Where to See Outdoor Films in New York City This Summer

HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival | © André Natta / Flickr
HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival | © André Natta / Flickr
Photo of Julia Goicochea
22 June 2017

When the weather heats up, so does New York City’s festival season. Around this time each year, movie-loving locals forego Netflix in favor of starlit screenings across the city. Here, we’ve rounded up 10 places to catch a film—and a cool night breeze—this summer.

Outdoor Cinema

Park, Museum, Cinema, Market
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Outdoor Cinema, Courtesy of Socrates Sculpture Park
Wednesdays in July & August 2017

A New York City institution, Queens’ Outdoor Cinema turns its attentions outward, highlighting cultures from around the world. This year, the free international film fest will feature works from Greece, Sweden, Spain, and beyond, all in their original languages with English subtitles. The festival, which provides immersive movie-going experiences all summer long, complements each screening with regional cuisine and live music and entertainment celebrating the film’s country of origin.

Films On The Green

Through September 7, 2017

Catering to Americans’ fascination with all things French, Films On The Green presents French cinema, complete with subtitles, sirens, and, if you plan ahead, beaucoup du vin rouge. This year marks the free festival’s 10th anniversary, and guest curators such as Isabella Rossellini and Wes Anderson and continental classics by Jean-Luc Godard, François Truffaut, and more will help celebrate the occasion.

Various parks throughout New York, NY, USA

Randall’s Island Outdoor Movie Night

Sundays, June through September 2017

Happy anniversary, Randall’s Island! New York festival goers’ favorite destination turns 25 this year. In celebration of the occasion, the island’s Outdoor Movie Night series will highlight films from the year 1992, such as A League of Their Own, Sister Act, and Malcolm X.

Various locations in Randall’s Island Park, New York, NY, USA

Outdoor Movie Night on Randall’s Island | Courtesy of Randall’s Island Park Alliance

Rooftop Films

Through the end of August 2017

A low-budget indie flick screened on a luxury hotel’s rooftop? Only in New York City. Featuring movies, short films, and even Q&A sessions with the films’ contributors, Rooftop Films brings the best of independent cinema to 12 diverse venues, including Williamsburg’s trendy William Vale, across the city.

Various locations in New York, NY, USA

Hudson RiverFlicks

Park, Theater
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Chelsea Piers
Chelsea Piers | © William Warby / Flickr
Wednesdays, July 5 – August 16, 2017

Missed the latest blockbusters when they were in theaters? At Hudson RiverFlicks, you’ll have another chance to catch breakout hits such as indie drama Moonlight, musical La La Land, and the action-packed Logan, but this time with free popcorn and waterfront views.


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McCarren Park, New York
McCarren Park, New York | Courtesy of WORD Bookstore
Wednesdays in July & August 2017

Ever wish you could have caught films such as Labyrinth, Dazed and Confused, and The Goonies in theaters? Bringing cult-classic films back to the big screen, Williamsburg’s SummerScreen deserves a place on any cinephile’s social calendar. Here, movie-goers are encouraged to bring blankets, snacks, and even pets to enjoy this year’s screenings of Mean Girls, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Donnie Darko, and more.

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival

Cinema, Park, Theater, Zoo
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BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival l Feast of Music/Flickr
Through August 2017

It should come as no surprise that Brooklyn’s picturesque Prospect Park is home to not one, but two popular outdoor film series. At the music-focused BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, works ranging from Italian silent films to contemporary blockbusters will be presented with a unique twist: all screenings will feature live musical scores by local and international musicians.

Rooftop Cinema Club

Through August 2017

As if rooftop views in New York City could get any better, this summer, Rooftop Cinema Club is bringing its deluxe film-watching experience to roofs around the city. Offering wireless headphones, adjustable deckchairs, and snuggle-safe love seats, this open-air series may ruin you for stale popcorn and sticky floors forever. Unsurprisingly, tickets to catch classics such as Fatal Attraction, indie hits such as Amélie, and foreign flicks, including Train to Busan, sell out fast, so film fanatics are advised to plan their visit in advance.

Various locations in New York, NY, USA

HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival

Library, Park
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HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival | © André Natta / Flickr
Mondays, June 19 – August 21, 2017

One of the city’s most popular summer series, the HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival offers something for everyone. Parents will appreciate screenings of kid-friendly flicks such as The Muppets Take Manhattan; fans of the classics can geek out over North by Northwest and Sabrina, and proud New Yorkers are sure to enjoy this year’s showings of Wall Streetand King Kong.

A Summer Movie Under the Stars

Cinema, Park, Theater, Zoo
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Prospect Park Brooklyn NYC
Prospect Park Brooklyn NYC | © Randy Duchaine / Alamy Stock Photo
Wednesdays, July 9 – August 9, 2017

Brought to you by Prospect Park and Brooklyn’s favorite theater Nitehawk Cinema, A Summer Movie Under the Stars is the season’s best option for tot-toting movie fans. The festival’s family-friendly lineup was designed to highlight park themes, such as the Prospect Park Zoo, team sports, and more. Offering screenings of The Neverending Story, The Sandlot, Moonrise Kingdom, and more, this is one night out when you won’t need a sitter.

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