Lights, camera, action

Austin's best outdoor movie nights for summer fun under the stars

Austin's best outdoor movie nights for summer fun under the stars

Sound & Cinema
Sound and Cinema has become an Austin summer tradition. Photo courtesy of The Long Center for Performing Arts

True, a cool blast of movie theater air conditioning can be a godsend during Austin’s scorching summer afternoons, but when the sun sets, the last thing we want to do is be cooped up. Luckily, special events all over town are bringing the silver screen to the great outdoors. From film series the whole family can enjoy to a thrilling tradition that’s just for adults, here are the best ways to enjoy movies under the open sky all summer long.

Grease Sing-along
Oh, those summer nights! On June 6, cruise down to Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In for a sing-along screening celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1978 musical Grease. Bring your crew of T-Birds and Pink Ladies for an ultimate night of ‘50s nostalgia while enjoying a breathtaking view of the Austin skyline. Tickets for two are $25; add $8 for each additional passenger. Gates open at 7:45 pm for the pre-show, and the show kicks off at 8:45 pm. Convertibles are highly recommended.

Jaws on the Water
Lounging on an inner tube in beautiful Lake Travis may seem relaxing, but not if you’re watching a giant shark chomping through beach-goers on the big screen. Definitely not for the faint of heart, the infamous Jaws on the Water hosted by Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow returns to Volente Beach Resort on select dates in June, July, and August. Experience the legendary horror flick in a whole new way, as a team scuba divers lurk below. The $55 ticket gets you access to the resort’s attractions and beachside bars and a comfy tube with headrest and cup holders.

Movies in the Park
Pack a picnic for Austin Parks and Recreation’s always popular series, featuring showings of family-friendly movies at parks are all over town. The summer schedule includes How to Train Your Dragon on June 21 at Patterson Park and 10 Things I Hate About You on August 16 at Martin Multipurpose Fields. Screenings are free and continue into the fall. Remember that no alcohol, glass, or styrofoam are allowed in the parks.

Stunt Ranch Cinema: Independence Day
Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow is celebrating July 4 with a literal bang. The latest installment of the high-energy Stunt Ranch Cinema movie series features live pyrotechnics any time there’s an explosion on screen and a rousing fireworks show after the closing credits roll. The $40 ticket price ($10 for kids) also gets you access to a zip line, airbag jump, and hatchet tossing. For a little extra, you can even try your hand at the trapeze.

Sound & Cinema
As part of the popular All Summer Long programming, the Long Center is bringing back the free Sound & Cinema series, a unique outdoor experience combining music and film. On select Wednesdays in July and August, gather on the venue’s front lawn to enjoy bites from local food trucks, sets from favorite bands, and film screenings ranging from family favorites to cult oddities. The lineup is still to come, but judging by last year's slate of pairings like Galaxy Quest with The Octopus Project and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World with A Giant Dog, you’ll want to get this on your calendar now.