Free summer-night flicks (for couples, friends or families) in NYC parks

You can watch free movies on Monday evenings in Bryant Park.
You can watch free movies on Monday evenings in Bryant Park.

Everyone knows entertainment in NYC does not come cheap. If you’re traveling as a couple, you have to budget money for nice dinners, drinks, clubs, and shows, and costs add up just as quickly for families, who have to pay for mom, dad, and the kids. But, thanks to the city’s fantastic FREE summer movie screenings in several locations, you can have an entertaining night under the stars that won’tbreak the bank. Grab a sandwich to go, a blanket, an ice cream cone, and spread out, kick back and relax in these New York City parks or under these New York City skylines.

1. Bryant Park Movie Screenings (Sponsored by HBO and Time Warner Cable)

  • Genre: Classic films such as Goldfinger, Carousel and The French Connection
  • Where: 42nd Street and 6th Ave
  • When: Monday nights at Sunset from June through August
  • Set Up: Access to the grass for blankets and picnicking starts at 5:00pm. Movies usually start between 8-9:00 pm.
  • Weather: Shows will be canceled due to rain and not rescheduled.
  • More Information: 212-512-5700
  • Tip: The lawn fills up quite early so it’s worth showing up in advance and staking claim to a spot.

Stay near Bryant Park at the Bryant Park Hotel.

2. Hudson River Movie Screenings

  • Genre: Classic films and kids' films -- great for families.
  • Where: Pier 46 (Charles St and the Hudson River)
  • When: July and August (dates vary), movies begin at sundown around 8-9:00pm.
  • Set Up: Free popcorn, other beverages and snacks are available for purchase. There is also limited seating so definitely arrive early.

Stay near the Hudson at the Mandarin Oriental.

3. Riverside Park South

  • Where: Pier 1,Riverside Park South, enter from 70th St. by the Hudson River
  • When: Movies run on Wednesday nights in July and August, and start at 8:30pm.
  • Set Up: There is a limited amount of seating available on the pier.
  • More Information: Download the entire Hudson Summer Schedule here.

Stay near Riverside Park South at Ink48.

4. Central Park Film Festival

  • Theme: “Be Cool” is this year’s festival theme. Movies will feature actresses and actors that epitomize “cool”… the 5-night line up is TBA.
  • Where: Rumsey Playfield (enter the park at 69th St. and 5th Ave.)
  • When: Late August
  • Set Up: Gates open at 6:00pm. Movies start at 8:00pm.
  • Weather: Shows will run, rain or shine.
  • More Information: http://www.centralpark.com/pages/activities/movies.html

Stay near Central Park at The Ritz-Carlton.

5. Brooklyn Bridge Park Movies With A View

  • Genre: Random--lineup includes The Big Lebowski, Brokeback Mountain, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
  • Where: Old Fulton Street, Brooklyn, on Pier 1
  • When: Thursdays in July and August, movies being at sundown between 8-9:00 pm.
  • Tip: DJs from Brooklyn Radio will spin tunes before the show starts as you wait on the grass. Bike valet provided by Transportation Alternatives.

Stay in Brooklyn at the Nu Hotel.

- Patty Hodapp, Lost Girls World

[Photo Credit: Flickr/wallyg]

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