Check out the best places to experience the cinema outdoors or by driving-in with these mostly free options in the nation’s capital.
While the biggest blockbusters are usually screened in theaters, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the warm weather and partake in an old American pastime: drive-in and outdoor movies. It's the perfect opportunity to get out of the house, enjoy some snacks and still maintain social distance. Better yet, you can catch classic flicks and films you’ve never seen before. We'll be updating this list as more drive-in theaters open up, so keep your eyes peeled for a drive-in theater near you.
Drive up to Bengies' Big Screen
Bengies, in Middle River, Md., is known for having the biggest movie theater screen in the United States. The Bengies Drive-In Theatre offers triple features almost every Friday and Saturday night and double features on Sunday night with nonstop projection. Upcoming showings include World War Z and A Quiet Place Part II. Visitors should check out the policies in place before visiting.
Times vary | vTickets
3417 Eastern Boulevard, Middle River, MD 21220
The Family Drive-In Theatre in Stephens City
The Family Drive-In Theatre is nothing new to the locals around Stephens City. This two-screen drive-in movie theater, which is pet-friendly, has been around since 1956. The drive-in is currently holding screenings from Friday through Sunday, so make sure you get your ticket ahead of time to enjoy a timeless film.
Times vary | Tickets
5890 Valley Pike, Stephens City, VA 22655
Movies in the Park
Enjoy the outdoors with the National Landing BID and a month of outdoor movies at Virginia Highlands Park. The line-up features a variety of family-friendly flicks. Doors open at 6 p.m. Space reservations are required and walk-ins are not permitted.
Doors open at 6 p.m. | Register for tickets
Virginia Highlands Park, Softball Field #3, 1600 S Hayes St, Arlington, VA 22202
The Drive-In at Union Market
The Drive-In at Union Market is back and ready for action every first Friday of the month through October. Admission is $20 per car and the lot allows up to 125 cars, but visitors on foot can also enjoy the show from Neal Park, free of charge. Level up your theater concessions with the variety of flavors offered at the Market and enjoy your favorite action, comedy and cult classics.
7:30-10:30 p.m. | Tickets
Union Market, 1309 5th Street NE Washington, DC 20002
DowntownDC Summer Flicks - CAN I KICK IT?
The 4th Annual Summer Flicks CAN I KICK IT? movie series with the DowntownDC BID and Shaolin Jazz is back! Each Tuesday evening on the West Lawn of the National Building Museum through July 27, this free outdoor movie series will focus on the future with sci-fi classics like Aliens, I-Robot and Starship Troopers. Attendees are encouraged to register in advance, grab a specially discounted meal from nearby restaurants and bring a blanket for the socially distanced lawn area. While you enjoy the sunset and wait for the movie to begin, moviegoers can enjoy music by DJ 2-Tone Jones. For more information and registration details, visit the event website.
Seating begins at 7:30 p.m. | Movies begin at sunset
West Lawn of the National Building Museum, 401 F Street NW, Washington, DC 20001
Sunset Cinema at The Wharf
Nothing beats watching the sunset on the water, right? Think again. View classic movies like The Goonies (July 8), Jersey Boys (Aug. 5) and more on the Transit Pier's big screen during Sunset Cinema at The Wharf, in partnership with Pacifico Beer. All guests must reserve a free ticket, which can include seats for up to six, and can enjoy bites from Wharf restaurants and drinks from Cantina Bambina.
8 p.m. (Seating available at 7:30 p.m.) | Reserve
Transit Pier, 970 Wharf St SW, Washington, DC 20024
Dive-In Movies at The Ven
Plan the perfect summer getaway complete with an outdoor movie at The Ven’s rooftop pool. Overnight guests can enjoy screenings of Independence Day (July 2), X-Men (Aug. 6) and Dodgeball (Sept. 3) poolside with sips and snacks. Now that sounds relaxing!
The Ven at Embassy Row, 2015 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036
Summer Movies on the Lawn
The Library of Congress hosts this free outdoor film festival that features films in the Library’s prestigious National Film Registry, so you are in for a treat, no matter what screening you attend outside of the historic building. Note that capacity will be limited and seating will be socially distanced. The festival kicks off with The Princess Bride on July 8 and concludes with Jurassic Park on Aug. 5.
Screenings begin at sundown | More info
North Lawn of the Jefferson Building, 10 First Street SE, Washington, DC 20540
Films at the Stone
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial is one of DC’s most recognizable landmarks, and The Memorial Foundation is proud to present family-friendly, free-to-attend movie screenings this summer. On July 15, catch The Princess and The Frog, a 2009 Disney hit that kids adore. Aug. 19 offers the superhero classic Black Panther. Screenings begin at 8 p.m. Make sure to bring your own lawn chair or blanket!
8 p.m. | Free admission
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, 1964 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20003
Adams Morgan Movie Nights
One of DC’s most beloved neighborhoods brings this popular film series back for the summer of 2021. This year’s run will focus on movies filmed in DC, including two that were partially shot in Adams Morgan. The first screening (July 12) showcases Punk the Capital, a fascinating look at hardcore punk music in the District, and the series wraps up with All the President’s Men on Aug. 9 (which marks the 47th anniversary of Nixon’s resignation). All screenings are free to attend.
Screenings begin at 8 & 8:30 p.m. | Free admission