Summer in the City

Outdoor Film Screenings

In DC, outdoor film screenings are a summer staple — the nights are warm, the bugs aren’t so bad, and the parks are plentiful. I know of three outdoor film series in the DC metro area, two of which I’ve been to this summer.

For the most iconic experience, pack a picnic dinner, and a blanket or a few low chairs, and head out to the National Mall for Screen on the Green. On Monday nights in July, a movie screen appears on the Mall and shows classic films. While waiting for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid to begin, I glanced behind me and was greeted by this view:

Hello, DC sunset

And when I looked the other way:

The Capitol Building lit up behind our heroes

On another summer’s evening, I got off the metro at the blue line’s Rosslyn stop and wandered over to a more intimate park where the organizers inflated the movie screen in front of the audience. At the Rosslyn Outdoor Film Festival, Friday Night is Election Night, which means political films are on the menu. I went and saw All the President’s Men, which, not unlike Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, is a classic film featuring Robert Redford.

An an alternate title for this post was: I am a middle-aged lady and Robert Redford is a god.

If you’re not interested in political movies, Crystal City‘s Rom Com themed outdoor film series might be more appealing. Unfortunately, none of the romances on their list feature a young Robert Redford, but the list is solid. Basically, if you’re looking for a fun, free summer activity in DC, be sure to check out these outdoor film screenings, and remember to arrive early to get a good spot.

A final piece of advice: If you head to Rosslyn to watch a longer film, be alert. With only 5 minutes left in All the President’s Men, the park’s sprinkler system turned on, and the moviegoers had to flee!

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.

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