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The Best Outdoor Cinemas Melbourne Has In 2023

By Simon Cassar

An outdoor cinema screen with a cartoon movie playing.

We know there’s a lot to get through on the streaming platforms and so on, but sometimes you just need to get outside and make the most of the ambient temperatures of the summer months. When identifying the best outdoor cinemas Melbourne currently has, we're luckily spoilt for choice with a raft of drive-ins, rooftops, and even pop-ups in parks. 

Here are the best outdoor cinemas in Melbourne for 2023: 

Lido on the Roof

HAWTHORN

Catch the latest movies in the open air all year round at Lido on the Roof.
The cinema complex includes a jazz bar and cosy indoor cinemas, but the rooftop bar and cinema are the jewels 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, they 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 $45 per carload 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

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 complimentary ice cream from the Connoisseur Lounge. Keep an eye out for Moonlight Cinemas' lineup which is starting in December, featuring all your favourite rom-coms and throwbacks.  

Pentridge Open-Air Cinema

COBURG

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. Book your seat for an exceptional outdoor cinematic experience of the biggest global releases and hand-picked retro films under the summer night sky in a striking locale. 

Bourne Local Open-Air Cinema

ELWOOD, COLLINGWOOD, MOORABBIN 

Across the Bourne Open-Air Cinema venues, the team have got it dialled with 10-metre screens featuring a slew of the latest blockbuster hits out right now, with maybe a fan favourite or beloved cult film or two. With pre-film live entertainment, food trucks and a bar on-site there's plenty to like about this outdoor cinema, they're also doggo-friendly meaning you can bring your pups along for the show.

The Sunset Cinema

ST KILDA, MORNINGTON PENINSULA

Set in picturesque Mount Martha on the Mornington Peninsula, the Sunset Cinema is bringing new releases along with the classics to their big outdoor screen. While the Sunset experience is available in Mount Martha, there is good news for the city slickers. Sunset Cinema has just announced that they will be popping up in St Kilda over February as well. 

Palace Cinemas Moonee Ponds

MOONEE PONDS

It's yet to officially open, but the brand-spanking Moonee Ponds Palace Cinemas is an 11-screen film mecca with its very own rooftop open-air cinema on top of it. Situated within the new Penny Lane precinct on Puckle Street, the cinema takes the upper level of the building and the rooftop cinema overlooks the suburb below. 

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

Image credit: Simon Fazio,  Bourne Local Drive-In (supplied)

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