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Outdoor movie nights: Where to watch films under the stars in the Bay Area

San Franciscans gather for an outdoor movie at Dolores Park in 2022. | Courtesy San Francisco Parks Alliance

There’s something magical about cinema under the stars. Fortunately, the Bay Area has a plethora of outdoor movie nights set in scenic locales throughout the summer. Many are free, start at sunset and feature pre-show entertainment, as well as food and drinks from local vendors. Just bring your blanket, lounge chair—or both—and settle in to watch with friends. 

Snuggle up in San Francisco with Sundown Cinema, which flicks on the projector at the end of golden hour and invites cinephiles to spread out on blankets in the city’s beloved and beautiful parks. This July Fourth weekend, get patriotic at the showing of Top Gun: Maverick at the Presidio’s Main Post.

Downtown San Jose stays up late with its Starlight Cinema in St. James Park, where partner restaurants stay open after the movie for late-night eats and beverages. And the bay is the backdrop for Oakland’s Waterfront Flicks, which continues with the animated ocean adventure movie, Finding Dory on Saturday.

Check out the map and list below of outdoor film series around the Bay Area for a fun way to spend a cinematic summer night with friends.

Outdoor Movie Nights Around the Bay Area

Shelley D. Fargo contributed additional research for this story.
Christina Campodonico can be reached at