Nothing screams "summer!" quite like settling in under the stars for a movie night. Luckily, there are tons of opportunities to do just that across the Raleigh area. We've rounded up a whole bunch of dates (46 to be exact!) with movies being shown outdoors this summer at parks, amphitheaters and gardens. Blankets, lawn chairs and picnic baskets ready? Let's go!  

Movies in the Garden at Raleigh Little Theatre's Stephenson Amphitheatre

There aren't many better ways to spend a warm summer night than with a picnic and a free outdoor movie surrounded by the beautiful Raleigh Municipal Rose Garden at Raleigh Little Theatre. That's what you get with the family-friendly Movies in the Garden series, not to mention the food trucks and local beer on hand. There's seating in the amphitheater available, and you can bring cushions, blankets and chairs as well. 

  • Frozen (7/5)
  • Labyrinth (Cinema Party with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema) (7/12)
  • The Greatest Showman (7/19)
  • Mean Girls (7/26)
  • Sister Act (8/2)

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WakeMed Movies by Moonlight at Koka Booth Amphitheatre

The town of Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheatre transforms into an outdoor movie theater among the pine trees on Thurs. and Fri. nights this summer. Admission is just $5 for adults, and free for children ages 12 and under. 

  • Coco (5/25)
  • Wonder Woman (6/8)
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (6/15)
  • Despicable Me 3 (6/22)
  • Paddington 2 (6/29)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (7/13)
  • Cars 3 (7/20)
  • Beauty and the Beast: Sing-A-Long (8/10)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (8/17)

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Summer Film Series at the North Carolina Museum of Art

Oscar winners, timeless classics and family favorites are lined up for another big season of outdoor movies at the North Carolina Museum of Art. For non-museum members, tickets are $6. Concessions are available on-site (including beer and wine), and visitors can bring picnics as well (no alcohol). Pack blankets and/or lawn chairs.

  • Lady Bird (6/9)
  • Say Anything (6/15)
  • Wonder Woman (6/22)
  • Darkest Hour (7/6)
  • The Post (7/7)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (7/13)
  • The Big Sick (7/27)
  • Night of the Living Dead (8/10)
  • Get Out (8/11)
  • The Shape of Water (8/25)
  • Yellow Submarine (8/31)
  • Coco Fiesta Fantástica (9/1)
  • Black Panther (9/28)


Garner's Movie Night on the Back Lawn Series

These free movies on the first Thurs. of each month are shown on the back lawn of the Garner Performing Arts Center. Bring your blankets and chairs, and pack a picnic or grab food and beer from local vendors on-site. 

  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (6/7)
  • A League of Their Own (7/5)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi (8/2)
  • Black Panther (9/6)
  • Hocus Pocus (10/4)


Family Movie Nights at Joyner Park

Four family movie nights are planned for the town of Wake Forest's E. Carroll Joyner Park. They're free to attend, food vendors will be on hand and special pre-show activities are planned for each date (arts and crafts and other educational activities).

  • Coco (5/26)
  • The Lion King (6/30)
  • Cars 3 (7/28)
  • Beauty and The Beast (8/11)


Apex Movies in the Park Series

Held at the spacious Apex Historic Depot & Nature Park Amphitheatre, this series offers four evenings of family-friendly movies. Load up the kids, the lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner, and show up early for good seats. It's all free! Due to agreement with the film licensing company, the names of movies cannot be posted publicly. The movie dates are listed below. 

  • Sat., June 9
  • Sat., June 30
  • Sat., July 20
  • Sat., Aug. 11


Bond Park Lakeside Movies

One of the largest municipal parks in the area, Fred G. Bond Metro Park and Boathouse's 310-acre facility in the town of Cary has picnic shelters, athletic fields, hiking trails (a two-mile loop around the lake, plus a shorter trail where dogs can go off-leash), a playground, a 300-seat amphitheater and more. This year's outdoor movie series invites the entire family to take a spin around the lake on a canoe or pedal boat before settling in for a movie once the sun goes down.

  • Jumanji (5/18)
  • Movie TBD (9/21)
  • Movie TBD (10/19)


Friday Family Flicks and Camping

This family-friendly outdoor movie series at Garner's Lake Benson Park goes the extra mile and invites you to set up camp for the night for a small, per-family fee (attending just the movie portion of the evening is free and open to the public).

  • Coco (5/25)
  • Wonder (6/8)
  • Captain Underpants (6/22)


Header photo by North Carolina Museum of Art