Summer is the season for outdoor community movie events, but we are fortunate here in Seattle to also have year-round opportunities for catching a free film.
Here’s a round-up of both special summer series and year-round venues for free movies. Bring a few bucks for concessions at many of these (or pack a snack) and you can probably keep the entire outing under the cost of single regular movie ticket.
Both local public library systems – Seattle Public Library and King County Library System – show free films, often with free popcorn or other treats. King County tends to have regular movie events playing family favorites. The Seattle Public Library system has fewer regularly scheduled events, but periodically offers special events of feature films or documentaries from local film festivals or related to popular books.
To find free films through the library systems, head to their events calendars and search with “movie” or “film” in the keyword area. The Seattle Public Library’s calendar can be found here and the King County calendar is here.
If you’re looking for a free film, but would like a change from the usual line-up of family-focused features, Meaningful Movies offers “social justice documentary films…along with facilitated open community discussion on a wide range of topics.” These events are free, but are supported by community donations. They show films nearly every Friday in the Wallingford neighborhood from 7-9:30pm, and also have a free lending library of documentary films.
Three-Dollar Bill Cinema is running a special summer outdoor series called Blonde But Not Forgotten at Cal Anderson Park in Capitol Hill. The series will feature “unforgettable leading ladies in the movies that made them shine.” The showings will start around sunset (8:30-9:00 PM). Concessions and lawn chair rentals will be available, with proceeds to benefit Three-Dollar Bill Cinema’s “efforts to promote LGBT film and visibility.” The first film will be Gentlemen Prefer Blondes on July 16. They continue every two weeks until the end of August.
The Seattle Center will be showing Movies at the Mural throughout August. “Picnic on the gently sloping Mural Amphitheatre lawn, in front of a state-of-the-art giant screen, with the Space Needle standing sentry in the starry skies above you.” The first film will be The Princess Bride on August 7 with three other films showing in August.
The West Seattle Outdoor Movie Series will begin on July 17 (with Mamma Mia and a W.C. Fields short) and continue weekly on Saturdays until August 21. Gates open at 6:30pm and the movie will start at dusk. Concessions available with proceeds going to charitable causes.
If the weather is inclement, you can also head indoors to Regal Entertainment Group’s Free Family Film Festival. “Selected G or PG movies start at 10:00am every Tuesday and Wednesday during the festival. Tickets and seating are first-come, first-served and are limited to theater capacity.” Regal has theaters throughout Washington state; check the link for locations and show times, with most offering free films from now until the end of August.
Some of Seattle’s neighboring cities will also have their own outdoor film events:
- Bellevue (Tuesdays, July 6 to August 24)
- Auburn (Fridays August 6 to August 20)
- Burien (Fridays, August 20 & 27)
- Renton (Fridays, July 23 through August 20)
- Edmonds (Fridays, July 30 & August 6)