Get excited guys, summer is just around the corner! With the warm weather fast approaching its time to start thinking about afternoon BBQs, trips to the beach, rooftop bars, picnics in the park (maybe with a cheeky nap!) and of course, open air cinemas! While those blistering 40-degree days can be unbearable at times (thanks Melbourne…) they do make for some pleasantly warm evenings, perfect for some outdoor movie action! With that in mind, here are the best places for open-air cinema in Melbourne:
Lido On The Roof
In the heart of Hawthorn’s bustling Glenferrie Road, Lido Cinemas boasts the best of both worlds in modern cinema. With eight conventional cinemas downstairs and an additional open-air cinema on the roof, Lido screens everything from new releases and art house films to classic and seasonal favourites. Pop your headphones on and sit back and relax while you enjoy Victorian wine and craft beers and classic cinema snacks (plus they’ve also got vegan popcorn!).
You knew this one was coming. Moonlight Cinemas is probably Melbourne’s most well known outdoor cinema. Located on the Royal Botanical Garden’s Central Lawn, this year’s cinema season opens in December. Moonlight’s program usually features new Hollywood releases but there’s sometimes an odd retro or cult classic chucked in there for good measure! You can bring a blanket or picnic rug (or rent a bean bag) to get comfy, plus there are always a couple of food trucks parked around!
Ben & Jerry’s Open Air Cinemas
With music by day and movies by night, Ben & Jerry’s Open Air Cinemas is basically an all day affair. Running from November 26th to December 18th, the event has feature films lighting up their huge outdoor screen from dusk. Located in St Kilda near the Sea Baths, B&J’s Cinemas will be selling food and bevs being from the licensed bar and have Australian and New Zealand musicians playing throughout the day! Sounds like the perfect summer day out to be honest.
QV Summer Cinema
Starting from December 1st, the QV Square (located on level 2) will be transformed into an outdoor silent movie experience. The QV Outdoor Cinema comes complete with deckchairs sprawled across the astroturf and little tables for your drinks and food! They show a range of feature films and old classics, four days a week, and with the huge selection of restaurants around, you won’t have to look far for a feed!
Cameo Outdoor Cinema Sessions
When the screen lights up don’t be surprised if you see a few curious possums come down to join the audience. Located in leafy Belgrave, the Cameo Outdoor Cinema gives moviegoers a different backdrop than the cityscapes of the other rooftop cinemas. Cameo shows new releases and old favorites and has special events screenings too, including a ‘Bring Your Pets’ movie night! If you do feel like heading all the way to the end of the Belgrave line then you’ll be treated to one of Melbourne’s best-kept little movie secrets. Plus sitting in the fresh air surrounded by the Dandenong Ranges is a pretty cool way to watch a movie if you ask us!
Perched atop Curtin House on Swanston Street, smack bang in the middle of the CBD, is one of Melbourne’s favourite rooftop watering holes. The aptly named Rooftop Bar doubles as an open-air cinema during the summer months, screening a mix of new releases and classic films. Deck chairs are set up all across the rooftop so you can lie back, hire a blanket if it's chilly, and order a couple of cheeky cold ones before the movie starts.
Coburg, Dromana, Dandenong
If you’re looking to go a bit more retro or it’s a bit too chilly to sit outside (which happens even in summer – this is Melbourne after all…), then the drive-in is the way to go! The Coburg, Dromana and Lunar (Dandenong) drive-ins are the only ones that have survived in Victoria and they screen all the latest movies once the sun goes down. You can sit back in your cars and listen to the audio through the radio while you order food from the vintage diners. The Coburg Drive-In In also hosts a Food Truck Festival once a month for an added bonus!
Image Credit: Ben & Jerry's Open Air Cinema