Movies in the Park

August 6, 2013

hidden golden gate park map by Jen Reyn

By Gabrielle. Illustration by Jen Reyn.

It’s been fun to start our adventures here! We arrived home from our looong Colorado drive very late on Friday night. Technically, it was actually very early on Saturday morning — 1:30 AM. Man, we were beat! So we slept in on Saturday and didn’t make many big plans, just a few errands. But Liz and Jordan had told us about a showing of The Princess Bride at Dolores Park in San Francisco that night, and by Saturday afternoon, the kids were up for something fun, so we drove into they city.

We picked up pizza at Delfina’s, and ice cream at Bi-Rite — two of the city’s best! Then we spread out blankets at the park and had a fabulous time laughing along with thousands of others when the most famous lines were delivered (Inconceivable!).

Two things I noticed: 1) It was mostly grownups (granted it was late for young kids, the movie started at about 9:00 PM). And people were super, super friendly. They would share candy or snacks with my kids, and no one seemed to get stressed out if you had to step on their blanket to make your way to a rest room. 2) We were told it would be cold, so everyone wore a hoodie, but when we got there, we realized we were underdressed. The locals wore heavy coats and winter hats! Luckily, we had enough blankets that everyone could snuggle together and stayed warm.

We made it about half way through, but when the movie temporarily paused, we decided that was our cue to head home and get some sleep. Overall, so much fun!

Have you ever been to a community outdoor movie? I’d love to hear about it!

P.S. — Do you know the illustration work of Jen Reyn? She’s terrific! I saw her Hidden Golden Gate Park Map and it got me excited to explore. I’m just showing half of the map, click here for the full thing. It’s nice having cousins in San Francisco — by hanging out with them, we’re getting to know both Oakland and SF.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 TracieMcOB August 6, 2013 at 10:10 am

I love outdoor movies! 5 years ago for one of my son’s middle school grad celebration, we did an outdoor movie – Princess Bride, of course.
Every summer in the LA area, there is a cemetery that hosts dj music and an outdoor movie shown on the side of a builidng. Sounds creepy but it is great fun. Like your experience, everyone is super friendly and respectful of your space! We saw Roman Holiday, one of my favorites. During the movie, it always impresses me that everyone there is really into the movie and is quiet and watches it. So much fun!


2 Sarah August 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

Several years ago when I lived in Denver, some friends and I went to see The Goonies at Red Rocks. It was so great to be able to look out and see the city lights of Denver while watching a movie! Also, it was awesome hearing everyone around us recite Chunk’s confession speech. So much fun! There was also a local band that played before the sun went down, so we got a concert and a movie all in one night.


3 Ceci Bean August 6, 2013 at 11:30 am

I don’t why outdoor movies are so fun, but they sure are! Dolores Park movie night was one of my husband and my first dates, so I remember it fondly. I’ve seen that Jack London Square and Montclair Village have outdoor movie series too, but haven’t checked them out yet!


4 Aja Lake [the gold hat.] August 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm

We live in small-town Florida (Mount Dora, to be exact) and our community puts on a movie in the park from time to time. We have a large, locally-based extended family, so we love to invite everyone, throw together an easy picnic and watch the kids (and their tons of cousins!) run up and down the park’s hilly landscape a million times.


5 salli August 6, 2013 at 12:39 pm

LOVE jennifer’s style!!!!!! So happy to see her awesome map featured!


6 Jessie August 6, 2013 at 12:46 pm

We attended a screening of “Creature from the Black Lagoon” on the beach in Crystal Cove State Park (in Newport Beach, CA) last month. It got a little chilly, but we were prepared and it was a blast!


7 Jennifer August 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm

There are also movies in the park in the East Bay, I know for sure at the Piedmont Park and Redwood Heights.

Might be a little warmer. ;-)


8 Christy@SweetandSavoring August 6, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Delores Park is such a great setting for outdoor movies! My small city has summer movies in different parks every Friday night- this week it’s West Side Story- I hope we can make it! Volunteers even provide free popcorn :)


9 Shannon { A Mom's Year } August 6, 2013 at 5:40 pm

We enjoyed Last Day of School Movie Night at the Drive-In with families from our community for years…until this year when the drive-in was bulldozed to make room for a Walmart. :0 We’re working on Plan B….

I feel like I’ve seen a movie set at Dolores Park–with the main characters watching a movie. Or am I imagining it?


10 Anna August 6, 2013 at 10:33 pm

The Wedding Planner, was it? There is a movie in the park scene in that.


11 Shannon August 9, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Yes–that’s it! Thank you for jogging my memory. :)


12 Christina August 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm

I live near Raleigh and the North Carolina Museum of Art has a weekend outdoor movie every weekend all summer long. There is great community feel and it’s a good tradition for late summer nights!


13 Gia August 6, 2013 at 8:23 pm

We LOVE the movies in the park. If you go to the East Bay versions you’ll see more families. The late night Mission scene is not known for kids. That being said, we live in the Castro and frequent the Mission often and find everyone lovely and usually happy to lend a hand or a candy.
Here’s a pretty good list of places to see movies during the summer in the Bay. (PS. Don’t forget “summer” here runs through at least September and often into October, as those are our hot months)


14 kim August 7, 2013 at 12:25 am

We’re looking forward to going to the park for movie but our little one isn’t quite ready for it. Look out for music/plays in the park, too.

Bi-Rite is good, isn’t it? My favorite flavor is balsamic strawberry!


15 Dee August 7, 2013 at 6:44 am

How fun! We have several outdoor movie options here but my favorite is movie night on the beach.


16 Kristian August 7, 2013 at 8:27 am

My husband and I LOVE to host outdoor movies (as can be seen here: We live in a small town and otherwise there wouldn’t be stuff like that. But I would love to go to a huge one as you describe too.


17 cath August 7, 2013 at 11:21 am

We went to see “despicable me 2″ on the beach, it was great but a bit cold too. It was also my first experience and we had loads of fun!


18 Nicole August 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

We love film in the fog — lots of families at the Presidio showings. I always think it is as close as my kids will get to a drive in movie. All the kids in our neighborhood like to save up their money and sell candy before the movie.


19 Jessica August 12, 2013 at 12:59 am

Yes! We just went to one recently. We saw “How to Train Your Dragon” and my boys loved it. Aside from a little baby freakout during bedtime, everything went smoothly. Even leaving the park went well. I snapped a few photos and blogged about it last week. :)


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