Sydney has always been a hub of culture but if you’re a movie lover, it’s the place to be. From independent theatres to grandiose picture palaces, Sydney cinemas offer an excellent movie-going experience with a smorgasbord of new releases, cult classics, blockbusters and art-house fare. Give Netflix a break and head to one of these vibey theatres for your next movie night.
1. Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace
This heritage-listed cinema was built in 1935 by George Kenworthy, one of Sydney’s leading architects at the time. With Art Deco charm oozing out of all of its six cinema rooms, the most impressive of which is the 744-seat Orpheum, this classic spot offers heaps of razzle-dazzle and a true step back in time. Expect everything from the classics to the mainstream to the indies. This Sydney institution has earned its top spot and is essential to hit at least once in your life.
See what’s on playing now here.
📍 380 Military Rd, Cremorne
2. Ritz Cinemas
Another heritage-listed Art Deco-era cinema and a personal favourite, The Ritz offers movie night magic like no other. With a wide range of screenings from new releases to arthouse films, retrospectives and gems from around the world, The Ritz caters to true lovers of cinema. Upstairs you’ll find the popular Ritz Lounge Bar and outside the cinema is surrounded by a bunch of cosy cafes.
Check out their latest program here.
📍45 St Pauls St, Randwick
3. Golden Age Cinema and Bar
We’ve mentioned Golden Age Cinema and Bar as an excellent first-date spot but it’s a stellar spot to hit with the cinephile in your life all year round. Dating back to the 1940s, Golden Age used to be the home of Paramount Pictures in Sydney complete with an underground theatrette that still packs a punch. The 60-seater comes with a cosy bar where you can grab a cocktail pre-screening.
Plan your next movie night here.
📍80 Commonwealth St, Surry Hills
4. Dendy Newtown
Newtown Dendy is sadly the last remaining Dendy outpost in Sydney but its popularity among locals is stronger than ever. Offering everything from first releases to lush seats, Dendy comes with ten screens and a Dolby digital surround sound plus bar. A film lovers’ go-to for over 30 years. It’s also a regular on the film festival circuit in Sydney.
See everything that’s currently playing here.
📍261-263 King St, Newtown
Govindas in Darlinghurst fuses two things we all love — food and movies. Their film and dinner combo includes a vegetarian Indian buffet you can dive into pre-screening and features the best of Indian cuisine made with local produce. There’s also cosy cushions, yoga sessions and guided meditation (for women only) to make the whole experience extra immersive. Govindas is only open Thursday – Sunday evenings.
Check out what’s playing here.
📍 112 Darlinghurst Rd, Darlinghurst
6. United Cinema Opera Quays
United Cinemas in Circular Quay probably has the most coveted location of the lot with sweeping views of the harbour and a few minutes’ walk from the Sydney Opera House. Taking over from the Dendy Cinemas team, the three-cinema complex is now run by United Cinemas Group and offers a variety of new and old releases with reclining chairs and a bar to boot.
Read more about it here.
📍1 Macquarie St, Sydney
7. Palace Chauvel
Another heritage-listed movie gem, Chauvel Cinema has been operating in Paddington for over 40 years. Movie offerings tend to lean towards the artsy/independent kind but there’s plenty of options to suit everyone’s tastes. Equally lovely is its retro decor complete with a bar that boasts a film collage from bygone eras.
Pick a movie here.
📍249 Oxford St, Paddington
8. Event Cinemas George Street
This popular cinema reopened post-covid with new daybeds, luxury seating, a new marketplace candy bar and cosy recliners so if comfort is what you’re after, this is the one to hit. A more modern option if you’re after cutting-edge technology, the cinema screens everything from mainstream and independent movies to acclaimed international opera, music and ballet.
See what’s playing and grab your tickets here.
📍505/525 George St, Sydney
9. Roseville Cinemas
This North Shore classic is an independent, two-cinema theatre with a wide variety of films for local cinephiles. If you’re after something old-world with a strong communal feeling, this vintage movie theater won’t disappoint. At this popular boutique venue, you can choose from a number of indie plus newer releases. There are also special crying rooms in both cinemas if you’re heading down with a toddler.
Check out what’s showing now.
📍 112 Pacific Hwy, Roseville
10. Skyline Drive-In Blacktown
The Skyline Drive-In cinema in Blacktown is Sydney’s last-ever drive-in cinema so the novelty factor is strong. If you’re planning a romantic night out under the stars, look no further than this buzzy cinema. There’s also a retro diner on-site slinging everything from hamburgers to hot dogs and choc tops. A one-of-a-kind spot that is sure to impress.
Find session times and book online here.