Free Outdoor Movies for NYC Kids This Summer

RiverFlicks for Kids, Bryant Park Film Festival, Movies With a View, Movies Under the Stars

Enjoying a FREE alfresco film is a rite of summer in New York City. Even if you go to see a flick you've watched a million times at home, it's a totally different experience viewing it in the open air alongside a couple hundred other fans. It ends up being a pretty thrilling communal event.

A few outdoor movie series, like RiverFlicks for Kids in the West Village, are aimed specifically at children. But even the grown-up ones like Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park's Syfy Movies with a View include a family-friendly screening or two.

Movies usually begin at dusk between 8-8:30pm but make sure you arrive early: The well-known series fill up fast. Plus sometimes there is cool, pre-movie entertainment. So pack a picnic, bring your blanket, sit back, relax and enjoy the show at one of these outdoor summer movie series in NYC. You can find even more seasonal activities, including FREE indoor film screenings, in our Summer Fun Guide.

Mondays

Bryant Park Summer Film Festival – Midtown West
Mondays, June 22-August 24
Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets
FREE
This series' lineup of Golden Age of Hollywood and new classic movies usually attracts serious cinephiles who very well may scoff if you bring your preschooler, especially since most films aren't appropriate for young kids. If you have a major movie lover, browse the entire schedule as there are some vintage flicks they might enjoy. Warning: This one gets seriously crowded! Arrive when the lawn opens at 5pm if you want to snag a decent spot. Best bets for families this year:

  • Ghostbusters on Monday, June 22
  • Footloose on Monday, July 27
  • Back to the Future on Monday, August 24

Coney Island Flicks on the Beach – Coney Island
Mondays, July 6-August 24
West 10th Street and the Boardwalk
FREE
End your fun-filled day at Coney Island with a free flick shown on a jumbo 40-foot screen by the ocean. Best bets for families:

  • The Goonies on Monday, July 20
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on Monday, July 27
  • Big Hero 6 on Monday, August 3
  • Mrs. Doubtfire on Monday, August 10
  • Guardians of the Galaxy on Monday, August 17

Movies on the Waterfront – Astoria
Mondays, July 27-August 24
Astoria Park Great Lawn on Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the Astoria Park Pool
FREE
Queens movie studio Kaufman Astoria sponsors this annual alfresco film series. All of this year's flicks are family-friendly:

  • The Princess Bride on Monday, July 27
  • Frozen on Monday, August 3
  • How to Train Your Dragon on Monday, August 10
  • Ghostbusters on Monday, August 17
  • The Incredibles on Monday, August 24

Movie Night in the Park – Randall's Island
Mondays, June 15, July 13 and August 17
FREE
Right off the 103rd Street pedestrian bridge near Field 84
The activity-packed Randall's Island hosts a once-a-month movie series with mostly family-friendly titles:

  • Jaws on Monday, June 15
  • Back to the Future II on Monday, July 13
  • Frozen on Monday, August 17

RCN Movie Nights – Kips Bay
Mondays, August 3-24
Waterside Plaza, East River between 25th and 29th Streets
FREE
This riverside high-rise apartment complex hosts four alfresco flicks in August. Seating is extremely limited so bring your own blankets or chairs.

  • How to Train Your Dragon on Monday, August 3
  • Pirates of the Caribbean on Monday, August 10
  • Finding Nemo on Monday, August 17
  • Dark Knight on Monday, August 24

Tuesdays

Summer Movie Night – Manhattan, Queens & Staten Island
Tuesdays, June 30-August 25
FREE
The New York Restoration Project hosts family screenings in several of its NYC community gardens, complete with complimentary popcorn.

Rooftop Films at Bronx Terminal Market – the Bronx
Tuesdays, June 30, July 14 and August 11
610 Exterior Street, Level 6, Garage Roofdeck
FREE
Held on the roof of the mall's parking deck, this series includes preshow activities starting at 7pm that tie into the movies being screened.

  • Home on Tuesday, June 30
  • The Lego Movie on Tuesday, July 14
  • Big Hero 6 on Tuesday, August 11

Red Hook Flicks – Red Hook
Tuesdays, July 7-August 25
Valentino Pier, Ferris Street between Coffey and Van Dyke Streets
FREE
Aimed at adults, Red Hook Flicks screens mature movies against a stunning backdrop: New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. It's worth browsing the full lineup but these flicks are all good for tweens and up:

  • Jurassic Park on Tuesday, July 7
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox on Tuesday, July 21
  • The Incredibles on Tuesday, August 18

Arts, Culture & Fun City Classics at the Tony Dapolito Rec Center – West Village
Tuesdays, July 7-August 25
Tony Dapolito Recreation Center Rooftop, 1 Clarkson Street at Varick Street
FREE
Hit the rooftop of this rec center for a variety of flicks. Most are PG and good for tweens and up. Best bets for families:

  • Ghostbusters on Tuesday, July 21
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan on Tuesday, July 28
  • Grease on Tuesday, August 11
     

Sunset Film Festival – Upper East Side
Tuesdays, July 28 and Tuesday, August 11
Basketball/hockey courts in Carl Schurz Park
FREE
The gorgeous green space hosts its third annual film fest! Bring a chair or blanket and arrive early for complimentary popcorn.

  • Frozen on Tuesday, July 28 with free Sno Cones!
  • Adam's Rib on Tuesday, August 11 - classic Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn screwball comedy
     

Wednesdays

Summer on the Hudson Picture Show – Upper West Side
Wednesdays, July 1-August 12
Pier I in Riverside Park South, 70th Street at the Hudson River
FREE
Formerly known as Movies Under the Stars, this renamed series right on the river has an eclectic lineup this year, only a few of which are good for families:

  • Jurassic Park on Wednesday, July 1
  • Edward Scissorhands on Wednesday, July 8
  • Dr. Seuss' The Lorax on Wednesday, August 12

SummerScreen Williamsburg
Wednesday, July 8-August 12
McCarren Park, Bedford Avenue and North 12th Street
FREE
Spend the day in the activity-filled McCarren Park and then catch screenings at night. The lineup this year skews tweens and up but best bets for families include:

  • Clueless on Tuesday, July 8
  • Dirty Dancing on Tuesday, July 22
  • Jurassic Park on Tuesday, August 5

RiverFlicks for Grown-Ups – Chelsea
Pier 63 near 23rd Street and the Hudson River
Wednesdays, July 8-August 19
FREE
Although Hudson River Park screens family movies on Friday evenings, its grown-up film series has one tween-friendly title: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 on Wednesday, August 5.

A Summer Movie Under the Stars – Park Slope
Long Meadow North in Prospect Park
Wednesdays, July 22-August 12
FREE
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and the Prospect Park Alliance have partnered up for this new, no-cost family movie series. Most titles are rated PG (with one PG-13), and there will be live entertainment beginning at 7pm before the films start at dusk.

  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on Wednesday, July 22
  • Where the Wild Things Are on Wednesday, July 29
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 on Wednesday, August 5
  • Happy Feet on Wednesday, August 12

The Shops at Atlas Park Outdoor Movies on the Green – Glendale
Wednesdays, July 1-August 26
8000 Cooper Avenue
FREE
The Queens mall hosts live music by local artists on its lawn followed by screenings of family favorites. All of the films are family-friendly:

  • The Wizard of Oz on Wednesday, July 1
  • The Lego Movie on Wednesday, July 8
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 on Wednesday, July 15
  • Frozen on Wednesday, July 22
  • Back to the Future on Wednesday, July 29
  • Monsters, Inc. on Wednesday, August 5
  • Finding Nemo on Wednesday, August 12
  • Toy Story 2 on Wednesday, August 19
  • Brave on Wednesday, August 26

Thursdays

Syfy Movies with a View – Brooklyn Heights
Thursdays, July 9-August 27
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, Harbor View Lawn
FREE
Not only do you get a movie and a view, you also get complimentary pre-show entertainment like live DJs and shorts. This year's lineup is not particularly family-friendly (unless your kid's got an ironic sense of humor and wants to watch Sharknado 2 on the big screen), but the board game-inspired Clue on Thursday, July 30 could be fun with tweens.

Intrepid Summer Movie Series – Midtown West
Thursdays, July 9-August 6
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, 46th Street and Twelfth Avenue
FREE
The giant ship screens sea, air and space-themed blockbusters on its flight deck. New this year: all flicks are being introduced by special guests who work in STEM fields. Best bets for families include:

  • October Sky on Thursday, July 9
  • Close Encounters of the Third Kind on Thursday, July 23
  • Apollo 13 on Thursday, July 30
  • Wall-E on Thursday, August 13

Skyline Cinema – Long Island City
Thursdays, June 25, July 23, and August 20; Friday, August 7
The Oval at Hunters Point South Park, 50th Avenue and Center Boulevard
FREE
Enjoy old and new classic flicks in the gorgeous, waterfront Hunters Point South Park. The best bets for families are:

  • King Kong from 1933 on Thursday, June 25
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on Friday, August 7

Summer in the Square – Union Square
Thursdays, August 6 and 13
Union Square Park, North Plaza at 17th Street and Union Square East
FREE
For the first time, Union Square is adding evening movie screenings to its roster of no-cost family fun on summer Thursdays. Bring your own blankets or chairs, and seating begins at 6:30pm so arrive early to snag a good spot.

  • Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory from 1971 on Thursday, August 6
  • The Wizard of Oz on Thursday, August 13

Free Summer Movies in East River State Park – Williamsburg
Thursdays, August 6-September 3
East River State Park, Kent Avenue and North 8th Street
FREE
The lineup is family-friendly though all titles are PG:

  • Hook on Thursday, August 6
  • Back to the Future on Thursday, August 13
  • Indiana Jones & Temple of Doom on Thursday, August 20
  • Spy Kids 4 on Thursday, August 27
  • The Lego Movie on Thursday, September 3

 

Fridays

RiverFlicks for Kids – West Village
Fridays, July 10-August 21
Pier 46 in Hudson River Park, Charles and West Streets

FREE
As always, this kid-centric series has a fantastic lineup featuring many of last year's big family hits plus a few new classics, all rated PG. I've been many times and you really need to arrive early, by 7pm or so, to stake out a good spot, since the screen isn't that big. It's a lovely place for a picnic (bring your own food or hit the vendors) and there's usually a nice breeze off the water. Plus there's FREE popcorn while supplies last.

  • SpongeBob: Sponge Out of Water on Friday, July 10
  • The BoxTrolls on Friday, July 17
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure on Friday, July 24
  • Annie (2014 reboot) on Friday, July 31
  • Jumanji on Friday, August 7
  • Paddington on Friday, August 14
  • Hook on Friday, August 21
     

SummerStarz Movies – Greenpoint
Fridays, July 10-August 28 (except for July 24 and 31)
Transmitter Park, the East River between Kent Street and Greenpoint Avenue
FREE
Community organization Town Square Inc hosts this family film fest:

  • Night at the Museum 3 on Friday, July 10
  • Big Hero 6 on Friday, July 17
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2 on Friday, August 7
  • Frozen on Friday, August 14
  • The Sound of Music on Friday, August 21
  • Guardians of the Galaxy on Friday, August 28

Narrows Botanical Gardens Movie Nights – Bay Ridge
Fridays, June 26, July 17, 31 and August 14
Shore Road between 69th and 72nd Street
FREE
Didn't know that Brooklyn had another botanical garden, did you? This small green space hosts a quartet of free family flicks:

  • Uncle Buck on Friday, June 26
  • Big Hero 6 on Friday, July 17
  • Mars Attacks! on Friday, July 31
  • Viewers' Choice (but all three are classic, kid-friendly comedies) on Friday, August 14

Arts, Culture & Fun City Classics: Lost Battalion Hall Rec Center – Rego Park
Fridays, July 17, 24 and 31
Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center, 93-29 Queens Boulevard between 62nd Avenue and 62nd Drive
FREE
Enjoy recreational activities with the Parks Department and then settle in for family-friendly flicks on the lawn.

  • Ghostbusters on Friday, July 17
  • Back to the Future on Friday, July 24
  • The Karate Kid from 1984 on Friday, July 31

Saturdays

Outdoor Summer Movie Series – Roosevelt Island
Saturdays, June 27, July 11, 25, August 8 and 22, and one Friday, August 7.
Firefighters Field on Roosevelt Island
FREE
Enjoy a daycation on the lovely isle and then end your visit with a free family flick by the water. Although the last three films are all steamy classics, the first three are kid-friendly:

  • Singin' in the Rain on Saturday, June 27
  • Mary Poppins on Saturday, July 11
  • The Wiz on Saturday, July 25

Sundays

Movies Under the Stars at Habana Outpost – Fort Greene
Sundays, May 3-October 25
757 Fulton Street between Oxford Street and Portland Avenue
FREE
The popular eco-eatery regularly hosts free community activities in its garden like this Sunday night movie series, which lasts well into the fall. The eclectic lineup skews adult, but tweens and teens should enjoy:

  • Top Gun on Sunday, July 5
  • Grease on Sunday, August 16
  • Footloose on Sunday, August 23
  • The Goonies on Sunday, September 6
  • Teen Wolf on Sunday, September 13
  • Little Shop of Horrors on Sunday, October 4

Other Series

Central Park Conservancy Film Festival – Upper West Side
Thursday, August 25-Monday, August 29
The area between Sheep Meadow and the 72nd Street Cross Drive
FREE
All of the films in this five-day series were released in 1980, the year the Conservancy was born. The lineup is aimed at grown-ups though. This is a very popular event so you need to arrive when the gates open at 6:30pm in order to get a good spot. Only two flicks are somewhat kid-friendly:

  • Airplane! on Thursday, August 27
  • Superman II on Saturday, August 29

There are also one-off screenings in various city parks throughout the summer, so it's worth browsing the Parks Department's calendar, which lists all of them. NYCGo also has a great list of summer movie series, including ones that are only for adults.
 

For more seasonal happenings, check out our Summer Fun Guide.