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.



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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.

Street Food Cinema

  • 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.

Electric Dusk Drive-In

  • 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!

  1. 1000 San Julian St
  2. Until Sat Aug 16
More info

Alcove Cafe and Big Bar’s Walk-In Movie Nights

  • Free

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 favorite films like Fight Club and Swingers 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.

  1. Alcove Café and Bakery 1929 Hillhurst Ave
  2. Until Mon Sep 15
More info

Eat | See | Hear

  • 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 3 ½-story-tall inflatable HD screen (the biggest of its kind on the West Coast). Accompanying the movies are performances by local buzz bands, 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 are available at the entrance.

  1. LA State Historic Park 1245 N Spring St
  2. Until Sat Sep 13
Buy tickets

Movies in the Park

  • Free

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.

  1. Bouchon - Beverly Hills 235 N Canon Dr
  2. Details for 2014 TBA
More info

Moonlight Movies on the Beach

  • Free

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 Monsters University to Frozen. 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 piling into the hatchback.

Movies Under the Stars

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Why stay in with a movie when you can enjoy one outside on a warm summer night, just across the street from the Pacific? Head to Malibu Country Mart after sundown for their second annual outdoor summer movie screenings on the lawn. The three-part series includes Pixar favorite Finding Nemo (June 20), the timeless Back to the Future (July 12) and fantasy film Neverending Story (August 3). All you have to do is show up with a blanket, picnic gear (we suggest a bottle of wine) and something cozy, and the rest is taken care of. The Mart's fancy-pants mouth-watering restaurants, Taverna Tony, Mr. Chow and Tra di Noi will be open late and serving up food during the movie, for those who arrive with empty stomachs. And that's not even the best part—all movies will be free and open to all.

  1. Malibu Country Mart 3835 Cross Creek Rd
  2. Until Sun Aug 3
More info

Movies on the green

  • Price band: 1/4

Summer outdoor movie screenings are back this year at the Americana at Brand. Every Tuesday this July, the Americana will show some of your favorite movies past and present on the big screen: Frozen, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Clueless and Ferris Bueller's Day Off. But leave your chairs at home for this one, because only blankets are allowed—on the plus side, your view won't be blocked by a family sitting on fold-up chairs. Your $10 ticket also includes dinner from The Melt Truck's selection of grilled cheese sandwiches (available July 8 and July 22) or Katsuya's grilled sliders (July 15 and July 29). If you're looking for the VIP treatment, which includes popcorn, treats from candy boutique Sugarfina and a first-class view of the screen, go ahead and buy the pre sale-only VIP tickets for $15 (just $5 more than GA).

  1. The Americana at Brand 889 Americana Way
  2. Until Tue Jul 29
More info

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