BEST PLACE TO WATCH A MOVIE OUTDOORS - 2006
There are other free outdoor screenings of films on celluloid with live musical warmup—in St. Paul's Castillo Park and Stillwater's Lowell Park, for instance. But Summer Music and Movies in Loring Park is special. A grassy hillside accommodates a large, reclining audience in a natural amphitheater surrounded by trees. The spot looks and feels like Minneapolis's Central Park, the name it received at its dedication in 1866, before being rechristened in honor of the city's first Park Board president. An urban landscape has since met the park's edges. But the buffer of trees offers enough quiet for the romance of the audibly clicking projector. Films, bands, and DJs are programmed by the Walker Art Center, which ensures taste and surprise: Last year a 35mm print of Nicholas Ray's Bigger Than Life followed a set by local cabaret punks Thunder in the Valley. Couples meet here. Crowds mix. One does wish someone would cover the street lamps that cast light on the screen, but the Loring experience is about atmosphere, not perfection. This is simply one of the reasons to live here.