Outdoor movies combine two obvious things about LA and the people who live here: we're really into film and we love being outside, whether it's for working out, hitting the beach or dining rooftop. Makes sense, right? This summer, add outdoor movies to your list of budget-friendly things to do in LA. Here's your guide to the best spots to watch outdoor screenings of classics and new releases under the stars, for all ages. Be sure to check back for updates on the list—seems like at least one or two new outdoor movie series pops up every summer.
- Price band: 1/4
For your one-stop-shop in LA summer entertainment, follow the food trucks. Saturday evenings throughout August, Street Food Cinema throws together an epic outdoor party, complete with live music, tasty street fare, and a screening of your favorite movie—this year's lineup includes Monty Python, Mean Girls, and a slew of other not-to-be-missed flicks. Most showings are held on the spacious lawn at Exposition Park. But locations vary from week to week, so make sure to double check before schlepping your dog, friends and a picnic spread Downtown. Parking is available in their nearby lot for $10 a pop. Plus, for parties over ten, contact the office to receive a special group discount.
- Price band: 1/4
This funky drive-in shows two movies a month in the heart of Downtown, as well as private screenings and special events. You can park and enjoy the movie from your car, or grab an astroturf ticket to sit on the "grass" (bring lawn chairs, blankets, etc.). You'll also get a snack order sheet (including BBQ and gourmet cookies) when you arrive, which you can fill out and hand back to your carhop, who'll bring your order right to you. As if this didn't sound cool enough already, the drive-in is also pet-friendly, so bring your pups!
- 1000 San Julian St
Trade in your popcorn and ten-gallon Coke for a craft cocktail and artisan plate at the summer outdoor movie screening presented by Los Feliz's Big Bar at Alcove Cafe. On the third Monday of each month, grab a gaggle of drinking buddies and head to the garden patio's 17-foot screen, where cult films like Jurassic Park and Jaws are paired with cocktails inspired by the night's feature flick. Admission is free, and seating is first-come, first-serve. So come early, and come thirsty.
- Price band: 1/4
- Critics choice
Stimulate all of your senses at this summer-long festival celebrating food, film, and music. Every Saturday, Eat | See | Hear will set up camp at a different LA location and project a cult classic film on a huge inflatable HD screen (it's three-and-a-half stories tall—the biggest of its kind on the West Coast). Accompanying the movies will be performances by local buzz bands (handpicked by Echo Park’s cutting edge record store Origami Vinyl), as well as lots of food trucks to keep lines short and options aplenty. Bring a blanket or low lawn chair, some snacks if you prefer to save those extra bucks, and feel free to bring your (leashed) furry friend along— free dog biscuits will even be available at the entrance.
Ahhhhh. A civilzed Sunday event to cure that wicked weekend hangover, Bouchon Bistro Beverly Hills' free outdoor movie screening kicks off every other Sunday this summer at 8pm. Pack a picnic or spring for the bistro's special Sunday Supper as you screen a family-friendly flick on a drive-in-size screen at the restaurant's adjacent park. You can also pick up a pre-movie cocktail or snack from Bar Bouchon, not to mention the scrumptious bakery treats on sale throughout the film. There's even free parking for the event, making your Sunday night in Beverly Hills a total cakewalk.
The best things in life really are free—love, happiness, and an evening spent watching movies on a giant inflatable screen at the beach. On select dates from now until August, pack up your folding chairs, grab your kids and head to Long Beach for this unique outdoor screening. Thanks to Alfredo's Beach Clubs, you can give your babysitter the night off, while you and the fam enjoy a host of kid-friendly flicks, from The Wizard of Oz to Despicable Me. Bring your own picnic, or munch on eats from the nearby snack stand. Exact screening locations vary from week to week, so make sure you consult the schedule before packing your car and heading south.
Downtown's picturesque new gem, Grand Park, provides a fountain-speckled, tree-cloaked setting for this year's Movies in the Park series. On Saturday evenings beginning in August, pack a blanket, a smörgåsbord of snacks, and cruise down to the park's big screen, where you'll get the distinct pleasure of rediscovering iconic flicks from the 80s and 90s. You can't bring your booze, but the event is free—both your wallet and your liver will thank you later.