Watching movies on a large screen outdoors has become a popular summer activity. There are several outdoor movie events in the Washington, D.C. area including those on the waterfront and in town squares.
Most of the movies are free and offer a great opportunity for couples and families to enjoy some time together under the stars. Schedules are announced throughout the summer season and include both family-friendly fare and movies geared for adults.
Capitol Riverfront Outdoor Movies
Enjoy a variety of free films on the Potomac waterfront at Canal Park. This scenic riverfront destination located near the Washington Navy Yard and Nationals Park, is a great place to hang out with family and friends on a summer evening to watch a movie under the stars. Bring blankets, low chairs, and a picnic and arrive early to participate in games such as trivia and hula hoops. Movies begin at sundown.
- Dates: June through August, 2019
- Location: Canal Park, 2nd and "Eye" Streets, SE Washington, D.C.
Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival
Gateway Park is the perfect setting for a movie under the stars. You'll see a whole range of movies—classics, recent blockbusters, and family-friendly favorites beginning at dusk on summer Fridays. Come early—the fun and games begin at 5 p.m. with cornhole, giant jenga contests, and ping-pong.
Bring your blankets, kids, and dogs for a fun evening and before or after the movies, visit the nearby Continental Pool Lounge or Continental Beer Garden to enjoy special Rosslyn Cinema cocktails and meal deals (you get 10% off if you mention Rosslyn Cinema).
- Dates: Fridays, June–July, 2019.
- Location: Gateway Park, Rosslyn, Virginia.
National Harbor Movies on the Potomac
Watch a variety of movies along the Potomac waterfront including family-friendly movies (Sundays) and "Date-Night" films (Thursdays). National Harbor, Maryland is a waterfront development on the Potomac River which has hotels, restaurants, promenades, and a full schedule of events during summer. Bring your chair and settle in for a summer movie. Films on Thursdays begin at 7 p.m. and movies on Saturdays begin at 4:45 p.m.
- Dates: June–August, 2019
- Location: Waterfront Street, National Harbor, Maryland.
NoMa Summer Screen
The NoMa (north of Massachusetts Avenue) Business Improvement District hosts a free summer-long outdoor film festival (some family-friendly and some adult-oriented films) in Northeast Washington, D.C. The events, held on a large grassy square, are ideal for gathering with neighbors and family so bring a blanket, a low lawn chair, and a picnic.
Each film screening, scheduled for sundown, is preceded by live DJs, special guests, barbecue, and surprises.
- Dates: 12 Wednesday evenings through the summer.
- Location: NoMa Junction, 1005 First Street, NE Washington, D.C.
Drive-in Movies at Union Market
Enjoy a drive-in movie experience in the heart of the nation's capital. Arrive early and grab dinner or some great snacks at this unique urban marketplace. The event is $15 per car (tickets are available online) or free for those walking or biking in on a first-come, first-served basis. To hear the movie, you can either tune in to your car radio or listen over the loudspeakers.
- Dates: First Friday of each month, May through early-October 2019
- Location: Union Market 305 5th Street, NE Washington D.C.
Golden Cinema Series
The free outdoor movie series, Golden Cinema, takes place in Farragut Square, an urban park in the heart of the District. Movies are shown each Friday at sunset (around 8:30 p.m.) and follow the Farragut Fridays event series, which includes such events as picnics in Farragut Park, lawn games, and table tennis competitions.
- Dates: Fridays, June 7–August 2, 2019.
- Location: Farragut Square NW Washington D.C.
Bethesda Outdoor Movies
In the Woodmont Triangle neighborhood, in Downtown Bethesda, Maryland, enjoy four nights of outdoor movies in July. It's fun to have dinner at one of the neighborhood eateries before the show starts at 9 p.m. Chairs are limited at this free event so consider bringing your own chair or a blanket to sit on.
- Dates: Wednesday, July 24—Saturday, July 27, 2019
- Location: Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle, Corner of Norfolk and Auburn Avenues
Columbia's Lakefront Summer Festival Movies
As part of the multi-event Summer Festival, you can set your place up on the Green and watch a movie starting at 8:30 p.m. You can bring something to picnic on but no glass containers or alcoholic beverages are permitted. Other Summer Festival events include live music and dancing.
- Dates: On selected dates Mondays and Fridays from June 17, 2019 through September 7, 2019
- Location: Columbia Town Center, 10320 Little Patuxent Pkwy. Columbia, Maryland.
Georgetown Sunset Cinema Series
Georgetown's Annual Sunset Cinema summer outdoor movie series starts at sunset (8:30–8:45 p.m.). Arrive early to picnic and to get your seat with a view of the water in this historic neighborhood.
- Dates: Tuesday nights, July 9 – August, 6, 2019
- Location: Georgetown Waterfront Park, Washington D.C.
Films at the Stone - Martin Luther King Memorial
Watch inspiring films with the Martin Luther King Memorial and the beautiful Tidal Basin as a backdrop. Films at the Stone are the only outdoor movies shown at a memorial on the National Mall.
- Dates: Selected dates in June, July, and August, 2019
- Location: Martin Luther King Memorial, 1964 Independence Ave SW, Washington D.C.
Alexandria Outdoor Film Festival
You can catch an outdoor movie in historic Alexandria, Virginia. Kid-friendly movies are shown on the recreation center grounds during the Cinema Del Ray event. Fuel up at the concession stands as the fun starts at 7 p.m. followed by the movie at dusk.
- Dates: Third Saturday of May, June, July and August, 2019
- Location: Mount Vernon Recreation Center, 2701 Commonwealth Ave, Alexandria, Virginia
Mosaic District Films in the Park, Fairfax
The Mosaic District Films in the Park are held from 7–9 p.m. at Strawberry Park in Fairfax, Virginia. Bring a blanket and sit on the lawn. The line up starts on June 30, 2019 with Free Willy and runs through September 1, 2019 with a showing of Hook.
- Dates: Every week on Sunday until September 1, 2019
- Location: Strawberry Park at Mosaic District, Fairfax, Virginia
Movies at Arlington Mill and Penrose Square
Head to Arlington, Virginia for Movies at Arlington Mill on Fridays and then to Penrose Square on Saturdays for shows beginning at sunset. Limited seating is provided on a first-come, first-served basis so bringing a chair is encouraged.
- Dates: Arlington Mill - June 14 through August 23, 2019 and Penrose Square June 15 through August 24, 2019
- Locations: Arlington Mill, 909 S Dinwiddie St., Arlington and Penrose Square, 2597, Columbia Pike, Arlington