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An Overview of Outdoor Movies in Arizona

Updated on June 26, 2010

Arizona and Outdoor Movies

If you enjoy watching movies outdoors then you really couldn’t ask for a better state than Arizona. It’s warm enough throughout most of the year to enjoy outdoor movies. The summer days may be hot but the evenings are cool. Having spent all day indoors trying to enjoy the air conditioning, you definitely want to get outside when the temperatures begin to go down. However, you’re still feeling lazy from the heat. Outdoor movies offer the perfect mixture of low-key activity and laidback social entertainment.

The most interesting thing about cities in Arizona is how different one is from the next. Every place in Arizona has a Southwest feel but within that there is a lot of variation. This variation is exemplified in the differences between outdoor movie events in different parts of the state. A look at outdoor movies in Flagstaff, Tempe, Tucson and Phoenix can provide you with additional insight into the differences between the ways people live in general in these different areas of Arizona.

Outdoor Movies in Phoenix

Phoenix, the capital city of Arizona, is one of the most rapidly-growing urban areas in the country. It is the largest city in the state of Arizona and also happens to be among the hottest of the cities in the state. This combination of many people with lots of heat makes it a popular choice for outdoor movie events that provide free or cheap entertainment to people who want to be outside in the evenings.

There is not one specific place that is best for seeing outdoor movies in Phoenix. Instead, you will find that outdoor movie screens are set up at various events and locations throughout the city, usually close to or in conjunction with other events happening in the area. The outdoor movie events here tend to represent the urban, trendy side of Arizona. For example, Phoenix was one of one dozen cities to participate in an outdoor screening event for the Twilight movie. Another example is the fact that outdoor movies at the Biltmore Fashion Mall proved to be popular.

Outdoor Movies in Tempe

Tempe, Arizona is located close to Phoenix but should not be considered merely a suburb of the larger city. Because it is home to Arizona State University, it has an entirely different “college town” feel all its own. This difference is reflected in the difference between outdoor movie events in Phoenix and those held in Tempe. Outdoor movies in Tempe tend to be geared towards the college crowd, offering free or cheap entertainment. Throwback films from the 1980’s, silly college comedies and adult-humor films tend to be the types of movies that are shown at outdoor events in Tempe. The events may start in spring and continue on throughout the year while the kids are in school.

Outdoor Movies in Flagstaff

Flagstaff is another college town in Arizona, home to Northern Arizona University. However, this city is also a hub of eco-conscious activity. It’s a more forested, cooler area of Arizona so outdoor movies tend to be limited to the summer months so they may be less geared towards college students than the many visitors that come to Northern Arizona during the summer months. The outdoor movie events here are often part of other community events such as festivals. Nature-friendly movies aren’t uncommon at these events.

Outdoor Movies in Tucson

Tucson is another major city in Arizona and perhaps the one where outdoor movie events are most popular. Every summer the downtown area comes alive with weekday evening movie showings. Various parks and stores also host their own occasional outdoor movies all throughout the year. Tucson tends to be slow-paced but artsy, creative but easy-going. The outdoor movies range from classic old movies to cult films to emerging indie films. The people who come to see these events are as diverse as the films themselves.


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