Your Melbourne guide to outdoor cinemas

Catch a flick on a rooftop, in a garden or even at the MCG this summer. Our movie-loving city has outdoor cinemas to satisfy all tastes.

Moonlight Cinema

This ever-popular experience in the Royal Botanic Gardens is back, so get your picnic and rug ready for films like Bohemian Rhapsody and Christmas classic Love Actually. A limited number of Bean Beds (yep, beds!) are available at Moonlight Cinema, hired on a first-come-first-served basis. There’s a licensed bar and catering on-site too, and friendly four-legged guests are welcome, so every human and furry friend is happy.

A group of people sitting on rugs in a park in front of a big outdoor screen

Moonlight Cinema

Fed Square’s free Christmas movies

Give your feet and wallet a rest in the days leading up to Christmas at Federation Square. The plaza in the city’s heart is screening free festive flicks on the big digital façade, starting with The Nutcracker and the Four Realms on 21 December. The icing on this free Christmas cake is The Australian Ballet’s live highlights from The Nutcracker ballet, plus free popcorn and sugarplum fairy floss. You can also see Home Alone (22 December), Edward Scissorhands (23rd) and The Santa Clause (24th). Stick around and enjoy Fed Square’s other festive freebies, including the giant LED tree in Christmas Square.

Rooftop Cinema

One of Melbourne’s first sky-high movie venues, Rooftop Cinema returns on 1 December for another hot summer of cool films. There’s Christmas cuties like It’s a Wonderful Life and Last Christmas, the new film starring Emilia Clarke, better known as Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones. There’s dark matter like Joker and Goodfellas, family-friendly faves including anime Spirited Away, and films that will be hot off the press – hello, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit! Plus glittering city views, a bar, burger shack and deckchairs for everyone.

People sitting in deck chairs on a rooftop in front of a big screen

Rooftop Cinema

Carlton Christmas Cinema

What’s better than a summer evening on Lygon Street enjoying spritzes, pasta and gelato? Topping it off with a free outdoor festive film, when Argyle Square is transformed into Carlton Christmas Cinema. It’s happening on the four Saturdays leading up to the big day, starting with The Muppet Christmas Carol on 30 November. Then it’s Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (7 December), 2006 Chrissy rom-com The Holiday (14th) and How the Grinch Stole Christmas (21st).

The muppets dressed in Christmas outfits

The Muppet Christmas Carol screens at Carlton Christmas Cinema

Cinema at the ‘G

Over two huge February nights, the MCG is transformed into the ultimate open-air cinema, where you get to lounge around on the hallowed turf. This season’s movies on the giant scoreboard are pop-fuelled Elton John biopic Rocketman and the Aussie tale of sporting glory, Ride Like a Girl. All proceeds from Cinema at the ‘G will be donated to The Bank of Melbourne Foundation, which supports Victorian communities.

Movies under the stars

The free Movies Under the Stars season in Docklands returns on 14 and 15 February. Pack a picnic, grab snacks on site or dine waterside by the river at Yarra’s Edge or South Wharf. Located at Point Park, movies begin at sunset. Be early as there will be free bean bags to the first 200 guests.