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:
Lido on the Roof
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
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
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.
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.
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. Get a full breakdown over here.
Pentridge Open-Air Cinema
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 and even trivia on selected sessions, 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, COLLINGWOOD, MOORABBIN
Now a trio of Neighbourhood favourites, Bourne Open-Air Cinema which originally popped up in Elwood Park each summer now boasts a rooftop cinema in Collingwood and a drive-in at Morris Moor in Moorabbin. Across the venues, they've 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.
Check out everything else happening around Melbourne in our Things To Do section.
Image credit: Simon Fazio, Bourne Local Drive-In (supplied)