Lights! Cameras! Action! Seeing Outdoor Movies in Seattle

Saturday night has grown into a full-fledged outdoor movie movement that returns every summer in Seattle. Although the focus has shifted from interesting movies like “The Mysterians” and “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” to mainstream movies and classics like “Star Wars,” “The Princess Bride,” and “The Big Lebowski,” one thing hasn’t changed. Many still have as much action off the screen as they do on screen with crazy competitions, goofy games, and other forms of entertainment to keep audiences amused while they wait for darkness to fall.

Most audience members show up early because the lines get long and also because it gives them time to get a good spot, set up their chairs, put out their food, and unpack their layers. After all, Seattle may be warm when the sun’s out, but temperatures drop once it gets dark.

Use the Uber Fare Estimator from Westlake Center to some of these favorite places:

The One That Started It All

Seattle (Almost Free) Outdoor Cinema, Saturday evenings, July 23-Aug. 19, South Lake Union Discovery Center, 101 Westlake Ave. N. Estimated Fare: $4-$5. Admission: $5 per person.

This institution started on a parking lot wall in the artsy Fremont neighborhood and featured best urban campsite competitions, crazy games between reels, and even attempted to set a world’s record for the longest zombie walk. It will open the season with “Dead Pool” on July 16 at its old home, Fremont Studios on 155 N. 35th St., (Estimated fare: $9-$13) before settling in at South Lake Union with costume contests, movie trivia and the city’s largest inflatable outdoor movie screen. Opens at 7pm.

The Seattle Center: All This and a Movie, Too

Seattle Center Movies at the Mural, Saturdays, July 30-August 27, Seattle Center. Fare: $4-6, Free admission.

There aren’t many contests here, but it is next to the EMP, the Pacific Science Center, and the Space Needle. The season kicks off with a “Princess Bride” quote-along. You can spend the entire day here and finish off with dinner at the Armory and a movie. If you get bored you can just lay back and stare at the Space Needle.

LGBT-Friendly Screenings

Three Dollar Bill Cinema, Friday Nights in August, Cal Anderson Park, 1620 12th Ave. Fare: $5-$7. Free admission.

This annual series features campy movies chosen to fit a theme, as well as entertainment ranging from DJs and costume contests to movie-themed relay races. Before a recent showing of “Edward Scissorhands” there was a makeover competition. This year’s theme is “The Fierce Awakens,” and screenings include “Barbarella” and “Spaceballs.” Festivities start at 7pm.

A Picture Show at the Naval Air Station

PEMCO Outdoor Movies at Magnuson Park, Thursdays, July 7-Aug. 25, 7400 Sand Point Way NE. Fare: $15-20. Admission is $5 per person.

Outdoor movies may not have been the top concern of military brass when they decommissioned this naval air station, but Magnuson Park is a great place to see family-friendly films under the stars. Pre-movie entertainment includes movie trivia quizzes and entertainment like giant puppets.

Family-Friendly Movie Nights

Crossroads Movies in the Park, Thursdays, Aug. 4-25, Crossroads Park, Bellevue. Fare: $24-32. Free admission.

The schedule of family-friendly films also features a side of arts, crafts, or whatever activity is chosen by a selected merchant from Crossroads Mall each week. Activities start at 7:30pm

Adult Fun at the Flicks

Redhook Moonlight Cinema, Thursdays, July 7-Aug. 25, 14300 NE 145th St., Woodinville, Fare: $36-45. Admission: $5 per person.

Not only is this outdoor movie out there in terms of distance from Downtown Seattle, it’s also way out there when it comes to pre-movie entertainment. Before the opening night showing of “Super Troopers,” for example, Redhook will have a maple syrup chugging contest. There will also be a zombie Burlesque show before “Zombieland.” And it helps that there will be really good beer. Starts at 6pm.

Photo credit: Marko Kudjerski


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