During the summer, the Bay Area basically doesn’t stop celebrating. Our communities host music festivals, weekly celebrations like Sunday Streets, family-friendly events like the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, and so much more. But one of our favorite summer activities is watching movies under the stars!
To make sure you don’t miss a second of the action, we rounded up 14 different events and summer movie series that celebrate our parks and your favorite flicks. In total, our guide has details for more than 80 free movie screenings. Keep reading to find out where you can watch this season!
And for more summer 2018 events, check out 19 Bay Area Summer Festivals for Music Lovers.
New this year, Millbrae is celebrating summer with food trucks, lawn games and a movie under the stars every third Friday of the month. Beginning with the first show on July 20th, the fun continues throughout the season. Come for the fun at 6 p.m. and the movie will begin around 8:30.
The town of Danville hosts Moonlight Movies on the Danville Town Green every other Friday from 6:30 – 10:30 p.m. throughout the summer. This year, the lineup is Back to the Future on June 15th, The Little Mermaid on June 29th, Coco on July 13th, Wonder Woman on July 27th and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on August 10th. The events are free, so just bring your blankets and your warm clothing!
Cinema at Sundown is a favorite amongst Cupertino families. Throughout the month of August, you can enjoy free admission to Memorial Park Amphitheater to see Beauty & the Beast on the 10th, Coco on the 17th, and Wonder Woman on the 24th. Don’t miss a second of the action!
Weather permitting, Pier 39 hosts Outdoor Movie Night periodically throughout the year. This summer, join them for School of Rock on August 24th beginning at 8 p.m. Swing by a waterfront eatery for dinner beforehand and bring your blankets! Follow the team on Facebook for updates on more events and free movie nights.
Photo courtesy of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
This regional favorite invites you to watch movies oceanside in Santa Cruz! Wednesday nights beginning at 9 p.m. from June 20 – August 15, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will be screening eight free movies. A few of the options include The Lost Boys, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Jumanji and Ghostbusters! See the full schedule here.
This free summer movie series at Emerald Glen Park happens on the third Friday of the month, June through August. That means you can enjoy three movies this summer: Moana on June 15th, Star Wars: The Force Awakens on July 20th and Sing on August 17th. Food trucks and other snack vendors will be on hand as well!
Emeryville’s Dive-In Summer Movie is scheduled for July 20th this year. Beginning at 6:30 p.m., you’re invited to bring your own snacks, a picnic blanket, folding chairs, rafts and floats to watch The Little Mermaid while sitting poolside or floating in the pool. Food will be sold on site and lifeguards will be on duty as well.
Each summer, the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation puts together an impressive schedule of free, outdoor summer movies. Taking place in various neighborhood parks throughout the city, you can enjoy classics one week and new hits the next. Last year’s lineup included The Breakfast Club, La La Land, and the original Beauty and the Beast. Check the website for updates on 2018 events.
Photo courtesy of Jack London Square
Each year, Jack London Square puts together an impressive program of free movie screenings, which you can enjoy on the waterfront. This summer’s events are scheduled every other Thursday evening at sundown on the Jack London Square Ferry Lawn with pre-film festivities including trivia, prize giveaways and, of course, good eats!
The series kicks off June 21st with Oakland Athletic’s Night and a screening of The Sandlot! Come back July 5th for The Greatest Showman, July 19th for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, August 2nd for Bridesmaids, August 16th for Coco, and August 30th for Black Panther.
Free Starlight Movies in the Park is back this summer in Alameda! On June 22nd, July 27th and September 7th, you can enjoy pre-show games and crafts beginning at 6:30 p.m. then laugh along with Despicable Me 3, Sing, and Coco, respectively. Snacks and food will be available for purchase and proceeds support the Teen Program! Check the website for full event details including rules and different event locations.
The City of Mountain View is showing just how parks make life better with a free summer movie series taking place in various parks throughout the area. From July 13th – August 17th, the movie lineup includes Ferdinand, Despicable Me 3, Lego Ninjago, Cars 3, Smurfs: The Lost Village, and Coco. To see specific dates and park locations, click here.
Thursday evening in Courthouse Square means movie time in Redwood City! This year, the free series is scheduled from June 7th – August 30th. Bring your blankets and the whole family to enjoy 13 different movies throughout the season with high definition surround sound on the 25-foot outdoor screen. There will also be a small snack bar on site serving up popcorn, candy and water.
In the Park After Dark Movie Night | Santa Clara County
Santa Clara County is hosting 26 In the Park After Dark Movie Nights this summer! Taking place at various parks throughout the county and beginning at various times after dark, you can enjoy family-friendly movies while lounging with your blankets and your snacks. The free series kicks off May 26th at Vasona and continues through September 7th at Santa Teresa. To see the full summer schedule, click here.
On June 16th, they’re hosting a special In the Park After Dark Campout at Santa Teresa. Beginning at 7 p.m., you can enjoy a feature-length movie under the night sky followed by a campfire and s’mores. Then, the second feature-length movie begins! Bring your own camping supplies for an overnight stay because the event doesn’t end until 8 a.m. the next morning! Cost is $15 per camping family and $6 per vehicle.
Movie Night at the Lake | Morgan Hill
Also hosted by Santa Clara County, Movie Night at the Lake has four summer dates: May 25th, June 15th, July 20th and August 24th. Beginning at 8:30 p.m., you can come early to learn about wildlife then settle down for a free, feature-length film screening with Anderson Lake as the backdrop! To see the full summer schedule, click here.
Where will you be watching this summer?
If we missed your favorite outdoor summer movie event, let us know in the comments below!