This summer, Long Beach has gone free-screening crazy! The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation planned not one, but two outdoor movie series for this year’s hot months, cramming public viewings of new and classic films into every evening (and ensuring locals have no excuse to stay at home).

The first series is “Movies in the Park,” where a giant inflatable projection screen and family-friendly films spend work week nights traveling to various parks throughout the city, one movie per week and one night in each location. The mostly-Disney and Pixar favorites hit 27 of Long Beach’s nearly 100 parks in the three-month long event where the popcorn is free and picnicking is encouraged. This week finds Shrek 3 at Heartwell and Bixby parks while next starts with Flushed Away at Signal Hill and Los Cerritos.

But if citywide outdoor extravaganzas – or families with incorrigible children – aren’t your thing, just spend a lazy day at the beach and wait for the giant inflatable screen to come to you. Thanks to some financial support from Alfredo’s Beach Club (where you can rent paddle boats and ride around the Long Beach Convention Center Hyatt’s moat), “Moonlight Movies on the Beach” drags flicks like E.T. and West Side Story onto the sand for a free frenzy.

The Long Beach tradition runs Tuesday and Wednesday nights through the end of the summer, rotating shows between Granada and Cherry beaches where the popcorn and snacks are free, but the scenery is priceless.

Tonight is Singin’ in the Rain and next week (8/12), they’re showing The Breakfast Club, so ride your bike down the beach path until you find a movie screening (or drag the car because parking is free).

Then thank the City of Long Beach for doing something right.

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