Everybody loves movie matinees and air-conditioned double features during hot summer days. But why cloister your family in a dark movie theater at night, when Portland weather is screaming at you to “Get Outside!” If you want the full package, check out our comprehensive guide to this summer’s outdoor movie scene, below. Your kids will appreciate the freedom to move and play both before and during the movie, and you will pat yourself on the back for achieving that most coveted of modern parenting goals: Balancing screen time and outdoor play. It’s a win-win! Read on to find out more.

photo: Marques Stewart via flickr

Portland Parks and Recreation’s Movies in the Park
As if surrounding us with beautiful outdoor spaces wasn’t enough, Portland Parks and Recreation carries their awesomeness one step further with the Summer Free for All! This incredible series of free events includes Movies in the Park, screening 36 movies over the course of a 12-week schedule. Movies are shown in different parks throughout the Portland metro area, so it’s easy to find something close to home. Also, they are often paired with free concerts, so you can make an entertainment-packed day of it! Load up the family, along with a picnic-style dinner, and enjoy your movie night in the great outdoors!
Our picks:

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, July 9 at Jackson Middle School, preceded by Somali dance music courtesy of The Iftin Band.
  • Moana (in Spanish with English subtitles), August 19 at Festival Latino in Glenhaven Park, preceded by Tequila Highway PDX and the Forest Grove High School Mariachi band.

Locations: Various Parks Citywide
Contact: 503-823-7529
Price: Free
Schedule online: Movies in the Park

Flicks on the Bricks
Have you ever wished you had an outdoor living room? You could cuddle up with your family on the couch and watch an old movie on the telly, but still take advantage of those long summer evenings. Well, here in Portland, we do have such a living room – Pioneer Square Park. And, for 5 Fridays each summer, we can bring our beanbags and floor pillows to the Square and enjoy a family favorite during Flicks on the Bricks. You can even enter to win “The Best Seat in the House”, which features an actual living room (sofa, chair and coffee table) so you will really feel at home. This year, the series runs from July 21 – August 18, and is accompanied by live pre-movie music. There are generally a variety of food carts and other culinary treats available as well. The 2017 schedule will be released soon, so keep your eyes open!

Location: 701 SW Sixth Ave.
Contact: 503-223-1613
Price: Free
Schedule online: Flicks on the Bricks

photo: Nikki McLeod via flickr

Top Down Rooftop Cinema
What could be more Stumptown than watching a classic movie on a rooftop? Welcome to NW Film Center’s annual Top Down Rooftop Cinema, located atop the Hotel deLuxe’s parking structure. These movies start a little later, and feature a more…refined…selection of films (think Rocky Horror Picture Show and Monty Python). Perfect for those teens and tweens who’ve had it with the kid flicks, and a great opportunity for you to showcase the real genius of cult movie classics! Food is offered for sale on-site, and parents can even enjoy a tasty beverage from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Doors open at 7, with music at 8, and the feature film kicks off as dusk brings the house lights down. Some seats are available, or you can pack your own camp chair or blanket to spread out on. This year, films run on Thursday nights in August (8/3-8/31). The schedule has not been released yet, so check nwfilm.org for the latest information.

Location: SW 15th and Yamhill
Contact: 503-221-1156
Price: $12 General, $11 Students & Seniors, $9 Silver Screen Club Friend (discount for advance purchase).
Schedule online: NW Film Calendar

Flicks by the Fountain
If you find yourself in Beaverton, you can catch Flicks by the Fountain in City Park. This free, all-ages event is held every Friday in August, and includes pre-movie activities, music, food carts, and a feature film on a giant inflatable screen!

Location: City Park – SW 5th & Hall Blvd., Beaverton
Contact: 503-526-2559
Price: Free
Schedule online: Flicks by the Fountain

Pix Patisserie’s Movies at Dusk
Here’s an idea for mid-week fun: Date night with the kids! While this isn’t generally the type of “date night” parents are looking for, sometimes you just can’t nail down a sitter. If you have that problem, but still feel the urge to get out, treat your family to southern hospitality at the Screen Door, then head over to Pix Patisserie for dessert and a movie. Pix features a fun, eclectic series of movies in the 7 Tap Beer & Cider Garden every Wednesday night throughout the summer (6/7-9/27). Kiddos can enjoy free popcorn, while Mom and Dad sample one of the signature cocktails (created to pair with that night’s feature film) along with an award-winning Macaronut or other French delicacy from the bakery. A perfect night out!
Our pick:

  • Robin Hood Men in Tights, June 28

Location: 2225 E Burnside St
Contact: 971-271-7166
Price: Free with a $5 purchase, per person.
Schedule online: Pix Patisserie Events

photo: Thomas Hawk via flickr

99W Drive-In
Have your kids ever experienced a real drive-in movie theater? They aren’t very common these days.  If they haven’t, make the trek to Newberg for an old-fashioned evening at the 99W Drive-In. This place will take you back in time! Bust out a picnic blanket or some camp chairs next to the speaker, or simply wrack your seat back and relax inside your comfy vehicle. You can even bring your own snacks to enjoy! The Drive-In is open Friday-Sunday nights, with double features beginning at dusk. Your family will mumble their heartfelt “thanks”, right before they nod off in the car on the way home. Film offerings change weekly, so check the schedule on their website.

Location: Hwy 99W, W of Springbrook Rd, Newberg, Or
Contact: 503-538-2738
Price: $8 Adults, $5 kids (6-11), 5&under Free.
Schedule online: 99W.com

Have you already taken advantage of these fun outdoor movie venues? Tell us about your family favorites in the comments section below!

—Lisa Riley