6 Outdoor Movies Playing Around the Country and the Picnics to Go With Them

By Noah Kaufman |

© John Kernick

Oh hey, what are you doing this weekend? You want to see a movie? Are you as disappointed as we are that everything opening this weekend already seems to have a failing grade on Rotten Tomatoes? Fortunately, there are classics movies being screened under the stars and all over the country this weekend. Picnic movies are the new drive-ins. A wonderfully cheap date, they offer a chance to watch a movie you won’t see in theater while drinking in a socially acceptable environment. Here, a few of the flicks you can see in parks, on rooftops and even in cemeteries this weekend. Plus: tips on what to bring.

American Psycho in Griffith Park – Los Angeles
As the 1980 album Duke did for Genesis, this movie really let Christian Bale come into his own. The screening also features reserved seating for an extra $10 so you don’t have to elbow your way into a good viewing spot.

Sleepless in Seattle at Christopher Columbus Park - Boston
Watching the two most likeable people in Hollywood fall in love is a great way to end your weekend on Sunday. The best part about this screening is that it’s totally free.

True Grit at the South Street Seaport – New York
The Cohen brothers' take on a western features an eye-patch wearing Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon as they hunt a murderer. The South Street Seaport provides chairs for viewers, but show up early because they go quick.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at Bay Meadows Park – San Mateo, CA
About a half-hour’s drive from downtown San Francisco, this park will also have local beer and wine available. You will have to provide your own three-tone leather jacket.

The Life Aquatic at Fremont Outdoor Cinema - Seattle
One of Wes Anderson’s more underrated efforts. Bill Murray is great. Admission is only $5 and organizers even throw in a free Zissou beanie.

Blue Velvet at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery – Los Angeles
OK, this screening is actually sold out (although creative David Lynch fans can find tickets being sold online) but we thought Cinespia, which runs this film series was worth a mention for future weekend plans. Cinespia projects movies onto the side of a mausoleum in the center of Hollywood, which is a truly unique experience. We’d recommend buying up tickets to next month’s all-night fantasy film marathon featuring The Never Ending Story.

Below, recipes for your picnic.


Hummus with Paprika and Whole Chickpeas

It’s not a secret that hummus always tastes better when you make it yourself.

Cashews with Crispy Sage and Garlic

These garlicky nuts are a perfect thing to eat while you’re waiting for the sun to go down and the movie to start.


Potato Salad with Bacon and Barbecue Sauce

This sweet, smoky dish keeps well overnight, so make it today and eat it tomorrow.

Green Bean and Tomato Salad with Tarragon Dressing

A super simple salad for movie-goers in a time crunch.

Melon and Strawberry Salad with Spicy Lemongrass Syrup

The spicy syrup makes this more interesting than your average fruit salad.


Indian Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

Feel free to cheat with a store-bought rotisserie chicken here. No one will notice.

The Muffaletta

The New Orleans classic from Emeril is loaded down with cured meat and olives.


Ganache Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

These ultimate, rich sandwich cookies stand no chance of making it past the start of the movie.

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