Warm summer nights in LA are perfect for forgetting all about bed time and curling up with your little film buffs for movies under the stars. Pop some popcorn to bring along and catch a flick anywhere from the Santa Monica Pier to a celebrity cemetery and a zillion parks in between. All of these movie series offer several family friendly flicks and a variety of food options.
Alfredo’s Beach Club
We have to start with this one because nothing screams summer more than a free moonlight movie on the beach! Alfredo’s Beach Club hosts outdoor screenings at Granada Beach in Long Beach at dusk, or approximately 8 p.m. Movies are free and there is even plentiful free parking. Food, snacks and popcorn are available for purchase. Most selections are super kid-friendly for even the youngest viewers, including animated favorites, like Inside Out and Zootopia. Tuesdays, June 21-August 30.
Malibu Country Mart
Pack up your beach blankets and grab a section of the lawn for the fourth annual free film series in Malibu. This year’s lineup includes classic titles, like Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, Troop Beverly Hills, and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, presented around 7:45 p.m. The famous Mr. Chow, Taverna Tony’s and Tra de Noi will be open so you can order dinner to enjoy during the movie, but homemade picnics are also welcome. Check the Facebook page for the line-up. Saturdays, June-July.
Brentwood Country Mart Classic Film Nights
Every Monday night at 6 p.m. from June through the end of August, the Brentwood Country Mart serves up classic films that the whole family will love. June features kid flicks like Stuart Little and Babe, check back monthly for the rest of the season line-up. This all-ages-friendly movie night is the perfect event to start out your week right (can you say TGIM?). Remember that movie nights at Brentwood Country Mart is a “BYOB” family event, meaning that you’ll want to bring your beach chairs, blankets, beverages and bites! If you forget to pack a basket, don’t fret, there are plenty of kid-friendly options from tacos and burgers, to Reddi Chick’s famous chicken tenders. Mondays, June-August.
Marina Movie Nights in Burton Chase Park
At one of the most scenic parks in the Westside, enjoy free movies at 8 p.m. on select Saturday nights in July and August. Pack up picnic baskets and warm blankets, as the Marina can grow cold after the sun sinks behind the boats. This year’s series includes silly fun, like The Spongebob Movie, and family classics, like My Fair Lady. You can park at the park, or park offsite and ride the water bus for an added adventure that’s just $1 a person each way. Saturdays, July-August.
Santa Monica Pier’s Front Porch Cinema
Who says summer ever has to end? Cool down on those hot Santa Ana wind nights in October with movies, music, food, and fun on the Santa Monica Pier. Pack a picnic or grab a bite on the pier, and bring your own lawn chairs or rent one there, but don’t forget to bring your blankets to curl up in, as the nights can get chilly once the sun sets. The Friday night fun kicks off with music at 6 p.m., and the free film begins around 7:30 p.m. This year the screenings include Big Hero 6 and Ghostbusters, so you can school your mini movie buffs on the original after this summer’s new remake. Fridays, Oct 9-30.
Silverlake Picture Show
In its fifth season, this free series on Thursdays at the Sunset Triangle Plaza, features musical performances and short films by local filmmakers to introduce the features. Entertainment begins around 6 p.m. and the screen lights up at dusk. This year’s line-up includes Raiders of the Lost Ark, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Labyrinth, so you can introduce a new generation to the legendary, David Bowie. Pack a picnic or grab a bite from some of the best eateries in town (Knuckle & Claw, Pine & Crane, Night and Market Song, Trois Familia and Pazzo Gelato, just to name a few) that are right nearby. Thursdays, June 23-September 15.
Sunday Night Movies at the Beverly Cañon Gardens
One of the best things about this space is how easy, yet elegant your evening will be. The movie is shown on a big inflatable screen in the garden in front of the Beverly Hills Montage. You can bring a blanket, pull up a chair, or watch the movie from a table and chairs while you enjoy a take out dinner or treats from nearby restaurants (like Bouchon). Free parking is available in the Beverly Canon Gardens Parking structure. Check the website for movie titles which are TBA. All screenings start at 8:15 p.m. Sundays, July 10-August 28.
photo: Tiffany O. via Yelp
Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Owing to their location at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, this series started out years ago showing mainly horror films but has now branched out into broader categories and includes kid pleasers like The Sandlot, The Muppet Movie and Grease. This ticketed series sells out fast and gets packed, so buy your tickets well in advance and plan to arrive early. With the photo booths and costumed patrons to check out, there is plenty to keep the kids entertained while you wait for dusk. It’s a true Hollywood experience, and is a favorite of our Red Tri staffers. Ticket prices and showtimes vary according to event, so check the website for details. Saturdays, June-July.
Electric Dusk Drive-In, Downtown
After shuttering its downtown location permanently at the end of last summer, this drive-in will be getting a new lease on life in the Glendale area. The exact location, movie line-up and dates are still in the works, but it’s tentatively set to start in early July. Check their Facebook page for updates coming soon.
photo: Waferboard via flickr
CSUN Summer Movie Fest
Thursday nights on the Oviatt Library Lawn, free summer flicks entertain college students and the general public. Most of the offerings are kid-friendly and include newbies, like Zootopia, as well as classics, like Aladdin. The movies start at dusk and food trucks open at 5:30 p.m. for some better-than-cafeteria chow. Park on the street for free, or for $6 on campus. Thursdays, June 16-September 1.
Valley Cultural Center’s ‘Movies on the Green’
Light up the night at Warner Park in Woodland Hills on Saturday evenings this summer. These outdoor family films, including 2015’s live-action Cinderella, Minions, and Star Wars – The Force Awakens, are presented in fabulous high-tech fashion. You’ll enjoy the show on a 30-foot professional theatrical screen in the Lou Bradlow Pavillion with digital projection, surround sound and high-resolution digital picture. Pre-show entertainment begins at 7 p.m., and screenings start at dusk. The movies are free, but parking in the adjacent structure is $10. You can pack your eats or buy from the concessions set up in the park. Saturdays, July 23-August 27.
Paramount Drive-In Theatres
Although not a strictly summer event, piling up in the car to curl up for a drive-in movie is definitely a summer time to-do with kids. With its two 75-foot screens, digital projection, and reasonable prices, however, drive-ins may become part of your regular, year-round movie going experience. Two features are shown per weeknight, and three on weekends, so if the pint-sized watchers are comfortably asleep, why not stay for the second feature? $9/person, $3 kids ages 5-8. Daily, year round.
Chino Hills Movies in the Park
We haven’t forgotten the Inland Empire, where it stays warm even later in the evening, making it perfect for late night outdoor movies! Movies in the Park is an annual showing of six family-friendly films at the Chino Hills Community Center Park. Bring your lawn chair and blankets and enjoy free flicks, like The Lego Movie, Frozen and throwback classics, like The Mighty Ducks. Pack a snack, or don’t bother as they’ll have some available for purchase. Movie show times begin approximately at 7:45 p.m. or dusk. Thursdays, July 7-August 11.
Eat. See. Hear.
Here you get your whole evening planned for you: dinner (food trucks), a live show (a different band every night) and a movie. Bands start at 7 p.m. and movies begin at 8:30 p.m. They change locations weekly, so at some point this summer, one of these movies will be coming to a park near you. Check the website for age appropriate titles for your flock, like the original Willy Wonka, BIG and The Goonies. Tickets are $8/kids and $14/adults, and kids under 5 are free. Or be a big spender and opt for the roped off $21 seats, which means you can sneak in just as the movie starts and still snag one of the best spots in front of the house. Sometimes it’s worth it, to not have to entertain the munchkins for an extra 2 hours. Saturdays, May 7-September 17.
North Hollywood International Film Festival
The NoHo International Film Festival’s free summer movie series returns once more to public parks throughout North Hollywood. Movies and fresh-popped popcorn or free, but feel free to pack a picnic and lawn chairs. This year’s line-up includes Maleficent, Inside Out, and fun classics, like Clueless and Men In Black. Check listings for park locations and to reserve your spot online. Saturdays, June 11-September 24.
Street Food Cinema
This Saturday night event comes with extras: for one price, you get the movie plus music and access to trendy food trucks. You can check the scheduled lineup of food trucks online prior to the event to minimize the kiddo squabble potential. Bring your own beach chairs and blankets and make it a picnic while listening to the band before the show. Family friendly picks across the city include Kung Fu Panda 3 in Playa Vista, The Goonies in Culver City, and Hocus Pocus in Glendale. If you purchase in advance, reserved tickets for premium seats are $18/adults and $11/children ages 6-12, general admission is $13/adults and $6/children ages 6-12. Saturdays, June 18-October 29.
What’s your favorite spot for outdoor flicks under the stars? Let us know if we missed any great spots!