There’s something magical about a night under the stars watching your favorite family flick. This summer brings Coco, Moana, The Greatest Showman and more to a park near you. Bundle the little buddies up in some cozy jammies and pack the popcorn for a night they won’t forget. We’ve rounded up loads of Bay Area options to make it easier for you to plan your next outdoor movie night. Scroll down for the spots!

photo: Santa Clara County Parks

San Francisco

Presidio Outdoor Movie Night
Grab a blanket and head to the Presidio YMCA for some food trucks and an outdoor movie. June 8 bring the family-favorite Paddington 2. Food trucks arrive at 5:30 p.m., movie shorts start at 6:30 p.m. and the feature film begins at 7 p.m. There will be bubbles and face painting before the show to keep the kids busy.

Movie Nights at Pier 39
School of Rock is this summer’s feature film at Pier 39. Before the show, grab some tasty eats from your Pier 39 favorite and then some cookie dough to go from DOUGHP. There will be special giveaways before the show. Be sure to dress warmly and bring your blanket. The film will start at 8 p.m.

outdoormoviephoto: waferboard via flickr 

East Bay

Danville
The EB hamlet of Danville presents Moonlight Movies on the Town Green on Friday nights. Sweltering East Bay days usually mean blissfully warm summer evenings, so no need to swap out the shorts and t-shirts for this post-sunset excursion. The best part just might be the kids crafts and activities starting at 6:30 p.m. and running up until movie time (sundown). This year’s movies:

June 15 – Back to the Future
June 29 – The Little Mermaid
July 13 – Coco
July 27 – Wonder Woman
August 10 – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

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Dining: Chow Danville (part of the Park Chow clan) is open late and offers American/California cuisine with lots of options for the kiddos. Or grab a slice to-go from Blue Line Pizza.

Oakland
Jack London Square hosts Waterfront Flicks every other Thursday throughout the summer. Get there early to play trivia games or take in the waterfront. This year’s picks include:

June 21 – The Sandlot
July 5 – The Greatest Showman
July 19 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
August 2 – Bridesmaids
August 16 – Coco
August 30 – Black Panther

Dining: Right at Jack London Square, you will find lots of dining options, from takeout to food trucks to sit-down dinner.

Hayward and Vicinity
Various venues in and near Hayward host free outdoor flicks as a part of Outdoor Movies Around the District. Festivities start at 6 p.m. with music, local vendors and the mobile recreation program. Movies begin a dusk.

June 1 – Leap! – San Lorenzo Community Park
June 29 – Nut Job 2 – Hayward City Hall Plaza
July 21 – Cars 3 – San Lorenzo Theatre
August 10 – Coco – Meek Park
August 24 – Despicable Me 3 – Adobe Park
September 14 – A Wrinkle in Time – Meek Park

photo: Joel Wade Photography

Peninsula

Redwood City
Redwood City offers Movies on the Square, located right in the middle of town at the quaint Courthouse Square in front of City Hall. Movie nights here are super kid-friendly and well attended. Camp chairs are allowed at this venue. The 2018 lineup, which includes some vintage films along with newer hits, goes through August 30 when we get some of our best summer weather. All movies are Thursdays at sundown.

June 7 – Lion
June 14 – LEGO Batman Movie
June 21 – Jurassic Park
June 28 – Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
July 5 – The Sandlot
July 12 – Beauty and the Beast Sing-along
July 19 – Wonder
July 26 – Wonder Woman
August 2 – The Greatest Showman
August 9 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi
August 16 – Coco
August 23 – Lost Boys
August 30 – Black Panther

Dining: Downtown Redwood City has a number of restaurants a mere stone’s throw away so grab some take-out and head over. Just take note that there are a limited number of tables and chairs available on the Square. Right on Broadway you’ll find the kid-friendly Old Spaghetti Factory with pastas and salads served family style. A few blocks away try The Sandwich Spot, open from 10 a.m.-midnight and specializing in sandwiches and build-your-own salads.

Mountain View
From July through mid-August, Mountain View hosts outdoor movie nights every Friday at various parks throughout the city. This summer’s flicks are:

July 13 – Fedinand – Cuesta Park
July 20 – Despicable Me 3 – Sylvan Park
July 27- LEGO Ninjago – Stevenson Park
August 3 – Cars 3 – Eagle Park
August 10 – Smurfs: The Lost Village – Rengstorff Park
August 17 – Coco – Whisman Park

Dining: Get Zume Pizza to deliver your dinner!

photo: Santa Clara County Parks

South Bay

San Jose
Throughout the summer, the South Bay parks come alive with In the Park After Dark Movie Night—a movie marathon sponsored by the Santa Clara County Parks. At some locations food vendors will be available. There is a $6 parking fee to enter the parks. View the schedule of 30 movies including Coco, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, Moana and more.

Santa Cruz
Enjoy free movies on the beach at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m. Bring a blanket or low-backed chair, grab some funnel cake or a corn dog and settle in for a night the kids won’t forget. The summer line-up is:

June 20 – The Lost Boys 
June 27 – Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
July 11 – Legally Blonde
July 18 – Ferris Bueler’s Day Off
July 25 – Hairspray
August 1 – Jumanji
August 8 – Ghostbusters
August 15 – Raiders of the Lost Ark

photo: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Marin County

Mill Valley
Movies in the Park is back for 2018 and the lineup is bigger and better than ever. Bring a low beach chair or blanket. The screenings start at sundown.

June 8 – Grease – Friends Field
July 6 – Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Old Mill Park
August 3 – The Incredibles – Old Mill Park
September 7 – The Lion King – Old Mill Park
October 5 – Zootopia – Old Mill Park

Larkspur
Marin Country Mart plays host to this outdoor movie series that is fun for the whole fam. Kids can sit on mini-directors chairs on the lawn while parents can sit back on blankets and picnic and chat.

June 20 – Wizard of Oz
June 27- Winnie the Pooh
July 11 – Mary Poppins
July 18 – A Bug’s Life
July 25 – 101 Dalmations
August 1 – Paddington

Tips and Tricks

  1. Bring a flashlight for walking out at the end of the night, especially if you’ll be carrying tired little ones through the park. Headlamps are super handy.
  2. Leave strollers and taller chairs at home; unless otherwise mentioned they probably aren’t allowed. Bring plenty of blankets and low-back chairs. Camping pads make it extra comfy.
  3. Check with the venue’s policy about dogs (some parks do not allow dogs).
  4. Put the kiddos in PJ’s before you get there – makes it easier to roll them into bed when you get home.
  5. Bring in the majority of your food/dinner to make it easy to settle in with the kids. If your venue offers food vendors, bring cash as some don’t take plastic.
  6. Make a donation. These are free events, but they do cost money to run. Even $1 helps make sure families can enjoy these evenings summer after summer.

—Kate Loweth & Amber Guetebier

 

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