It’s summer in Seattle and you know what that means, parents. The return of outdoor movies! So kick back with the kids and grab your tub of popcorn, the shows are about to start. From movies in the park to those you can sail into, we’ve got all you need to know about Seattle’s free (and cheap) outdoor movies playing only this summer.
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Seattle Center Movies at the Mural
The Space Needle serves as a backdrop for these moonlight movies on Fridays and Saturdays, starting July 31 through the month of August. Pack a picnic dinner or grab some chow at The Amory before settling in for the big show on a state-of-the-art 40-foot screen. As an added bonus, movies are preceded by short original films created by students at Cornish College of the Arts. Plus, this year Fridays will feature films in partnership with BIPOC and other minority-led organizations (think: LANGSTON, Indigenous Showcase and more).
Good to know: If the skies are unforgiving, be sure to call the rain hotline (206-684-7200) before you go. Information is updated after 2 p.m.
Hours: Movies start around 9 p.m.
Seattle Center–Mural Amphitheatre
305 Harrison St.
Load the kids into the family truckster for this August movie series. It’s four weeks of recent and old-school blockbusters you won’t want to miss (be sure to check out what’s playing, as some of the movies aren’t for kids). You’ll need a ticket to this one, and admission is pay-as-you-will. Then it’s as simple as finding a spot at 7:30 p.m. and keeping the kids entertained until the show starts at dusk.
Hours: The car line-up starts at 7:30 p.m. Movies start when the sun sets.
University Heights Place
6532 Phinney Ave. N.
Drive-In Movie Nights
This fantastic drive-in series that pairs gourmet movie meals with your movie experience started back in May and has plans to run through September. It's all about family-friendly features enjoyed from the comfort of your car with a meal and movie food perks (like popcorn, licorice and other candy) for a whole package. For parents: there's a full bar available until the movie starts. Spacing is limited for this family-friendly event, so book your reservations early.
Cost: $15/person ($60 minimum/car)
Hours: It all starts at 7 p.m.
Stone House Cafe
9701 Rainier Ave. S.
Outdoor Movie Nights
Who else is excited that Peddler Brewing Company’s outdoor movie nights are back this year? As far as we’re concerned, Thursdays are going to be stellar, starting July 22, 2021, when the summer series kicks off. Movies take place rain or shine under Peddler’s oversized tent, and families are encouraged to come early to grab seats and their favorite beer before the shows start at 8:30 p.m.
Good to know: Families can bring camp chairs and cozy blankets to get comfy if they need to.
Hours: Movies start at 8:30 p.m.
Peddler Brewing Company
1514 N.W. Leary Way
Seattle, WA 98107
BECU Drive-In Movies at Marymoor
Now in its 17th season, this popular park-turned-movie venue is a family favorite for a reason. While you’re waiting for the shows to start, be sure to grab from some of the best local food trucks, cupcake places and ice cream shops around. The park opens 90 minutes before movies begin (at dusk) and cars will be parked based on size (smaller in the front).
Good to know: Many July movies are already sold out, but you might be able to snag tickets to shows in later July.
Hours: Parking opens around 7:30 p.m. with movies starting around 9 p.m.
6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E.
Vasa’s Drive-In Theater
Vasa Park’s popular movie series will keep on playing through the summer. So get ready to pop that back truck and let the kids hang out to watch their favorite family-friendly movies on the big screen. Expect fantastic family movies on Tuesdays, plus date-night movie options on select Fridays and Saturdays. You’ll need tickets for these shows and concessions will be available for purchase, so bring your appetites.
Hours: Gates open at 7:45 p.m. and movies start an hour later.
Vasa Park Resort
3560 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. S.E.
Night at the Drive-In
Saint Edward State Park is the setting for this singleton outdoor blockbuster you won’t want to miss. The Goonies will be on the big screen and you and your little fans can watch from the safety of your car. Although the movie is free, registration (opening July 27) is required.
Hours: Entry opens at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 8:35 p.m.
St. Edward State Park
14445 Juanita Dr. N.E.
Movie at the Park
Families can count on a kid-friendly movie in the great outdoors in North Bend in August. Although decisions are still being made, families can register now to save their spot. No matter where the event lands (Si View Park or Meadowbrook Farm), plan to bring your blankets and other movie must-haves, including snacks for your little movie buffs.
Cost: $10/family, suggested donation
Hours: The movie will start at 8:20 p.m.
North Bend, WA
Outdoor Movies at Beaver Lake Park
Bring the kids for two nights of outdoor movies in the park. The Sammamish Parks and Recreation Department will host the event at Beaver Lake Park. Movies are free but pre-registration is required.
Hours: The show starts at 8:30 p.m.
Beaver Lake Park Ballfields
2526 244th Ave. S.E.
South of Seattle
Wild Waves Theme & Water Park is back and so is its Dive-In Movie series presented by Coca-Cola. It started July 1 and movies play every other Thursday. We love that families can watch these flicks while floating atop the waves or cuddled up under their towels on the sidelines. Plus this year, no more waiting until dark for the show to start. That’s right! The new LED screen means movies start at 5:30 p.m. Perfect for families with Littles in tow!
Cost: Included with admission or your season pass
Hours: 5:30-7:30 p.m.
Wild Waves Theme & Water Park
36201 Enchanted Pkwy. S.
Federal Way, WA 98003
Movies in the Park
If you love movies in the park, you'll want to bring the kids to this summer series where they can watch two familiar hits after the sun sets: one in July and one in August. Plan to bring all the field fixings for your outdoor viewing experience and then sit back and relax under the stars. Don't forget to pack those pj's!
Hours: Movies start around 9:15 p.m.
Town Square Park
31600 Pete von Reichbauer Way S.
Federal Way, WA
Drive-In Movies at LeMay
Watch these mega-fun movies from the comfort of your car or from a strategic spot on your blanket—it’s up to you. But one thing’s for sure, your kids will love these movies projected on a 40-foot screen. This is a first-come, first-serve event, so get there early to snag a great spot and do some tailgating while you're at it.
Hours: Families can access the field to find parking and tailgate starting at 5 p.m. Movies go on at 9 p.m.
LeMay--America's Car Museum
Haub Family Field
2702 E. D St.
Friday Night Flicks
If you live on the south side, take the kids to a local Auburn park for a Friday Night Flick. It’s blockbusters your kids will love projected onto a 50-foot screen. Whether the city ends up hosting them as drive-ins or on blankets in the parks is yet to be determined, as is the need for registration.
Hours: Movies start around 9 p.m.
Various Auburn parks
Movie in the Park
Another singleton under-the-stars event. Families will love watching the antics of Tom and Jerry at this summer movie. It’s a real cat and mouse kind of show. Bring your blankets and prepare to get comfy!
Hours: Plan to start watching at 10 p.m.
Riverton Heights Park
3011 S 148th St.
North of Seattle
Set sail for Everett’s 6th annual summer movie series where you can watch by boat, by car or by foot. It’s the place to be north of the city on Friday nights through August 20. If you want to drive in, reservations are a must, while walking in is first-come, first-serve.
Hours: Expect movies to start around 8:30 p.m.
Millwright Loop N
Marysville Movies in the Park
Although this favorite that's a bit of a drive north of the city has changed its name, families still flock to the park to watch their favorite films on the big screen. You bring the popcorn and don't forget to save your spot by registering in advance.
Hours: Movies start at dusk.
6915 Armar Rd.
Traditional Drive-In Theaters
Blue Fox Drive-In
Make your movie night into a full-on adventure when you ferry over to Whidbey Island to go to the Blue Fox Drive-In. We love this spot because while you're waiting for the show to start there's plenty to do with the kids, including an arcade and go-karts. Be sure to check out their newest addition, the Backlot Tavern too before heading over to grab a bite at the snack bar (no outside food is allowed).
Cost: $6.50/adult; $1/child (5-10); Free for kids 4 & under (Add $.50 per ticket if you're paying with a credit card)
Time: Gates open at 4 p.m.; movies begin at dusk.
1403 Monroe Landing Rd.
Oak Harbor, WA
Head south to this classic drive-in for a change of scenery. It’s a spot where families can enjoy blockbuster double features on the big screen in a vintage venue. Take it all in from the comfort of your car, or pack chairs and socially distance next to your vehicle so you can gaze up at the stars. Food is available for purchase at the snack bar.
Cost: $10/person, $7/kids (5-12) and seniors; free for kids 5 & under.
Time: Gates open at 8 p.m. on Fri. & Sat. and at 8:30 p.m., Sun.-Tues.; movies begin at dusk.
General Rules & Suggestions
While you'll want to double-check each venue for its own set of rules, it's good to keep these general rules in mind:
1. All movies begin at dusk (unless otherwise noted), although gates open much earlier. Crowds tend to get situated very early for outdoor movies, so the earlier you can arrive, the better.
2. Please remember to check COVID guidelines for each event venue, and plan to bring your essentials, like masks and hand sanitizer.
3. Outside food and beverages are usually permitted (no glass containers), but it doesn’t hurt to double-check. Some venues will have alcohol available on site, but no outside alcohol is allowed.
4. Many events offer movie-friendly snacks on the cheap, but it doesn’t hurt to pack some juice boxes and other goodies—just in case they run out before you get there.
5. Bring your low-back lawn chairs, inflatable couches and blankets to keep comfy and warm.
6. Unless otherwise noted, assume that your pooch needs to stay home.
7. Not every movie is “family-friendly,” so please check to see what’s playing before packing your kids up for a movie night.
—Allison Sutcliffe, Jeffrey Totey & Kristina Moy
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