Spring sends Austinites scattering across the city hiking the Greenbelt, walking our dogs, swimming in spring-fed pools, and drinking on patios. Another joy of the season is going to outdoor movie events in Austin. Our city’s movies in the park scene is like an infinity mirror–it keeps going and going. Here are five of the best, free outdoor movie events in Austin.
Bring a blanket or lawn chair to sit on, picnic or tacos to munch on, and something to drink. Wherever Austinites go, food trucks follow, so food trucks will usually be an option at these movies. Remember, though, that alcohol is never allowed at these screenings, nor are glass bottles or Styrofoam containers. And while friendly dogs on leashes are allowed at some of these events, due to the booming speakers and crowds, it is unwise to bring them.
1/ Austin Parks Foundation Movies in the Park
Beloved nonprofit Austin Parks Foundation works to improve the lives of Austinites by picking up where city resources leave off, presenting its annual Movies in the Park series throughout spring and summer at parks across Austin. For this year’s series, the foundation is partnering with Alamo Drafthouse and Whole Foods Market.
“We’re excited to present such a fun lineup for this year’s Movies in the Park series,” said Colin Wallis, Austin Parks Foundation CEO. “We hope Austinites will join us in parks across the city and take this opportunity to enjoy free, quality outdoor entertainment.”
The 2018 Austin Parks Foundation Movies in the Park events all have a musical component, so plan on singing along to your favorites. Expect food trucks, too!
See the schedule below and plan a night out soon.
- “The Lion King” – April 5, Northwest District Park
- “The Emperor’s New Groove” – May 10, Dick Nichols Park
- “Coco” – May 17, Dove Springs Park
- “How to Train Your Dragon” – June 21, Patterson Park
- “10 Things I Hate About You” – August 16, Martin Multipurpose Fields
- “Beauty and the Beast” – September 6, Adams Hemphill Park
- “Hook” – September 20, Govalle Park
- “Practical Magic” – October 25, Palm Park
- “Selena” – November 8, Republic Square Park
Various locations – Website
2/ Community Cinema & Amphitheater
Community Cinema & Ampitheater is located at a haven for Austin’s formerly homeless population, Community First! Village. This cinema, with donated equipment from community partner and sponsor, Alamo Drafthouse, has begun its second season.
According to Ed Travis, Community Cinema Director,
“The Community Cinema & Amphitheater is the result of a plan hatched between Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League and Mobile Loaves & Fishes CEO Alan Graham. The outdoor amphitheater hosts public events and is available for private event rentals, as well. Events in the amphitheater open up the Community First! Village to the Austin public at large, to share about what we’re doing to restore community and housing to Austin’s chronically homeless folks. Neighbors who live at Community First! Village are given an opportunity to earn a dignified income through food sales and audio/visual assistance at each and every event hosted in our amphitheater.”
Community Cinema & Ampitheater offers a strong lineup of recent blockbuster movies. The vibe is playful, as befitting an Alamo Drafthouse event, with themed fun included at every showing.
Here is the schedule for movies throughout April 2018. All scheduled events are regularly updated and listed on Community Cinema’s Facebook page.
- “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” – April 6
- “Wonder” – April 13
- “Pitch Perfect 3” – April 20
- “Ferdinand” – April 27
9301 Hog Eye Road – Website
➡ Keep reading: Community First! Village Goes Beyond Housing for Austin Homeless
3/ Sound and Cinema at The Long Center
Sound and Cinema is partly exactly how it sounds and partly way cooler. Alamo Drafthouse (coming through for our community yet again) and Do512 team up every summer to present a fun series of movies with mini-concerts opening each event.
The planning team is excellent at pairing films with local bands. For example, a few summers ago, we saw “Raiders of the Lost Ark” opened by The Golden Dawn Arkestra. How whimsical, no?
It’s quite serene to chill out in the shadow of The Long Center’s dramatic columns, gazing at Austin’s downtown skyline beyond the big screen. Get the 2018 schedule here.
Pro tip: This is one of the most heavily-attended events in this article, so go early and consider ride sharing, carpooling, biking, or taking public transportation.
701 W. Riverside Dr. – Facebook
4/ Deep Eddy Splash Party Movie Nights
Texas summer kicks in, and all we want in life is to be in water and shade, a respite from the sun’s relentlessness, a way to cool off. Deep Eddy Pool, one of Austin’s most delightful treasures, hosts movies in the pool, called a Splash Party, on a few dates each summer.
The normal Deep Eddy entry fee still applies, but the movies are technically free. The Deep Eddy movie roster is kid-friendly, so this is a family affair by all means. Deep Eddy will release its summer schedule soon. Check the website for details.
401 Deep Eddy Dr. – Website
5/ 101X Summer Cinema Series
This long-running movies in the park series has a new home at Republic Square Park this year. While the 2018 dates for the 101x Summer Cinema Series have been announced, the lineup of movies has not. The series moves to Thursday nights this year, and the official dates are:
- June 7
- June 21
- July 12
- July 26
- August 9
The 101x team will release the schedule soon. Follow the Austin radio station on Facebook or keep checking the link below.
422 Guadalupe St. – Website
Making the Most of Outdoor Movie Events in Austin
These outdoor movie events in Austin make for stellar date nights, family outings, or group hangs. Plan ahead with sunscreen and water to hydrate, plus something to sit on. Early arrivals get the choicest seats.
While I’ve covered the bigger series here, check your local Parks and Rec calendars. When school gets out, events tend to pop up in several neighborhoods around town. Happy viewing!
@theAustinot wants to know:
What are your favorite outdoor movie events in Austin?
Movies in the Park by Austin Parks Foundation is also a great option 🙂 We’ve got Tremors this week, followed by The Incredibles and 180 Degrees South in July!