When it comes to a night out at the movies, these cinemas really raise the roof.

Strathfield Movies in the Park

Best for: a free night out.

Every second Saturday, Strathfield Park opens to the masses for a free film festival. Bring your own snacks, blankets and chairs and huddle under the stars. Popcorn, ice-cream, coffee and snacks are available for purchase. Expect blockbuster family films from 2016 including Zootopia and The Dressmaker.

Strathfield Park, located between Homebush Road and Chalmers Road, Strathfield.
Until April 8, 2017
Price: free

The Beresford Hotel: Beresford Summer Movies

Best for: backyard vibes.

Every Monday night over summer, the Beresford’s leafy courtyard turns into a backyard cinema. Every month there’s a fresh theme. The film selection is hugely diverse; it covers West Side Story in December’s Soundtrack Season, and Behind the Candelabra in March’s Hope & Equality month. The Departed is showing as part of April’s Good Guys, Bad Guys. Not only do you get a free flick, but there are great food and drink deals on offer; $15 for a lasagne or pizza with a glass of red, and $5 happy hour every day.

354 Bourke Street, Surry Hills
Until April 2017
Price: free

Moonlight Cinema

Best for: blockbusters in the park.

This year at Moonlight Cinema expect everything from new releases such as Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, to a selection of classics, including a sing-a-long screening of Grease. An LA-style food truck will serve mac'n’cheese balls and churros. There will also be a fully licensed bar, or you can BYO.

Belvedere Amphitheatre, Centennial Park, corner of Carrington Drive and Broome Avenue, Paddington
December 1 to April 2
Price: $14.50–$19

Skyline Drive in Blacktown

Best for: an old-school cinema experience.

Pull up in your Mustang, pick up a soda, roll down the windows and tuck into a film. The Happy Days retro-style diner completes the vintage feel to this outdoor-cinema experience. Because Skyline is part of Event Cinemas, the movies screened are all new releases.

Cricketers Arms Road, Blacktown
Price: $11

FLiCKERFEST: 26th International Short Film Festival

Best for: Films with a view.

FLiCKERFEST is an internationally renowned short-film festival, and this year it will screen more than 150 movies under the stars on Bondi Beach. Settle in and enjoy them with a drink from the bar.

Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach
January 6–15, 2017
Price: $16–$18

Sydney Hills Outdoor Cinema

Best for: luxury.

Sydney Hills Outdoor cinema returns to Castle Hill with a series of major blockbusters old and new. From Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Founder, to Grease: Sing-Along. Enjoy beer, wine and cider from the bar, or the option to go VIP: you get a deck chair, complimentary blanket and a Messina choc-top covered in gold dust. Take it up a notch from there with VIP bell tents (available for hire) that come with a viewing courtyard and private butler for up to eight people.

Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach
January 6–15, 2017
Price: $16–$18

The Sunset Cinema

Best for: a well-stocked wine bar.

Although the program won’t come out until later this month, judging from previous years, this outdoor cinema is a quintessential Sydney summer night out.

Between the snack bar, MadFish Wine Bar and 4 Pines Craft Beer Bar, grab a drink and then lounge on a hired beanbag. For a more upmarket viewing experience, grab a reserved beanbag in the Lawn Lounge for one of the best seats in the house.

North Sydney Oval, North Sydney
January 19 to March 18, 2017
Price: $22–$25

Movies by the Boulevard

Best for: a night out with the family.

On selected nights, this open-air cinema has activities for kids and screens films of all genres. This year’s program includes Zootopia, X-Men: Apocalypse and The Secret Life of Pets. Pack a picnic, or if you’re feeling a bit lazy, food, drinks and snacks are available on-site.

Sydney Olympic Park
January 7–22, 2017
Price: free

Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinemas

Best for: movies by the beach and free ice-cream.

Screening a mix of classic flicks including Elf and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and new films such as The Accountant, Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinemas is a Darlington favourite.

In January, the outdoor-cinema moves to Bondi Beach with a whole new batch of movies. Hire a beanbag, bring a picnic blanket and tuck into one of the summer food and drink packages. Sundae Sessions on weekends involve live music and free Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream. Star Lounge tickets are available, including a glass of Giesen wine, a reserved beanbag, a blanket and service straight to your seat.

Cadigal Green at Sydney University, Darlington
Until December 21, 2016
Price: $16–$45

Honourable mention:
St. George Open Air Cinema: Tickets on sale December 12. Program released December 5.