Free Outdoor Movies for NYC Kids This Summer

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

New York City will screen hundreds of FREE outdoor movies this summer, many of them just for kids. The city has greatly expanded its offerings for the summer of 2016; its "Movies Under the Stars" series will show more 300 films in 2016 on top of the many other popular annual series hosted by various associations, park groups and their corporate sponsors that we look forward to every summer.

A few outdoor movie series, such as RiverFlicks for Kids in the West Village, are aimed specifically at children. But even grown-up series, such as those at Bryant Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park, include a family-friendly screening or two. Movies usually begin between 8 and 8:30pm, but plan to arrive early: The well-known series fill up fast (expect lines at Bryant Park). Sometimes there is even pre-movie entertainment.

Even if you see a flick you've watched a dozen or so times at home, it's a totally different experience viewing it in the open air alongside several hundred other fans. It's a thrilling, communal event and a summer rite of passage for NYC kids and grown-ups. So pack a picnic, bring your blanket, sit back, relax and enjoy the show at one of these outdoor summer movie series in NYC.

Find more seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

We're still waiting on the movie schedules from Red Hook Flicks, Union Square and Coney Island's Flicks on the Beach, but we'll update this piece as the latecomers trickle in over June.

Mondays

Bryant Park Summer Film Festival – Midtown West
Mondays, June 20-August 22
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 may scoff if you bring your preschooler, especially since most films aren't appropriate for young kids and it gets crowded. Still this is an iconic spot to see a flick and it has several kid-friendly offerings in 2016. Arrive before the lawn opens at 5pm if you want to snag a decent spot:

  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, June 20
  • East of Eden, June 27
  • Top Gun, July 4
  • The Palm Beach Story, July 11
  • The Omen, July 18
  • Three Days of the Condor, July 25
  • Harvey, August 1
  • High Plains Drifter, August 8
  • The Big Chill, August 15
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, August 22

Movies on the Waterfront – Astoria, Queens
Mondays, July 25-August 22
Astoria Park Great Lawn on Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the Astoria Park Pool
FREE
Kaufman Astoria movie studios in Queens sponsors this annual alfresco series. All of this year's flicks are family-friendly:

  • Big Hero 6, July 25
  • Mary Poppins, August 1
  • Minions, August 8
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off, August 15 (30th anniversary of this classic!)
  • Jaws, August 22

RCN Movie Nights – Kips Bay
Mondays, August 1-22
Waterside Plaza, East River between 25th and 29th Streets
FREE
This riverside high-rise apartment complex hosts four outdoor licks in August. Seating is limited so bring your own blankets or chairs. Visit on August 15 to meet some of the FDNY's bravest and climb aboard a fire truck before enjoying a movie. Film titles have not yet been released.

RELATED: 24 NYC Festivals and Fairs for Families in June

Tuesdays


Fill up on popcorn at one of the hyper-local movies put on by the New York Restoration Project around some of the city's smaller parks. Photo by Anna Yatsekevich/courtesy of the organization.

Summer Movie Night – Manhattan, Queens & Staten Island
Tuesdays, July 5-August 30
FREE
The New York Restoration Project hosts family screenings in several NYC community gardens, complete with complimentary popcorn.

  • Ghostbusters II at Curtis "50 Cent" Community Garden in Jamaica, Queens, July 5
  • Inside Out at Sherman Creek Park in Washington Heights, July 12
  • The Book of Life at the Bathgate Community Garden in Tremont, the Bronx , July 19
  • Sleeping Beauty at the 103rd Street Community Garden in East Harlem, July 26
  • Kung Fu Panda 3 at Baisley Pond Park in South Jamaica, Queens, August 2
  • Fly Away Home at Sherman Creek Park in Washington Heights, August 9
  • The Land Before Time at the Bathgate Community Garden in Tremont, the Bronx, August 16
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West at the Westervelt Family and Community Garden in St George, Staten Island, August 23
  • The Incredibles at the 103rd Street Community Garden in East Harlem, August 30

Rooftop Films at Bronx Terminal Market – the Bronx
Tuesdays, June 14, July 26 and August 9
610 Exterior Street, Level 6, Garage Roof deck
FREE
Held on the roof of the mall's parking deck, this series includes pre-show activities starting at 7pm that relate to the selected movies.

  • Star Wars, June 14
  • Minions, July 26
  • Inside Out, August 9

Sunset Film Festival – Upper East Side
Tuesdays, July 26 and August 9
Basketball/hockey courts in Carl Schurz Park
FREE
The gorgeous green space hosts its fourth annual film fest. Bring a chair or blanket and arrive early for complimentary popcorn.

  • Inside Out, July 26
  • Ocean's 11, August 9

RELATED: Take the Subway To These NYC Beaches: Coney, Rockaway and More

Wednesdays


The Classic Film Series at the Target Community Garden in Bed-Stuy is a cozy affair. Photo by Anna Yatsekevich/courtesy of the New York Restoration Project.

Classic Film Series – Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
Wednesdays August 10-31
NYRP Gardens throughout Bedford-Stuyvesant
FREE
In addition to the Summer Movie Night series, the New York Restoration Project hosts a Classic Film Series in Brooklyn, with old-school flicks honoring Kirk Douglas and Sidney Poitier. These titles are best for older kids, tweens and teens who are serious cinephiles.

  • The Strange Love of Martha Ivers at the Target Community Garden, 931 Bedford Avenue,  August 10
  • Young Man with a Horn at the Target Community Garden, 931 Bedford Avenue, August 17
  • Buck and the Preacher at the Jane Bailey Memorial Garden, 327 Greene Avenue, August 24
  • Paris Blues at the Jane Bailey Memorial Garden, 327 Greene Avenue, August 31

Summer on the Hudson: Pier I Picture Show – Upper West Side
Wednesdays, July 6-August 17
Pier I in Riverside Park South, 70th Street at the Hudson River
FREE
This series, right on the river, has an Audacious New York! theme in 2016 and most titles aren't family friendly, but they could work for a teen, or hey, date night! The complete schedule includes:

  • The Walk, July 6
  • Basquiat, July 13
  • Arthur, July 20
  • Dog Day Afternooon, July 27
  • The Royal Tenenbaums, August 3
  • Audience choice: Mary and Max vs. Carol vs. The Warriors, August 10
  • Aunte Mame, August 17

SummerScreen Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Wednesdays, July 6-August 10
McCarren Park, Bedford Avenue and North 12th Street
FREE
Spend the day in activity-filled McCarren Park and then catch screenings at night. The lineup skews tweens and up:

  • Scream, July 6
  • Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, July 13
  • The Fast and the Furious, July 20
  • 10 Things I Hate About You, July 27
  • The Royal Tenenbaums, August 3
  • Audience pick, August 10

Hudson Riverflicks, Big Hit Wednesdays – Chelsea
Pier 63 near 23rd Street and the Hudson River
Wednesdays, July 13-August 17
FREE
Although Hudson River Park screens family movies on Friday evenings, its grown-up film series has a few tween-and-teen-friendly titles:

  • Jurassic World, July 13
  • Creed, August 3
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, August 10
  • The Martian, August 17

A Summer Movie Under the Stars – Park Slope, Brooklyn
Long Meadow North in Prospect Park
Wednesdays, July 20-August 10
FREE
The theme of this year's family series is Captain America. Exact titles were still TBD as of late May.

Thursdays

Movies with a View – Brooklyn Heights
Thursdays, July 7-August 25
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, Harbor View Lawn
FREE
This popular Brooklyn Bridge Park series has been a mainstay since 2000 and each flick draws an average of 7,000 fans. Bonus points: Not only do you get a movie, you also get a killer view of lower Manhattan and a cool breeze off the East River.

  • Singin' In The Rain, July 7
  • Harold And Kumar Go To White Castle, July 14
  • Purple Rain, July 21
  • It Happened One Night, July 28
  • American Graffiti, August 4
  • Selma, August 11
  • A League Of Their Own, August 18
  • Public Vote, August 25

RELATED: Best Water Theme Parks Near NYC for Families


The appropriately named Skyline Cinema at Hunters Point Park in Queens will show a number of family movies. Photo courtesy of Hunters Point Parks Conservancy.

Skyline Cinema – Long Island City, Queens
Thursdays, June 16, July 14, August 11 & 25, September 15
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:

  • Splash, June 16
  • Spider-Man, July 14
  • August Rush, August 11
  • Zootopia, August 25
  • Ghost, September 15

Fridays

RiverFlicks for Kids – West Village
Fridays, July 8-August 19
Pier 46 in Hudson River Park, Charles and West Streets
FREE
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. Arrive early, by 7pm or so, to stake out a good spot, because 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.

  • Minions, July 8
  • The Peanuts Movie, July 15
  • Shaun The Sheep, July 22
  • Kung Fu Panda 3, July 29
  • Penguins of Madagascar, August 5
  • Goosebumps, August 12
  • The Princess Bride, August 19

Narrows Botanical Gardens Movie Nights – Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Fridays, June 24, July 8, 29, August 26 and September 9
Shore Road between 69th and 72nd Streets
FREE
Didn't know that Brooklyn had another botanical garden, did you? This small green space hosts a quartet of free family flicks:

  • Night at the Museum, June 24
  • Grease, July 8
  • Rear Window, July 29
  • Despicable Me, August 26
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, September 9

Movies Across from Golden Pond – Bayside, Queens
Fridays, June 10, July 29 and August 5 & 12
Crocheron Park, 35th Avenue and Cross Island Parkway
FREE
This series begins with pre-show crafts and kids activities at 7. Movies begin at sunset:

  • Inside Out, June 10
  • Jurassic World, July 29
  • Minions, August 5
  • The Avengers, August 12

Sundays

Movie Night on Randall's Island – Randall's Island
Sundays, June 12  & 26, July 10 & 31, August 14 &  28
FREE
Right off the 103rd Street pedestrian bridge near Field 84
Activity-packed Randall's Island offers this series with family-friendly titles:

  • Jurassic World, June 12
  • Remember the Titans, June 26
  • Selena (in Spanish with English subtitles), July 10
  • The Goonies, July 31
  • The Good Dinosaur, August 14
  • Inside Out, August 28

Movies Under the Stars at Habana Outpost – Fort Greene, Brooklyn 
Sundays, July 3-October 23
757 Fulton Street between Oxford Street and Portland Avenue
FREE
The popular eco-eatery hosts free community activities in its picnic-table stocked garden, including this Sunday night movie series, which lasts into the fall. The eclectic lineup skews adult, but tweens and teens should enjoy:

  • Rocky, July 3
  • Weird Science, July 10
  • Jaws 2, July 31
  • Viva Las Vegas, August 14
  • The Last Dragon, August 21
  • The Karate Kid, September 4
  • Three Amigos, September 11
  • Ghostbusters, October 23

Multiple Days


The sun sets at the Intrepid Summer Movie Series. Photo courtesy of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum.

Intrepid Summer Movie Series – Midtown West
Thursdays, July 9, 14 & 21; Fridays, May 27, July 29 & August 5
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, Pier 86, 46th Street and Twelfth Avenue
FREE
The giant ship screens sea, air and space-themed blockbusters on its flight deck. All flicks are introduced by special guests who work in STEM fields. Best bets for families include:

  • Top Gun, Friday, May 27
  • Star Trek (2009), Thursday, July 7
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Thursday, July 14
  • Galaxy Quest, Thursday, July 21
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Friday, July 29
  • Big Hero 6, Friday, August 5

Outdoor Summer Movie Series – Roosevelt Island
Fridays, June 24 and August 5, Saturdays, July 9, 22 and August 6
Firefighters Field on Roosevelt Island
FREE
Enjoy a daycation on the lovely isle and end your visit with a free family movie by the water:

  • Star Wars the Force Awakens, Friday, June 24
  • Labyrinth, Saturday, July 9
  • Inside Out, Saturday, July 22
  • Title TBD, Friday, August 5
  • Title TBD, Saturday, August 6

Movie Nights in the Rockaways – Rockaway Beach, Queens
Various dates & locations
FREE
The Parks Department hosts a trio of summer movies in and around Rockaway Beach. Free popcorn is provided, but bring your own chair or blanket:

  • GreaseThursday, July 7 at Beach 94th Street off Shorefront Parkway
  • The GooniesSaturday, July 9 at Beach Channel Park
  • Zootopia Saturday, August 13 at Broad Channel Park

FMCP Movie Night – Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens
FREE
Various dates & locations
Head to Queens' popular green space for this series of family-friendly films, held throughout the park:

  • Tomorrowland,  Wednesday, July 20 at the Unisphere
  • The Good Dinosaur, Sunday, July 31, Albert H. Mauro Playground
  • Jurassic World,  Wednesday, August 3 at the Unisphere
  • Norm of the North, Tuesday, August 23 at 111th Street parking lot

Movies Under the Stars – Citywide
In early May, the city announced a major expansion of this program, which will bring more than 300 movie screenings to parks in all five boroughs, many of which never have hosted an alfresco movie before. Visit our event calendar for more dates and locations. Here are some of the flicks we're most excited to see:

Week of May 22

Week of May 29

Week of June 5

Week of June 12

Week of July 24

Week of July 31

Week of August 7

  • MinionsMonday, August 8 at Highland Park

Week of August 14

  • Finding NemoMonday, August 15 at the Buddy Monument in Forest Park

Week of August 21

  • The Good DinosaurMonday, August 22 at the George Seuffert Bandshell in Forest Park

Week of August 28

Browse the Parks Department's calendar for all its summer screenings, including some that skew more adult than those we've listed.

This story, originally published in May 2010, is updated annually.

Top image: Movie Night on Randall's Island. Photo courtesy of the Randall’s Island Park Alliance.