Life & Culture

Grab a Seat: 7 Portable Perches for Outdoor Entertainment

Summer nights: welcome breezes, free outdoor film screenings and—ouch.

If the days are gone when you could happily throw a blanket on the ground, cross your legs under you and immerse yourself in an outdoor movie or a concert in the park, check out the options. These lightweight chairs are easy to carry – a couple are designed to sling over your shoulder or be toted backpack style – practical, and stylish enough to make being the oldster among youngsters feel perfectly fine. (All the chairs are available on Amazon.)

Scroll down to see a list of this summer’s best outdoor movies in NYC and keep checking the calendar for more free outdoor concerts and other entertainment.

Cheap & Classic


The “Rio Brands BY105-0138 Web Chair”: Affordable, classic, and lightweight – the chair you might remember from summer nights on the sidewalk.

Weight 9.2 lbs.
Price $24.99
See it here

Tripod Stool

Camp Time Pack Stool

If you just need a place to prop your butt, this neat stool, which folds up as small as a newspaper (think NY Times, not Metro), does the trick well. It might not look like it, but

it supports up to 250 lbs. It has an adjustable shoulder strap for carrying. Arrive at your event feeling as cool as a cucumber.

Weight 14 oz
Price $29.99
See it here

Backpack Chair

Backpack chair

The Picnic Time Monaco Folding Beach Chair (picnic and beach – this company has all the bases covered) has a pillow for extra neck support and is lightweight – though a little low to the ground for some. Pricey? Maybe, but it has special straps that let you carry it like a backpack. If you’re too cool for school, you might want to consider buying it in black.

Weight 1 lb
Price $29.97
See it here 

Bunjee Chair


The Zenithen Bunjo Chair is cool because it’s round. It’s not so light (convince a strong friend to come with you!) but it is easy to fold up, comfortable on a hot night and fun to bounce in – like a personal trampoline. An Amazon reviewer says this chair offers great back support.

Weight 7.7 lbs
Price $35.08
See it here 

Mesh Chair

kelsyus chair

Some reviewers call the Kelsyus backback chair one of the most comfortable – partly because of its adjustable headrest. The mesh fabric makes it cool on warm nights and when it’s folded, the armrests turn into backpack straps, so it feels lighter to carry. Cons: it sits low to the ground and is not super durable.

Weight 7 lbs
Price $20.52
See it here

Direct Your Own Movie

directors chair

The Outsunny Folding Portable Directors Chair comes in various colors and has plenty of pockets for your water bottle, glasses and snacks, plus a side table. The seat is more than 30 inches off the ground, making it easy on creaky joints. Plus you get to bring a faux directors chair to a movie! (The real ones are way too expensive and heavy). A reviewer on Amazon who uses his when he attends classic car cruise-ins often has people ask him where he got his “cool” chair – so you know it’s cool (though, car cruise-ins… clearly these people are not in New York).

Weight 11 lbs
Price $29.97
See it here 

Elegant Chair

elegant chair

According to the manufacturer, Sunrise Chair was developed after years of scientific research. Whether or not – it looks great and apparently is very sturdy. One reviewer uses it at the annual Jazz Fest in New Orleans and loves it. The chair has a high back for extra comfort (though maybe not so great for the people behind you) and is easy to get up from.

Weight 7 lbs
Price $49
See it here


Free Outdoor Summer Movies in NY

Click the links to read more about each movie in our NYC events calendar.

Fri Jun 20 in Tompkins Square Park, “The Women Of the 6th Floor

Fri Jun 27 in Tompkins Square Park, “La Haine (The Hate)

Mon Jun 30 in Bryant Park,  “A Soldier’s Story


Wed Jul 16 on the Pier 63 Lawn, “American Hustle

Fri Jul 18 on Pier 1 at Riverside Park South, “Grand Illusion

Wed Jul 23 On Pier 1 at Riverside Park South, “Harold and Maude

Wed Jul 30 in Socrates Sculpture Park, “Viola

Thu Aug 14 At Harbor View Lane, Pier 1, Brooklyn Bridge, “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

Tue Aug 19 At Rumsey Playfield, Central Park “The Royal Tenenbaums



Happy viewing!


One response to “Grab a Seat: 7 Portable Perches for Outdoor Entertainment

  1. These chairs are overpriced. I recently purchased a great chair for less than $15 at Bed Bath & Beyond. It’s easy to carry and works well if you need a seat for outdoor concerts, etc..

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