Free open-air movie screenings are a beloved summer tradition in New York City. On the rooftops or in parks, they offer some iconic views of the city skyline and both retrospective classic cinema or today's blockbusters. Some of the best summer film festivals include the Bryant Park Summer Film Series by HBO with classic movies and picnicking and Hudson RiverFlicks with its free popcorn.
Bryant Park has been hosting the HBO-sponsored series for a few decades. It’s one of the most popular summer movie events in New York City, so arrive early to get a spot on the lawn. The Lawn opens at 5 pm on Mondays.
Summer on the Hudson where movies are screened on Pier 1 in Riverside Park South, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park Summer Film Series with music before the screenings and a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge. There is also the Outdoor Cinema in Socrates Sculpture Park with live performances and an excellent background of the Manhattan skyline, the Red Hook Flicks with screenings on the picturesque Valentino Pier in Brooklyn, and the SummerScreen in McCarren Park.
Even when summer is over, it doesn't mean there are no more outdoor screenings! Get a warm blanket and head to Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City. Free fall Fridays movie screenings take place in September and October. The park features spacious lawns, gardens, and public artwork. But note that Note the lawns of Rockefeller Park are dog-free.