Unique Spots to Catch a Movie in the Greater Sacramento Area
July 7, 2023

Unique Spots to Catch a Movie in the Greater Sacramento Area

The summer movie season is in full force, with several big-budget films scheduled for release in the coming months. And while there’s nothing like hiding out in a dark, air-conditioned theater to catch the latest summer blockbuster, there are plenty of other ways to watch movies as well. The greater Sacramento area has a number of unique places that screen films, most of which are open to anyone! From movies in the park to movies at breweries and everything in between, following are some unique spots to catch a movie this summer in the greater Sacramento area.


At a Brewery

Photo courtesy Drakes: The Barn

Drakes: The Barn in West Sacramento is screening movies throughout the summer through its Barnflix program, held every other Wednesday and select Sundays. Films span the genres and are suitable for all ages, and include titles such as Iron Man, Space Jam and Legally Blonde. Showtimes are dependent on the sunset so check the website before you head out.


Over Dinner

Photo courtesy Studio Movie Grill

Dinner and a movie is now dinner with a movie! At Palladio Luxe Cinema in Folsom, you won’t miss a scene, as they offer wait service in their intimate theaters. The lobby is anchored by a cocktail bar, and the menu features much more than popcorn — think burgers, flatbreads, pastas and salads. They have a large craft cocktail menu, plus wine and beer (note: it’s 21 and over in the evenings). Similarly, Studio Movie Grill in Rocklin also offers in-theater dining, plus alcoholic beverages and desserts.


In a Hot Tub

Photo courtesy Hot Tub Cinemas

Arguably one of the most unique ways to watch a movie, Hot Tub Cinemas is a company that will come to your house, set up portable hot tubs, install a projector and pop up an outdoor screen so you can watch a movie in the cozy comfort of your own space! They even have “not tubs” for those who’d like to keep it dry, plus inflatable love seats.


In a Historic Theater

While today’s modern theaters are certainly impressive with their surround sound, digital projection, reclining loungers and 3D technology, there’s something about a historic theater. The greater Sacramento area has several restored historic theaters that still show movies — mostly indie, international and classic films — including the Crest Theater in Downtown Sacramento and the Tower Theater in Land Park.

In a Car

The drive-ins are a quintessential American experience, like baseball or apple pie. Luckily, Sacramento still has its very own drive-in theater, located near Rancho Cordova. For those who haven’t been before, it works like this: you drive into specific lanes depending on the movie you want to see, park your car in designated areas, and tune into an assigned FM channel on your car’s radio or portable boombox. Movie times change depending on the time of year but it’s recommended to arrive at least an hour before sundown for a good spot, especially on weekends. You can bring whatever food you’d like, and there is also a snack bar onsite just like any other theater. Oh, and you don’t have to stay in your car; many people bring folding chairs to sit under the stars.


On a Beach

Photo courtesy Tahoe City Public Utility District

Heading up to the Lake Tahoe area this summer? Tahoe City is hosting Movies on the Beach all summer long! The movies, which are ideal for kids and adults of all ages, are held every Wednesday at Commons Beach. Although they are free, a $1 donation is requested. Movies start at sundown, but there’ll be craft artisans, food vendors, music, and games beforehand from 4–8 p.m.


In a Park

Photo courtesy City of Rocklin

Many cities host free, family-friendly outdoor movie nights in their community parks throughout the summer. Bring a chair, a blanket and your favorite snacks and enjoy a free movie under the stars with your neighbors! Events are held in Auburn, Davis, Lincoln, Rocklin, Roseville, Woodland, Elk Grove, Fair Oaks, Citrus Heights, Arden Park, and more!


In a Pool

Photo courtesy City of Woodland

It’s no secret that it stays hot in even after the sun goes down in the Sacramento area, so why not combine swimming with a movie? There are several events scheduled where you can float in a pool while watching a movie! In Woodland, a “Dive-In Movie” (Lilo & Stitch) will be held Aug. 25 at the Community Swim Center. In Cameron Park you can watch the movie Grown Ups during their dive-in night July 15 — be sure to bring your floaties! At the Fruitridge Aquatic Center in Sacramento, float on in to see Cars on July 7 or The Goonies on July 21.



Category Elk Grove, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Local Events, Neighborhood Guides, Placerville, Roseville, Sacramento

Elizabeth Penney

Elizabeth Penney is a content writer for Lyon Real Estate and the Lyon Local blog. A Sacramento native with a marketing background, she shares her insider knowledge on restaurants, attractions and outdoor activities throughout the greater Sacramento area and beyond.