Where to watch outdoor movies in NYC this summer

June 6, 2023

Photo by John Eng for Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

One of the best summer activities is returning to New York City: outdoor movies. 6sqft has put together a preliminary list of places to watch outdoor movies across the city, from a waterfront park in Brooklyn and a rooftop in Midtown Manhattan to the urban oasis that is the Queens Botanical Garden. As more movie lineups get released this summer, the list will be updated accordingly.

Prospect Park movie nights. Photo by Jordan Rathkopf

Movie Nights in Brooklyn
Summertime in Brooklyn means movie nights in Prospect Park. Presented by Paramount+ in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance, Brooklyn Magazine, and Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso, the Movie Nights in Brooklyn series will take place on the Long Meadow on four consecutive Wednesdays starting July 26. This year’s lineup of free movies includes a mix of nostalgic films and family-friendly flicks, kicking off with “Top Gun: Maverick” on July 26, “Bring It On” on August 2, “The Nutty Professor (1996)” on August 9, and “Guardians of the Galaxy” on August 16.  Films begin shortly after sunrise at the north end of the Long Meadow, closest to the Grand Army Plaza entrance. RSVP for the free screenings here.

The summer movie series will also extend to Fort Greene Park on four consecutive Thursday nights starting June 29 as part of a partnership with the Fort Greene Park Conservancy. Screenings include “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” on June 29, “House Party” on July 6, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” on July 13, and “RRR” on July 20.

Later this summer, free movies will be shown at McCarren Park in Williamsburg. Catch “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on August 20, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023” on August 30, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” on September 6, and “The Big Lebowski” on September 13.

Rooftop Films Summer Series
Since 1997, Rooftop Films has highlighted the work of first-time filmmakers and under-represented directors with screenings outdoors. The summer series kicked off in May and will run through the end of August, with more than 40 outdoor movie events planned across the city. A diverse selection of free and ticketed screenings will be held in unique locations, like the Old American Can Factory in Gowanus, Green-Wood Cemetery, Industry City, the Louis Armstrong House Museum, and more. See the full calendar of events here.

Photo courtesy of Rooftop Cinema Club Midtown

Rooftop Cinema Club Midtown
Rooftop Cinema Club Midtown offers outdoor movies in the heart of New York City. Located on the third-floor terrace of the Embassy Suites on West 37th Street, the cinema club includes a full bar and food menu from the hotel, wireless headphones for seamless movie watching, and comfortable seating. Multiple movies are shown every day, but screenings after 4:30 p.m. are only for 18+. Prices range from $19.50 to $28.50 depending on seat type and time of day. The series offers several themed-movie nights like Rooftop Adventure, which will feature “adrenaline-pumping” films like “Interstellar” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” Y2K Tuesdays, with showings of Millenial favorites like “She’s All That” and “Zoolander,” and Pride Month screenings, featuring LGBTQIA+ hits like “Showgirls” and “Moonlight.” Learn more and book your tickets here.

Seaport Cinema at the Rooftop at Pier 17
Seaport Cinema is back on the Rooftop at Pier 17 this year, offering free outdoor flicks and unbeatable city views. This year’s movie lineup, voted on by the public, starts on June 12 with a viewing of “Air Bud,” followed by “Jaws” on July 25, “Step Up” on August 16, and “Pitch Perfect” on September 21. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Moviegoers should come early to stake out a spot since seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Queens Botanical Garden
What better place to enjoy golden hour than in the beautiful Queens Botanical Garden? Add in a movie and you have a perfect summer evening. This year’s Movie Nights at the Garden will feature family-fun movies like “The Lion King,” “Shrek,” and “Beat Street.” Tickets include the screening and a complimentary craft or performance based on the feature film. Reserve your spot here.

Photo by Julienne Schaer for Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy

Brooklyn Bridge Park
Take in the city and water views while enjoying a free movie during the Movie With A View series hosted by Brooklyn Bridge Park. Hosted by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, the popular waterfront outdoor film event will take place on eight consecutive Thursdays in July and August. This year’s lineup includes “Despicable Me,” “E.T. the Extra Terrestrial,” “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” “Goodfellas,” ‘Psycho,” “Smoke Signals,” “Top Gun,” and a public choice vote of either “The Addams Family (1991),” “Little Women (2019),” or “Romeo + Juliet (1996).” This year, the park is teaming up with Time Out Market which will be providing food and drink.  No advance registration is required but get there early for a prime viewing spot. More details on the exact dates of each screening and what vendors will be on site will come available in the coming weeks.

Move Nights in Bryant Park; Photo by Da Ping Luo

Bryant Park
The 30th season of Bryant Park’s summer movie series kicks off with “Almost Famous” on June 12, followed by 10 more films chosen by the team at New York Magazine’s Vulture. Presented by Paramount+, the series will run every Monday night through August 21, with the famed Midtown lawn opening at 5 p.m. ahead of the 8 p.m. showing. Food and beverages curated by Hester Street Fair will be available for purchase on the Fountain Terrace; beer and wine will be available for sale at the back of the lawn. Highlights of this year’s lineup include “Mean Girls,” “School of Rock,” Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” and “48 Hours,” among others. Get all the details on this year’s Movie Night at Bryant Park series here.

Movies Under the Stars at NYC parks
Another great free outdoor movie option is hosted by NYC Parks and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Throughout the summer months, catch classic flicks in parks and playgrounds in every borough. Pack a picnic, bring a blanket, and enjoy the movie! Films begin at dusk. See what’s playing in your neighborhood here.

Films on the Green
New York City’s free French film festival is back for its 15th year. Running from June 2 through September 8, this year’s event will celebrate dance in film, with 12 movies shown in nine parks in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Enjoy the beauty and rhythm of dance at free showings being held in Central Park, Washington Square Park, Transmitter Park, Seward Park, and more. Get the full lineup of films and locations here. Films on the Green is produced each year by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, FACE Foundation, and NYC Parks.

Photo courtesy of The Hunters Point Parks Conservancy

CinemaLIC is returning to the Long Island City waterfront for its 9th year. The movie series sets up in the picturesque Hunter’s Point South Park, which boasts jaw-dropping skyline views. This year’s lineup includes “Back to the Future” on June 22, “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania,” on July 13, “Top Gun: Maverick” on July 22, “Soul” on August 10, and Disney’s “Aladdin” on September 8. Movies start around sunset, but bring a blanket and get there early to snag a good spot.


Editor’s note: The original version of this story was published on June 3, 2021, and has since been updated.

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