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 in 2016, 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 when evening falls, between 8 and 8:30pm, but plan to arrive early... the well-known series fill up fast, and many parks offer pre-movie entertainment.

Even if your local park is screening 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 New Yorkers of all ages.

So grab your calendars and start plotting your FREE summer of entertainment now. And be sure to check out the other amazing seasonal activities in our Summer Fun Guide.

NOTE: We'll be updating this page all summer long as series and single FREE movies are announced, so bookmark and visit often!

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 even jump directly to your favorite borough:

MANHATTAN   |  BROOKLYN   |  QUEENS  |  THE BRONX  |  STATEN ISLAND  |  THE ISLANDS

Manhattan

Movies Under the Stars – Various Parks

Pack a picnic, blanket, and/or chair, and head to a local park. Through Movies Under the Stars, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Parks bring more than 150 film screenings to parks throughout the five boroughs.

  • Wonder (PG), Wednesday, May 23 -- Happy Warrior Playground, Upper West Side
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming (PG-13), Saturday, May 26 -- Sol Bloom Playground, Upper West Side
  • Ghost in the Shell (PG-13), Wednesday, May 30 -- Seward Park, Lower East Side
  • Coco (PG), Thursday, May 31 -- St. Vartan Park, Murray Hill
  • Black Panther (PG-13), Friday, June 1 -- Marcus Garvey Park, East Harlem
  • Deep (PG), Saturday, June 2 -- Sam Seabury Playground, Upper East Side
  • The Greatest Showman (PG), Saturday, June 2 -- Washington Market Park, Tribeca
  • Boss Baby (PG), Wednesday, June 6 -- De Witt Clinton Park, Midtown West
  • Wonder Woman (PG-13), Saturday, June 9 -- John Jay Park, Upper East Side
  • Black Panther (PG-13), Tuesday, June 12 -- Samuel N. Bennerson 2nd Playground, Lincoln Center
  • Despicable Me 3 (PG), Wednesday, June 13 -- St. Catherine's Park, Upper East Side
  • The Greatest Showman (PG), Saturday, June 16 -- Little Flower Playground, Lower East Side
  • The Greatest Showman (PG), Wednesday, June 27 -- J. Hood Wright Park, Washington Heights
  • Captain Underpants (PG), Thursday, June 28 -- Chelsea Park, Chelsea
  • Wonder Woman (PG-13), Saturday, June 30 - Fort Tryon Park, Inwood

Bryant Park Summer Film Festival – Midtown West
Mondays, June 18-August 20
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.

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

Sunset Film Festival – Upper East Side
Tuesday, July 31 and Wednesday, August 8
Basketball/hockey courts in Carl Schurz Park
The gorgeous green space hosts its sixth-annual film fest, with free cookies provided by Insomnia Cookies. Bring a chair or blanket and arrive early for complimentary popcorn.

  • Paddington 2, July 31
  • Night at the Museum, August 8

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 a couple of tween-and-teen-friendly titles:

  • Get Out (R), Wednesday, July 11
  • The Big Sick (R), Wednesday, July 18
  • Jumanji (2018) (PG-13), Wednesday, July 25
  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (R), Wednesday, August 1
  • Wonder Woman (PG-13), Wednesday, August 8
  • Lady Bird (R), Wednesday, August 15
  • Blade Runner 2048 (R), Wednesday, August 22

Summer on the Hudson: Pier I Picture Show – Upper West Side
Wednesdays, July 11-August 22
Pier I in Riverside Park South, 70th Street at the Hudson River
This series, right on the river, has several family-friendly titles in 2018 (Hello, Coco and Toy Story 3!), but you can always make time for an evening date night or bring your teen along for some of the more sophisticated titles:

  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit (PG), July 11
  • Sita Sings the Blues, July 18
  • Toy Story 3 (G), July 25
  • Coco (PG), August 1
  • Summer Wars (PG), August 8
  • WALL-E (G), August 15
  • Up (PG), August 22

Hudson River-Flicks: Sing-Along Special – Hell's Kitchen
Thursdays, July 26 and August 23
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 (PG-13), July 26
  • Frozen (PG), August 23

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 again hosts 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

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.

  • Moana, July 13
  • Wonder, July 20
  • Jumanji (1995), July 27
  • Paddington 2, August 3
  • Spice World, August 10
  • Karate Kid (1984), August 17
  • Coco (1984), August 24

MOCACinema at Columbus Park – ChinaTown
Fridays, June 8-29
NYC Parks and the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) host four film screenings at Columbus Park on Fridays during the month of June. Pack a picnic, grab a blanket, and enjoy a movie. Movies begin at dusk.

  • Mulan (PG), June 8, 8pm
  • The NinjaGo Lego Movie (PG), June 15, 8pm
  • Pushing Hands (PG-13), June 22, 8pm
  • Berry Gordy’s The Last Dragon (PG-13), June 29, 8:30pm

 

RELATED: Amusement & Water Parks Guide for NYC Families


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

Brooklyn

Movies Under the Stars – Various Parks
Pack a picnic, blanket, and/or chair, and head to a local park. Through Movies Under the Stars, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Parks bring more than 150 film screenings to parks throughout the five boroughs.

Movies Under the Stars at Habana Outpost – Fort Greene, Brooklyn 
Sundays, May 13-October 28
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 (click through to our event listing to see the full line-up, including R-rated films), but tweens and teens might enjoy:

  • Steel Magnolias (PG), May 13
  • Indiana Jones (PG), May 20
  • West Side Story (G), June 3
  • Selena (PG), June 10
  • Top Gun (PG), July 1
  • Jaws (PG), July 8
  • The Last Dragon (PG), July 15
  • Viva Las Vegas (PG), July 22
  • Love and Basketball (PG), August 5
  • Grease (PG), August 12
  • Dirty Dancing (PG), August 17
  • The Sandlot (PG), September 2

A Summer Movie under the Stars in Prospect Park - Prospect Park, Brooklyn
The Prospect Park Alliance presents free summer movie screenings with live music. Entertainment begins at 7 pm, and the movie starts shortly after sunset.

  • July 18 - The Wizard of Oz (PG) - Musical entertainment by Highline Chamber Ensemble’s jazz trio
  • July 25 - Alice in Wonderland (G) - Live entertainment by Morricone Youth
  • August 1 - West Side Story (G) - Live entertainment by Skyline Salsa Band
  • August 8 – Space Jam (PG) - Live entertainment by DJ Dr. Israel

SummerScreen Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Wednesdays, July 11-August 29
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:

  • Jawbreaker (R), July 11
  • When Harry Met Sally (R), July 18
  • Love & Basketball (PG-13), July 25
  • Hackers (PG-13), August 1
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (PG), August 8
  • Die Hard (R), August 15
  • Surprise Musical TBA, August 22
  • Audience Choice, August 29

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

Queens

Movies Under the Stars – Various Parks
Pack a picnic, blanket, and/or chair, and head to a local park. Through Movies Under the Stars, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Parks bring more than 150 film screenings to parks throughout the five boroughs.

  • Back to the Future (PG), Friday, May 18 -- John Golden Park, Bayside
  • Ferdinand (PG), Friday, May 18 -- Police Officer Edward Byrne Park, Ozone Park
  • Zootopia (PG), Saturday, May 19 -- Tudor Park, Ozone Park
  • Coco (PG), Friday, May 25 -- Frank D O’Connor Playground, Elmhurst
  • Finding Dory (PG), Saturday, May 26 -- Gorman Playground, Astoria
  • Captain Underpants (PG), Sunday, May 27 -- The Painters Playground, Rego Park
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (PG-13), Thursday, June 28 Rockaway Beach, Far Rockaway

Skyline Cinema – Long Island City, Queens
Third Fridays of the month, May 18 to September 15
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.

  • Wizard of Oz (PG), May 18
  • Moonstruck (PG), June 15
  • Sleepless in Seattle (PG), July 19
  • Finding Dory (PG), August 16
  • Ratatouille (G), September 15

Socrates Sculpture Park, Outdoor Cinema - LIC, Queens
Socrates Sculpture Park offers foreign language (subtitled) films on a big outdoor screen on Wednesday evenings. Most are really better for adults, but they're all free, and some are even rated G. Pre-screening performances begin at 7pm.

  • July 11 - Monsoon Wedding (R) (India)
  • July 18 - TBA
  • July 25 - The Young Girls of Rochefort (G) (France)
  • August 1 - TBA
  • August 8 - Spirit of the Bee Hive (NR) (Spain)
  • August 15 - Tampopo (NR) (Japan)
  • August 23 - Kedi (NR) (Turkey)
  • August 30 - The Passionate Thief (NR) (Italy)


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.

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The Bronx

Movies Under the Stars – Various Parks
Pack a picnic, blanket, and/or chair, and head to a local park. Through Movies Under the Stars, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Parks bring more than 150 film screenings to parks throughout the five boroughs.

Staten Island

Movies Under the Stars – Various Parks
Pack a picnic, blanket, and/or chair, and head to a local park. Through Movies Under the Stars, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and NYC Parks bring more than 150 film screenings to parks throughout the five boroughs.

The Islands (Governor's, Randall's and Roosevelt)

Escape in New York: Outdoor Films on Governors Island - Governor's Island
Parade Grounds
Late ferries and movies about the cities we love. Not all are great for kids, but if you feel your critters are old enough for a memorable treat...

  • June 8: Escape from New York - R. (John Carpenter, 1981, 99m), with The Road to Magnasanti (John Wilson, 2017, 15m)
  • July 13: Desperately Seeking Susan - PG-13. (Susan Seidelman, 1985, 104m), with My Last Film (Zia Anger, 2015, 9m)
  • August 10: Ghostbusters - PG. (Ivan Reitman, 1984, 107m), with Review (Dustin Guy Defa, 2015, 4m)
  • September 14: The Last Dragon - PG-13. (Michael Shultz, 1985, 109m), with Hernia (Jay Giampietro, 2015, 12m)

Movie Night on Randall's Island – Randall's Island
Offered at two locations on the island, on random nights throughout the summer, the activity-packed Randall's Island offers plenty of family-friendly titles.

Outdoor Summer Movie Series – Roosevelt Island
Catch a free outdoor flick on Roosevelt Island every other Friday (and one Saturday, July 21) from June 22 to August 17. Rain dates on unscheduled Friday following rainout. Movies are screened in Southpoint Park, and free admission includes contests and prizes, food vendors; a state-of-the-art sound system, pre-movie DJ music, and a 40-foot-premium screen.

The festivities begin at 7 pm and the movies start at sunset. Arrive early and bring lawn chairs and blankets.

  • Friday, June 22: Wonder Woman - PG-13; (rain date June 29)
  • Friday, July 6: A League of Their Own - PG; (rain date July 13)
  • Friday, July 20: Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi - PG-13; (rain date July 27)
  • Saturday, July 21: The Fifth Element - PG-13; (rain date July 28)
  • Friday, August 3: Black Panther - PG-13; (rain date August 10)
  • Friday, August 17: A Wrinkle in Time - PG; (rain date August 24)

Multiple Locations

Films on the Green

A selection of 11 classic and contemporary French films, sprinkled throughout the city over the course of the summer on Friday evenings, explores the profound relationship between French culture and gastronomy, an integral part of France's social fabric. Bring a blanket and a picnic. Best for teens and adults.

Central Park – Cedar Hill
Le Grand Restaurant, June 1

Washington Square Park
The Scent of Green Papaya, June 8
The Rules of the Game, June 15

Transmitter Park, 2 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn
La Buche, June 22
Garçon!, June 29

Tompkins Square Park
Le Boucher, July 6

J. Hood Wright Park
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Wednesday, July 11

Tompkins Square Park
Romantics Anonymous, July 13

Riverside Park, Pier 1
You Will Be My Son, July 20
Haute Cuisine, July 27

Columbia University
The Grocer's Son, Sept. 6

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.