Your Guide To San Diego’s Best Outdoor Movie VenuesNightlife Beach blankets, check. S'mores, check. We're ready for you, Summer nights!
Obviously, one of the biggest benefits of living in San Diego is the picture perfect weather, and we San Diegans know how to take full advantage of it. This summer, we can expect to spend days soaking up the sun at the beach, taking a dip in the local pool and enjoying all that our fine city has to offer for summer fun in the sun.
But what do we do after dark? We could catch a flick under the stars. After all, even after the summer sun sinks into the Pacific, we’re still left with pleasant evening temperatures that make outdoor movie viewing an absolute must.
There are many options, from pop-up movies in neighborhood parks to local restaurants and hotels offering films on their lawns, beaches and pool decks.
Here are a few hot spots to add to your list of must-see outdoor movie venues:
Stop by Stone at Liberty Station on Tuesdays for a double whammy of watching a classic film and drinking a beer or two. Kicking off with The Big Lebowski on June 6th, this free weekly movie event continues through the end of August with showings of Spaceballs, Superbad, Pulp Fiction and more.
Check out the full calendar below to pick your favorite movie and be sure to show up early as space is limited. Although the film starts 15 minutes after sunset, you may want to secure your spot on the lawn with blankets and chairs early and plan to grab a bite at the brewery before. Just let the host know that you’re there for the movie!
- June 6: The Big Lebowski
- June 13: The Endless Summer
- June 20: Spaceballs
- June 27: Boondock Saints
- July 11: Superbad
- July 18: Major League
- July 25: Caddy Shack
- August 1: Pulp Fiction
- August 8: Dazed and Confused
- August 15: Snatch
- August 22: Reservoir Dogs
- August 29: The Princess Bride
What could be more San Diego than watching a movie on the beach? The Hotel Del Coronado summer series has moved from the lawn to the sands of Del Beach. Bring your own blanket and watch the movie for free, reserve a cozy beach chair in advance for $15 or splurge on the $250 family movie package for four, which includes a private beach bonfire, all the fixin’s for s’mores, two beach chairs and a day bed.
The films range from modern family favorites, like Moana and Finding Dory, to cult classics, like E.T. and The Wizard of Oz. The whole summer schedule is listed below so you can find your favorite in advance:
- May 26: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
- June 2: Moana
- June 9: Ghostbusters
- June 16: Sing
- June 30: Raiders of the Lost Ark
- July 7: Hook
- July 21: Star Wars – Rogue One
- July 28: Finding Dory
- August 11: The Lego Batman Movie
- August 19: Fantastic Beasts
- August 25: Wizard of Oz
- September 16: Back to the Future
Just about every neighborhood in San Diego is taking part in the free Summer Movies in the Park event at some point this summer. Presented by Sharp Rees-Steely Medical Centers, you can catch a wide range of flicks under the night sky without leaving the comfort of your community. All showings are free but some areas may require paid parking.
Check out Finding Nemo on August 5th on the deck of the USS Midway or catch the LEGO Batman Movie at Kate O. Sessions Park in Pacific Beach on August 25th. The summer line-up kicks off on May 20th at the Old Town Trolley Barn Neighborhood Park with E.T. and continues through October.
The full line-up is massive, including tons of great movies in over a dozen locations; check out some highlights below, or visit www.summermoviesinthepark.com to see the full list of movies and locations.
- May 20: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
- May 26: Moana
- May 27: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
June 3: The Sandlot
- June 16: Grease
- July 1: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- July 8: The Jungle Book
- July 15: Zootopia
- August 5: Finding Nemo
- August 25: LEGO Batman Movie
- September 23: The Avengers
- October 20: The Nightmare Before Christmas
- October 21: The Princess Bride
Here’s an outdoor movie experience you can have throughout the year! Cinema Under the Stars is a constant fixture in Mission Hills. The theater regularly shows current movies during the winter and spring but focuses on classic films during the summer.
Expect to see iconic films like Pretty in Pink, Singin’ in the Rain and Raiders of the Lost Ark on the 20 foot screen while you recline in the provided zero gravity chairs. There’s even a retractable roof, blankets and heat lamps if, for some reason, the San Diego weather decides to act up. Tickets cost $17 at the box office and $19 with advanced online purchase. The full summer calendar is listed below so you can start to plan your movie date now, but tickets are only on sale for the current weekend starting on the Wednesday prior.
- May 4: To Catch A Thief
- May 11: Forrest Gump
- May 18: Top Gun
- May 25: Roman Holiday
- June 2: Rear Window
- June 3: Singin in the Rain
- June 8: Out of the Past
- June 15: Raiders of the Lost Ark
- June 22: Suspicion
- June 24: Pretty In Pink
Watch a movie poolside at The Pearl in Point Loma. This hotel offers a different classic film each Wednesday at 8 p.m. throughout the year. Admission is free but the pool is only open to hotel guests or movie goers who buy a drink at the adjoining restaurant and bar. Films are projected onto a 10×13 foot screen that overlooks the pool, making for a unique viewing experience that is perfect for San Diego!
So far, we’ve got the schedule through June listed below – with films like The Graduate and Almost Famous – but check back on The Pearl’s website for updates and the rest of the summer schedule.
- May 3: Selena
- May 10: Monty Python’s Holy Grail
- May 17: Ace Ventura Pet Detective
- May 24: The Graduate
- May 31: Sixteen Candles
- June 7: Almost Famous
- June 14: Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
- June 21: Grease
- June 28: Spaceballs
This summer Carlsbad Village will host a weekly movie night for the young and the young-at-heart on Thursdays during July and August at The Fountain. The free family friendly movies start at dusk and include Minions, Field of Dreams and Inside Out.
Arrive early to claim your spot with blankets and low-back chairs when seating opens at 6 p.m. Bring a picnic or pick up a bite at one of the Village’s many restaurants to dine under the stars while you wait for the movie to begin. Take a peek at the full movie schedule below and mark your calendar!
- June 7: Minions
- June 14: Field of Dreams
- June 21: Honey I Shrunk the Kids
- June 28: Cinderella
- August 4: Swiss Family Robinson
- August 11: Inside Out
- August 18: Earth to Echo
- August 25: Zootopia
What do you get when you mix food trucks, local bands and a movie? Street Food Cinema, of course! The event will be held in various parks around San Diego this summer, starting with The Princess Bride in Balboa Park on May 20th with music by the Tearaways. Doors open at 5:30, the band takes the stage at 6:30 and the movie starts at 8:30.
Each movie night will feature several food trucks to entice your taste buds with yummy eats. Tickets are available in advance for $13 or with reserved seating near the front for $18. Be aware that everyone is responsible for bringing their own chair or blanket as the venues don’t provide seating. Advanced purchase is recommended but a limited number of tickets may be available at the door for an extra $3.
We’ve got the movie guide for all shows here, but check their website for more info including show time, featured band and food truck selection.
- May 20: The Princess Bride
- June 3: Clueless
- June 17: La La Land
- July 15: Raiders of the Lost Ark
- August 12: The Breakfast Club
- August 26: Fight Club
- September 9: Dirty Dancing
- September 23: 500 Days of Summer
- October 21: The Nightmare Before Christmas
If you’re a fan of artsy films as opposed to major blockbusters, be sure to check out the San Diego Museum of Art’s Screen on the Green movie series. During August, the museum will show a different film each Thursday night starting at 8 p.m. on the botanical lawn.
The films, which are inspired by the museum’s permanent collection, include Picture of Dorian Gray on August 10th and Midnight in Paris on August 31st.
- August 3: Goya’s Ghosts
- August 10: Picture of Dorian Gray
- August 17: How to Steal a Million
- August 24: Séraphine
- August 31: Midnight in Paris