Events

Every Free Outdoor Movie Playing in the Bay Area This Summer

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Watching a movie in a dark theater is fine, but watching a movie under the stars? That’s just an incomparable experience. And I KNOW... it’s probably more “under the fog” than under shining spheroids of plasma held together by their own gravity. Whatever.

Anyways, this summer you can watch old-school classics and recent favorites in different parks, beaches, golf courses, and even swimming pools all across the Bay. Best of all, almost all of them are completely free. Want a more retro experience? Check out the Concord’ West Wind drive-in that shows new releases all week, including a midnight screening most nights.

ferriss bueler
Paramount Pictures

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Jul 18
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz

Twist and shout your way to the beach to watch this ‘80s classic with a view of amusement rides in the background. Bring a picnic or fill up on corn dogs and funnel cake, and bring a blanket or low-back chair because you’ll be sitting on the sand. The movie is free.
Time: Starts at 9pm.

Wonder

Jul 19
Courthouse Square, Redwood City

Pack a picnic, grab takeout from a nearby restaurant, or buy popcorn and candy there. The free movie starts at sundown and is shown in high def on a 25-foot screen with surround sound. Bring a blanket and get there early for the best seat.
Time: ~8:45pm

The Little Mermaid

Jul 20
ECCL Pool, Emeryville

Dive in (literally) to watch this Disney classic. The free film starts at dark, but if you want a good spot for your raft or float, you should get there early. Yup, you can watch this movie from the pool. Bring snacks, a picnic blanket, and folding chairs. There will also be food sold on site and lifeguards on duty.
Time: Films start at dush

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Jul 20
Emerald Glen Park, Dublin

The movie will start at dusk, but arrive there earlier to find a place for your blanket or low-back chair before grabbing some grub from the food trucks. Dress warmly as it gets cold when the sun goes down.
Time: Between 8:30 and 9pm

Hairspray

Jul 25
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz

Check out the 2007 version of this musical based on the 2002 Broadway musical based on the 1988 John Water’s movie. Bring a picnic and a blanket or low-back chair so that you don’t get too sandy. The movie is free.
Time: Starts at 9pm.

Wonder Woman

Jul 26
Courthouse Square, Redwood City

Grab your lasso, a blanket, and a picnic or takeout, and settle in to watch Gail Gadot on a 25-foot high def screen with surround sound. The free movie starts when the sun goes down.
Time: around 8:45pm

Wonder Woman

July 27
Town Green, Danville

Get there as early as 6:30pm if you’re bringing a kid who wants to do arts and crafts and/or you want to find a good spot for your blanket or low-back lawn chair. It’s also free!
Time: 8:15pm

Jumanji

Aug 1
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz

This is the 1995 version of the “caught in a board game” movie (the one with Robin Williams). Bring a picnic and a blanket or low-back chair (you’ll be sitting on the beach). If you don’t feel like packing a picnic, hit up one of the boardwalk restaurants before the movie. The movie is free.
Time: Starts at 9pm.

The Greatest Showman

Aug 2
Courthouse Square, Redwood City

Try not to sing along too loudly while watching this Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron musical. The free movie will be shown on a 25-foot hi-def screen with surround sound and it starts when the sun goes down.
Time: Around 8:45pm

Bridesmaids
Universal Pictures

Bridesmaids

Aug 2
Jack London Square Ferry Lawn, Oakland

The free movie starts at sundown, but get there early to enjoy trivia and giveaways and set up your blanket/low-back lawn chair. Local restaurants will be selling food and wine, and Ben & Jerry’s will have a cart where you can buy ice cream and other sweet treats.
Time: Sundown

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Aug 4
Dolores Park, San Francisco

Film Night in the Park kicks off its series of free SF screenings in Dolores Park. This one’s sure to fill up fast, so get there early with your blanket if you want a good spot. Also, there’s technically no alcohol of any kind allowed in Dolores Park even though that’s not a rule that ever seems to be enforced. Dress warmly.
Time: Movies kick off at dusk

Ghostbusters

Aug 8
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz

They’re showing the original 1984 version of this comedy about a ghost-catching business in NYC on the beach by the boardwalk. Bring a blanket or low-back chair. And it’s free!  
Time: 9pm

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Aug 9
Courthouse Square, Redwood City

Lightsaber battles look pretty impressive when shown on a 25-foot high definition screen with surround sound. Bring a blanket and get settled in before the free movie starts at sundown
Time: Around 8:45pm

The Breakfast Club

Aug 10
Bennett Valley Golf Course, Santa Rosa

It’ll cost you $10 (GA) or $15 (preferred seating) to watch this John Hughes classic that will be prefaced by live music. There will also be a couple of gourmet food trucks, including the very popular The Girl and the Fig.
Time: The gates open at 6pm.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Aug 10
Town Green, Danville

Bring a blanket or a low-back chair to watch the Guardians fight to keep their family together. There are arts and crafts for the kiddos starting at 6:30pm and everything is free.
Time: Fun starts at 6, movie around 8:15

Beauty & the Beast

Aug 10
Memorial Park Amphitheater, Cupertino

Be prepared to sing along during this tale as old as time. Bring your blanket, low-back chair, and snacks for the free sing-along.
Time: 8:15pm

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Aug 15
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz

Find a patch of sand and put down your blanket or low-back chair to watch this Harrison Ford Classic -- for free.
Time: 9pm

Coco

Aug 16
Jack London Square Ferry Lawn, Oakland

Singing is encouraged at this free waterfront screening that starts at sundown. Bring lots of layers, a blanket or low-back chair, and either a picnic or money to buy food from local vendors.
Time: Sundown

Coco

Aug 16
Courthouse Square, Redwood City

There are going to be kids and singing at the free showing of this Disney animated film, so prepare accordingly. Blankets and picnics are encouraged, but you can also grab takeout at a nearby restaurant or popcorn and candy at the concession stand.
Time: 8:45pm

Coco

Aug 17
Memorial Park Amphitheater, Cupertino

This isn’t technically a sing-along, but it will probably turn into one. Bring your blanket, low-back chair, and snacks for the free show.
Time: 8:15pm
 

sing
Universal Pictures

Sing

Aug 17
Emerald Glen Park, Dublin

It’s going to be hard not to sing along during this free screening in the park. The movie starts at dusk. Arrive early if you want to find a good spot for your blanket or low-back chair and get some food from the food trucks. Don’t forget to bring layers.
Time: Sundown

The Lost Boys

August 23
Courthouse Square, Redwood City

Grab a pizza at Vesta to enjoy on your picnic blanket while you watch this ‘80s classic on a 25-foot hi-def. screen with surround sound for free. It starts at sundown, which coincidentally is when the vampires come out.
Time: Sundown

School of Rock

Aug 24
Pier 39, San Francisco

Eat some clam chowder in a bread bowl before setting in on your blanket to watch a free screening of Jack Black comedy. And don’t forget to bring lots and lots of layers.
Time: 8pm

Wonder Woman

Aug 24
Memorial Park Amphitheater, Cupertino

Rotten Tomatoes listed Wonder Woman at number two on its “Best Superhero Movies of All Time List.” Now go see it for free under the stars. Don’t forget your blanket, low-back chair, and snacks.
Time: 8:15pm

Lady Bird

Aug 25
Washington Square Park, San Francisco

Find a place for your blanket and then send someone in your group across the street to Tony’s Pizza Napoletana to pick up a pie to enjoy while enjoying a free screening of this comedy-drama.
Time: Dusk

Black Panther

August 30
Courthouse Square, Redwood City

Watch this 2018 box office hit for free on a 25-foot high definition screen with surround sound. Bring a picnic and a blanket (and money to get popcorn and candy at the concession stand).
Time: Around 8:45

Black Panther

Aug 30
Jack London Square Ferry Lawn, Oakland

Catch one of 2018’s most popular movies for free. Dress warmly and bring a blanket or low-back chair. Get there early for trivia and giveaways and to buy food and wine from local vendors in case you didn’t bring your own picnic.
Time: Sundown

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

Sep 8
Union Square, San Francisco

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and watch this free movie in Union Square, you could miss it. Bring a blanket/low-back chair and warm clothes.
Time: Dusk

Films from local filmmakers (TBD)

Sep 8
Precita Park, San Francisco

Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema is showcasing the work of local filmmakers and musicians under the stars. Pack a picnic and layers. It’s free!
Time: Sundown

Black Panther

Sep 22
Dolores Park, San Francisco

There were lots of chances to see this hit for free while sitting under the stars, but this is your last of the summer. Bring a blanket and lots of layers and even though it will probably be cold, go get Bi-Rite ice cream after.
Time: Dusk

The Sandlot

Sep 29
Bennett Valley Golf Course, Santa Rosa

Get a side of live music and gourmet food trucks with your movie. Tickets are $10 (GA) or $15 (preferred seating).
Time: The fun starts at 5pm.

The Goonies

Oct 20
Bennett Valley Golf Course, Santa Rosa

Enjoy some live music before settling in on your blanket with food from five gourmet food trucks, none of which will be serving tongue. Tickets are $10 (GA) or $15 (preferred seating)
Time: The event kicks off at 5pm

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Claire Margine is the queen of popcorn toppings and picnic spreads. Follow her @cmoshenb or check out her work at ClaireMargine.com.