The mild summer weather in Colorado makes for the perfect opportunity to catch your favorite movies in the great outdoors. The Denver area hosts multiple venues where the public can bring a lawn chair or picnic blanket and relax under the stars and catch a flick with their community. After all, who wants to be holed up in a stuffy theater when you could be relaxing in the fresh air?
88 Drive-In Theatre
Address: 8780 Rosemary Street
Not everybody realizes that drive-in movies are still in existence during the 21st century. Denver residents can enjoy a blast from the past at this Commerce City drive-in that’s been in operation for over four decades. The state-of-the-art projector ensures a high-quality picture and to hear the movie, you’ll need an operable FM car stereo (or portable radio)! Carpooling is highly recommended and attendees can even bring their pups, so long as they stay leashed.
Tickets for adults and kiddos 12 and up are $10 and the little ones can watch for free. The ticket price covers both of the showings for the night or you can opt to stay for only one — but who doesn’t love a $5 per movie deal? The box office is open rain or shine at 7 PM. Advance tickets are not sold, so you’ll want to arrive early to snag a ticket to ensure a spot. The box office accepts both VISA and MasterCard but recommends cash to keep the line moving.
PRO Tip: Check the website to get up-to-date movie schedules. Upcoming shows include “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” and “Big George Foreman.” Showtimes begin at 8:40 PM and 11:00 PM, respectively.
Film on the Rocks
Address: Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater
Not only can you enjoy your favorite band at Red Rocks, but you can also catch a summer blockbuster at the venue. The events are a collaboration between Denver Film and Denver Arts & Venues, with 2023 marking the 24th season. Any Denver resident knows that heading to this iconic venue is on the summer essentials list. General admission begins at $20 and VIP tickets are $35. Group pricing is available at a discounted rate, such as $19 per person for groups of 20-49.
The upcoming schedule for the 2023 summer season includes:
June 12th: Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
*Pre-show performance by Pathfinder and The Manñanas
June 19th: Black Panther
*Pre-show performance by Aquile
July 6th: JAWS
*Pre-show performance TBD
July 10th: Top Gun: Maverick
*Pre-show performance by Rocket Surgeons
July 24th: Mamma Mia
*Pre-show performance by Claire Heywood
August 21st: Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
*Pre-show performance TBD
PRO Tip: If you’re interested in catching any of the above movies at Red Rocks, grab your tickets while they last. This is a popular event and it’s not unheard of for movies to sell out in advance. Doors open at 6:30 PM, the pre-show starts at 7 PM, and movies begin at dusk.
Avanti Movie Night
Address: 3200 Pecos Street
Join Avanti F&B every Thursday night out on their patio for drinks, food specials, and of course – free movies! This is the perfect opportunity to grab dinner and a movie with a group of friends, especially under the beautiful summer night sky. Movies begin at 9 PM and are projected onto a 30-foot screen, ensuring everyone has a prime view. Trivia and prizes are also hosted, so bring your A-game.
Stadium seats are provided on the patio or attendees can bring lawn chairs from home and enjoy the movie from the park. The first 20 people who bring a lawn chair get a free beer, courtesy of the New Belgium Brewing Company. To-go beverages and movie-specific cocktails will also be sold. Movie night menus have been thoughtfully created by Knockabout Burgers and Meta Asian Kitchen.
The summer 2023 schedule is full of classics and newcomers, such as:
June 8th: Caddy Shack
June 15th: Coming to America
June 22nd: Legally Blonde
June 29th: Top Gun: Maverick
July 6th: Friday
July 13th: Dazed & Confused
July 20th: Elf
July 27th: Crazy Rich Asians
August 3rd: Office Space
August 10th: Superbad
August 24th: Sex and the City
August 31st: Shaun of the Dead
September 7th: Clueless
September 14th: The Big Lebowski
PRO Tip: Keep in mind that all movie showings are dependent on the weather. If it rains, movies will be a no-show.
Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse Summer Movie Series
Ironton Distillery not only crafts delicious beverages but the crafthouse also hosts movie nights in their stunning backyard space. Themed cocktails will be sold, as well as snacks for the movie. Seating begins at 7:30 PM, with the movie starting at dusk. Tables are available, though they fill up quickly on a first-come, first-serve basis. Guests can bring a lawn chair from home to ensure they have a comfortable seating arrangement.
Those unfamiliar with Ironton will be excited to know that the distillery has been in operation since 2018 and currently handcrafts a range of spirits, including small-batch farm-to-flask specialties. Their in-house cocktail menu is creative and fresh, made with premium spirits and adventurous ingredients.
This summer, Ironton is showing four movies, one a month from June through September.
June 15th: Magic Mike
July 20th: Princess Bride
August 17th: Wet Hot American Summer
September 21st: Rocky Horror Picture Show
PRO Tip:At the moment, Ironton Distillery is surrounded by construction. This isn’t getting in their way but drivers should be aware of the parking difficulties, potholes, and traffic on the road to the distillery and plan accordingly.
Elitch Gardens “Dive-In” Movies
Address: 2000 Elitch Circle
Those looking to mix it up a bit and enjoy a movie at a water park should look no further than Elitch Gardens. Movies will be held at the Island Kingdom Water Park, beginning around 7:30 PM. This is a child-friendly event, so the movie showings are geared toward a younger audience. Families can make an entire day out of their Elitch Gardens ticket, beginning with a fun day in the park, splashing around and braving the thrill slides.
Movies are free for anybody with a season pass or a park admission ticket. The 2023 dive-in movie schedule goes as follows:
June 23rd: The Incredibles
July 7th: Luca
July 14th: Shrek
Day tickets begin at $49.99, with kids 2 and under being admitted for free. Park after-dark tickets are discounted to $34.99, with admittance after 4 PM — which still gives families time to play for a few hours and catch the movie. Season tickets include unlimited theme park admission and free parking, as well as in-park discounts and more.
PRO Tip: Aside from the popular dive-in movie events, Elitch Gardens is hosting exciting themes all summer long — such as Taylor Swift Night, Super Hero Week, and a fireworks show on July 3rd.
Green Valley Ranch Movies in the Park
Address: Town Center Park Auditorium
Movies at Green Valley Ranch are hosted at the Town Center Park Auditorium, which is near the Green Valley Ranch Recreation Center. The event kicks off at 8 PM, with movies beginning at around dusk. Free popcorn is provided, on a first come first serve basis until supplies run out. All movie showings are free, enabling community members to enjoy a budget-friendly evening activity with friends, family, and the kiddos.
June 10th: Cars
July 8th: Frozen 2
August 12th: Black Panther
PRO Tip: Along with the Movies in the Park series, Green Valley Ranch also hosts free Sunday Concerts in the Park and a weekly farmers market.
Movies on South Green
Address: 29th Avenue & Roslyn Street
Attendees are invited to bring blankets, coolers, and of course, friends and family. The community gathers together to enjoy their favorite movies and relax on lawn chairs and enjoy concessions. The concession stand benefits a local nonprofit and moviegoers can pick up freshly popped popcorn, an assortment of candy, sodas, and bottles of water. Oftentimes, food trucks will be present to sell a larger assortment of culinary treats.
The dates for the 2023 summer movie series are:
June 9th: Lightyear
June 23rd: The Mitchells vs. The Machines
July 7th: Selena
July 21st: Top Gun: Maverick
August 18th: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
PRO Tip: Attendees are encouraged to arrive at least a half hour in advance of the movie start time, as this allows them the opportunity to get settled and grab any last minute snacks that they might be craving.
Stanley Marketplace Film on the Field
Address: 2501 North Dallas Street
Kicking off in May and running through September, Stanley Marketplace hosts a summer movie series. Presented by Visit Aurora, the event begins on Saturday, May 27th, and runs every last Saturday of the month until September 30th. Movies begin at dusk and are projected onto a 28-foot inflatable screen. Admittance is free for all, making this a popular summertime event suitable for all ages. Attendees often bring lawn chairs or towels and blankets to spread across the grass, as no seating is provided.
June 24th: Jurassic World Dominion
July 29th: Top Gun Maverick
August 26th: The Super Mario Bros. Movie
September 30th: Coco
PRO Tip: Before attending the event, grab dinner and to-go beverages at one of the many Stanley Marketplace restaurants, bars, or breweries.
Movies at McGregor
Address: 1901 Wazee Street
This summer, McGregor Square is hosting a wide array of movies. Tickets are sold per table and tables begin at $25 and seat up to three guests. Attendees will enjoy the movie from a covered terrace that’s eye-level with the screen, so no more straining your neck to look up at a massive projection. Free popcorn is provided, as well as table service for those ordering food and drinks. Showings are Thursdays at 6 PM.
Blankets are allowed and encouraged for those planning to view the movie from the lawn. Chairs are not allowed, as they have the potential to damage the landscaping. The LED screen ensures that no detail is missed and movies are set to play rain or shine.
The schedule for the 2023 movie series is:
June 8th: Clue
June 22nd: Uncharted
July 6th: Hairspray
July 13th: Pitch Perfect
July 20th: La La Land
July 27th: Dreamgirls
August 3rd: The Dark Knight Rises
August 10th: Antman and the Wasp: Quantamania
August 17th: Ready Player One
August 24th: The Fast and the Furious
August 31st: The Super Mario Bros. Movie
PRO Tip: Outside food and beverages are not allowed. The food hall Milepost Zero is nearby and guests can purchase food from here, as well as concessions and beverages available in the plaza. Dogs are allowed but must remain on the lawn.
Movie Nights at Infinity Park
Address: 950 South Birch Street
Glendale is hosting a summer’s worth of free movies in 2023 at Infinity Park. Moviegoers are urged to bring their own seating, either lawn chairs or blankets, and pack coolers of snacks and drinks. Some food is available to purchase from a food truck on site. Dogs are welcomed though they’re asked to remain on the Festival Plaza located on the southern side of the stadium. For the summer series, the gates open at 6 PM, and movies begin an hour later at 7 PM.
June 26th: Encanto
July 10th: Top Gun Maverick
July 17th: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
July 24th: DC League of Super-Pets
October 16th: Hotel Transylvania: Transformania
PRO Tip: For the bonus feature in October, gates open at 4 PM and the movie is slated to begin at 5 PM.
Westminster Movies in the Park
Address: Various locations
The city of Westminster is hosting several family-friendly flicks this summer. The best news? They’re all free! Concessions and various activities are set to begin at 6:30 PM and movies begin at dusk. Families are encouraged to bring their favorite lawn chairs and picnic blankets to get comfortable and enjoy the show. The giant outdoor screen ensures that everyone has a good view of the film.
June 30th: Super Pets @ Fireman Park
July 14th: Minions: The Rise of Gru @ Westminster Center Park
August 11th: Lightyear @ Irving Street Library
PRO Tip: Several food trucks will be available before the movies and you won’t want to miss the pre-show activities that are sure to get the party started.