Even though movie theaters are back open, it’s summer and the outside world beckons. So the next time you’re looking for a date idea where you won’t have to spend the entire night talking about all the hobbies you didn’t pick up in 2020, try one of these spots showing outdoor movies all summer long. Most of them have regularly scheduled weekly programming, and plenty of food to eat while you watch.
Need more summer dining ideas? That’s kind of our thing.
Is it Thursday? Are you near the Navy Yard in Brooklyn? Have you only seen Superstar 12 times and need another hit? You should know about Rooftop Reds’ film series. Aside from growing their own grapes and producing surprisingly delicious grüner veltliner, this vineyard shows movies for $15 per person on Thursdays starting at 8:30pm. They recommend you get there a little closer to 7:45pm to get settled - seats aren’t assigned. While you wait, there’s a whole menu of wine and snacks to eat before (and during) the movie. Also worth checking out: Rooftop Reds is hosting restaurant pop-ups on Fridays through the end of September (including collaborations with spots like The Migrant Kitchen and Rosella).
The combination of curry crab rangoon, pork buns, rum cocktails, and outdoor movie Mondays at this Bed-Stuy Caribbean spot is exciting enough to plan your week around. They show different films on Monday nights from 8pm to 10pm (on a recent Monday, for example, you could stop by for Dr. Dolittle). Stay up to date with the latest screening at the top of their website.
The Standard Plaza
The Standard High Line hosts their “Pix On The Plaza” series from Sunday to Thursday every week, starting at 8pm. They’e showing everything from Madonna: Truth Or Dare to The Birdcage and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. In addition to free popcorn, you can order any of the food on the Standard Grill’s dinner menu. Plus, it’s totally free. Check out the schedule and reserve your spot here.
Some of these spots have a weekly showing or two, but Syndicated in Bushwick hosts free screenings on their sidewalk every single day at 9pm. (You can see the monthly schedule here) Seats are first come, first served and you should get there before 8pm if you want to secure a spot. Plus, their outdoor set-up is covered in case it rains.
This Pier 17 rooftop at the Seaport District only opened in 2020, offering a bunch of mini-lawns you can reserve for groups up to eight. Along with food and drinks from R17, and lawn games that can be reserved ahead of time, The Greens also have a 32-feet wide screen where you can watch movies like Moana and School Of Rock on Monday nights all summer long. Each screening starts at 8:30pm, and you can reserve your mini-lawn area for $5 (which is donated to The Greens’ charity of the month). Reservations open up a week before each movie date at 10am. Check the schedule here.
The name of this Gowanus spot alone should indicate to you that enjoyable things happen outdoors here. Along with serving a menu of cocktails and tacos, they host movie, trivia, and RuPaul’s Drag Race nights in their backyard a few times a week. In the past they’ve screened things like Black Panther, Oscar-nominated animated shorts, Edward Scissorhands, and a few horror flicks for Halloween like Shaun Of The Dead and the presidential debates. There’s no ticket charge for any of the events (although food and drink purchases are required), and you can fill out their contact request form here to make a reservation up to ten days before the event. They don’t accept any day-of reservations, but if you’re looking for something last-minute, know that they hold some tables for walk-ins.
Citizens Of Soho
After starting a successful Sunset Movie Club in summer 2020, the Soho location of this Australian cafe is bringing back the series on Lafayette Street. They haven’t announced the exact lineup yet, but in the past they’ve shown Australian films as well as classics like Ghostbusters and Space Jam, as well as Seinfeld and The Office TV marathons. Sign up here to get updated about their summer movie schedule as soon as it’s released.
Another option near the Bushwick and Ridgewood area is Nowadays. This massive outdoor spot has scheduled screenings of music-related films like a documentary about New York’s ballroom scene. Tickets are often free, and you can reserve your spot on Resy here. In addition to the outdoor movies, Nowadays has a truck serving Japanese izakaya food like edamame and gyoza, as well as a pork katsu sandwich and fries.
If you have a car, consider heading to this Greenpoint spot right on the East River. They host a couple of different outdoor movies every day (with screenings at 9pm and midnight) including family-friendly films like A Princess Bride and Hereditary (OK not family-friendly). Each ticket costs $55 and covers your entire car up to seven people, but you can also show up without a car and pay $22 for an individual seat. Reserve yours ahead of time here.
Bel Aire Diner
This American diner in Astoria has been around since 1965, and they host outdoor movies regularly in the summertime. This year, the lineup includes Jaws, and iconic rom coms like Pretty Woman and Sleepless In Seattle. But the best part about Bel Aire’s movie program is that you get to watch while eating something from the very long menu of comfort food and diner classics. Stay on top of what’s showing and ticket sale times on their Instagram and events page.