Best Summer Movie Events In Chicago

May 27, 2013 7:00 AM


Whether you’re a movie buff or just like to watch films, the Chicago area offers plenty of opportunities to see movies this summer. You can expand your horizons by watching classics or soak up some culture with an indie or foreign film. The summer movie events in Chicago are also planned with the weather in mind, as you can head outdoors to catch a film in a park or beat the heat by attending an indoor festival. Check out the following summer film events to get started.



Movies In The Park
Chicago Park District
541 N. Fairbanks
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 742-1134

Date: June 11 through Oct. 26, 2013

What can be a better way to spend a summer evening than by watching a film outdoors? Chicago Park District’s Movies in the Park program is a city-wide event that shows family-friendly films in parks throughout the city all summer and into the fall. Bring a blanket, chairs and snacks, and meet up with friends for a fun night out while watching movies on the big screen. Admission is free and seating is first-come, first-serve, with some audience members arriving up to one hour before showtime. You can also call the park district at (312) 742-1134 for weather updates. To find a film playing near you, check out the Chicago Park District’s website.

Facets Family Film Series
1517 W. Fullerton Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
(800) 331-6197

Film events aren’t just for grownups. With the Facets Family Film Series, children of all ages can see movies and film shorts from around the world. Animated and live-action films are screened and foreign films have English subtitles. The films are selected for screening based on a common theme; for instance, the films shown on June 8 all celebrate fathers. In general, the films shown at 9 a.m. are suitable for children under the age of eight, while the films shown at 11 a.m. are for those eight and older. Subtitles are read out loud in English during the first screening.

Related: Best Large Theater Companies In Chicago

Movie In The Park
Cantigny Park
1S151 Winfield Road
Wheaton, IL 60189
(630) 668-5161

Date: June 20, 2013 at 8:30 p.m.

If you are in the western suburbs, mark your calendar for Cantigny Park’s Movie in the Park event. The summer-long event’s movies are family-friendly and are shown outdoors on the park’s lawn. The first film being shown this summer is “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” If you arrive early, make sure you take some time to check out Cantigny’s gardens, too. Although the movies are planned to be shown outside, you won’t need to worry about the weather. In case of rain, films will be shown in the visitor center’s theater. Other movies that will be shown this summer can be found on Cantigny’s website.



Movies Under The Stars
Willow Stream Park
651 Old Checker Road
Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
(847) 850-2100

Dates: July 19, July 26 and Aug. 2, 2013

If you’re in the northwest suburbs, keep Buffalo Grove Park District’s Movies under the Stars program in mind if you’re looking for something to do. Three family-friendly movies will be shown, with “Hotel Transylvania” shown on July 19, “Wreck It Ralph” on July 26 and “Rise of the Guardians” on Aug. 2. Rain dates are also planned for all three films. Movies are shown on a 40-foot screen with surround sound at Willow Stream Park, ensuring any spot is a good seat for watching a film. All movies begin at dark and snacks are available for sale. Seating is on a first-come, first-serves basis at this event.

Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival
Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center
150 E. Wood St.
Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 202-5222

Dates: July 21 through July 28, 2013

If you’re looking for something off the beaten path, head out to Palatine for the fourth annual Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival. The festival focuses on screening films with a strong narrative quality, and the festival features a mix of independent films, including documentaries, short films and features by local filmmakers. The festival also includes a question-and-answer session with each movie’s filmmaker after the screening, making this festival a great way to learn about the movie-making process while discovering new films. The Blue Whiskey Cinema Series also celebrates films through a monthly showing. The next showing in the series is “From Wasioja to Washington” on May 29 at Cutting Hall Performing Arts Center. For more information, check out the website.

Related: Best Outdoor Venues In Chicago

Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I’m a Trader Joe’s Fan. Her work can be found at

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