While some swampy summer days can send New Yorkers running to the nearest air-conditioned movie theater, the evenings often make reveling in the park a splendid alternative. Embracing the delight of watching recent and classic films in the great outdoors, New York offers an abundance of free, outdoor movie screenings. We’re here to help you cull the long list of options and find the right movie night for your preferences and location.
A few tips to keep in mind:
Some movies may be canceled because of inclement weather; others will go on in light rain. Event organizers recommend checking their websites (linked below) and their social media accounts to confirm the screening is still on before heading out.
Most movies start around sunset, but you may need to arrive earlier to snag a spot to sit. That’s especially true for the screenings at Bryant Park, which tends to fill up when the lawn opens at 5 p.m.
To protect the grass, some parks do not allow chairs. If you’re headed to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Bryant Park or Hudson River Park, leave the folding chairs at home and sprawl out on a blanket instead.
If you missed these NYT Critics’ Picks in theaters
If hot summer nights leave you longing for a cold beer
Habana Outpost in Fort Greene: You can order Cuban and Mexican eats at the counter and then grab a picnic table for movie night every Sunday through the end of October.
Parklife: This Gowanus bar and entertainment space screens movies every Wednesday through the end of September. In addition to ordering offerings from their bar, you can enjoy tacos from Antojitos El Atoradero and a pre-movie trivia game.
Park options: Outside alcohol is not allowed in public parks, but some of the parks will have wine and beer available for purchase. In Bryant Park, head to the eastern end of the lawn for beer and wine, then to the Fountain Terrace for food offerings from Hester Street Fair. Smorgasburg vendors will be in Brooklyn Bridge Park offering beer, wine, food and ice cream. Hudson River Park will also have beer and wine for sale this summer, along with free popcorn.
If you’re looking to entertain yourself and the kids
“Ralph Breaks the Internet” on Saturday, June 22, at the Astoria Heights Playground in Queens; on Sunday, June 23, in Kolbert Park in Brooklyn; on Friday, July 19, in Hudson River Park; and on Sunday, Aug. 18, in Randall’s Island Park
“Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse,” which you’ll have nine chances to catch — on Monday, June 10, in Colden Playground in Queens; on Tuesday, June 1, at Bronx Terminal Market; on Saturday, June 15, in Ehrenreich-Austin Playground in Queens; on Saturday, June 29, in Travers Park in Queens; on Friday, July 12, in Hudson River Park; on Sunday, July 14, in Randall’s Island Park; on Monday, Aug. 5, at Astoria Park Lawn in Queens; on Monday Aug. 19, in Forest Park in Queens; and on Friday, Aug. 23, in Narrows Botanical Garden
If you want to enjoy New York City all around you and on screen
“If Beale Street Could Talk” on Tuesday, June 11, in Frederick Johnson Park; and on Saturday, June 29, in Martin Luther King Jr. Playground. Look out for the Harlem and Greenwich Village locations director Barry Jenkins used to bring 1970s New York to life in the film.
Hudson RiverFlicks: The lineup is all NYC-set every Wednesday, starting with The Warriors on July 10, featuring a live, remixed soundtrack from Shaolin Jazz, and ending with Big on Aug. 21.
If summer has you in the mood for romance
If you’re overdue for a shave
Alamo Drafthouse selected the movies for a hair-themed series in Albee Square presented by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Neighborhood Cut and Shave will be on site from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to help you get movie-ready with free shaves and beard trims.
And here are all the screenings you can choose from, in chronological order.
MINUSCULE, VALLEY OF THE LOST ANTS at Monsignor McGolrick Park, Greenpoint (Monday, June 10, 8:30 p.m.) nycgovparks.org.
TYSON at Habana Outpost (Sunday, June 30, 8 p.m.) cafehabana.com.
IN SAFE HANDS in Washington Square Park (Friday, June 14, 8:30 p.m.) nycgovparks.org; Film in French with English subtitles.
Fan choice night in Bryant Park. WAYNE’S WORLD is leading the tally. Other options include HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK, OFFICE SPACE and BIRDCAGE. (Monday, June 24. Lawn opens at 5 p.m. Movie starts at sunset.) bryantpark.org.
THE WARRIORS in Hudson River Park, Pier 63. (Wednesday, July 10, 8:30 p.m.) hudsonriverpark.org; NYT review. This screening will feature a live, remixed soundtrack from DJ 2-Tone Jones of Shaolin Jazz.
AYA OF YOP CITY in Tompkins Square Park, Old Bandshell Lawn (Friday, July 12, 8:30 p.m.) nycgovparks.org.
SEQUINS in Riverside Park South, Pier I (Friday, July 19, 8:30 p.m.) nycgovparks.org. Film in French with English subtitles.
Fan choice, to be determined in Bryant Park (Monday, Aug. 12. Lawn opens at 5 p.m. Movie starts at sunset.) bryantpark.org
THE LAST DRAGON in Riverside Park South, Pier I (Wednesday, Aug. 14, 8:30 p.m.) hudsonriverpark.org; NYT review. This screening will feature a live, remixed soundtrack from DJ 2-Tone Jones of Shaolin Jazz.
Community choice, to be determined at Intrepid Museum (Friday, Aug. 16. Flight deck opens at 5 p.m. Movie starts at sunset.) intrepidmuseum.org
OLIVIA at Columbia University, Columbia Memorial Library (Tuesday, Sept. 3, 7:30 p.m.) nycgovparks.org. Film in French with English subtitles.
ANBESSA in Socrates Sculpture Park (Wednesday, July 17. Programming starts at 7 p.m. Movie starts at nightfall.) socratessculpturepark.org. In Amharic with English subtitles.
CAROUSEL in Forest Park, George Seuffert Bandshell (Monday, Aug. 5, 7:30 p.m.) nycgovparks.org.