The intoxicating smell of popcorn. The familiar hum of film rolling through the projector. The dimming of the lights. Or in this case, the setting of the sun. Nothing exudes the essence of summer like a classic outdoor movie screening. Charlotte offers a bevy of locations where free movies are the main attraction. So grab a blanket (or lawn chair) and some snacks to enjoy our take on the modern drive-in experience with movies under the stars.
After a day of shopping at South Park Mall, make your way to Symphony Park to enjoy free cinema entertainment. This annual Movies Under the Stars event happens every Friday during the month of August. Anticipate family-friendly films while experiencing one of Charlotte’s most unique outdoor amphitheaters.
Movies Under the Stars
Fridays in August at sunset
August 4 – Trolls
August 11- The Secret Life of Pets
August 18 – Sing
August 25 – (Fan vote choice)
Impress your Date
Take a trip to Historic Southend, and head to the Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop for local beer and your favorite flick. Every Friday from April through October, this neighborhood favorite provides a way for you to experience a cinematic classic while sipping on a regional brew. The movies are shown in the beer garden, but the seating is first come, first served. If you are running late, B.Y.O. comfy lawn chair.
Craft Tasting Room and Growler Shop
Fridays in July-October at sunset
July 7 – The Birds
July 14 – The Big Lebowski
July 21 – Anchorman
July 28 – Jaws
August 4 – Dial M for Murder
August 11 – Stepbrothers
August 18 – O Brother Where Art Thou
August 25 – Happy Gilmore
Summer Lovin’ Classic
Channel your inner Danny and Sandy to experience “those summer nights” in a classic way. Hounds Drive-In is the quintessential spot for an unforgettable summer memory. Located in Kings Mountain, get ready to enjoy current movie releases from the comfort of your own car. Keep an eye out for double and triple movie feature weekends. While you can’t bring outside food, the concession stand is loaded with classics like hot dogs, French fries and popcorn.
Thursday-Sunday at 9:10 p.m.
Cost: $15 per car
Movies are updated weekly. Click here this week’s movie listings.
Worth the Splurge
If you are looking for non-stop exhilarating entertainment, Carowinds is your ticket to ride. When you need a break from roller coasters and Carolina Harbor, beat the heat by settling down to a dine-in movie in Harmony Hall. Movies are shown every Wednesday. Enjoy a heaping plate of barbecue, and nestle in for a night of family-friendly cinema.
Carowinds Dine-In Movies
Wednesdays in June-August at 6 p.m.
Cost: $47 Daily Park admission, Free with Season Pass
July 5 – Wizard of Oz
July 12 – Frozen
July 19 – Toy Story
July 26 – Hook
August 2 – Happy Feet
August 9 – Finding Nemo
Away from the City
Just a short drive away from Uptown Charlotte, these nearby towns also offer outdoor movie screenings.
- The Cornelius Outdoor Cinema Series adds some cinematic flair by projecting their movies on an inflatable “blimp” screen. While you have to provide your seating arrangements, the screenings are free and open to all. Check the movie listings website to see which park the movie will be shown.Outdoor Cinema Series
Various days in July-August at sunset
August 1 – Moana
August 26 – The LEGO Batman Movie
- The Kannapolis Summer Entertainment Series features Movies in the Park, conveniently located in Village Park. Before the movie starts, kids are welcome to run through the splash pad or run loose in the playground.Movies in the Park
Fridays in May-August at 8:45 p.m.
July 21 – Pete’s Dragon
August 4 – Moana
Beat the Heat
Ever wanted to travel back in time to the Roarin’ Twenties? Here is your chance! The Cotton Room is a modern speakeasy that pays tribute to Charlotte’s cotton history by preserving the building’s original flooring, brick walls and rafter design. Soak up this beautiful architecture while watching HBO’s mega hit Game of Thrones on Sunday nights.
The Cotton Room
Sundays at 9 p.m.
With countless, unique locations to film a movie or TV show, Charlotte has become a hub for productions looking for a combination of true Southern hospitality mixed with an urban, metropolitan vibe. If you are interested in learning more about Charlotte’s film scene or want to inquire about local movie screenings in Charlotte, follow Charlotte Film on Facebook and Twitter.
Written by Schuyler Pringle | Updates by Chelsea Galusky