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Skyline Drive-In
Photograph: Courtesy Skyline Drive-In

15 best places to see an outdoor movie in NYC this summer

Take in a movie under the stars at these NYC parks and more.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

Looking for the best spots in NYC for an outdoor movie? We've got you. Spreading out your blanket to take in outdoor movies has always been a beloved summer pastime in NYC but this year, more of us are spending time in the great outdoors than ever before. Luckily, NYC has options for everyone, from public parks like Bryant Park to restaurants with patios such as The Standard's plaza. You don't have to worry about mosquitos (or getting dressed up) if you don't want to. And some of these spots offer incredible views that give NYC movie theaters a run for their money, like the Skyline Drive-in and the Queens Botanical Garden.

RECOMMENDED: Outdoor Movies in NYC: all of the screenings in one easy calendar

The best places to see outdoor movies this summer

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Kicking off on June 13, the beloved outdoor screenings will take place every Monday for 10 weeks. The lawn opens at 5pm but the films won't start until 8pm. You're encouraged to bring your own blanket, but you can also buy one at the park directly. There are no dogs allowed in the area and neither are chairs or tables. It will just be you under the beautiful New York City skyline, watching a great flick and snacking on food you bought from a selection of vendors curated by Hester Street Fair. This year's presentations will focus on the beauty of movie sequels, so do expect a lot of "part twos" in the schedule, which we reproduce below:

June 13th: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
June 20th: Creed II
June 27th: Hairspray
July 4th: Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation
July 11th: Wayne’s World 2
July 18th: Scream 2
July 25th: Beverly Hills Cop II
August 1st: Star Trek: First Contact
August 8th: Grease 2

  • Movies
  • Movies

Every Thursday night starting July 7 through August 25, New Yorkers get to hang out on the Pier 1 Harbor View lawn and catch an exciting flick. As usual, guests can bring their own picnic or purchase food and drinks curated by Smorgasburg on site (the vendors will open up shop at 5pm, giving you plenty of time to stock up on some goodies before the doors for the lawn open at 6pm and the movie begins at sundown). But there are more reasons to get there early, including the variety of DJs that will be spinning tunes before movie time. Expect film shorts by local filmmakers as selected by BAM Film to also play in the background.

Here is the season's movie schedule:

July 7: Before Sunrise (R, 105 minutes)
July 14: The Bourne Identity (PG-13, 119 minutes)
July 21: Crazy Rich Asians (PG-13, 121 minutes)
July 28: How Stella Got Her Groove Back (R, 124 minutes)
August 4: Jurassic Park (PG-13, 127 minutes)
August 11: Thelma and Louise (R, 130 minutes)
August 18: The Mitchells vs. the Machines (PG, 114 minutes, Family Film)
August 25: Public Choice with options of: Back to the Future [PG], Mamma Mia! [PG-
13] or Mission Impossible [PG])

  • Movies

Free outdoor film screenings are back on Governors Island for the summer! The Trust for Governors Island and Film at Lincoln Center on September 2 is screening Sidney Lumet’s The Wiz. As usual, you'll get to claim a spot on the Parade Ground, the expansive eight-acre lawn wide-open views of lower Manhattan that defines the island.

Screenings are free and open to the public with pre-show entertainment kicking off at 7pm and the films beginning at dusk. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, including a beer garden by Threes Brewing along with food from Pizza Yard and additional Governors Island vendors to be announced. 

NYC Parks and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment have made it possible for New Yorkers across the boroughs to find a free outdoor movie screening near them every week. These family-friendly screenings are held in the city's parks and playgrounds, ranging from great new movies to all-time classics. Each screening has chairs reserved for seniors and people with disabilities so that everyone can enjoy a good movie. So pack up a picnic, find a great spot, and enjoy the show. The massive, full schedule is here.

  • Movies
  • Movies

NYC's beloved summer film series finally returns this month with live music, immersive performances, and filmmaker Q&As at 40 outdoor events throughout NYC, including at Green-Wood Cemetery, Fort Greene Park, the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, the pier at The Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park, City Parks Foundation’s SummerStage in Central Park and Industry City in Sunset Park.

The Summer Series, running through the end of August, will see New York premieres of festival hits, including Adrien Murray’s Retrograde, Andrew Semans’ Resurrection, John Patton Ford’s Emily the Criminal, James Morosini’s SXSW Winner I Love My Dad, Chloe Okuno’s Watcher, Sierra Pettengill’s Riotsville, USA, and Slamdance winner Hannah Ha Ha, which will be preceded by a live musical performance by lead actress Hannah Lee Thompson, and more. Filmgoers will also be able to see the first feature films from emerging indy filmmakers such as Ely Dagher’s The Sea Ahead, Juan Pablo Gonzalez’s Dos Estaciones, Max Walker-Silverman’s A Love Song, Rebecca Huntt’s Beba, Joe Hunting’s We Met in Virtual Reality, Reid Davenport’s I Didn’t See You There, Chema García Ibarra’s The Sacred Spirit (Espíritu sagrado), and more.

  • Movies
  • Movies

The schedule for this summer's Rooftop Cinema Club in midtown—at 60 West 37th Street, on the third floor of the Embassy Suits by Hilton New York Manhattan Times Square—is officially out and it's looking stacked. In addition to the range of productions that will be screened, patrons will get to order from a full food and bar menu while enjoying the show on a state-of-the-art LED screen that allows for multiple movie times a day (family-friendly screening will happen before 4:30pm!). Below, we highlight just some of the awesome movies that are included in the roster:

June 23: Casablanca and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

June 24: Black Panther, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and The Rocky Horror Picture Show

June 25: The Little Mermaid, Blade Runner and The Thing

June 26: Up and Beetlejuice

June 27: The Breakfast Club, Monsters Inc. and La La Land

June 28: 10 Things I Hate About You, Romeo + Juliet and Bridesmaids

June 29: Ratatouille, Magic Mike and Pretty Woman

June 30: Moana, Sister Act and The Great Gatsby

July 1: Back to the Future, Raising Arizona

July 2: The Parent Trap, Grease: Sing-Along, Jaws and Scream

July 3: The Sandlot, A League of Their Own, Dazed and Confused and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

July 4: Independence Day

July 5: The Devil Wears Prada, Licorice Pizza and Selena

July 6: Uncharted and The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent

July 7: Dirty Dancing, Purple Rain and Wild Things

July 8: The French Dispatch and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

July 9: Vertigo, Queen and Slim and Memento

July 10: Encanto, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, X and Licorice Pizza

July 11: Mean Girls, Moulin Rouge! and Pulp Fiction

July 12: Back to the Future, Pretty Woman and A Star is Born (2018)

July 13: The Emperor's New Groove and Get Out 

July 14: Save the Last Dance, Some Like It Hot and Con Air

July 15: Freaky Friday, Drive and people's choice

July 16: The Princess and the Frog, Ghostbusters, Candyman and 10 Things I Hate About You

July 17: Lion King (1994), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Jurassic Park, and Robocop

July 18: Sing 2, Love & Basketball, 500 Days of Summer

July 19: 13 Going on 30, The Notebook and La La Land

July 20: Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Coming to America (1988) and Top Gun

July 21: The Sandlot, Rear Window and Love Jones

July 22: The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Goodfellas and Friday

July 23: The Goonies, Clueless Fight Club and Speed

July 24: The Greatest Showman: Sing-Along, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Crazy, Stupid, Love

July 25: The Breakfast Club, Dirty Dancing and Scream 

July 26: Up, Casablanca, and Pretty Woman

July 27: Grease: Sing-Along, Mama Mia! and Bridesmaids

July 28: Holes, Thelma & Lousie and Do the Right Thing

July 29: 10 Things I Hate About You, Pulp Fiction and A Nightmare on Elm Street

July 30: The Princess Bride, Breakfast At Tiffany's, About Last Night and Everything Everywhere All At Once

July 31: Coco, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Death Becomes Her and Top Gun

August 1: Spider-Man: No Way Home, Back to the Future and  The Big Lebowski

August 2: A Goofy Movie, Sleepless in Seattle and The Shining

August 3: Pretty in Pink, Little Miss Sunshine and Poetic Justice 

August 4: Shrek, You've Got Mail and Call Me By Your Name

August 5: Pitch Perfect, House Party and The Fifth Element

August 6: Ratatouille, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Waiting to Exhale and American Psycho

August 7: Beauty and the Beast (1991), Roman Holiday, The Wedding Singer and Love Jones

August 8: The Goonies, Lost in Translation and Leon the Professional 

August 9: Monsters Inc., The Great Gatsby and The Silence of the Lambs

August 10: Superbad and The Wood

August 11: Moonstruck, When Harry Met Sally and The Bodyguard

August 12: The Princess Diaries, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Set It Off

August 13: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Tremors and Selena

August 14: She's All That, Before Sunrise and High Fidelity

August 15: Encanto, Ferris Bueller's Day Off and Romeo + Juliet

August 16: Up, Jurassic Park and Anchorman

August 17: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Scream and Moulin Rouge!

August 18: Ghost, Dirty Dancing and Point Break

August 19: The Sandlot, Love & Basketball and Friday

August 20: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, The Romance, Crazy Rich Asians and Coming to America

August 21: The Little Mermaid, The Seven Year Itch, Say Anything and Moonlight

August 22: Clueless, The Breakfast Club and A Star is Born

August 23: Mama Mia! Here We Go Again, The Greatest Showman and Dazed and Confused

August 24: The Devil Wears Prada and Bridesmaids

August 25: Aladdin (1992), La La Land and Event Horizon

August 26: Labyrinth, Pretty Woman and Pulp Fiction

August 27: Paddington 2 and Harry Potter, the Deathly Hallows Part II, The Notebook and 500 Days of Summer

August 28: Tangled, Casablanca, Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist and The Best Man

August 29: 13 Going on 30, Grease: Sing-Along and Dirty Dancing

August 30: Save the Last Dance, Something's Gotta Give and Brown Sugar

August 31: Lion King (1994), The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and Crazy, Stupid, Love

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Ridgewood
  • price 2 of 4

With its top-flight sound system, sophisticated menu and deeply chill vibes, Nowadays is a super low-key and unique spot to take in a flick. When it's not pumping jams from live DJs, Nowadays screens music documentaries (usually during the week) for no extra cost, starting at sundown.

Here's the line-up:

June 28: The Queen
July 5: The Clash: Rude Boy
July 12: Poly Styrene: I Am Cliche
July 19: David Byrne's American Utopia
July 26: Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise

You can find out what's up next here.

Seaport Cinema at Pier 17
Photograph: Courtesy of Howard Hughes Corp.

9. Seaport Cinema at Pier 17

The Seaport Cinema is back with screenings on Monday nights that have incredible sweeping views of the Lower Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Each screening begins at 7pm and is free to attend but is first-come, first-served.

Below is this summer's line-up:
June 13 - Maiden
July 27 - Walk with Me

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Bushwick's Syndicated, known for being a one-stop shop for great food and films, is screening movies outside as well. Each night, films begin at 9pm and seating is first-come, first-served but free, but you should order something off the menu. Don't miss the crowd-pleasing wings and seasoned popcorn and the new Pink Flamingo made with Mezcal, fresh watermelon juice, ginger syrup and lemon.

Make sure to check out the extensive monthly screening lineup here.


  • Things to do
  • City Life

This Greenpoint, Brooklyn drive-in offers killer views of Manhattan's skyline along with popular movie classics at 1 Oak Street across the river from downtown Manhattan—a site that’s been used for shooting Fendi and Converse ads as well as the opening credits of Saturday Night Live. There's a concession stand on site and if you don't have a car, don't worry, you can rent out a chair ($22) to take in the flick. You can find the full, jam-packed schedule here. Tickets range from $22 to $80.

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