The Best Outdoor Cinemas in Sydney

The WestPac OpenAir Cinema with the Sydney skyline as the backdrop
The WestPac OpenAir Cinema with the Sydney skyline as the backdrop | © Jan Halaska / Alamy Stock Photo
Georgie Young

Sydney is spoilt for choice with outdoor cinemas. From screens at the Royal Botanic Gardens to the North Sydney Oval, we’ve got the lowdown from our local insiders on where to find the best – all you need to bring is the popcorn.

1. Westpac OpenAir Cinema

Cinema

Open Air Cinema near Mrs Macquaries Chair in Sydney. The screen begins to rise
© Fairfax Media via Getty Images

You’d be forgiven for letting your eyes wander from the screen at this open-air cinema. Poised at the edge of the Royal Botanic Gardens, the three-storey-tall cinema has a backdrop of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. The film line up is a mix of unmissable classics and new releases (featuring more than a few Aussie heartthrobs). To help you become fully immersed in the film, the 2,000-strong crowd creates an atmosphere like no other. Recommended by local insider Angharad Jones

2. American Express Openair Cinema

Cinema

There’s no dreamier vision than the sun setting over one of Australia’s most famous beaches. Except, perhaps, combining that view with a Chris Hemsworth movie. Set just metres from the fizzing waves, American Express’s huge outdoor screen features a movie line-up ranging from unmissable classics to films fresh from the red carpet. You can pick up prosecco, pizza and, of course, buttery popcorn from a range of vendors. Recommended by local insider Angharad Jones

3. Sunset Cinema

Cinema

Sunset Cinema
© Jason Wood / Alamy Stock Photo

Every summer, North Sydney Oval – one of Australia’s oldest cricket and rugby grounds – is transformed into an al fresco world of movie magic. As well as a brilliant film line-up (think Dirty Dancing), dinner is also an open-air affair with a fleet of gourmet food trucks lining the stadium along with a fully licensed bar. Take a seat on either the grass, a deckchair or a full-length lounger. If you need any more convincing, there are just three words you need to hear: free popcorn refills. Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith

4. Moonlight Cinema

Cinema

Pack your picnic, it’s off to Paddington. Sydney’s original outdoor cinema is also its most comfortable, with an abundance of grassy slopes perfect for reclining cinephiles. For a touch of luxe, you can upgrade your turf to a Gold Grass package, which means you can watch your movie while sprawled on a bean bed (like a bean bag but twice the length and three times as comfortable) as a waiter serves you tasty treats. Otherwise, bringing your own movie munch is A-OK, but there’s a decent selection of food trucks to keep your stomach happy well into the night. Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith

5. Mov'in Bed Outdoor Cinema

Cinema

Sydney Outdoor Cinema Reopens As Drive In As Coronavirus Restrictions Ease
© Mark Metcalfe / Getty Images

Curl up in a queen-sized bed with a glass of wine and watch a movie at Moore Park. You don’t even have to leave the bed while the movie is playing, as any food you order is delivered straight to your bedside. Romantic, comfortable and with a well-stocked bar for post-movie margaritas, it’s the perfect date night activity. Recommended by local insider Susanna Smith

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