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Culture Things To Do

A Cinephile’s Guide To The Dreamiest Outdoor Screenings In San Diego

By Ana Sofia de la Cámara

A Cinephile’s Guide To The Dreamiest Outdoor Screenings In San Diego

San Diego might be the perfect place to enjoy an outdoor film event!  

If you are looking for unique outdoor activities to switch up date night or just something to mix things up with, you should consider catching a film in one of these notable outdoor screenings! Many film lovers may not feel quite ready to go back into traditional movie theaters just yet, but there is nothing like watching a film on the big screen with fellow moviegoers. We’ve collected these cinephile’s dream venues for your next movie night! 

Rooftop Cinema Club

Rooftop Cinema Club is a fantastic idea for all types of filmgoers! The venue is in the fabulous Manchester Grand Hyatt! When you arrive you will see a beautifully arranged screening with comfy deck chairs and personal headphones. They offer a food menu and a full bar featuring delicious cocktails, beer, and wine. You can also go to the box office and get your favorite movie snacks like candy and popcorn! Before the film starts, you and your friends can play a round of giant Jenga with a refreshing cocktail in hand, like a Tropic Thunder or The Dude. You and your friends can go and enjoy iconic films along with outstanding San Diego views! Rooftop Cinema Club has a vast selection of fan-favorite films, from Ghost Busters to Pulp Fiction to Mama Mia, Dazed and Confused, and beyond! But be sure to buy your tickets quickly as they tend to sell out fast. If you need a date night idea, we highly recommend Rooftop Cinema Club, especially since they also have love seats for two. Rooftop Cinema Club’s standard screenings are 18+; however, they have family-friendly Sunday screenings and recently added Teen Tuesdays (13+).

Location: 1 Market Place (Manchester Grand Hyatt)

Film in the Garden 

Film in the Garden is the dreamiest film night around! This event is held on the gorgeous Botanical lawn in Balboa Park. These curated films are brought to you by the SDMA exhibition, so you know they will be cinematic gems! The films selected range from award-winning favorites to lesser-known masterpieces from around the world? We recommend getting there early, around 5 pm, through the movies start at 8:00 pm. You can pick out a lovely spot and have a picnic with a bring a blanket and dinner. Film-loving dogs are also allowed!

Location: 1450 El Prado, San Diego

Cinema Under the Stars 

This intimate outdoor movie theater in Mission Hills is a fantastic movie night venue under the stars! It features a 20-foot screen with HD projection and THX surround sound to bring fabulous pictures to life! The open-air space has many seating options such as single & double zero-gravity recliners, love seat cabanas, or deck chairs with ottomans. They will also provide cozy blankets, pillows, and heaters for the perfect snug movie night. We can’t forget about the snack, now can we! Cinema Under The Stars has all of the classic movie snacks like popcorn, candy, and beverages! If you want to have dinner and a movie, then we suggest you stop by one of the several restaurants within walking distance before the movie. At Cinema Under The Stars, you and your friends can enjoy classic films, cult favorites, as well as recent releases. Before every film, there is a brief introduction and a classic cartoon. The movies begin at 8 pm. Tickets are $17 for members, $18 for non-members, and $20 when reserved online. 

Location:4040 Goldfinch St, San Diego

Film On The Bricks

The Anthenaeum is one of our favorite spots in San Diego! It is one of the most unique libraries, as it’s actually a Music & Arts Library! Since its founding in 1899, they have provided library resources in the arts with over 200 programs and cultural events all over San Diego! This includes their popular film series, Flicks on the Bricks, which returned this August. They are celebrating their 15th year with the best Screwball Sparring Matches. You will enjoy a piece of classic cinema on the outdoor patio al fresco. If you buy a series ticket, it includes three fantastic films. This year’s curator and presenter is KPBS film critic and host of the Cinema Junkie podcast, Beth Accomando. There will also be prizes and giveaways awarded after a trivia quiz at each screening! Flicks on the Brick movie nights!

Location: 1008 Wall St, La Jolla

Gaslamp Flicks

The Gaslamp Quarter does summer like no one else! They have organized many fun events and experiences for everyone in the family! One fabulous and FREE event is their Gaslamp Flicks! Enjoy a double feature movie night every Friday in August! On Friday, August 20, Gaslamp Flicks will screen 50 First Dates at 7:45 pm and Step Brothers and 9:25 pm. On Friday, August 27, they will screen Wonder Woman at 7:30 pm and Jumanji: The Next Level at 10:00 pm.

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PS: There will be kettle corn, lemonade, and snacks available for purchase! Yum!

Location: Gaslamp Quarter, 614 5th Ave., San Diego

Little Italy Summer Film Festival

Little Italy is one of San Diego’s most iconic neighborhoods and a great spot to spend a summer day. Each year, the LittleItaly Association teams up with Cinema Little Italy to show fantastic Italian films at the Amici Park Amphitheater. The Festivals start on July 17 and runs through September 18! Admission is FREE, but $10 donations are accepted at the door. Screenings are on every Saturday night, so make sure to pack some snacks and a cozy blanket and enjoy the show! Doors open at 7:30 pm and the films start at 8 pm.

Location: Amici Park Amphitheater, 1660 Union St, San Diego

Liberty Station Movie Nights

Every Tuesday night throughout the summer, Stone Brewing World Bistro screens movies in their garden! The event is called Liberty Station Movie Nights, and it is fabulous fun! We recommend you bring blankets and lawn chairs to have a great picnic, and make sure to grab a beer at the bar. There will be great food, great beer, and great cinema. 

Location: Liberty Station 2816 Historic Decatur Rd

Movies on the Beach

Movies on the Beach are screenings held under the stars on Del Beach at Hotel Coronado. The hotel is actually part of Hollywood history, having been the location for the iconic Some Like It Hot film! This family-friendly movie night comes with a private bonfire and s’mores galore, and it is the perfect ending to an unforgettable summer day! Some upcoming films include Ferris Bueller’s Day Off on August 21, Blue Crush on September 3, and Some Like it Hot on September 4.

Location:  1500 Orange Ave, Coronado

Summer Movies in the Park

The Summer Movies in the Park event series began in 2007 as part of a ‘take back our parks’ initiative. It has given local residents a reason to visit their local parks for a FREE and safe evening event. Summer Movies in the Park is a fun and relaxed movie night, perfect for a group of friends or for date night! We recommend you get there early and pick out the perfect spot to watch the film. The movies begin at dusk. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker will be screened at the Golden Hill Recreation Center on August 20 at 5:30 pm. Check their website for more screening times and locations! 

Location: Various