The silver screen offers some welcome downtime for parents out-of-school kids, but we shouldn’t have to spend beautiful days in a dark theater. Since it’s summertime, break out those flip-flops, sun hats, and blankets and check out our favorite outdoor movie spots, where you can take in a moving picture while your little ones do some moving of their own.
Summer Movies in the Park
By far the best way to see an outdoor film in San Diego, this free event series features a giant inflatable screen that rotates weekly throughout the best parks in San Diego. The county provides hula hoops for kids to play with while parents veg out in front of the latest animated hits and the occasional throwback favorite. All movies start at dusk, between 7:30 and 8:00 pm. Bring blankets, seating and snacks, since food and chairs aren’t provided and it can get chilly after the sun goes down.
Don’t miss: Despicable Me at Las Palmas Pool on Jul 12, Brave at Ocean Beach Elementary on Jul 19 and Monsters Inc. at Rancho Bernardo Community Park on Jul 25.
Various parks throughout the summer – check the schedule to see when it’ll be near you!
Full Moon Drive-In
If you’re going for rowdy 50’s-style drive-in ambiance, this is the place to be. Full Moon Drive-In is notoriously kid-friendly, and your family won’t get angry glares for talking during the movie. The only downside of a night out here is that it can get expensive. Outside food or drink is not allowed, and the on-site concession stand features typically-priced movie fare. Pack your car full of friends to take advantage of the $20 per-car entrance fee.
Don’t Miss: They’re currently showing Monsters University at 8:30 pm and 10:30 pm on Fri, Sat and Sun.
1550 Felspar Street
San Diego, Ca 92109
Stone is world-renowned for – what else? – their beer. In addition to that, though, Stone Brewing features an amazing outdoor space perfect for relaxing with the family. Carpool with friends because parking is limited, and don’t forget to bring your lawn chairs and blankets!
Don’t Miss: Summer Family Night showings featuring beloved flicks like The Goonies on Jun 26 at 8:00 pm and Princess Bride on Aug 28 at 8:00 pm.
1999 Citracado Parkway
Escondido, Ca 92029
Civic Center Screen
The best place to catch a movie in San Marcos is none other than the backside of LA Fitness. The Civic Center Plaza has affixed a giant screen onto an outside wall of the popular gym, showing eclectic classics, Westerns and cartoons every night from sunset until 10:00pm. The space features a big fire pit and a large grass area for playing. The best part? You can bring your own food, or just grab some grub from one of the many nearby eateries.
Don’t Miss: David and Goliath at 8:30 pm on Jun 28 and classic cartoons every Fri at 5:00 pm.
141 North Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, Ca 92078
East County residents can get in on the action with a double-feature known for being the most organized drive-in spot around. Visitors are welcome to bring their own food, and the audio plays right through your own car’s booming system. Just make sure you have cash on hand – they don’t accept cards.
Don’t Miss: Despicable Me 2 starting Jul 3 or Planes starting Aug 9, every night at 8:30 pm.
10990 Woodside Avenue North
Santee, Ca 92071
San Diego has so many spaces that bring back the good ol’ drive-in days. Where’s your favorite spot for movie-viewing outdoors?
Written by: Chelsea Day
photos courtesy of Fun Flicks and Civic Center Screen