Woodinville, Freemont, South Lake Union, and Carillon Point all host outdoor movie nights in local parks throughout the summer. Bellevue Downtown Park seems like a perfect candidate for a summer series of movie nights.

After viewing the type of turn out that the 4th of July had this year at Bellevue Downtown Park, it is clear that Bellevue residents are in desperate desire of fun community activities in their backyard.

The typical “model” of these outdoor cinemas includes a $5 entry fee, some festivities such as food and entertainment before dusk, and then for the main event is a classic movie projected on a large screen when dark. The most desirable part of this type of event is bringing blankets, chairs and making yourself comfortable while watching the movie outdoors.

One of the roadblocks I have heard to this concept at Bellevue Downtown Park is that there is not enough parking to accommodate everybody. Events such as the 4th of July held at Bellevue Downtown Park have parking available at Bellevue Square (across the street) because the mall is closed on holidays, which leaves ample parking.

The movie must wait until dusk to play, which allows for a late start time around 9pm. The mall closes at 9:30pm, and mall traffic dies down substantially after 8pm. Although there would be some time overlap to people attending the movie, and guests going to the mall there seems to be a possible arrangement that could be made between the two. With the residential construction projects going up in the area many residents will be walking to the event in coming years.

This big and beautiful park needs to be taken more advantage of during Bellevue’s somewhat sunny summers. I propose Bellevue look into hosting movie nights next summer at Bellevue Downtown Park. Would you go to an outdoor movie night at Bellevue Downtown Park? Vote in our poll!


  1. I agree completely. The first time I strolled through that park (a few weeks ago), I thought it’d be the perfect spot for late movies since I saw a giant unused field of grass.

    Are there any plans for this? Or was this just a napkin idea? What organization would put something like this together? Maybe the Art Museum could try it for some income/publicity?

  2. This just an idea, there are no plans for this currently. I can think of two organizations that it would be perfect to put it on:

    1. Downtown Bellevue Association They are always putting on community events such as the 4th of July!

    2. Kemper Development Co. / Bellevue Collection I know this isn’t something they would generally be interested in, but because it is their parking structure they would have full control over the event.

  3. I’m actually a bit shocked they never thought of this. I emailed downtown bellevue about it, and this was their reply:

    Thank you for the email regarding a summer movie series. We are always
    investigating new ideas for events in Downtown Bellevue and will
    certainly keep this in mind. In the meantime, I’ve also forwarded your
    email to a contact within the City of Bellevue’s recreation department.
    Thanks again,

  4. “I’m actually a bit shocked they never thought of this”…

    They actually did this in 2004 or so… I remember going to the downtown park during the summer and viewing Willy Wonka with my oldest boy then… outdoor theatre and all. I’ll have to see if I have the pictures I took from it before it got dark.

    It was fun – I’d love to see htat happen again…

  5. I think Bellevue needs to step up to the plate and offer movie nights in the summer. The Bellevue park is perfect real estate for it and would provide a great alternative for things to do on summer nights…It would give Downtown Bellevuers an even greater sense of community.

  6. Absolutely! And I think that 425 Magazine should partner with The Bellevue Collection and/or the BDA and put it on! I love 425 Magazine and think that with their promotional support, a very large and supportive audience would attend something like this! Great idea!

  7. Film screenings are a great idea!

    Bellevue has a deep and little known history with film .The Bellevue Film Festival (1967-1981) was started by Carol Duke and Mary Jo Malone, longtime Bellevue Arts and Crafts Fair volunteers.

    Robin Oppenheimer, local media arts historian wrote this essay for the Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History that tells the fascinating history of this experimental film festival.


  8. This is a great idea! I would absolutely attend a movie night in the Bellevue Downtown park.
    Maybe it could tie in with the Thursday Public Market or something. Buy your picnic foods at the Market, have a picnic and then enjoy the movie. Just a thought.