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Moonlight Cinema crowds at twilight in Centennial Park
Photograph: SuppliedMoonlight Cinema in Centennial Park

The best outdoor cinemas in Sydney this summer

With the mercury rising in Sydney, we share all our fave places to watch films in the open air

Alannah Maher
Written by
Time Out editors
&
Alannah Maher
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We love a cinema in Sydney, and we do have some really beautiful picture houses, but you know what's even better than sitting in a darkened room mainlining movies during summer? Sitting outside under the stars!

Feel like enjoying a film in the great outdoors? From blockbusters to tearjerkers, rom-coms to thrillers, you can catch them all in the open air across the city thanks to a proliferation of popcorn-offering spots popping up across the city. 

Bring a rug and some snacks (or buy them from handy pop-up eateries) and settle in with the fam, a mate, or a date – some cinemas will even let you bring your dog!

While you're planning your summer adventures, organise a trek to these majestic waterfalls near Sydney or the most beautiful walks around Sydney.

Sydney's most scenic outdoor movie screenings

  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • Sydney

Sydney’s most stunning outdoor cinema will take over Mrs Macquaries Point again this summer, with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge as its staggering backdrop. Running for more than 40 nights, there’s more than iconic views in store. You can expect pre-show DJs, and more dining experiences to choose from than ever before. With big-name chefs like Mike McEnearney (of Kitchen By Mike) taking charge of the nosh in previous years, you can expect that this year’s refreshments will be nothing to sneeze at.

  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • Centennial Park

This popular outdoor cinema experience is back in action within the beautiful surrounds of Centennial Park, screening a bunch of newly released blockbusters and beloved classics. As ever, Moonlight Cinema is a BYO-friendly event, so pack a picnic and some bubbles on ice. If you’re famously under-prepared, have no fear – there will be a phalanx of food trucks and a licensed bar for libations too. And if you’re the extra AF-type, you can bling it up with Moonlight’s Gold Grass and Platinum options.

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  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • North Sydney

North Sydney Oval, with its historic grandstand and views of the city lights, is a classy venue for outdoor cinema screenings. Pack your blankets and lawn chairs, hire a bean bag, or level up with a Tim Tam Lounge ticket – you will receive a reserved bean lounger, seating in a prime viewing area, and bottomless popcorn. Gates open at 6.30pm, with films commencing at sundown, and a range of food and beverages (from a full bar) are available (note: you can BYO food but not alcohol).

  • Film
  • Outdoor cinema
  • The Rocks

Nothing will come between us and a free flick – which is why we're pleased to hear that the Rocks has brought back Laneway Cinema. Every Wednesday night they're busting out the big screen and the bean bags on Atherden Street among golden sandstone buildings, cobbled lanes and food offerings aplenty. Movies include double screenings of festive favourites like Elf and Love Actually, alongside eternal classics like Forrest Gump and The Devil Wears Prada.

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  • Film
  • Prospect

The last remaining drive-in movie theatre in the city is so popular that, on busy nights, it backs up traffic all the way along Reservoir Road and out onto the Great Western Motorway. So if you’re planning a commute past Prospect, you might want to check session times. We love the joint's en pointe 1950's theme, with diner food served by staff in era-appropriate costume. There are new blockbusters and classic flicks to see, and you can even catch the odd late-night horror session, if you dare. Check the program here.

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