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Check out some Sydney Outdoor Cinemas this Summer [2020]

Sydney seems to love nothing more in summer than watching a movie under the stars. Over the last decade, summer outdoor cinemas have sprung up across Sydney.

Here is our guide to this season’s offerings – we will be updating this as new details are released.   

Updated 23 November 2020

Moonlight Cinema – Centennial Park

Moonlight Cinema Sydney
BYO food and drinks make this cinema a popular choice

Bring a picnic and a rug and head to our biggest city park for a movie under the stars. The Moonlight Cinema has the most extensive season offering over three months of movies.

Tip: If you are looking to impress on the first date the “Gold Grass” ticket includes a bean bed. 

Gates open at 7 pm and movies start between 8 pm and 8.30pm depending on sunset times. Dogs are allowed on a leash and you can BYO your own food and drinks, making this a budget-friendly venue.

Dates: 26 November 2020 – 4 April 2021 Moonlight Cinema is closed on Mondays.
Cost: Adults $20-$35   Kids $15
Transport: Bus from Bondi Junction or the city, parking is available in surrounding streets but fills very early. The nearest gates to the cinema are the Woollahra Gates on Oxford Street, so any Oxford St bus is your best bet.

Mov’in Boat The Floating Cinema – Darling Harbour

If you have already done the picnic on the grass at an outdoor cinema and want to try something different this might just be it! This year from the people bought you Mov’In Bed comes a nautical option.

Darling Harbour Floating Cinema
Choose a row boat or a sun lounger

The set up in Cockle Bay Wharf will feature 1000 sqm floating platform and offer 40 row boats, and pontoons with 65 summer lounge beds. There will also be two floating bar experiences.

On the shore, a 4K 15-metre screen and 30 surround speakers will complete the experience.

You can order food when you buy your tickets or arrive early and dine in one of the great restaurants in Darling Harbour

Visit the website for this seasons program.

Dates: December 3rd 2020 – March 21st 2021
Cost: Row boats hold up to 4 people and cost $119.90 / Beds $99.90 for two people and $109 for three.
Transport: Light rail or ferry to Darling Harbour, Walk from Town Hall Station

Gold Grass tickets are also available to purchase on the night if you arrive before they sell out.

Westpac OpenAir Cinema – Sydney Harbour 

Billed as the world’s most beautiful cinema, watching a movie on a screen that pops up out of Sydney Harbour is as amazing as it sounds. This cinema at the edge of the Botanic Gardens is probably the most romantic in the city.

outdoor cinema sydney
2020-2021 Dates for the Westpac Cinema have not yet been confirmed

Watch the sunset over the harbour while you wait for the sky to darken enough for the movie to begin, usually at about 8.30pm.

Tip: This cinema sells out very quickly – this year, reduced capacity will make this even more likely.

This year due to Covid safe requirements the season will start a little earlier and have a capacity of only 900 seats per night so booking early is vital if you don’t want to miss out.

We have attended this cinema several times at our own expense, and it is by far our favourite for quality and comfort. Bring your $$$ if you fancy a drink, it is not BYO.

Dates: 15 December, and will run all the way through to 24 February
Cost: TBD
Transport: Walk from Martin Place or Circular Quay Station. Try to leave the car at home, parking very limited in this area.

Visit the Westpac OpenAir website for more.

American Express Openair Cinemas – Inner West

We enjoyed a jug of Pimms on our visit!

This is a new venue for outdoor cinema, but I think it will be a popular one. On the grounds of Sydney’s oldest university and close to transport. This cinema is more than just dog-friendly with pooches offer free dog couches and treats.

American Express Openair cinemas are all dog-friendly 🙂

Food and drink packages are available to purchase before or on arrival; however, prices are lower if you prepay.

Dates: TBC
Cost: $20 adults, $17 kids
Transport: Buses to the University of Sydney depart from Stand ‘C’ at Railway Square, outside Central Station in the Sydney CBD.

American Express Open Air Cinema – Bondi Beach 

Bondi Beach outdoor cinema

Live music, sunset drinks, food from Salt Meat Cheese and a movie in the great outdoors. Summer in Sydney means outdoor movies and this venue at Bondi is about as Sydney as it gets. This one is my favourite because you can take your dog along and they even have special doggy packages.

Tip: Arrive early for the pre-movie music. Bring a jacket – it can get pretty cool by the ocean at night.

Get there early to get a beanbag chair before they run out.  Gates open from 6 pm and the movie here begins around 8:30 pm. We arrived about two hours before the movie started and it was nice to be able to relax and catch up during the sunset. 

While it was nice being near the bar in future I would avoid the back of the hill near the bar because it gets a bit distracting when they start to pack up the bar towards the end of the movie.

Dates: TBC
Cost: $20-40 depending on how many perks your order.  Deal 4 tickets for $70. Beanbags extra and in limited supply.
Details: Over 18 years only. BYO food and soft drinks but no glass, alcohol or sharp knives
Public transport: Buses from Bondi Junction or the City.  Parking is very limited.

Visit the Bondi Open Air cinema website 

Sunset Cinema North Sydney – North Sydney Oval 

Outdoor cinema at North Sydney oval

While best known as a home to cricket or football each summer North Sydney Oval’s Starlight cinema screens over 30 movies. Watch from the lawn, rent a chair or bean bed and if it starts to rain head for the stands to watch the end of the film. Gates open at 7 pm.

Tip: Great for last-minute seats as this large cinema is rarely sold out.

BYO food and soft drinks – no glass or alcohol allowed.  Food and alcohol are available to buy. This one is not pet-friendly, so if you have a dog phobia you are in luck!

Dates: TBC
Cost: from $20 pre-purchased to $45 for a ticket that includes some food and drinks and a bean bed.
Public transport:  Bus from North Sydney or Wynyard station

Visit the Cinema website

Outdoor Cinema – Sydney Olympic Park 

Sydney Olympic Park offers lots of free family activities, even more so over the summer. Perfect for school holiday fun. It is also one of only two free outdoor cinemas in Sydney.

Tip: Family-friendly films make this cinema best for kids.

Visit the website for more details.

Dates: Wednesday 4 – Sunday 19 January 2020.
Cost: Free
Public transport:  Train to Olympic Park or plenty of parking available (not free). Short walk to Cathy Freeman Park off Olympic Boulevard

Little Nightowls – Darling Quarter

Darling Harbour Outdoor Cinema

A fun free event for the whole family with two films each night, kids feature at 6:30 pm or a grown-up movie at 8:30 pm. There are plenty of dining options nearby and parking under the Darling Quarter shops.

BYO picnic or grab dinner at one of the surrounding cafes and restaurants.

Check out the list of movies here 

Dates: TBC
Cost: Free
Transport: walk from Town Hall or Central Stations

Google maps of outdoor cinema locations

View Sydney Outdoor Cinemas in a larger map

Visit Transport Info for public transport information.

Have you visited any of these cinemas? Which is your favourite?

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