Summer Cinema: Outdoor Movies for Pint-Sized Audiences

Along with the lazy days of summer comes free (or super cheap) family flicks. Best part? You can pack your own snacks and comfy low-back seats and it won’t matter if your little movie buffs can’t make it through a whole show. Just remember to pack their jammies so you can pull a car to bed switcheroo as soon as you pull into the driveway. Grab your blankets and popcorn and read on to find out where to enjoy an array of screenings under the starry Seattle skies.

movies at marymoor

PEMCO Movies at Magnuson Park
Now in its fourth season, this popular Thursday evening series not only offers great big screen movies for the whole fam, but also fun attractions like cirque performers, movie trivia contests, a vendor fair, giveaways, and some of Seattle’s best food trucks. If you’re too tired to pack the movie snacks, don’t worry. Concessions such as kettle corn, ice cream, coffee and sweet treats will be available. All movies are Fido friendly and take place rain or shine.

July 10: Grease
July 17: The Lego Movie
July 24: Gravity
July 31: Sixteen Candles
August 7: Jurassic Park
August 14: Pitch Perfect
August 21: The Little Mermaid
August 28: Ghostbusters

Magnuson Park
7400 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, Wa 98115

Cost: $5/person for pre-movie seating (under 5 free); free movie seating is available following the entertainment and prize giveaways at dusk.
Time: Pre-movie seating starts at 7 p.m.; movies start at dusk.

Seattle Center Movies at the Mural 
The Space Needle serves as a backdrop for these moonlight movies on Saturdays. Bring a picnic and buy popcorn and candy on site. Or, grab some chow at The Amory before settling in for the big show on a state-of-the-art giant screen. If the skies are unforgiving, be sure to call the rain hotline (206-684-7200) before you go. Info is updated after 2 p.m.

July 26: The Princess Bride
August 2: Gravity
August 9: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
August 16:  The Great Gatsby
August 23:  Star Trek Into Darkness

Seattle Center – Mural Amphitheatre
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, Wa 98109

Cost: Free
Time: Movies start at dusk (around 9 p.m.)


West Seattle Outdoor Movies
West Seattle offers alfresco viewing at their annual Saturday outdoor movie series. From action flicks to Frozen, you and the fam can catch it all in the courtyard between Hotwire Coffee and Dr. Wolff. Make sure to bring your low-back chairs and some dinero for concessions and raffle prizes. All money collected from this summertime series will benefit local charities.

July 19: Gravity
July 26: Spice World
August 2: Sleepless in Seattle
August 9: The Blues Brothers (get a sitter and enjoy a date night!)
August 16: The Goonies
August 23: Frozen

Courtyard between Hotwire Coffee & Dr. Wolff
4410 California Ave. S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98106

Cost: Free (donations accepted)
Time: Gates open at 6:30 p.m.; movies start at dusk.



Bellevue Summer Outdoor Movies
The Eastside has a great selection of kid-friendly flicks this summer. One of our fave places to throw a blanket down and enjoy a picnic dinner and a movie is at Bellevue Downtown Park. And starting on July 1, you and the kiddos can catch shows every Tuesday. Be sure to arrive early so you can participate in the pre-movie activities and make sure to check the movie website to see what kind of donation to bring; movies are free, but each night has a different charity drive theme. On rainy days, movies will be shown at South Bellevue Community Center.

bellevue summer movies

July 1: Despicable Me 2
July 8: Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
July 15: Epic
July 29: The Lego Movie
Aug. 6:  Gravity
Aug. 12: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
Aug. 19: 42

Bellevue Downtown Park
10201 N.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, Wa 98004

Cost: Free with charitable donation
Time: Movies start at dusk (around 9 p.m.)

Carillon Point’s Outdoor Movies
Each summer, Carillon Point hosts a number of family-friendly movie nights to benefit Hopelink. Arrive early to eat at one of the fab restaurants or order takeout and enjoy the water views. It doesn’t get much better than catching a family flick on the shores of Lake Washington.

carillon point movie night

July 12: Thor: The Dark World
July 26: Despicable Me 2
Aug. 9: The Lego Movie
Aug. 23: Ender’s Game

Carillon Point
4100 Carillon Point
Kirkland, Wa 98033

Cost: $5/person (recommended donation for Hopelink)
Time: Plaza opens one hour prior to dusk for seating; movies start at dusk (around 9 p.m.).

Movies @ Marymoor Park
The Movies @ Marymoor Park series should also be on your radar–they’re debuting the 2014 season on Wednesday, July 9 with a showing of Frozen. This is heavy!  In addition to a fab lineup of weekly Wednesday movies, enjoy cirque performances by The Cabiri, movie trivia, interactive games, and tasty food trucks. Be sure to check the website for the current week’s food truck schedule. Seating is on a first come, first served basis so arrive early and be sure to bring Fido along for the show! Psst! The first 200 people will receive a free glow necklace at the Overlake Medical Clinics tent.

July 9: Frozen
July 16: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
July 23: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
July 30: Footloose
Aug. 6: The Sandlot
Aug. 13: Monty Python & The Holy Grail
Aug. 20: Finding Nemo
Aug. 27: The Princess Bride

Marymoor Park
6046 West Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E.
Redmond, Wa 98052

Cost: $5/person for pre-movie seating (under 5 free); free movie seating is available following the entertainment and prize giveaways at dusk.
Time: Pre-movie seating starts at 7 p.m.; movies start at dusk.
Parking:  Marymoor Park charges $1 per car.

movies at marymoor 2013

Renton’s Moonlight Movies
Back by popular demand, this Friday night movie series will take place at various locations around Renton. Be sure to arrive early to enjoy the pre-movie family entertainment and remember blankets and low-back chairs only. In the event of inclement weather, call the Renton Community Center’s inclement weather line at 425-430-6719. Cancellations will be made by 5 p.m.

July 16: The Lego Movie – Gene Coulon Memorial Park
July 25: The Avengers – Piazza Park
August 8: Back to the Future – Liberty Park
August 15: Frozen – Henry Moses Aquatic Center


Cost: Free
Time: Seating begins at 7 p.m. followed by pre-movie entertainment at 7:45 p.m.; movies start at dusk.

If outdoor movies aren’t your family’s thing, but you still want to catch some cheap family flicks this summer, check the Summer Movie Express schedule. For just $1 you can see a host of kids’ movies at participating Regal Cinemas through August 20, 2014. Also, the Kidsummer Movie Festival at Ark Lodge Cinemas will include a summer-long series of Wednesday matinée movies for just $3 each!

Know of another great outdoor movie series? Feel free to add it to the comments section below!

–Kristina Moy

Photo credit: Seattle Outdoor Movies Facebook page, Seattle Center, West Seattle Outdoor Movies Facebook page, Bellevue Summer Movies in the Park Facebook page, Movies at Marymoor Park Facebook page & Carillon Point Facebook page,