Parenting  |  Things to Do

Free Outdoor Summer Movies Your Kids (and You!) Will Love

From '80s favorites and Hollywood classics to today's hottest animated flicks and action packed blockbusters.

Free Outdoor Summer Movies Your Kids (and You!) Will Love
Photo courtesy of A.E. Landes Photography for Golden Triangle BID.

Once you add up the cost of tickets and goodies from the concession stand (how much was that popcorn?!!?), a trip to the movies is not a cheap proposition. Especially when your little one insists on bringing along a best friend or two. Lucky for your family’s budget, there are plenty of free outdoor movies your kids will love this summer. So prep your preferred popcorn, cram a cooler full of drinks, and grab a blanket.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

Where: Films in the Park; Mosaic, Strawberry Park, 2905 District Ave., Fairfax

When: Sunday, July 2, at 6 PM

Other options: The Lorax on June 25, The Little Mermaid on July 16, Tangled on August 6; all at 6 PM

Finding Dory

Where: Golden Cinema; Farragut Park, 912 17th St., NW

When: Friday, July 14, at sunset

Other options: Moana on June 16, Ghostbusters (2016) on July 7 and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on August 4; all at sunset

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Where: Alexandria Comcast Film Festival; Waterfront Park, 1A Prince St., Alexandria

When: Saturday, July 15, at dusk

Other option: Moana on July 14 at dusk


Where: Cinema Del Ray; Mount Vernon Rec Center Fields, 2701 Commonwealth Ave., Alexandria

When: Saturday, July 15, at dusk

Other options: Beauty and the Beast (animated version) on August 19 and Moana on September 16; both at dusk

The Wizard of Oz

Where: Bethesda Outdoor Movies; Woodmont Triangle (the intersection of Norfolk Avenue and Auburn Avenue), Bethesda

When: Tuesday, July 18, at 8 PM

Other options: Field of Dreams on July 19, Dead Poets Society on July 20; both at 8 PM


Where: Movies on the Potomac; National Harbor, 165 Waterfront St., National Harbor

When: Sunday, July 23, at 6 PM

Other options: Happy Feet and Frozen on July 16 at 4 PM, Monsters, Inc. on July 30 at 6 PM, The Karate Kid (1984) and The Karate Kid (2010) on August 13 at 4 PM

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Where: LOC Summer Movies on the Lawn; Library of Congress, Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St., SE

When: Thursday, July 27, at 8 PM. Register for complimentary tickets, though they are not required.

Other options: The Princess Bride on July 13, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on July 20 and Back to the Future on August 3; all at 8 PM

The Avengers

Where: Rosslyn Cinema + Pub in the Park; Gateway Park, 1300 Lee Hwy., Arlington

When: Friday, August 18, at 6 PM

Other options: GoldenEye on July 7 and Mary Poppins on August 25; both at 6 PM

The Lego Batman Movie

Where: Silver Screens; Veterans Plaza, 1 Veterans Pl., Silver Spring

When: Friday, August 18, at 8 PM

Other options: Back to the Future Part II on August 11, Purple Rain on August 25; both at 8 PM


Where: Comcast Xfinity Outdoor Film Festival; the Mansion at Strathmore, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda

When: Thursday, August 24, at 7:30 PM

Other options: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on August 25, The Lego Batman Movie on August 26; both at 7:30 PM


Where: Starlight Cinema; Trinity Centre, 5860 Trinity Pkwy., Centreville

When: Saturday, August 26, at 6 PM

Other options: Moana on August 5, Finding Dory on August 12, Zootopia on August 19; all at 6 PM

Parenting writer

Nevin Martell is a parenting, food, and travel writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, New York Times, Saveur, Men’s Journal, Fortune, Travel + Leisure, Runner’s World, and many other publications. He is author of eight books, including It’s So Good: 100 Real Food Recipes for Kids, Red Truck Bakery Cookbook: Gold-Standard Recipes from America’s Favorite Rural Bakery, and the small-press smash Looking for Calvin and Hobbes: The Unconventional Story of Bill Watterson and His Revolutionary Comic Strip. When he isn’t working, he loves spending time with his wife and their six-year-old son, who already runs faster than he does.