Free Outdoor Movies for NYC Kids This Summer: Hundreds of Them!

Where to See Outdoor Family Movies in New York City Parks? RiverFlicks, Bryant Park, Movies Under the Stars

New York City will screen hundreds of FREE outdoor movies this summer, many of them just for kids and families. The popular Movies Under the Stars series, which debuted with screenings in parks and at playgrounds in all five boroughs last year, returns along with many of our favorite annual series. 

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 in 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. Sometimes there is even pre-movie entertainment.

So grab your calendars and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. Find more seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

Even if you see a flick you've watched a dozen or so times at home, it's of course, 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 New Yorkers of all ages. Pack a picnic, bring your blanket, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show at one of these outdoor summer movie series in NYC.

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

Mondays

Bryant Park Summer Film Festival – Midtown West
Mondays, June 19-August 21
Sixth Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets
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. If you can't stay for the main show, come early to picnic on the grass—the Hester Street Fair sells a curated selection of eats on the Terrace—and watch the pre-movie show: classic Warner Brother's cartoons. Arrive before the lawn opens at 5pm if you want to snag a decent spot.

Movies on the Waterfront – Astoria, Queens
Mondays, July 24-August 21
Astoria Park Great Lawn on Shore Boulevard between Hell Gate Bridge and the Astoria Park Pool
Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens sponsors this annual alfresco series, which usually offers plenty of family-friendly picks.

RCN Movie Nights – Kips Bay
Mondays, August 7-28
Waterside Plaza, East River between 25th and 29th Streets
This riverside high-rise apartment complex hosts four outdoor flicks in August. Seating is limited so bring your own blankets or chairs. The 2017 titles have not been released yet.

RELATED: Amusement & Water Parks Guide for NYC Families

Tuesdays


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

Intrepid Summer Movie Series – Midtown West
Tuesdays July 11, 18, 25, August 1, 8; Friday, May 26
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Pier 86, 46th Street and Twelfth Avenue
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.

  • Top Gun, Friday, May 26
  • Good Morning, Vietnam, Tuesday, July 11
  • Anchorman, Tuesday, July 18
  • Cocktail, Tuesday, July 25
  • The Martian, Tuesday, August 1
  • Fan vote, Tuesday, August 8

Rooftop Films at Bronx Terminal Market – the Bronx
Tuesdays, June 13, July 11, and August 15
610 Exterior Street, Level 6, Garage Roof deck
Held on the roof of the mall's parking deck, this series includes pre-show activities starting at 7pm that relate to the movies.

  • Secret Life of Pets, June 13
  • Moana, July 11
  • Zootopia, August 15

Sunset Film Festival – Upper East Side
Tuesdays, July 25 and August 8
Basketball/hockey courts in Carl Schurz Park
The gorgeous green space hosts its fifth-annual film fest. Bring a chair or blanket and arrive early for complimentary popcorn.

  • Moana, July 25
  • Erin Brockovich, August 8

Wednesdays

Summer on the Hudson: Pier I Picture Show – Upper West Side
Wednesdays, July 5-August 16
Pier I in Riverside Park South, 70th Street at the Hudson River
This series, right on the river, has several family-friendly titles in 2017 (Hello, Muppets!), but you can always make time for an evening date night or bring your teen along for some of the more sophisticated titles:

  • Blazing Saddles, July 5
  • Dr. Strangelove, July 12
  • What’s Up Doc, July 19
  • The Truman Show, July 26
  • The Muppets Movie, August 2
  • The Big Lebowski, August 9
  • Beetlejuice, August 16

SummerScreen Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Wednesdays, July 5-August 9
McCarren Park, Bedford Avenue and North 12th Street
Spend the day in activity-filled McCarren Park and then catch screenings at night. The lineup skews tweens and up:

  • Mean Girls, July 5
  • Office Space, July 12
  • Donnie Darko, July 19
  • Selena, July 26
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer, August 2
  • Audience pick, August 9

Hudson Riverflicks, Big Hit Wednesdays – Chelsea
Pier 63 near 23rd Street and the Hudson River
Wednesdays, July 5-August 16
Although Hudson River Park screens family movies on Friday evenings, its grown-up film series has one kid-friendly pick and a few tween-and-teen-friendly titles:

  • Moonlight, July 5
  • Keanu, July 12
  • Arrival, July 19
  • Lego Batman Movie, July 26
  • Hidden Figures, August 2
  • La La Land, August 9
  • Logan, August 16

Thursdays

Movies with a View – Brooklyn Heights
Thursdays, July 6-August 24
Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 1, Harbor View Lawn
The 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.

  • Office Space, July 6
  • Pariah, July 13
  • Casablanca, July 20
  • The Lego Movie, July 27
  • 9 to 5, August 3
  • 42, August 10
  • Mad Max: Fury Road, August 17
  • Fan's choice, August 24

Hudson River-Flicks: Sing-Along Special – Hell's Kitchen
Thursdays, July 13 and August 10
Clinton Cove, West 55th Street in Hudson River Park
As if we didn't love the folks in Hudson River Park enough for bringing us Big Hit Wednesdays and RiverFlicks for Kids, organizers have added a pair of special sing-alongs for cinephiles who like to belt out a tune:

  • Chicago, July 13
  • Mama Mia, August 10

Citi Summer in the Square – Union Square
Thursdays, August 3 and 10
Union Square Park, North Plaza at 17th Street and Union Square East
Union Square will again host a pair of movies as part of its Citi Summer in the Square series. Seating begins at 6:30pm; movies start at dusk, but bring your own blankets or chairs and arrive early to snag a good spot.

  • The Karate Kid, Thursday, August 3
  • Back to the Future, Thursday, August 10

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

Fridays


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.

Narrows Botanical Gardens Movie Nights – Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
Fridays, June 23, July 7, 28, August 25, and September 8
Shore Road between 69th and 72nd Streets
Didn't know that Brooklyn had another botanical garden, did you? This small green space hosts five free flicks, mostly good for families.

  • Fantasia, June 23
  • Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, July 7
  • Buddy, July 28
  • Bee Movie, August 25
  • Planet of the Apes (1968), September 8

Skyline Cinema – Long Island City, Queens
Fridays, June 23, August 4, August 18, September 15 and Thursday, July 13
The Oval at Hunters Point South Park, 50th Avenue and Center Boulevard
Enjoy old and new classic flicks in the gorgeous, waterfront Hunters Point South Park.

  • Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, June 23
  • A Space Odyssey, July 13
  • The Graduate, August 4
  • Finding Dory, August 18
  • Community choice, September 15

RiverFlicks for Kids – West Village
Fridays, July 7-August 18
Pier 46 in Hudson River Park, Charles and West Streets
This kid-centric series has a fantastic lineup featuring many of last year's big family hits plus a few new classics. 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.

  • The Secret Life of Pets, July 7
  • Trolls, July 14
  • Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971), July 21
  • Kubo and the Two Strings, July 28
  • Sing, August 4
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, August 11
  • The Karate Kid (1984), August 18

Outdoor Summer Movie Series – Roosevelt Island
Fridays, June 23, July 7, 21, & August 4, 18; Saturday, July 22
Firefighters Field on Roosevelt Island
Enjoy a daycation on the lovely isle and end your visit with a FREE family movie by the water. Movie titles are still TBD.

Sundays

Movie Night on Randall's Island – Randall's Island
Sundays, May 28; June 11, 25; July 9, 23; August 6, 20, and September 24
FREE
Right off the 103rd Street pedestrian bridge near Field 84
The activity-packed Randall's Island offers this series with family-friendly titles.

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, May 28
  • Aladdin, June 11
  • Zootopia, June 25
  • Sister Act, July 9
  • Race, July 23
  • A League of Their Own, August 6
  • Motorcycle Diaries (Spanish with English subtitles), August 20
  • Malcolm X, September 24

Movies Under the Stars at Habana Outpost – Fort Greene, Brooklyn 
Sundays, May 7-October 29
757 Fulton Street between Oxford Street and Portland Avenue
The popular outdoor 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 might enjoy:

  • Singing in the Rain, June 25
  • Jailhouse Rock, July 16
  • Mary Poppins, September 3
  • Super Man II, October 22
  • The Addams Family, October 29

Multiple Days

Dinner and a Movie on Oculus Plaza – Financial District
Fridays and Saturdays, June 2-October 7
Oculus at Westfield WTC, Church Street at Dey Street
This series, new in 2017, is presented by the organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival and presents a curated selection of classics old and new. Movies are screened outside the striking Oculus and food and beverages will be available for purchase. "Doors" open at 5pm and some evenings feature a special pre-show performance:

  • Rent, Friday, June 2
  • Annie, Saturday, June 3
  • Serendipity, Friday, July 7
  • Night at the Museum, Saturday, July 8
  • West Side Story, Friday, August 4
  • Ghostbusters (2016), Saturday, August 6
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's, Friday, September 1
  • Enchanted, Saturday, September 2
  • Annie Hall, Friday, October 6
  • Spider Man (2002), Saturday, October 7

Movies Under the Stars – Citywide
This popular program debuted in 2016 and returns with a slew of new showings in parks in all five boroughs. Visit our event calendar for more dates and locations. Here are some of the flicks we're most excited to see in the first half of the summer. We'll let you know about those later July and August dates as soon as they're out.

Summer Movie Nights – Various locations
The New York Restoration Project hosts family screenings in several NYC community gardens, complete with complimentary popcorn.

  • Back to the Future, at the Rodger Morris Park in Washington Heights, Thursday, June 15
  • The Little Mermaid, at Sherman Creek Park, in Inwood, Tuesday, July 11
  • The Iron Giant, at the Jane Bailey Memorial Garden, in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Tuesday, July 18
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, at 103rd Street Community Garden, in East Harlem, Tuesday, July 25
  • Moana, at Sherman Creek Park, in Inwood, Tuesday, August 8
  • Ghostbusters, at the Rodger Morris Park in Washington Heights, Thursday, August 10
  • Finding Dory, at the Jane Bailey Memorial Garden in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, Tuesday, August 15
  • Zootopia, at the 103rd Street Community Garden, in East Harlem, Tuesday, August 22
  • The Goonies, at the Rodger Morris Park in Washington Heights, Thursday, August 24
  • The Incredibles, at the Bathgate Community Garden, Tremont, the Bronx, Tuesday, August 29
  • Sing, at the Bathgate Community Garden, Tremont, the Bronx, Tuesday, September 5

Week of May 21

Week of May 28

Week of June 4

Week of June 11

Week of June 18

Week of June 25

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

This article first published in May 2010, but is updated annually.

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