Watch Films Under the Stars This Summer
After 17 years, HBO and Comcast pulled the plug on Screen on the Green on the National Mall, but there are still plenty of places around the area that are hosting free film screenings under the stars. Nearly every night of the week you can grab a blanket and enjoy a wide array of movies, from kid favorites such as Pixar’s Minions to more serious selections such as Whiplash, and even recent releases like Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Remember to bring your picnics, blankets and bug spray.
Grab a blanket and some popcorn and head to Adams Morgan Movie Night with movies at sundown at the Marie Reed Elementary School athletic field, 2200 Champlain St. NW. Concessions are available and benefit the Marie Reed PTA.
There’s only one screening remaining in the series: Inside Out on June 21.
The City of Alexandria’s Movies Under the Stars brings movies to parks in Old Town starting at 8:30 p.m. Take blankets or beach chairs along with a picnic, or purchase snacks on site.
The lineup include Finding Nemo on July 22 in Waterfront Park, 1 Prince St., Mrs. Doubtfire on July 29 at John Carlyle Park, 300 John Carlyle St., Lion King on Aug. 12 at Ben Brenman Park, 4800 Brenman Park Dr., and Alice in Wonderland on Aug. 26 at City Hall, 301 King St.
The Alexandria Outdoor Film Festival takes place in Waterfront Park, 1 Prince St., on July 15 and 16. Take your blankets and beach chairs.
This year’s schedule is Inside Out on July 15 and Star Wars: The Force Awakens on July 16. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the screenings begin at 8:30 p.m.
Anacostia, Armory & Mount Vernon Square
Events D.C. and the Washington City Paper are sponsoring Summer Cinema at three locations around the District. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m. with the movies beginning at dusk. Take a blanket and snacks to enjoy the films.
Screenings at Carnegie Library, 801 K St. NW, on Tuesdays include Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on July 19, Bridesmaids on July 26 and Back to the Future on Aug. 2.
Wednesday screenings at Gateway D.C., 200 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE in Anacostia, include Star Wars: The Force Awakens on June 29, Jurassic World on July 6, Minions on July 13, Aladdin on July 20 and Love Under New Management: The Miki Howard Story on Aug. 3.
Thursday screenings on the D.C. Armory mall, 2001 E. Capitol St. SE, include Creed on June 30, Rudy on July 7, Happy Gilmore on July 14, Cool Runnings on July 21 and A League of Their Own on July 28.
The Four Mile Summer Movie Series is a free, four-week film series in the Arlandria section of Alexandria. The last Friday of the month from May through August, Restore Alexandria hosts games, giveaways, popcorn, picnicking and films under the stars with Spanish subtitles at Four Mile Run Plaza, 4109 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. The movies are shown on an asphalt lot, so take chairs or cushions to sit on. Picnic coolers are allows. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. with movies starting at sundown.
This year’s slate includes The Goonies on June 24, Back to the Future on July 29 and Zootopia on Aug. 26.
The Bethesda Outdoor Movies take place over five consecutive nights in July. The screenings begin at 9 p.m. at the corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues. A limited number of chairs will be available, so movie goers are encouraged to take their own.
This year’s slate includes Pretty in Pink on July 26, Manhattan Murder Mystery on July 27, Brooklyn on July 28, My Big Fat Greek Wedding on July 29 and Creed on July 30.
Another great venue for outdoor films is Capitol Riverfront’s Outdoor Movie Series. The films are shown at Canal Park, 200 M St. SE, down the street from Nationals Park, beginning at sundown. Take a picnic and enjoy the show or visit one of the nearby restaurants.
The series began June 9. The rest of the schedule includes Hitch on June 23, Star Wars: The Force Awakens on June 30, Mean Girls on July 7, Jurassic World on July 14, Minions on July 21 and Creed on July 28. The series wraps up with Pitch Perfect 2 on Aug. 4, The Martian on Aug. 11 and Skyfall on Aug. 18. Aug. 25 is a rain date if necessary.
Market Common shopping center, 2800 Clarendon Blvd., Arlington, sponsors a bi-monthly dinner and a movie on Thursdays on The Loop. Take a blanket and picnic and enjoy free candy, popcorn and drinks.
This year’s remaining lineup includes The Goonies on June 23, Grease on July 7 and Pitch Perfect 2 on July 21.
The Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization sponsors movie nights beginning at 8:15 p.m. on Saturdays at Penrose Square, 2503 Columbia Pike, Arlington, all summer and Thursdays at Arlington Mill Community Center, 909 S. Dinwiddie St., Arlington, in August and September.
The remaining Penrose Square movies include The Fault in Our Stars on June 25, Juno on July 2, Fantastic Four on July 9, The Book Thief on July 16, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes on July 23 and Moulin Rouge on July 30. Also, Joy on Aug. 6, All that Jazz on Aug. 13, The Devil Wears Prada on Aug. 20, The Princess Bride on Aug. 27, Spotlight on Sept. 3, That Sugar Film on Sept. 10 and Water on Sept. 17.
The Arlington Mill schedule features Kung Fu Panda 3 on Aug. 11, Maze Runner: Scorch Trials on Aug. 18, The Sandlot on Aug. 25, The Peanuts Movie on Sept. 1, Brooklyn on Sept. 8 and He Named Me Malala on Sept. 15.
Crystal Screen has moved to Tuesdays in September this year with a wine and chocolate theme. Beginning about 30 minutes after sundown, the movies will be shown at 1901 S. Bell St. Take a blanket and a picnic and enjoy sips from the pop-up wine bar (cash only) and sweet samples from Schakolad.
This year’s films include Willy Wonka on Sept. 6, Bottle Shock on Sept. 19, Chocolat on Sept. 20 and Sideways on Sept. 27.
Cinema Del Rey brings outdoor movies to the Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2017 Belle View Blvd., in the Del Rey section of Alexandria. The fun starts at 7 p.m. and movies begin at dusk.
This year’s schedule includes Toy Story on July 16, Aladdin on Aug. 20 and Kung Fu Panda 3 on Sept. 17.
Georgetown’s second annual Sunset Cinema outdoor movie series returns to Waterfront Park at the intersection of K/Water Street and Cecil Place on Tuesdays from July 5-Aug. 2 beginning at sunset. Take your blanket (no chairs please) and a picnic.
This year’s movies include Planet of the Apes on July 5, Close Encounters of the Third Kind on July 12, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial on July 19, Thelma and Louise on July 26 and Into the Wild on Aug. 2.
The Golden Cinema Series, shown at Farragut Square, can make for a very convenient after-work date. Taking place every Friday beginning at 7:30 p.m., the Golden Cinema Series began on May 20 and runs through July 22 with rain dates on July 29 and Aug. 5.
The Hail to the Chief -themed movies include The Butler on June 24, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde on July 1, Clear and Present Danger on July 8, Manchurian Candidate on July 15 and Natural Treasure: Book of Secrets on July 22.
Films in the Field is held at Mitchell Park, S and 23rd Streets NW, monthly during the summer.
The schedule includes Mr. Roberts at 8:40 p.m. on June 23, To Kill a Mockingbird at 8:30 p.m. on July 21, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade at 8 p.m. on Aug. 18 and Ghostbusters at 7 p.m. on Sept. 9.
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial
Films at the Stone is the first and only summer film series at a memorial on the National Mall. The films, shown at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, 1964 Independence Ave. SW, “display the best of human love, strength and courage.”
Screenings begin at 8:15 p.m. and include Fly By Light on June 23, Zootopia on July 21 and Race on Aug. 25. Each screening is preceded by a live performance at 7:45 p.m. Pack a picnic and take blankets or low lawn chairs.
Every Friday from June through August, except June 24, the Mosaic District hosts Films in the Park in Strawberry Park, 2805 District Ave., Fairfax. Festivities begin at 7 p.m. with the movie at sundown.
The remaining schedule includes Field of Dreams on July 1, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial on July 8, Babe the Gallant Pig on July 15, Raiders of the Lost Ark on July 22 and The Princess and the Frog with live music from the Dupont Brass Band on July 29. August screenings include Cool Runnings on Aug. 5, Aladdin on Aug. 12, A League of Their Own on Aug. 19 and Karate Kid on Aug. 26.
National Harbor has expanded its Movies on the Potomac this year, featuring family-friendly films at 6 p.m. on Sundays and Date Night Movies at 7 p.m. on Thursdays through September on the Plaza’s big screen. Pack your blankets, grab food to go from one of the many restaurants and watch a free movie with a view of the Potomac. Parking is $3 for the first hour, $5 for 1-2 hours and $10 for 2-4 hours.
Family movies include Maleficent on June 19, Minions on June 26, Surf’s Up on July 3, The Smurfs on July 10, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids on July 17, Brave on July 24 and viewer’s choice on July 31. Also, Cars on Aug. 7, The Karate Kid on Aug. 14, Hook on Aug. 21 and Cool Runnings on Aug. 28. The series wraps up with Tomorrowland on Sept. 4, Wreck It Ralph on Sept. 11, Zootopia on Sept. 18 and a viewers’ choice on Sept. 25.
Date Night Movies include Dirty Dancing on June 23, viewer’s choice on June 30, Jurassic World on July 7, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides on July 14, Hot Pursuit on July 21 and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days on July 28. Also, Remember the Titans on Aug. 4, The Longest Yard on Aug. 11, Zoolander on Aug. 18 and a viewers’ choice on Aug. 25. Ending the series is Casino Royale on Sept. 1, Men in Black on Sept. 8, Ocean’s 11 on Sept. 15, Meet the Parents on Sept. 22 and Ocean’s 12 on Sept. 29.
NoMa Summer Screen is a 13-week Wednesday outdoor film series that started June 1. The next screening will be June 22 with Jumanji followed by Fast Five on June 29, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure on July 6, Life of Pi on July 13, OBrother, Where Art Thou? on July 20 and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on July 27. The series wraps up with Apollo 13 on Aug. 3, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire on Aug. 10 and Jurassic Park on Aug. 17.
The NoMa Business Improvement District also sponsors a Family Film Night on three Tuesdays during the summer. The lineup includes Home on June 21, Up on July 19 and Zootopia on Aug. 16.
All screenings take place at sunset The gates open at 7 p.m. with music, giveaways and food trucks The films are shown at Storey Park, an asphalt lot at 1005 First St. NE, so be sure to take folding chairs along with Frisbees and a cooler for a comfortable evening. This year’s theme is “Choose Your Own Adventure.”
The 20th annual Comcast Outdoor Film Festival Benefiting NIH Charities brings outdoor movies to Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda, Aug. 20-22. Movies are shown on a nine-story high, 52-foot wide inflatable screen. Take your blankets, low-rise chairs and small coolers. Ridgewells will have food for sale.
This year’s lineup includes Jurassic World on Aug. 20, Minions on Aug. 21 and The Wizard of Oz on Aug. 22. Films begin at 8:45 p.m. and gates open at 7:30 p.m. Parking is available at the Metro garage for $5.10 with a credit or SmartTrip card.
The Rosemont Reel screens outdoor movies at the Matthew Maury Elementary School playground, 600 Russell Road, Alexandria, There’s also free popcorn and drinks. Gates open at 7 p.m. and the movie begins at dusk.
This year’s movies include Minions on June 25, Zootopia on July 23, Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Aug. 27 and The Good Dinosaur on Sept. 10.
This year’s Rosslyn Cinema Outdoor Movie Festival features films with incredible journeys. Shown in Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Highway, screenings start between 8:30-9 p.m. Fridays. Take blankets or low chairs and a picnic or enjoy dinner from the rotating, featured food truck beginning at 5 p.m. New this year, there will be a bar selling beer and wine and the Popped Republic food truck will be selling popcorn. There will be special family nights on July 15 and Aug. 5 with kids’ activities and a story time before the movie.
This year’s lineup includes Raiders of the Lost Ark on June 24, Coming to America on July 1, Dirty Dancing on July 8, Finding Nemo on July 15, Casablanca on July 22 and Top Gun on July 29. Winding up the series is Up on Aug. 5, Roman Holiday on Aug. 12, Casino Royale on Aug. 19 and The Notebook on Aug. 26.
The Union Market Drive-In returns the first Friday of the month from July through October. The market, 1309 Fifth St. NE, will show the flicks on the front of the building.
The line-up includes Top Gun on July 1, Ratatouille on Aug. 5, Grease on Sept. 2 and Ghostbusters on Oct. 7. The films begin at 8 p.m. Admission is free for bikers and walkers, but parking is $10 per carload.
The U Street Movie Series returns to Harrison Field on V Street NW between 13th and 14th Streets. Gates open at 7 p.m. and movies being at dark.
This year’s schedule includes Life of a King on July 20, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure on Aug. 17, Finding Nemo on Sept. 17 and The War Room on Sept. 21.
Outdoor movies are not only fun for the whole family, but make for a great date cuddled up with your significant other watching a movie while taking in some fresh air. Don’t forget to pair that movie with some dinner to make for the perfect summer date.
Editor-in-Chief Mark Heckathorn is a journalist, movie buff and foodie. He oversees DC on Heels editorial operations as well as strategic planning and staff development. Reach him with story ideas or suggestions at dcoheditor (at) gmail (dot) com.