Summer in San Francisco is the season of free movies, shown mostly on big screens outdoors. Though you won’t be seeing first-run films, you can’t beat the price. And under the open sky, you can picnic and stretch out on a blanket. (Bring more blankets or layers to wrap around yourself). Here are some of the places in and around San Francisco to catch free flicks from June until September 2013.
At the iconic Top of the Mark, watch classics paired with complimentary tastings of Moet & Chandon rose, Whitehaven sauvignon blanc or other wines. Tastings start at 5:30 pm; films such as Breakfast at Tiffany's, Jaws and Some Like It Hot begin rolling at 7:30 pm.
At the Top of The Mark, 19/F, InterContinental Mark Hopkins, One Nob Hill, San Francisco 94108. First come, first served.
Adventure romps, crowd-pleasers and family fare on a 25-foot screen, including My Fair Lady, Back to the Future, Life of Pi, Lincoln and The Croods.
At Courthouse Square, 2200 Broadway St., Redwood City 94063. Limited seating available, or bring a blanket.
The biggie of San Francisco’s free summer film series rotates among three locations in San Francisco on select Saturday evenings. On most Friday and Saturday nights, it also screens a movie in Marin, usually at San Anselmo's Creek Park. In San Francisco, the screenings begin June 15 with Raiders of the Lost Ark and wrap on Sept. 21 with Skyfall.
At San Francisco’s Dolores Park, Union Square and Washington Square Park, and various venues in Marin. Low chairs are allowed. Free, but donations appreciated.
A traveling movie series, in which flicks like Home Alone and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off are shown in different districts of downtown San Jose. Restaurants nearby offer food and drink specials. Pre-movie entertainment includes live music, karaoke, and movie trivia and other contests. Wrapping up the season on August 21 is a "zombie-o-rama" that starts in the afternoon and includes zombie makeup artists, a kids' zombie parade, a costume contest, fashion show and live bands, topped by the screening of Zombieland.
At St. James Park, San Pedro Square, the Historic District and SoFA District, San Jose. Bring your own chair and/or blanket.
An un-Hollywood showcase of films made by Bay Area artists. The season includes Seeking Asian Female, about an aging Caucasian man who finds online a bride from China half his age, and movies about America's superheroines and the good food movement. Live music starts around 8 pm. Free popcorn.
On 49th Street near Telegraph Ave. (side of Bank of the West building), North Oakland. Limited seating; come early or bring your own chair.
Hitchcock, The Goonies and other films in a waterfront setting. Giveaways, beer for sale and trivia games precede the films, and surrounding restaurants and bars offer sustenance to go.
At Jack London Square Market Lawn, Harrison and Water streets, Oakland 94607.
Wreck it Ralph, Brave and other G-rated movies are shown in the mall's climate-controlled comfort. Magicians, jugglers or other entertainers usually perform starting at 6 pm.
At Center Court, Stonestown Galleria, 3251 20th Ave., San Francisco 94132.
At 20 different library branches, the San Francisco Public Library shows 20 movies, each of which is set and/or was filmed in the city.
At various library branches in San Francisco.
Focused on local actors, producers and filmmakers, this 10-year-old annual neighborhood production is several nights of indie shorts and videos appropriate for general audiences. The line up includes live music, receptions with the filmmakers and a film crawl.
At various locations in Bernal Heights.