Catered picnics, outdoor screens spice up dinner and a movie in D.C.

Catered picnics, outdoor screens spice up dinner and a movie in D.C.
Outdoor movie in D.C.

Outdoor movie in D.C.

Dinner and a movie? Sounds like the perfect, if predictable, way to spend a summer evening in the District. But with a little pre-planning, you can avoid the cliché by tweaking the scenery and thinking outside the restaurant.

Beat date night doldrums and turn predictable evenings into exceptional with a little help from inventive Washington chefs and caterers and our quick guide to D.C. outdoor movie screenings.

When the outdoor movies and atmosphere are free, it's OK to splurge on something more than a bottle of wine and cheese wedge. The hardest part may be finding the right caterer to provide the perfect picnic to fulfill your needs. 

Victoria Schapo of highly rated Devour Catering of Silver Spring, Maryland, is an option for those who want to host a larger gathering of say 20 picnickers or so. Everything is a la carte at Devour so you can add or subtract as you like. Prices start around $14 or $15 a person — not much more than a movie ticket these days.

Want something more? Sandra DeVaux, owner of Side Street Catering in Fairfax, Virginia, can help. Side Street designs menus for every occasion with an emphasis on the personal touch. "We can create something for almost any occasion our customers desire," she says.

The list is long and includes the typical wedding and Christmas parties, but also Mardi Gras blowouts, barbecues and wine tastings. And, of course, picnics.

"We make everything to order, so it's just a matter of talking to the client," she says. "We can sit down and design a menu that fits with their needs and budget."

So now you've got the food lined up, here's where to catch your favorite movie in the Washington area in August.

Screen on the Green (Website)
Aug. 4 – “Key Largo”
Aug. 11 – “A Soldier’s Story”
Capitol Riverfront (Website)
Aug. 7 – “Rudy”
Aug. 14 – “A League of Their Own”
Aug. 21 – “Blind Side”
Washington City Paper Summer Cinema Series (Website)
Aug. 7 – “Mrs. Doubtfire”
Aug. 14 – “Beetlejuice”
NoMa Summer Screen (Website)
Aug. 6 – “Top Gun”
Aug. 13 – “The Sandlot”
Gateway D.C. Summer Film Series (Website)
Aug. 5 – “Rize”
Aug. 13 – “Are We There Yet?”
Aug. 20 – “The Guardian”

Most shows begin at dusk. For a complete summer list and addresses check out D.C. Outdoor Film Schedule.

Want to forgo the crowds and host a movie-watching party in your own backyard? We know some highly rated home theater companies in the Washington area who can make that party possible. Here's how to plan for your home theater set up.

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