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Pack The Popcorn For The Best Outdoor Cinemas In Melbourne

By Kate Fleming
31st Dec 2020

Aerial view of an empty Coburg Drive-In theatre.
Coburg drive-in cinema in the afternoon sun.

We know there’s a lot to get through on Netflix, Stan, Disney+, Apple TV and so on, but sometimes you just need to get outside, right? Who said the outdoors meant no screen time though? Not us. And let’s be real here, sometimes you just want to enjoy the movie without that kid behind you kicking your seat, or the group next to you talking over the tear-jerker moments. The best outdoor cinemas Melbourne has are free from such distractions. So pack a blanket and switch your phone to silent, we’ve got movies to watch.

Lido on the Roof

Hawthorn

Catch the latest movies in the open air all year round at Lido on the Roof. The independent cinema has been up and running for a few years now and looks like it’s here to stay. The cinema complex includes a jazz bar and cosy indoor cinemas, but the rooftop bar and cinema are the jewel in the crown. If the weather decides to play up—this is Melbourne after all—then they’ll swap your tickets for a future night, so you don’t need to stress about missing out. The bar opens an hour before film sessions start, so grab a drink and catch up with your mates before settling in under the stars. 

Village Cinemas Coburg Drive In

Coburg

Village Cinemas’ iconic Coburg Drive-In is an institution in Melbourne’s film scene. It’s the best way to see the latest movies from the comfort of your own car—and even if you’re in the back row, you’re sure to catch every moment on the huge 33m screen. Bring your dogs and grab a bite from the American-style Village Diner, or have all your favourite screen time snacks delivered straight to your car through the Coburg Drive-In app. 

Cameo Outdoor Cinema

Belgrave

When we think of Belgrave, the first attraction that comes to mind is usually Puffing Billy, but Cameo Cinemas are bringing their own retro flair to the foothills of the Dandenongs with their outdoor cinema. Throughout the outdoor season, there will be vintage throwbacks as well as the latest new releases, which you can enjoy with a tipple from the on-site bar. Four-legged friends are more than welcome too, in fact, we encourage it. 

Dromana Drive In

Dromana

With over 1 million visitors since opening in 1962, the team at Dromana Drive-In know a thing or two about the big screen. The cinema still retains that sweet nostalgia straight out of the likes of Grease, but perhaps with fewer leather jackets and more fuel-efficient cars. It costs just $30 per car load to see a movie, regardless of whether you fill all the seats or not. Order a feed from the retro diner and they’ll deliver it to your car.

Moonlight Cinemas

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

For 25 years, the Royal Botanic Gardens have been the place to be each summer with Moonlight Cinemas taking over the central lawn. For the perfect summer evening, bring a picnic basket and a blanket and kick back for a night of movie magic. If you’re after something a bit more luxurious, then Gold Grass is for you. You’ll be treated to your own bean bed and a complimentary ice cream from the Connoisseur Lounge. Keep an eye out for the lineup featuring Superhero Sundays and all your favourite rom coms and throwbacks. 

Pentridge Open-Air Cinema

Coburg

The newest kid on the open-air block is here for the summer. Set inside the historic 1850s bluestone walls of the old prison, Pentridge Open-Air Cinema creates the perfect atmosphere for all your favourite classics, thrillers, dramas and even the occasional family favourite. There will also be some prison-themed cult classics like The Shawshank Redemption screening. Pentridge is the latest addition to the Palace Cinemas family with the outdoor cinema screening from Boxing Day to Sunday, 28 March 2020. There will also be a pop-up bar and live music, so get there early to save a deck chair and settle in for your night in prison—we promise you’re allowed to leave at any time. 

American Express Outdoor Cinema

St Kilda

What better spot to catch an outdoor film than right by the beach? Sip your drinks and soak up the last few rays of sunshine before the stars come out and the screen lights up. With the sound of gentle waves in the background, beachside screening at the American Express Outdoor Cinema is the way to go for the ultimate relaxing summer movie session. Perfect for a date night or catch up with your crew.

Check out everything else happening around Melbourne at our Things To Do section.

Image credit: JLL

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