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Now that the warm weather is here, it’s the season of cinema under the stars. But where can you go to watch a movie outdoors in NYC? We’ve rounded up the 10 best outdoor movie theaters in NYC, where you can catch many of your favorite movies all summer long. Most of these film screenings are free, but you will have to spring for the popcorn, dear reader.

where are the best places to watch a movie outdoors in NYC?

Though we will always love the ice-cold, air-conditioned sanctuary of a movie theater – perfect for rainy days, as well as for the days where the temperature ticks into the nineties – we also love getting the chance to sit outside and enjoy a movie under the stars. Or at least, under the skyline.

best outdoor movie theaters in NYC, where you can catch many of your favorite films all summer

The best outdoor movie theaters in NYC, where you can catch many of your favorite films all summer.

All our favorite outdoor cinemas are back this summer, and ready to provide you with some warm-weather entertainment after the sun sets. Whether you’re looking to see an old favorite film, or catch one of the year’s biggest new releases, we can promise you’re in for a treat.

Here are the ten best places to watch a movie outside in New York.

10 best outdoor movie theaters in NYC

1. Bryant Park Movie Nights

When most people think of watching a movie outside in New York City, they think of Monday Movie Nights at Bryant Park. These free events are a city summer classic, and believe it or not, this is their thirtieth season. This year’s screenings are hosted by Paramount+, and we’re in for an all-star lineup of films: School of Rock, Roman Holiday, Zoolander, and more. The lawn opens at five pm, but we recommend arriving as early as possible to snag a spot on the lawn. There’s always food and drink available for purchase, courtesy of Hester Street Fair, and the films begin at 8 pm.

2. Movies with a View

If you’re in Brooklyn, don’t think you have to miss out on the fun! Brooklyn Bridge Park might have the best view in the world, and they’re sharing it with us cinephiles this summer.  Starting on July 6th, head to Harbor View Lawn every other Thursday for some amazing films. The theme for this year is “We Are Family,” with fan-favorite films like ET, Goodfellas and Everything Everywhere All At Once chosen to fit the bill. All events are free, and though movies start at sunset, you can arrive as early as six pm to claim your seat – and enjoy some short films from BAM while you wait.

3. Coney Island Flicks on the Beach

If you’re feeling up for an adventure, we’re delighted to say that Coney Island’s summer screenings are back this year, after several seasons away. According to Mommy Poppins, Coney Island will show four movies this year: The Warriors (June 26), Top Gun Maverick (July 10), The Super Mario Bros. Movie (July 24), and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Magic (August 7). We appreciate the intriguing variety in these selections, and we’re looking forward to the experience of a movie on the beach.  Admission is free, and the films start at sundown.

4. Skyline Drive-in

Of course, no other outdoor cinema can compare to the magic of a drive-in theater.  Luckily, we have one of those too! The wonderful Skyline Drive-in is located in Greenpoint, and they offer the best of both worlds: trending new releases, and all your favorite films. And since they know that most of us New Yorkers don’t have cars (and if we’re honest, can’t drive), they also have chairs available for those who arrive by foot, subway, or bicycle. Buy tickets online, and treat yourself to an extra-special screening of The Flash, Indiana Jones, Jaws, Bridesmaids, Girls Trip, and more.

5. Rooftop Cinema Club

When it comes to watching movies in the great outdoors, no one does it like Rooftop Cinema Club. They offer luxurious deck chairs, unforgettable city views, and best of all – headphones. Each attendee receives their own pair of wireless headphones, so that they can watch the movie totally undisturbed; ambient noise is not a problem at this outdoor cinema! They also have a full menu of food, wine, beer, and cocktails, and a killer lineup of films. This season, we’re looking forward to Love Jones, Pride and Prejudice, The Best Man, Dirty Dancing, and many other favorites. And if you find yourself on the road this summer? You can also find Rooftop Cinema Clubs in Chicago, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles, Fort Worth San Diego, and London.

6. Seaport Cinema

Seaport Cinema is back this year, with a slate of films chosen by their audience. We’ve always loved the screenings on the roof of Pier 17 – after all, can you think of a better view? – and we love that they asked their very own cinephiles what they wanted to watch. And the crowd has spoken. This year, Seaport Cinema will show Air Bud (June 20), Jaws (July 25), Step Up (August 16), and Pitch Perfect (September 21). Doors are at 6:30, and snacks – tater tots, chicken fingers, pretzels, candy, popcorn, and more – are available for purchase, as well as cocktails.

7. Social Food and Drink

Social Food and Drink is a buzzy patio bar belonging to the YOTEL in midtown, and they routinely offer outdoor screenings. Buy tickets online ($22) for all the movies you love – movies  like Mamma Mia, Knives Out, Moana, and Get Out. There are showtimes almost every night of the week, and free popcorn is included.

8. Rule-Breakers & Troublemakers

We want to make sure you’ve taken note of Rule-Breakers & Troublemakers, a trio of special events hosted by Governors Island and Film at Lincoln Center. The mini-fest consists of three interesting, enjoyable, thematic movies shown over the course of three months: Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight on July 7th; Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham on August 11th; and F. Gary Gray’s Set it Off on September 1st.  We love the thought of watching a movie on Governors Island, and we can’t wait for the first screening. Attendance is free, and movies begin at 8:30; food and drink will be available for purchase.

9. Rooftop Films

We are obsessed with the curated lineup of summer screenings at Rooftop Films. They always keep things interesting, offering short films and lesser-known features as well as showings of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and Minions: Rise of Gru. Some of their screenings include Q&As with the filmmakers, and all are free with an RSVP. Best of all, their screenings are not limited to one location – you’ll find them making use of all the city’s best green spaces, such as Green-Wood Cemetery, Brower Park, Gansevoort Plaza, and more.

best places and theaters to watch a movie outdoors in NYC

The best places to watch a movie outdoors in NYC this summer.

10. Rooftop Reds

We love every single outdoor cinema on this list, but Rooftop Reds is a standout. After all, showing movies is only one of the things they do. They are first and foremost a vineyard – and for that matter, the only rooftop vineyard in New York City. They’re the perfect destination for all your dates and special occasions –  and the fact that they happen to host movie screenings is simply the cherry on top. Coming up, they have screenings of Moonlight, A League of Their Own, Love & Basketball, Do the Right Thing and The Big Lebowski, and all tickets come with a glass of the vineyard’s own Sparkling Riesling, and two slices of cheese pizza.

best outdoor places to watch a movie in NYC

What are the best places and theaters to watch a movie outdoors in NYC? Now you know. Check out one the top options for cinema under the stars this summer, and let us know how it goes.

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.