We realise it’s odd to publish a guide to Melbourne’s outdoor cinemas while its currently bucketing outside.

But if you’ve lived in this city long enough, you’ll know we could get 20 milimetres of rain now, quickly followed by an afternoon of perfect beach weather.

What can we say? We’re optimists. And, Saturday’s forecast is 24 degrees and sunny – so we have high hopes for a silver-lined end to this drizzly week.

These are the best outdoor cinemas to head to in Melbourne this summer – plus our picks of what to see this weekend.

The Shadow Electric

There’s nothing like sitting between the old stone walls of the Abbotsford Convent as the sky turns pink, bats take flight overhead and the opening credits of a great film start rolling. There’s always a well-curated selection of arty and entertaining flicks here.

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Friday January 29: The Big Lebowski
Saturday January 30: Labyrinth


Rooftop Cinema

One of the oldest and best in Melbourne. Take the stairs (does that elevator ever actually work?) so you can stop at Cookie or Toff for a bite, then at Mesa Verde for some quality tequila before the film. Settle in and watch the sun set from one of the best vantage points in the city. The cinema will hook you up with blankets on colder nights, too.

Saturday January 30: Mad Max: Fury Road
Sunday January 31: Interstellar


Moonlight Cinemas

The Botanical Gardens is central, lush and just a little wild and creepy when the sun goes down, but in a good way. Its program tends to be quite safe and family friendly, filled mostly with popular new releases.

Friday January 29: Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Saturday January 30: The Good Dinosaur
Sunday January 31: Spectre


Lido Cinemas Rooftop

It’s exciting when a new cinema opens in Melbourne – and even more exciting when it adds a rooftop. The new Hawthorn cinema rooftop shows almost exclusively new releases, with a few family-friendly choices sprinkled throughout the program.

Saturday January 30: Spotlight


Movies Under the Stars at Yarra’s Edge, Docklands (free)

It’s only a short run of three nightly films (from January 28 to 30), but they’re all free. The first 100 guests at each session receive a complimentary beanbag, after which they’ll be available to hire for $8 each. A free ferry service will leave from beneath Federation Square and travel directly to Point Park, Yarra’s Edge.

Friday January 29: Spectre
Saturday January 30: Inside Out


Coburg Drive-In

Get the best of both worlds here: you’re kind of outside, but kind of inside, too. Pack your car with snacks and be as noisy with your friends as you want.

Saturday January 30: The Hateful Eight


QV Outdoor Cinema

Pull up a deckchair on the Astroturf any night between Thursday and Sunday this summer in QV Square. This “silent cinema” is a little different to the others; viewers are given individual wireless headphones.

Friday January 29: The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Saturday January 30: Maleficent
Sunday January 31: Paper Towns


Cameo Outdoor Cinema

A great forest spot at the end of the Belgrave line in the Dandenong Ranges, where shadows of tree-jumping possums might distract you from the film every now and then.

Saturday January 30: Spotlight


Also coming soon is Gourmet Cinema, a new outdoor series at Caulfield Racecourse. It matches food to your film over five nights in March. Find tickets and information here.