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5 Spots To Watch An Outdoor Movie This Summer In The DMV

By Lauren Piot

5 Spots To Watch An Outdoor Movie This Summer In The DMV

Spend an evening out of the house either outside or in your air-conditioned car and watch a movie under the stars.

When the weather is nice out and the cool air is sweet, watching a movie outside is the perfect activity to take advantage of summer nights. Luckily the DMV area has many places that offer outdoor cinemas, whether that’s a drive-in or out in a park.


1. Library of Congress Lawn

From July 8 to August 5, every Thursday a movie from the National Film Registry will be projected onto a screen right in the heart of DC on the Library of Congress lawn. No reservations can be made so first arrived are first served. Guests will be assigned a section that is six feet apart from other groups, ensuring social distancing. The schedule is as follows:

  • July 8: The Princess Bride
  • July 15: Shrek
  • July 22: Toy Story
  • July 29: The Sound of Music (audience sing-along)
  • Aug. 5: Jurassic Park

Where: 10 First St SE, Washington, DC 20543

2. DowntownDC Summer Flicks–Can I Kick It?

In partnership with the National Building Museum Block Party, The DowntownDC BID and Shaolin Jazz are showcasing movies on the National Building Museum lawn. Each film will have its own original soundtrack mixed by DJs specializing in hip-hop, soul, and other genres of music. Swinging benches and tables will be set up for attendees who are encouraged to start arriving as of 7:30 p.m. Attendees, will be seated socially distanced on Lisa Marie Thalhammer‘s lawn design that is part of the Summer Block Party’s exhibit.  Some films are rated PG-13 and R, so that is something to keep in mind if visitors are planning to bring children. Here is the lineup:

  • July 6: Minority Report, PG-13
  • July 13: Tron: Legacy, PG
  • July 20: I-Robot, PG-13
  • July 27: Mad Max: Fury Road, R

Where: 401 F St NW, Washington, DC 20001

3. Sunset Cinema at The Wharf

The Wharf often hosts movie nights on their Transit Pier, now they are hosting a series of classic movies all summer! Admission is free, visitors must simply reserve their spot in advance here. Seated around tables under tents, attendees will all have a great view of the giant screen and socially distanced from other groups. Each movie begins at 8 p.m. and attendees can get seated as of 7:30 p.m. Below is the schedule for July, August, and September:


  • July 8: Goonies
  • July 15: 42
  • July 22: Girls Trip
  • July 29: Best in Show
  • August 5: Jersey Boys
  • August 12: Ratatouille
  • August 19: Ford v Ferrari 
  • August 26: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • September 2: Office Space

Where: Transit Pier- 970 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024

4. Union Market Drive-In

On the first Friday of every month, Union Market will be set up to display their 9th Annual Drive-In! Vehicles and people on foot are welcome and will be gathered on the parking lot for the outdoor movie. Attendees will be able to purchase food and drinks from the vendors of the market to substitute as movie snacks. The start of the movie will depend on the sunset and will begin once the sun is fully set, but the parking lot opens for attendees to settle it at 7:30 p.m. Below is the movie schedule for the next couple of months:

  • August 6: Sister Act
  • September 3: Crazy Rich Asians
  • October 1: Cruella

Where: 1309 5th Street NE Washington, DC 20002

5. Family Drive-In Theater

This theater is especially for attendees who have small children to enjoy a lovely night together! They offer double features to watch back-to-back movies for a very low admissions price, adults pay $10 and children $5. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and the first movie begins at 9 p.m. or when it gets dark out. They have two screens so two back-to-back movies can be watched at the same time. Movies are added to the schedule every Monday evening, so keep an eye out for your favorite one. This Drive-In is located an hour and a half away from the city, but for two movies at such a good price, it seems worth it! Here are the movies scheduled so far:

  • July 7: Boss Baby 2 / Cruella or F9: The Fast Saga / Quiet Place 2
  • July 8: Boss Baby 2 / F9: The Fast Saga or Black Widow / Cruella
  • July 9 to 15: Black Widow / Cruella or Boss Baby 2/ F9: The Fast Sage

Where: 5890 Valley Pike, Stephens City, VA 22655


[Featured image: @downtowndcbid / Instagram]

In other news: The National Building Museum’s Summer Block Party Is Happening Now