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Movie screenings are a year-round fixture in Los Angeles, but summer in L.A. features a very particular type of screening: the outdoor kind. While summer may be winding down soon, there’s still plenty of opportunities to catch a movie on the beach, by the pool, on rooftops or even in a legendary Hollywood cemetery. Whether you’re looking to brush up on cult classics or catch a contemporary film, end the summer with The Hollywood Reporter‘s guide to the many outdoor screening series in L.A. for August and September.
Swim Up Cinema
Tuesdays, through Sept. 9
The NoMad L.A.
Head to the rooftop of the NoMad hotel for the first-ever summer movie series featuring water-themed movies and a concession stand featuring snacks, wine and cocktails. The fare is limited — kettle corn, bbq chips, ice cream sandiwches and the hotel’s namesake candy bar are on offer — but pair perfectly with a Downtown rooftop screening.The series kicks off with the film The Beach. Doors open at 6pm with the show beginning at 8pm. Note the $1 entrance fee.
Aug. 11, Sept. 1-2, and Oct. 20-21
Huntington State Beach at Newland & PCH
This series is pretty family-oriented (no movies above PG-13), offering recent hits like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Coco and Black Panther, as well as the Tom Hanks-starring Sully and the Tom Cruise classic Top Gun in October. They also offer free admission for kids 3 and under. The screenings take place right on the beach, so bring your own chair or blanket.
Saturdays and Sundays, through Aug. 26
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Cinespia shows movies on a field inside the Hollywood Forever cemetery, the resting place for such figures as Cecil B. DeMille, Johnny Ramone and Jayne Mansfield. DJs play music while the sun sets and after the screening. This is another bring-your-own-seat venue; blankets, pillows and low chairs are recommended. Cinespia skews more adult — and unlike at BeachFront, outside wine and beer are allowed, and upcoming screenings include Big and The Outsiders.
Saturdays (and two Friday screenings), through Sept. 15
Various locations: L.A. State Park, Centennial Square at Pasadena City Hall, Autry Museum in Griffith Park, La Cienega Park, North Hollywood Recreation Center
Eat|See|Hear rotates venues with each screening, moving between Griffith Park, Pasadena City Hall and La Cienega Park in Beverly Hills among others. All venues, however, feature a curated selection of food trucks, a musical guest and “the largest outdoor screen on the West Coast” (according to their website). All also allow dogs. This year’s screenings feature classics from the ’60s to the last decade, and run the gamut from family-friendly titles like The Sandlot and Back to the Future to hard R-rated films like Boogie Nights and Inglourious Basterds.
Free Movies in the Park
Saturdays, through Aug. 4
Another family-friendly series, this one offers kids’ activities starting at 6:30 p.m., with pizza, snacks and drinks available for sale. Admission, as the name implies, is free. There are two screenings left for this venue: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (that’s the Gene Wilder version) and The Lego Ninjago Movie.
Melrose Rooftop Theatre
Sunday-Thursday, through Aug. 29
E.P. & L.P.
Attached to E.P. & L.P. in West Hollywood, the Melrose Rooftop Theatre offers a VIP “Dinner & a Movie” package for $65 that includes a three-course meal at E.P. restaurant and a reserved beanbag seat for the movie. There are also optional “love seats” available for couples. Whether you opt for these or not, each viewer receives a headset to have the film’s audio piped directly into their ears and diminish surrounding outdoor noise. This year’s offerings include a wide range of older favorites, cult classics and recent hits, including Labyrinth, Inception and Avengers: Infinity War. The theatre is also hosting a special Art Women Art Week event from August 19 through 26, featuring art installations, talks and presentations and special screenings of titles like Frida, Thelma & Louise and The Devil Wears Prada.
Moonlight Movies on the Beach
Thursday, Aug. 9; and Tuesdays, through Aug. 21
Granada Beach, Alamitos Beach (Long Beach)
Presented by Alfredo’s Beach Club, this series offers food trucks, VIP seating and free admission as well as an assortment of (mostly) kid-appropriate films including Jaws, Mary Poppins and The Karate Kid. All screenings are at Granada Beach except for the August 9 presentation of The Lion King, at Alamitos Beach in Long Beach.
Movies on the Green in Warner Park
Saturdays, through Aug. 18
Warner Park in Woodland Hills
While somewhat far from L.A. proper, this locale offers another family-friendly screening series with free admission (though there is a $10 parking fee at the parking structure next door to help cover costs). This Movies on the Green season offers a full concession stand and such titles as Coco, Black Panther, and as a throwback, Grease.
Tuesdays, through Aug. 28
Mr. C Beverly Hills
One of the more high-end offerings, the Mr. C hotel allows you to pre-reserve seats with pre-fixed menus of dinner, cocktails and snacks for $35 or $45 per person. The film slate offers a mixture of recent and older favorites, including Coco, The Breakfast Club, Lady Bird and The Goonies.
Rooftop Cinema Club
Nightly except Mondays, through Aug. 31
NeueHouse and LEVEL
This popular series alternates screenings at LEVEL in downtown L.A. and NeueHouse in Hollywood, and much like the Melrose Theatre, offers wireless headphones, deck chair seating, and optional “love seats.” There are also age restrictions: 18 and up for LEVEL, 21 and up for NeueHouse. Rooftop, too, offers a highly diverse slate, ranging from Space Jam and The Little Mermaid to Donnie Darko and Death Becomes Her to Chinatown and Casablanca among many, many others.
San Fernando Valley Summer Drive-In Nights
Fridays and Saturdays, Aug. 3-11
Lake Balboa Complex
Though this series consists of only four screenings, it offers the chance for a drive-in movie experience with in-car seating. There is also pre-show entertainment included with a ticket purchase. The slate consists of three ’80s favorites — Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Back to the Future Part II and Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure — and the 1997 biopic Selena.
Silver Lake Picture Show
Every other Thursday, through Sept. 13
Sunset Triangle Plaza
This series also has free admission, as well as a pre-show for each movie that includes a DJ, food on offer from local restaurants and a short film from a local filmmaker for each screening. Another bring-your-own-seat venue, the Plaza allows higher chairs (more than six inches off the ground) if you set up in the back half. Upcoming shows include Remember the Titans, Sister Act, Get Out and Rush Hour.
Skyline Sound & Cinema
Every other Thursday, through Aug. 9
The Bloc Los Angeles
Hosted in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse, Skyline Sound & Cinema offers open-air bars, food from local vendors and a variety of pre-show entertainment including live musical performances in downtown L.A. (Their screening of I, Tonya on July 12 featured an in-person interview with Tonya Harding herself.) This venue, too, is 21 and up, so leave the kids at home. You have one more ’80s classic to catch before the series ends: Die Hard on August 9.
Street Food Cinema
Saturdays, through Oct. 27
Another popular series, Street Food Cinema hops from place to place with a full summer night experience including a rotating slate of food trucks, live music, games and, of course, screenings. Their slate also offers something for everyone, with titles including The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Xanadu, Bridesmaids and Moonrise Kingdom.
WP24 Supper + Show
Fridays and Saturdays, through Aug. 25
WP24 at the Ritz-Carlton at L.A. Live
Perhaps the fanciest screening series available, WP24’s Supper + Show includes, for $75 a person, a two-course meal at Wolfgang Puck’s WP24 Restaurant, followed by a movie with an unlimited dessert bar on the Ritz-Carlton’s rooftop terrace. There are also reserved seats with heat lamps and blankets, and a rooftop bar with snacks and cocktails available for purchase. The remaining slate consists of Pitch Perfect, Clueless, Viva Las Vegas and 1991’s Father of the Bride.
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