Movies in the Parks

For the 7th year in a row, the Chicago Park District is hosting “Movies in the Parks” – screenings of current and classic movies in more than 170 neighborhood parks throughout the city. The schedule extends well past Labor Day to September 18th.

The showings are all free, and the lineup includes some nice titles including classics like E.T., Willy Wonka and West Side Story, as well as newer films like The Great Debaters, The Spiderwick Chronicles and Hairspray.

This is really a great event. Everyone brings picnic baskets, blankets and/or lawn chairs and they settle down at dusk to watch the films on giant projection screens. It has all the charm of an old fashioned drive-in movie but without the cost of a ticket and the glare of a car windshield.

My husband, Paul, and I brought our own children to a recent showing of Enchanted in the playfield at Hawthorne School. We only intended to stay through dinner and the opening, pre-film cartoons, but the kids were enjoying themselves so much, we stayed well past their bedtimes until the feature film ended. By the time we left, my boys were covered in dust and dirt, but they had had the time of their lives.

This is a truly wonderful service provided by the parks, and I can’t recommend it enough for locals, especially families with kids. Get out while you can and enjoy the cool night air and this charming way to take in a movie.

Here’s a sampling of upcoming venues. You can preview the citywide schedule here or by calling 312-742-PLAY.

Wicker Park

August 7th at 8:30 pm- Surf’s Up (PG)

South Lakeview Playground

August 12th at 8:30 pm – Bee Movie (PG)

Indian Boundary Park

August 13th at 8:30 pm – West Side Story (NR)

Seward Park

August 14th at 8:30 pm – The Great Debaters (PG-13)

Trebes Park

August 21st at 8:30 pm – Bee Movie (PG)

Independence Park

August 23rd at 9:00 pm – The Spiderwick Chronicles (PG)

Marquette Park

August 24th at 8:30 pm – Selena (PG)

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