Family life on LA's Westside

best of Los Angelesfamily events on westside

Fresh and Al Fresco — Street Food Cinema

It’s a Picnic, It’s a Party, it’s a Movie Under the Stars

A Saturday night at the movies has never so fun as Street Food Cinema.  The summer event series, held May to September, features outdoor movies projected on a giant inflatable screen at parks around Los Angeles with food trucks, music, contests and other entertainment.

SFC ND Pic Audience SFC ND Pic Girl w Pugs SFC ND Pic Food Truck Line Up2 SFC ND Pic Family street food SFC ND Pic Grill Em Allfood street SFC ND Pic Daddy w 2 Girlsfood street food street cinema

Our party of six – three adults, three kids – recently attended a showing of the animated feature Escape from Planet Earth for Street Food Cinema Family.  The event included a live mini concert of Disney movie tunes by True Enchantment Entertainment, face painting, free Slurpees (Slurpee sponsored the event, connected by integral product placement from the movie); free cotton candy courtesy Fearless, a new contemporary Christian church and a playground for the kids.

The family events are much less crowded than usual Street Food Cinemas events that screen more grown-up-themed flicks, so there’s plenty of room to pitch a picnic blanket.  Popular movies, like Pitch Perfect, Rocky Horror Picture Show or Swingers, generally sell out and there’s not much walking room amidst the wall-to-wall people and patchwork of blankets.  The key is to arrive early (doors open around 6 pm) and stake your piece of grass, as even in the reserved grassy area up front space is tight.

Most events are held at Exposition Park with special nights at LA Historic Park and other locations. The food trucks are some of the best in LA, including Kogi BBQCousins Maine Lobster, Belly Bombz, Dogtown Dog, Reuben Truck, and The Melt Bus.

The event itself gets two thumbs up, though some of the logistics needed some massaging.  The lines for the food trucks get long, especially for those arriving closer to the 8:30 pm show time, and the service at the trucks was very slow, i.e., about a 40-minute wait for a hot dog and tater tots.  Also, there could have been a few more porta potties.

Low chairs are permitted in the front grounds, and an area in the back is marked for higher chairs, so everyone can be comfortable.  The event producers from TIL Lifestyle Marketing are ever-present at the event, making sure things are run smoothly.  The laid-back atmosphere is fun and friendly, and even dogs are allowed at most locations.

General admission is $10, reserved seating is $15, and children are $5 and children under 5 are free.  The online-only four-pack of tickets is a bargain at $32.  Lot parking is $10, though there was plenty of metered street parking which was free after 6 pm near the Grand Hope park location.   Overall, a great deal for dinner, a mini camp-out, a concert and movie night under the stars, all in one place.