Best Outdoor Movie Experiences in the Washington, D.C. Area

June 27, 2014 8:00 AM

(Photo credit: Haakon Mosvold/AFP/Getty Images)

Summer in Washington, D.C. means heat and humidity, but also a lot of outdoor events. There will be various music festivals, cultural festivals, parades and more. What many families look forward to is the outdoor movie screenings. Here are a few of the best outdoor movie events to add to your calendar this summer.

Rosslyn Summer Film Festival
Gateway Park
1300 Lee Highway
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 228-6525

You can have fun during any season, but the summer just always seems more fun. The Rosslyn Summer Film Festival tries to help you make every weekend in the summer a fun one. Every Friday night from the end of May to the end of August, you can catch a free film in Gateway Park starting at 8 p.m. And if you come early, you can have even more fun with playing games and winning prizes. This year’s theme is “Working For The Weekend,” and the series of films will be based on work. Start off your weekend laughing and relating to the comical, annoying and stressful aspects about working.

Bengies Drive-In Theatre
3417 Eastern Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21220
(410) 687-5627

The drive-in was a huge part of teenage life in the 50s and 60s; playing a part in a few cult favorites like “Grease” and “American Graffiti.” There are very few drive-ins that have survived over the years. But people still love the novelty of the dwindling industry, seeking them out for nostalgia and family fun. If you are in the Baltimore area, or are willing to make the trip, Bengies Drive-In Theatre has been in business for nearly six decades. Along with new releases, the theatre shows classic cartoons, has live concerts and has double and triple features. And with the biggest screen in the country, you will not have to worry about not being able to see anything.

Screen On The Green
National Mall
Between 7th St. and 9th St.
Washington, DC
(877) 262-5866

Presented by HBO, Screen On The Green is one of the best outdoor movie events in the country. Hundreds of people gather on the National Mall to watch classic films that defined a generation, changed the landscape of film and catapulted people into stardom. Families, friends, tourists and locals bring food and blankets to have a picnic while watching a movie. It is also best to prepare for insects and rain; the movies will be screened rain or shine. You can’t say there is nothing fun to do on Monday nights in July and August in DC.

Related: Best Parks In Washington, D.C.

The Family Drive-In
5890 Valley Pike
Stephens City, VA 22655
(540) 514-6145

The Family Drive-In is a fun place to bring the whole family and enjoy a night out together. This dog-friendly drive-in theater has been entertaining families since 1956. Along with new releases, the theater offers a concession stand, a playground for children and special events, including special premiere events, theme nights and an anniversary event.

NoMa Summer Screen
L St., between 2nd St. and 3rd St. N.E.
Washington, DC 20002

Date: Through Aug. 20, 2014

For the past years, North Massachusetts Avenue, or NoMa, has transformed itself, complete with a trendy name change, into a place where the young and hip want to live and play. The NoMa Summer Screen attracts mostly the twenty- and thirty-something crowd looking for something fun to do on a Wednesday night. With food trucks, giveaways, music and more, this summer movie event is a great alternative to the usual happy hour or trivia night. This year’s theme is “Unlikely Friendships,” including “Clueless,” “Pitch Perfect,” “Back to the Future” and other great fan favorites. Bring a blanket, picnic basket and have fun with old friends, and make some new ones.

Related: Best Indie Movie Theaters In Washington, D.C.

Folashade Oyegbola is a freelance writer covering all things D.C. Her work can be found on

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