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The best outdoor cinemas in Sydney

You're spoiled for choice when it comes to watching flicks in the open air when the mercury starts to rise in Sydney

By Time Out editors |
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Mov'in Bed Cinema
Photograph: Supplied

Feel like enjoying a film in a park, by the water, or even on the water? Do alfresco movies like an expert with our guide to the new summer season of films outdoors, from blockbusters to tearjerkers and chilling horror shows. Bring a rug, bring some snacks (or buy them from handy pop-up eateries) and bring your family – 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 these engaging Indigenous walks and tours

RECOMMENDED: The best ocean pools in Sydney.

Sydney's most scenic outdoor movie screenings

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outdoor cinema in Pyrmont with Sydney skyline in background
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

American Express Openair Cinemas Pyrmont

Metcalfe Park, Darling Harbour

[Sponsored] See fresh new releases, golden oldies and critically acclaimed alternative films in Pyrmont's Metcalfe Park. Recent hits in the program include Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Hustlers, Downton Abbey, Joker and Australian film Ride Like a Girl. Also expect a caravan of food trucks and pop-up bars, plus live entertainment and other film fun under the stars.

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A wide shot of the crowd sitting down in front of the large scre
Photograph: Moonlight Cinema
Film, Outdoor cinema

Moonlight Cinema

Centennial Parklands, Centennial Park

Pack your picnic baskets because Sydney’s favourite park cinema is returning for movies under the stars this summer. Moonlight’s rolling expanse of green grass and pop-up screen is the perfect setting for unfurling a picnic blanket and keeping the family entertained, spending time with mates or having a date where you have more room to chat (and canoodle) than a traditional cinema. Keep an eye out for the full program release.

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Mov'in Bed Cinema
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Mov'in Bed Outdoor Bed Cinema

The Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park

This fun date night series has been running since 2016, offering Sydney’s film buffs the chance to see new releases and classic cinematic moments on the big screen while laying in bed at pop-up outdoor locations. The full program is yet to be announced for Sydney audiences, but if the earlier event in Perth is anything to go by, it’s looking like a winning summer of movies.

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People sitting at the Bondi Pavillion for outdoor screenings at Flickerfest.
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Film festivals

Flickerfest

Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach

Roll out the red carpet because out of 2,800 submissions from around the world, 100 short films will be chosen for the big screen for the 29th Flickerfest. Starting in January, you’ll swing from laughter to tears as you spend the night watching these impressive short films at the open-air screenings at Bondi Pavillion. Keep an eye out for the 2020 program release in December.

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Movies by the Boulevard
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Outdoor Cinema at Sydney Olympic Park

Sydney Olympic Park, Sydney Olympic Park

Movies by the Boulevard is joining forces with Sydney Hills Outdoor Cinema to bring this new outdoor film event to Sydney. It’s a similar concept as in previous years, with free new releases screening at Cathy Freeman Park throughout January. See family-friendly faves like Dumbo, Toy Story 4 and Avengers: End Game for no dollars.

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Westpac Openair Cinema
Photograph: Fiora Sacco
Film, Outdoor cinema

Westpac OpenAir

Mrs Macquaries Point, Sydney

The recently rebadged Westpac OpenAir is the one down on the water at Mrs Macquaries Chair, where up to 2,000 viewers gather in grandstand seating nightly to watch the 350m2 screen rise up from the water for the evening's show. The Opera House and Harbour Bridge wink at you in the background, the food is restaurant-standard, and the drinks are flowing.

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Floating Sydney
Photograph: Supplied
Film, Outdoor cinema

Floating Cinema

Sydney Harbour, Sydney

We've already got movies in the park, movies by the beach, outdoor movies in bed, and movies down by Sydney Harbour, but now Sydney's mania for alfresco screenings has taken that extra leap to deliver movies on a boat. The concept kicked off last summer and proved a hit, so they've announced a brand new round of floating films. See seasonal flicks like Elf, Die Hard and Crazy, Stupid, Love on the harbour.

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Skyline Drive-In Blacktown
Film, Special screenings

Skyline Drive-In Blacktown

Prospect

Enjoy all the holiday movies like it’s 60 years ago at Sydney’s only drive-in cinema. It’s been renovated to follow a 1950s theme, with diner food like hamburgers, hot dogs, shakes and banana splits served by staff in era-appropriate costume. They'll be showing all the standard Star Wars-level blockbusters over summer, plus a few festive faves like Love, Actually.

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A dark street at the very haunted Cockatoo Island
Photograph: Cockatoo Island
Things to do, Walks and tours

Overnight Fright Experience

Cockatoo Island, Sydney

While part of this sleepover on Cockatoo Island involves paranormal investigations and actual sleeping, there'll also be outdoor movies screening every night post-ghost tour. You’ll get more chills and thrills from the big screen, with an evening of horror film screenings in the campground cinema, where you can also enjoy hot choccy and biscuits by the campfire.

Stay in wide open green spaces

People sitting in the Botanic Gardens Sydney at sunset
Photograph: Supplied
Attractions, Parks and gardens

Where to find the best Sydney parks

Whether you’re in need of a green garden to laze in during lunch or a just quiet spot away from the city, these Sydney parks have sprawling open spaces, free barbecues and shaded corners to while away an afternoon.

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