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Your 2022 Guide To The Best Outdoor Cinemas In Melbourne

By Kate Fleming
12th Jan 2022

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 the streaming platforms 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.

Here are the best outdoor cinemas in Melbourne for 2022: 

Fed Summer Films

FEDERATION SQUARE

Pull up a deck chair and chill out to a flick on the big screen under the stars. They are pulling out all the stops and certainly all the classics for this year’s Fed Summer Films; dive deep into nostalgia territory with Jurassic Park or Jaws. Alongside the Hollywood heavy hitters is a raft of Australian treasures including The Castle, The Dish, Muriel’s Wedding and more. There is definitely a film for every critic so peruse the full program to find a movie and forgo Netflix for a night. 

Disney+ Drive-In

ASCOT VALE

Melbourne has no shortage of open-air and drive-in cinema’s but this one is maybe the most sentimental. Open Air Cinema has teamed up with Disney+ for what can only be described as a collaboration made in heaven. The Disney+ Drive-In has taken over the Melbourne Showgrounds to bring you a summer program jam-packed with nostalgic flicks. The line-up of Disney classics include Pretty Woman, Moulin Rouge!, The Devil Wears Prada, 10 Things I Hate About You and The Greatest Showman. It’s the classic drive-in setup but with a small twist, you can order your movie snacks via DoorDash and have them delivered straight to your car. 

Barefoot Cinema

MORNINGTON PENINSULA

Set in picturesque Mount Martha on the Mornington Peninsula, the Barefoot Cinema is bringing new releases along with the classics to their big outdoor screen. With summer sunsets as your backdrop, you can drop in to see the new Bond flick, No Time To Die or the hilarious Don't Look Up and more. While the barefoot experience is only available in Mount Martha right now, there is good news for the city slickers. Barefoot Cinema has just announced that they will be popping up in St Kilda over February as well as Werribee later in March. 

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 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 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. 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. 

Bourne Local Open-Air Cinema

ELWOOD

A neighbourhood favourite, the Bourne open-air cinema in Elwood park has become a mainstay of the summertime period. With the beach as your backdrop, the 10-metre screen will play host to a raft of nostalgic classics including Dirty Dancing and new releases such as Dune and Spider-Man: No Way Home. 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.

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

Image credit: JLL

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