Here are our Top 10 Open Air Cinema in Sydney this summer (in chronological order):
- Skyline Drive-in Blacktown (all year round) is Sydney’s only drive-in cinema. It’s technically an open-air cinema, but has the benefit of keeping you dry if it rains. It has a cute 1950s-style diner attached and only costs $12.50 per person.
- Moonlight Cinema (1st December 2017 to 1st April 2018) has over 20 years under its belt. It’s still one of my favourites as I love it’s setting in Centennial Park and you don’t usually need to prebook (so you can wait to see the weather forecast). Adult standard tickets cost $19 and Gold Grass (including a Bean Bed in the premium viewing location and waiter service) are $35. You can BYO bean bag or hire one for $9. Screenings start at sundown (approximately 8:30pm until February and 8pm in March).
- Night Owls (5th to 21st January 2018) returns for its seventh year of big-screen adventure, bravery, belly laughs, happy endings, plot twists, supervillains and more, all wrapped up in movie magic on the Village Green North at Darling Quarter. It is predominantly a kids film fest, though there are a few classics thrown in that parents will enjoy reminiscing over such as Home Alone. The pre-show entertainment starts at 5pm, with the first film at 6.45pm and another at 8.30pm. Oh, and it’s all free.
- St George Open Air Cinema (9th January to 21st February 2018) at Mrs Maquarie’s Point definitely wins ‘best location award’. At $39 for adults and $37 for concessions, it’s quite a bit pricier than the other options, but the view more than makes up for that (see photo above), with the Opera House and Harbour Bridge as its backdrop. For their 2018 season, they have partnered with Matt Moran’s Sydney dining institution, Chiswick, to bring a mouth-watering menu to their onsite restaurant.
- Sydney Hills Outdoor Cinema (11th January to 18th February 2018) in Castle Hill might seem far away, unless you live out that way, but the VIP Packages with private butler service make the drive more than worth it. Standard tickets cost $21.70 (or $19.20 for concessions and $17.60 for children), whilst Family passes are $63.80 (up to 2 adults and 4 children) and Smooth VIP tickets are $35.10 (include a deckchair, blanket and Twisted Yoghurt Cup). If you really want to do it in style, the new Cabana Class (include king sized bedroom suite, butler service, blankets and pillows) are $150 for up to 4 guests and VIP Bell Tents (include butler service) are $300 for up to 8 guests. Movies start at 8pm sharp.
- Flickerfest (12th to 21st January 2018) is held each year at Bondi Pavillion. Please note that only the 8.45pm sessions are held in the outdoor amphitheatre (in the case of rain, it will be moved to the indoor theatre). The 2pm, 4.30pm & 6.30pm sessions screen in the indoor theatre regardless of the weather. Each session lasts approximately 100 minutes, so you will get to enjoy several films. Great value passes for 3/10/all sessions are also available. And each session has a theme, such as Best of Australia, Best of International and Love Bites, Rainbow Bites LGBTQ+ and Flickerkids. If you miss this International Short Film Festival in Sydney, don’t worry as it is touring all of Australia from 25th January to 18th May 2018.
- Movies by the Boulevard (12 to 28th January 2018) at Sydney Olympic Park is perfect if you have spent too much on Christmas gifts (as they are free). The movies and activities beforehand are aimed at families, with most films having a G or PG rating. Films start 8.30pm.
- Sunset Cinema (18th January to 24th March 2018) at North Sydney Oval is perfect for those of you north of the bridge. Adult tickets cost $19, concessions cost $15, children’s cost $12 and family passes are $50 (all of which are less than last year). If you want to treat yourself, Peugeot Lawn Lounge costs $40 and includes a bean bag, popcorn and drink). You can also hire bean bags for $9 and backrests for $5, plus food & drink when you get there. The film will commence screening after last light, so the actual start time varies over summer based on the sunset time and prevailing cloud cover. In Sydney during January, our movies will commence around 8:35pm and will commence gradually earlier as the season continues through February & into March.
- Ben & Jerry’s Bondi Beach (25th January to 4th March 2018). Adult tickets cost $20, concessions $17, Star Lounge $40 (includes reserved bean lounger, warm blanket hire in case of chilly breezes, wait service straight to your seat and a glass of Giesen wine (or non-alcoholic beverage). This year they are also offering 4 tickets for $70. And if you pay with Amex, you will save 15% on selected tickets & receive complimentary blanket hire. NB – It can get surprisingly chilly by the ocean, but the views and ice cream make it worthwhile.
- Tropfest (17th February 2018), the world’s largest short film festival, is back for its 26th year after a hiccup in December 2015 when it was cancelled at the last minute (due to financial issues) and then rescheduled for February 2016. As always, this year’s event is free, although there is also the option to buy tickets if you want to guarantee a good spot for $40. It will be held for the second year running in Paramatta Park. Unlike most open-air cinema in Sydney, Tropfest allows you to take your own alcohol. You can also purchase cold drinks from their bars.
Please note, most of the above have bars although a couple will allow you to take your own food and/or drink, whilst most do not, so please check their FAQs beforehand.