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Where to watch free outdoor movies in Philly this summer

From lush parks to scenic rooftops, explore the best spots to watch movies under the stars.

This summer you can enjoy free blockbusters, musicals, and independent movies screening outdoors.
This summer you can enjoy free blockbusters, musicals, and independent movies screening outdoors.Read moreThe Schuylkill Banks / The Schuylkill Banks

Philadelphia’s summer evenings are perfect for enjoying outdoor movie nights under the stars. Whether you’re lounging on a rooftop, nestled in a historic garden, or relaxing in one of the city’s many beautiful parks, there’s a screening for everyone. From timeless classics to recent blockbusters, these movie nights provide a delightful mix of entertainment for all ages.

Bring your own blankets and chairs, pack a picnic, or enjoy the snacks and drinks available at various locations. Get ready to experience the magic of cinema in unique settings across the city.

Fresh air, green landscapes, and the sun setting behind the Philly skyline — that’s what you get at movie nights at the Schuylkill Banks. Screenings take place every Thursday around sunset and run through August. Catch the next Schuylkill Banks film either at the Grays Ferry Crescent Esplanade or by the grassy area north of the Walnut Street Bridge. Don’t forget to bring your own blanket or chair, and arrive early to find a good spot. You are welcome to bring food, but free soft pretzels, popcorn, water, sodas, and seltzers are available on-site.

Don’t let August slip away without heading to Clark Park for a free movie on the first three Fridays of the month. Screening times vary. There won’t be snacks on-site, but you can pack a picnic or check out the local restaurant scene before or after the film. Don’t forget to RSVP!

Not feeling like sitting on grass to watch an outdoor movie? Check out Sunset Social just west of the Schuylkill in University City. Located 12 stories above ground level, this rooftop bar has a 60-foot screen with the Philly skyline as a backdrop. Movies screen at 7 p.m. every Wednesday through Sept. 21. If you get hot, check out the $15 frozen cocktails.

Let movies be an excuse to get to know other neighborhoods. Throughout summer, the Philadelphia Film Society screens a different movie in different neighborhoods. Screenings include additional fun like lawn games or bounce houses, local art performances, and snacks. Activities begin at 6 p.m.

As part of the Oval’s seasonal pop-up, you can now watch free movies. A new movie will light up the Oval’s screen, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, on Fridays between July 12 and Aug. 23. Enjoy it with a drink from MilkBoy, which operates the beer garden this season.

Grab your blankets and set out in the garden for a spell. Bartram’s Garden — America’s oldest botanical garden and a National Historic Landmark — hosts several special screenings of family-favorite films this summer through Friday, August 30. The movie starts at sunset, but come out early for pre-show nature-themed activities with the Pennsylvania Game Commission beginning at 7 p.m.

Through Friday, October 18, film screens are popping up at public parks across the city for the free summer Movies in Philly’s Parks series. Featuring a fun mix of timeless family favorites and more recent classics-in-the-making, this special program is hosted by Park Friends Groups in partnership with Philadelphia Parks & Recreation and Fairmount Park Conservancy and invites you to visit more than 35 different city green spaces from South Philly to the Northeast this summer and fall.

In addition to the plethora of First Friday festivities in Philadelphia’s Historic District, the Betsy Ross House holds First Friday Movies Under the Stars and Stripes screenings in the historic house’s courtyard through October. Admission is $8 per person and includes an after-hours tour of the house. Guests are encouraged to bring their own food and wine to indulge in while they enjoy these throwback cult classics.