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Your guide to Melbourne’s Open Air Cinemas

Words by: Matthew Stephenson, The Modern Connoisseur
Photography sourced from Google & PR sources

Summer is fast approaching and with it comes barbeques, trips to the beach, sleepy afternoons spent in the park, and most importantly, the return of open air cinemas. And here in Melbourne we are quite spoilt when it comes to outdoor venues in which to enjoy our films.

Sunset Cinema

The newest addition to the outdoor cinema list for 2016, Sunset Cinema, is debuting its Melbourne presence at Gasworks Parklands, Port Melbourne. With already hosting events in Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, it was time to inflate the portable screen, hock up the loud sound speakers and project some strong flicks for the month of November.

Running from Friday 4th November through to Saturday 26th November, with four screenings each week, the  line-up has something for everyone. Offering a fully licence bar on site that complements Sunset Cinema food offering from some of Melbourne’s finest food trucks; Mamma Van, Kerbside Kravings and Boeri Bros. Sunset Cinema is the ideal park open air cinema for the month of November.

Address: Sunset Cinema, Gasworks Parklands, 21 Graham St, Albert Park,  Port Melbourne
When: 4th to the 26th of November 2016

The Coburg Drive-In Food Truck Festival

The earliest open air cinema to kick off the season is The Coburg Drive-In Food Truck Festival. Kicking off on the 23rd and 24th of September, and activating the last Wednesday & Thursday of every month during the warmer months, movie goers and food lovers come together to enjoy the perfect combination of food and flick. With a number of food trucks on rotation throughout the summer, the food selection is wide a large with the likes of Nuoc Mama’s Food Truck, Greek Street Food, Tasty Taters, Mr Burger, Senor Churros, Pasta Face and A Salted Squid.

With the car set up for maximum comfort and the night sky showering with stars, the movie real commences and the picture begins.

Address: Village Cinemas Coburg Drive-In, 155 Newlands Rd, Coburg
When: Frequent showings throughout the year. Christmas special held on the 10th and 11th of December 2016

Lido’s Rooftop Cinema

An open air cinema located in Hawthorn, Lido Open Air Cinemas boasts the latest flicks including the latest James Bond flick Spectre, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, art house flick Carol and with a few fun-filled classics for good measure including Elf (come on – the silly season is approaching!). Viewers can sit back, pop on some headsets and take in the spectacular views and night air of Hawthorne. While the flick is running, attendees can enjoy boutique Victorian wine and craft beers, cinema classics and vegan popcorn cooked in coconut oil. Even better, if you go to the cinemas on a Friday or Saturday, for an extra $15 you can enjoy their very own intimate Jazz room, which includes some spectacular cheese and wine. Romantic date, much?

Address:675 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn VIC 3122
When: November 2016 – April 2017
Full Program:

Moonlight Cinema

The most well-known outdoor cinema in Melbourne is without a doubt the Moonlight Cinema. Held in Melbourne’s beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens, the gorgeous grassy hillside allows patrons to spread out on their picnic rugs and soak in some of the natural beauty of the gardens before the films even begin. The mass flights of bats at twilight are also a highlight. The Moonlight Cinema’s programming skews towards more current Hollywood films, however there are the odd retro or cult film dropped in here and there (Grease Sing-A-Long anyone?). Tickets are around $19.

Address: Botanical Gardens
When: Starting on 3rd December 2016 to Sunday 27th March 2017

Rooftop Cinema

Another much loved Melbourne open air cinema is the Rooftop Cinema, located bang in the middle of the CBD, atop of Curtin House on Swanston Street. As the name suggests, the cinema itself is nestled on the building’s rooftop which has been fitted out with deckchairs and a projector. The Rooftop Bar is also open to serve you a cheeky drink or two before the film. Rooftop Cinema typically screens a pretty diverse range of films, ranging from classic 80s comedies to more recent thrillers and dramas. Tickets are roughly $20.

Address: Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street
When: Starting 5th December 2016 to April 2017
Program: Program part one PDF can be found here.

The Shadow Electric

While Moonlight and Rooftop are the most well know open air cinemas in Melbourne, the new, funky kid on the block is The Shadow Electric. Located in the grounds of the impressive Abbotsford Convent, The Shadow Electric screens an impressive mix of art house, mainstream, cult and classic films. It also features a bar, Ping-Pong tables and live music on certain nights. At $21 a ticket The Shadow Electric is certainly worth a visit on a warm summer night.

Address: 1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford
When: Yet to be confirmed
Program: Yet to be confirmed

Ben & Jerry’s Open Air Cinema

For something a little more summery, there is the Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema in St Kilda, screening mainly comedies and childhood classics from the 80s it’s very much a light hearted affair. The cinema itself serves food and drinks and there are live bands, polo lessons and DJs playing before screenings. Also, if you really want the summer experience, head down on a Sunday for their ‘Sundae Session’ which features special live music performances and free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!

Address: South Beach Reserve, next to the St Kilda Sea Baths.
When: 26 November 2015 – 17 December 2015

QV Outdoor Cinema

One of the most diverse shopping districts – QV Melbourne – will be offering more than just summer shopping. The activation and event space – QV Square – will be transformed into an intimate cinematic experience. Located on level two, QV Outdoor Cinema will be sprawling with deck chairs across the astro turf as moviegoers get comfortable with nearby food offerings and an assortment of movies on offer.

The list of movies include the likes of features festive films, independent film focus and 80s favourites.

Address: Swanston St & Londsdale Street, Melbourne
When: 30 November 2016 – 26 February 2017

Summertime Cinema

Local council role is to provide key local services to create a functional community. While most of these services are not necessarily entertaining, you don’t often hear a local council authority offering a free openair cinema. Yet, Boroondara City Council will be offering locals and visitors just that. Throughout the month of December, Summertime Cinema will be screening three movies at different park locations within the council district – including Greythorn Park, North Balwyn, Riversdale Park, Camberwell and Central Gardens, Hawthorn.

With only three movies screening at this year’s event – Home Alone, Hoilday Inn & A Christmas Story time is of the essence to secure your spot. Brign your own rug, mingle with your neighbours and acquire some treats from the on-site vendors. This event is an opportunity to get in touch with a suburban park while enjoying a classic flick.

Address: Various park locations within the Boroondara City Council; Greythorn ParkRiversdale Park and Central Gardens
When: 3rd, 10th and 17th of December
Time: 8pm with a 8:30pm screening
Price: free


  • Home Alone (PG), screening on Saturday 3 December, Greythorn Park, North Balwyn
  • Holiday Inn (PG) screening Saturday 10 December, Riversdale Park, Camberwell
  • A Christmas Story (PG) screening on Saturday 17 December, Central Gardens, Hawthorn

Cameo Outdoor Cinema

It’s not your typical outdoor cinema location, yet there is something to be said about Cameo Outdoor Cinema. At the end of the Belgrave train line is the start of the Dandenong Ranges, but also home to the local cinema – Cameo Cinema. Located in picturesque Australian bush, Cameo offers a unique take to the outdoor cinema experience – surrounded by the very best that mother nature can offer.

Surrounded by the Dandenong Ranges, the 14 metre screen will be complemented with Dolby digital headphones and an authentic bush vibe. With the of chance curious possums coming down from the tree to suss out the noise, Cameo Outdoor Cinema provides an experience like no other. The bush has becomes a part of the movie experience.

Address: 1628 Burwood Hwy, Belgrave
When: 17 November 2016 – 9 February 2017
Full Program: Yet to be release

Underground Cinema

If you are after something a little different, there is also the Underground Cinema which screens secret films in secret locations throughout Melbourne. Just buy a ticket, wear the prescribed clothing, meet at the designated meeting point then be swept away to watch a film in a weird and wonderful location filled with actors recreating aspects of the film. At $42 a ticket it’s not cheap, but it certainly is a unique way to see some great cinema.

Address:Learn the location on the night!
When: Intermittent 

Southgate Cinema

Or if $42 is too expensive there is always the Southgate Cinema which runs every Tuesday night and is completely free! Located under the open atrium in Southgate this is a silent cinema, meaning each guest gets their own set of headphones which allows you to lie back, relax and enjoy the film amongst the hustle and bustle of Southgate shoppers. Adjacent to the cinema is Blue Train, who are offering ‘Blue Class’ – a movie menu service delivered to your seat!

Address: upper level of Southgate
When: Yet to be confirmed
Price: Free


So no matter what your budget, or what kind of experience you are after, there is no doubt an open air cinema for you. Grab some friends, pick a balmy night and enjoy a film under the stars this summer, you won’t be disappointed.

Food in pictures

1 Comment on Your guide to Melbourne’s Open Air Cinemas

  1. No mention of Australia’s largest out door cinema? The 4 screen Lunar Drive-in Dandenong has been running movies outdoors since 1956.

4 Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema | The Modern Con
  2. Opening night: Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinemas | The Modern Con
  3. The latest in Outdoor Cinema | The Modern Con
  4. 06.03.2016 ↠ Gourmet Cinema, Melbourne Food & Wine Festival – Consumed by wanderlust

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