Your Complete Guide to Outdoor Summer Movies for Kids

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Ditch that regularly scheduled bedtime, grab a blanket and some snacks and bring your kids to see a flick in one of NYC’s parks. Outdoor movie season starts now! This year, the theme across the board could be family -friendly Sequels. Despicable Me 2, Back to the Future II, and How to Train Your Dragon 2 are all on view. Per usual, parks all over New York City are screening cinematic gems this summer. And best of all, the cost of admission? Free! Here’s our roundup of places the whole family can see movies under the stars.


photo: Seth Werkheiser via Flickr

City of New York Parks and Recreation
Where: Various parks in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens
When: May 30 – August 27, Movies start between 5 p.m. & 8:30 p.m.
Movie Schedule:

Reels will be rolling in your favorite parks this summer. Catch The Lego Movie  in Crocheron Park, Queens or Jurassic Park in Riverside Park South, Manhattan. These fresh air flicks are free and come with room to lounge, lovely summer views, and no drama (well, unless it’s part of the plot). Bring a blanket, chair and a picnic dinner or snack.

Our Picks:

The Lego Movie, Crocheron Park, June 5

Frozen, MacNeil Park, Queens, June 12

Zarafa, Tompkins Square Park, June 26

Despicable Me 2, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson Community Garden, Queens, June 30

Jurassic Park, Pier 1, Riverside Park South, Manhattan, July 1

The Iron Giant, Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk (Beach 17th Street and Seagirt Blvd.), Queens, July 7

Edward Scissorhands, Pier 1, Riverside Park South, Manhattan, July 8

Back to the Future II, Touchdown of the 103rd Street Footbridge, Randall Park, Manhattan, July 13

All Dogs Go to Heaven, 103rd Street Community Garden, Manhattan, July 14

The Rescuers Down Under, Westervelt Community Garden, Staten Island, July 21

How to Train Your Dragon 2, Swindler Cove in Sherman Creek, Manhattan, July 28

Big Hero 6, 111th Street and 53rd Ave, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, August 5

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Pier 1, Riverside Park South, Manhattan, August 12

HBO Bryant Park Summer Festival (Films not yet announced at time of posting)
Where: The Lawn, Bryant Park, Midtown
When: June 22 – Aug. 24, Gravel area opens at 4 p.m./the Lawn at 5 p.m.
Movie Schedule:

Be sure to stake your place early on the law for one of summer’s most popular movie festivals in Bryant Park. It’s a memorable way to introduce your little cinephiles to the classics. No time to pack a picnic? Call ahead to place your order at ‘witchcraft for dinner packed up and ready for pick up.

Hudson Riverflicks Family Fridays
Pier 46, (At Charles St.) Greenwich Village
When: July 10-Aug. 21, movies begin at dusk, around 8:30 p.m.

Plop down on the evergreen synthetic turf lawn, feel the breeze off the water, and catch a PG-rated movie as a family. This summer series even provides free popcorn!

SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water, July 10

The Box Trolls, July 17

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, July 24

Annie (2014), July 31

Jumanji, August 7

Paddington, August 14

Hook, August 21


Intrepid Summer Movie Series
Where: 46th St. and 12th Ave., Midtown
When: May 22 – Aug 6. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and movies start at sunset, weather permitting. Show up early to reserve your first-come/ first-serve tickets; distribution begins at 6:15.
Full Movie Schedule:

How about a movie night with a gorgeous night skyline? The Intrepid’s 7th Annual Summer Movie Series will host seven films on the flight deck of the historic Intrepid, right along the Hudson River. This year, special guests (like a NASA scientist) will introduce the films. Our picks for family viewing are:

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (July 23)

Apollo 13 (July 30)

Wall-E (August 6)

Syfy: Movies with a View
Where: Pier 1 Harbor View Lawn, Dumbo
When: July 5 – Aug. 27, Music at 6 p.m./Movie at sunset
Full Movie Schedule:

While this Saturday series is generally for a more mature audience, we’re sure some kids would be up for Sharknado 2 (July 16) or the ‘80s throwback Clue (July 30). Food vendors will be on site to satisfy snacking urges. The East River breeze and Manhattan views may be worth the outing before the flick even begins…. Just be ready to share both with the other 7,000 cinephiles expected to show up!

Which outdoor movie screenings are a must for your this summer? 

— Rachel Aydt


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