For a cheap night out this summer, do what the locals do from Seattle to Sydney -- watch a movie under the stars.
Australia’s balmy nights just got cooler atop this rooftop oasis in Perth. You’ll have the Perth city skyline in the background while watching popular releases and cult classics. The scene at <a href="http://www.rooftopmovies.com.au/" target="_blank">Rooftop Movies</a> has a retro-Miami Beach feel complete with palm trees, astro turf, a series of vintage caravans from which food and drinks are served, beach chairs to lounge in and hundreds of pink flamingoes.
Chicago’s <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/millennium_park7.html" target="_blank">Millennium Park</a> is already an impressive sight, even without its new state-of-the-art 40-by-23-foot LED movie screen. The park’s latest high-tech attraction debuts with the opening of an outdoor film series in memory of famed Chicago film critic Roger Ebert.
Past meets future at <a href="http://www.buro-os.com/mirage_city_cinema/" target="_blank">Mirage City Cinema</a>, with ancient Sharjah architecture in the backdrop of a modern open-air movie projection. Floor carpets, which were traditionally used in Arab cultures for relaxing, are scattered throughout the courtyard, adding to the laid-back atmosphere of the outdoor cinema space.
It has to be a surreal experience to have ancient Greek ruins in the background as you watch a summer blockbuster. Built in 1935, Cine Thisio is the oldest outdoor movie theater in Athens, with impressive views of the <a href="http://www.travelchannel.com/video/explore-the-acropolis-11134" target="_blank">Acropolis</a> and the Parthenon just beyond.
After a meal in Baltimore's Little Italy, stay for "<a href="http://www.littleitalymd.com/Cinema_al_Fresco.htm" target="_blank">Cinema al Fresco</a>," one of Little Italy's most popular events, now in its 15th year. Movies are projected on the outside wall of Ciao Bella Restaurant, and you’ll see all the Italian-themed classics from <i>Moonstruck</i> to <i>The Godfather</i>.
Watch movies by moonlight with the Space Needle and the starry skies as the backdrop to Seattle’s summer <a href="http://www.seattlecenter.com/moviesatthemural/" target="_blank">Movies at the Mural</a>. Picnic on the Mural Amphitheatre lawn, in front of a giant, state-of-the-art, 45-foot screen.
It’s no surprise that beach-loving Australians watch movies on the beach, too. Watch a film at <a href="http://openaircinemas.com.au/stkilda/home" target="_blank">Open Air Cinema</a> amid views of Australia's most famous beach, Bondi Beach. Before the show begins, grab some gourmet food and drinks from a festival bar and listen to local musicians, then settle in for a full night of beachside entertainment.
As in ancient times, the open-air theaters of Greece are still a part of the country’s cultural life -- and a popular way to spend a summer night. Enjoy a big fat Greek movie (at least one with Greek subtitles, anyway) at the outdoor <a href="http://www.cinekamari.gr/" target="_blank">Kamari Cinema</a> on the Greek island of Santorini.
<a href="http://www.boulderoutdoorcinema.com/ " target="_blank">Boulder's Outdoor Cinema</a> is a popular summer night tradition for many outdoors lovers. While waiting for the sun to set and the movie to begin, enjoy local musicians and a trivia contest.
London’s Somerset House, a spectacular neoclassical building in the heart of London near the River Thames, offers a dramatic backdrop to watch a movie under the summer night stars. Tourists and locals alike rank <a href="http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/film " target="_blank">Film4 Summer Screen</a> as one of the city's best things to do in the summer.
Located at Mrs. Macquarie’s Point, <a href="http://www.stgeorgeopenair.com.au/ " target="_blank">St. George OpenAir Cinema</a> offers stunning views of Sydney Harbour. The movie screen literally rises out of Sydney Harbour. No need to pack a blanket and a picnic basket; this cinema has stadium seating and its own bars and restaurants.
How can a summer night in Paris get any more romantic? Perhaps by watching a French film on a blanket at the Parc de la Villette with a Parisian picnic of cheese, baguette and wine.
Every summer Barcelona’s locals gather at the moat area at <a href="http://www.salamontjuic.org/?lg=2 " target="_blank">Montjuic Castle </a> to watch classic and current movies. It wouldn’t be a Spanish night without a little music, so enjoy live music like bossa nova and flamenco before the movie starts.
Watching a film at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre is sure to be unforgettable -- this is the only naturally occurring, acoustically perfect amphitheatre in the world. Thanks to Mother Nature, the design of the amphitheatre consists of two 300-foot monoliths -- a dramatic backdrop for movie night.
Film buffs gather in beautiful Bay Area parks like Dolores Park for <a href="http://www.filmnight.org/" target="_blank">Film Night in the Park</a>. The 22st season, this year, offers crowd favorites from <i>The Princess Bride</i> to <i>Moonrise Kingdom</i>.
The tourists might take over the National Mall in the summer, but Washingtonians take it back for the summer movie series <a href="http://friendsofscreenonthegreen.org/" target="_blank">Screen on the Green</a>. Each event in the series attracts approximately 15,000 Washingtonians (tourist are allowed, too). Arrive early with blankets to picnic on the Mall and enjoy one of DC’s most popular summer nights out.