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Where To Find Outdoor Movies In The Nashville Area
by TJ Anderson
The Nashville Scene just announced the lineup for the 2018 Movies in the Park, running May 31 and June 21, and for me, it’s the harbinger of one of my favorite things in Nashville: summer outdoor movie season.
We’ll probably have a few new additions this year, and some small one-offs that are worth a visit. But for years now, there's been a solid foundation of outdoor movie series to count on in Middle Tennessee, all designed to fill the warmer months with unique cinematic experiences.
The outdoor movie thing isn’t for everyone — they’re generally held in parks, so you’re dealing with bugs and blanket seating and occasional mud, and often a more rowdy crowd than you’d find in a theater. But for me (and a lot of other Nashvillians), the experience is pure Southern-summer fun, and every year, I look forward to packing a few weeknights and weekends with movies under the stars.
Below, a few of my favorite Nashville-area outdoor movie options:
For four consecutive Thursday nights in early summer, Elmington Park in West Nashville hosts Movies in the Park, with recent and long-loved films up on the screen, food trucks on hand and lots of local families taking in summer night air. It’s always free, and movies start up at sundown: This year, we’ll get Coco, Wonder Woman, Legally Blonde and The Greatest Showman. More at the Movies in the Park Facebook page.
The Nashville Zoo is a treasure for so many reasons, particularly if you have kids. But their outdoor Zoovie Nights are among my favorite reasons to visit. Along with a sunset screening of a family-friendly film, they have games and inflatables, face painting, crafts, plus concessions so you can make a dinner-and-a-movie night of it. As of this posting, they had Moana coming up on May 25 and Zootopia on August 31, and if you’re a Zoo member, they’re free. (Non-members can also catch the movie free with the day’s admission, or for $6 if you come in after 6 p.m.) More at the Nashville Zoo website.
A perfect way to make the most of a Friday spent splashing at Nashville Shores: Their Dive In Movies, shown next to the wave pool in July and August, are included with waterpark admission (and free for anyone with a season pass). For 2018, they’re set for July 6, 13, 20 and 27 and August 3, and the lineup is made for movie lovers of all ages, from Coco to the live action Beauty and the Beast. More at the Nashville Shores website.
Since 2003, if you’re in Williamson County, your best bet for Friday nights during the summer: Leipers Fork Lawnchair Theater, a family-friendly outdoor movie series set in the beautiful cedar-log building out back at the Leiper Creek Art Gallery. Burgers and hot dogs hit the grill, fresh buttered popcorn gets popped and local families lounge on the grass for films that start up at dusk. The 2018 lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but last year’s season kicked off in June, with movies like Sing and Rogue One. Keep an eye on the Leipers Fork Lawnchair Theater website for updates.
In Mt. Juliet, Charlie Daniels Park hosts a summer series that, in past years, kicked off with live music, then moved into a feature film, with options like The Secret Life of Pets and Finding Dory. I haven’t seen an announced 2018 lineup yet, but the series usually starts in June and runs through August or early September. Like the Mt. Juliet Parks & Recreation Facebook page for updates.
Nashville has Movies in the Park, and so does Franklin: This series, held in Pinkerton Park, is also free, also family-friendly, and also starts up at sunset. For 2018, they have films coming up in June, July and August, but the latter one comes with a twist: It’s for grown-ups. For the 21-and-up August 10 event, Justice League will be on the big screen, at the Eastern Flank Event Facility. Almost all the outdoor film series in Middle Tennessee focus on families/youngster-friendly fare, so it’s cool to see one geared toward the big kids. More at the City of Franklin website.
Hope this rundown keeps you busy with outdoor movies in/near Nashville this summer.
TJ Anderson is a Nashville Realtor with Benchmark Realty who's helped countless clients both buy a home and sell a home in Nashville, Tennessee. He blogs about Nashville regularly, from Nashville-area....
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