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Melbourne's Top Outdoor Cinemas

20 Nov 2018

Warm weather is for lazy beach days, busting out your boardies and, of course, enjoying balmy evenings at open-air cinemas. With summer fast approaching, you won’t want to miss our top outdoor cinema picks.

Lido on the Rooftop

In an arcade off Glenferrie Road in Hawthorn you’ll discover Lido [675 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn], a cinema offering moviegoers the best of both worlds, with both indoor theatres and a rooftop cinema that operates when the warm weather hits town. Arrive early to grab a drink from the bar and enjoy the sun as it sets over the city before settling into your beanbag or deckchair for the screening. Film aficionados will love the range of titles offered, with commercial flicks and new arthouse pictures getting a slot. If you’re keen to kick on after, head downstairs to Lido’s in-house bar Vaporetto for a glass of wine or a cocktail. On Friday and Saturday, Lido’s Jazz Room opens its doors, showcasing local performers. Entry to the Lido Jazz Room is $25. If you’re looking for a pre- or post-movie feed, Huxtaburger, Fonda and Santoni Pizza are right around the corner.

Moonlight Cinemas

BYO picnic blanket and cheese platter, and settle in for a movie under the stars in the picturesque Royal Botanic Gardens [Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra]. Moonlight Cinema kicks off at the start of December and is a great way to spend a balmy evening, whether you’re bringing your whole family or just a few friends. Make sure you arrive early and reserve prime position, or splash out and book Gold Grass seats for the best bean bags in the house and a waiter to take your food and beverage orders. The program includes new releases, cult classics and sometimes advance screenings. Be sure to check out what’s showing during your next Melbourne visit for a relaxing evening after exploring the city.

QV Outdoor Cinema

If you’re planning to visit Melbourne later in the summer, the QV Outdoor Cinema [Corner Swanston & Lonsdale Streets] has your outdoor-movie-viewing-needs covered, kicking off next February. It’s the perfect place to go after a day of retail therapy at nearby Emporium [287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne], Melbourne Central [La Trobe & Swanston Streets] or the Bourke Street Mall, plus it boasts its own range of stores to explore before your session. The cinema will be positioned right in the middle of QV Square, where a sea of deckchairs will sit atop of Astroturf, encapsulating summer vibes. The convenient position allows movie-goers to enjoy pre-movie edibles at QV’s Grill’d, Schnitz or Pappa Rich, or a sweet treat from San Churro or gelato store Movenpick.

Rooftop Cinema

It started the outdoor cinema craze in Melbourne and is set to kick-off another stellar season, with a makeover to boot. Rooftop Cinema [252 Swanston Street, Melbourne] sits on the seventh floor of Curtin House, set among the city’s skyscrapers, right in the heart Melbourne. Climbing up the seemingly never-ending flights of stairs is a bit of a workout, but the view that awaits at the top is well worth it, particularly if you get there as the sun is going down. Kick back and enjoy a beer, wine or cocktail while chowing down on a tasty burger, as a new release, cult classic or arthouse flick plays out on the big screen.

St Kilda Open Air Cinema

St Kilda Open Air Cinema brings the movies outdoors to a festival by the bay. Before the film kicks off, you can enjoy activities, live music and DJ sets, as well as gourmet eats while taking in the sunset views of St Kilda Beach. There’s an onsite cocktail bar serving up favourite summer drinks to enjoy under the palms. There are ticket options aplenty — from those that include blankets and loungers right through the Star Lounge, which comes with food service to your seat and a glass of wine. It’s the perfect spot to ease into the weekend, with the bars and nightlife of St Kilda just a stone’s throw away.

Coburg Drive-In

If you’re hiring a car during your next stay in Melbourne, head to the Coburg Drive-In [155 Newlands Road, Coburg North] for a retro experience. It opened more than 50 years ago and has continued to give Melburnians a glimpse into how movies were enjoyed in years gone by. At the retro-style diner you can order burgers, fries and popcorn or step back into current day and use the app to have snacks delivered to your car. Once you’re sorted, all you need to do is tune your car radio into the right station, sit back and relax! Tickets are available to purchase individually or by the carload, and admission for kids under 12 is free.