Where to See “Movies in the Park”

It’s an easy, free way to feel like you’re getting the most out of summer
Loring Park, participating in the Movies in the Park summer movie series, featuring Paul Newman in "Hud"
Loring Park, participating in the Movies in the Park summer movie series, featuring Paul Newman in “Hud”

Photo by Todd Buchanan

If you’re like me, you don’t feel great if a day goes by without some kind of seasonal exploitation going on. So: a super easy, free, summery summer activity? Movies in the Park.

Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Rochester pitch big screens in parks June, July, August, and occasionally in September—not just on weekends—to draw in families and anyone realizing, hey, if I don’t get outside on this very day of Tuesday right now, then I never will.

Toss a blanket, unfold a chair, and tuck into whatever food—brought from home or bought from food/drink vendors on-site. Get there a little before dusk, mark your spot. Last year, a band of loose children spilled onto our blanket during a screening of Maleficent a block away from my friend’s Minneapolis apartment.

What can you expect to see? A mix of today’s blockbusters and nostalgic cult faves.

In the former category: Lego Movie 2 (June 14 in St. Paul’s Marydale Park—and three times in Minneapolis, the soonest on June 29 in Jackson Square Park), Black Panther (July 14, Harrison Park, Minneapolis), and Ralph Breaks the Internet (June 24, Audubon Park, Minneapolis; August 8, Merriam Park Recreation Center, St. Paul).

In the latter category: The Sandlot (with Spanish subtitles on June 14, Keewaydin Park, Minneapolis) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (August 17, Central Park, Rochester, with food and drink by Grand Rounds Brewing Company).

Minneapolis

You’ll find some movie at some park basically every single day June through August.

This programming pairs with Minneapolis’ Music in the Parks series, featuring live performances at various venues, including the Lake Harriet Band Shell, Minnehaha Park, and Nicollet Island Park. (Read about the history of all these free happenings here.)

On June 11, see the much-buzzed-about Mr. Rogers biopic Won’t You Be My Neighbor if you missed it. It’ll be at Father Hennepin Bluff Park, which is right next to Hennepin Island on St. Anthony Main.

See the full Minneapolis schedule here.

St. Paul

Catch select dates through September—including June 13, when Jumanji plays at the Highland Pool House, which is across the street from the Highland Park park (like, the park of Highland Park). The last showing is The Goonies on September 17 in Hidden Falls Regional Park.

See the full St. Paul schedule here.

Rochester

Only four movies in the lineup, so time it right. All in Central Park, at 225 First Avenue NW. (Honestly, it’s about time you check out the new staycation destination that is downtown Rochester.)

Those four movies: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (June 15, food and drink by Cameo Restaurant), Crazy Rich Asians (July 20, food and drink by Cameo and Cafe Steam), Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (August 17, food and drink by Grand Rounds Brewing Company), and The Birds (September 21, with food and drink by Infuzn). Learn more.

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