From rooftops to wine farms: the best of Cape Town’s open air cinemas

Dinner: check. Movie: check. All the brownie points: check! Watch Hollywood’s brightest stars under the celestial stars at these picturesque open-air cinemas in Cape Town.

The Galileo Open Air Cinema

Each summer, from November to April, the hills are alive with The Sound of Music. Well, usually for one night at least. The line-up for the rest of the season will probably include the likes of Dirty Dancing, Love Actually, Moulin Rouge, Zoolander, The Shining, Avatar, The Karate Kid and Harry Potter. A little something for everyone, really.

The Galileo Open Air Cinema moves between Hillcrest Quarry (Tuesdays), Kirstenbosch gardens (Wednesdays), the V&A Waterfront (Thursdays), rotating venues in Cape Town (Fridays), and the Cape Winelands on select Saturdays.

Although the venues change, the set-up tends to be the same: the gates open a couple of hours before the movie and local vendors sell a range of foods – think pizzas, nachos, paella, pies, popcorn and candyfloss – as well as wine and beer. You can also bring along your own picnic basket full of snacks, as well as blankets and cushions.

If the movie isn’t sold out, you can get tickets at the door  for R90, but tickets are slightly cheaper if you buy them online. You can also hire blankets and chairs at the venues.

The Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema

Situated on the rooftop of the Grand Daddy Boutique Hotel in Long Street, the Pink Flamingo Rooftop Cinema oozes old-school charm. Surrounded by vintage Airstream trailers, this open-air cinema is open all year round.

Perfect for date night, you can choose between general seating, the Love Seat and the Couch. While all tickets (from R110) come with a welcome drink, a bag of sweets and popcorn, you can up the romance factor by adding a gourmet picnic basket and a bottle of bubbly.

The Pink Flamingo generally screens old favourites such as Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, The Sixth Sense, The Bourne Identity and The Matrix.


There’s not much that you can’t do at the Spier wine estate, so it’s not all that surprising that the estate moonlights (you see what we did there?) as a cinema too. The Spier film events, which take place twice a month, come in the form of a Drive-In or a more traditional picnic-on-lawn movie night.

At the Drive-In, which costs R250 per vehicle, you can buy food and drinks at the food stall or you can pre-order a snack box (R180) full of BBQ corn, rootstock crisps, Angus Beef biltong, sesame caramel nuts, speckled chocolate eggs and homemade chocolate brownies. On the movie night, you can’t bring along your own picnic and wine, but you can pick up a pre-made picnic basket (R450 for a family of four) two hours before the show.

Chubby Panda and Short & Sweet 

A little less mainstream, Chubby Panda and Short &Sweet offer up alternative open-air film experiences. Chubby Panda, Cape Town’s first nomadic cinema, offers free – yes, you read that correctly – screenings of films that “inspire adventure and an understanding of our natural world”. The movie screen is attached to a 4×4 vehicle and, as such, can be set up pretty much anywhere.

Short & Sweet is the Cape Town branch of an international movement by the same name that was started in London in 2006. As the name suggests, the films screened are short films and the screenings take place all year round. You can expect to find them in places such as the Castle of Good Hope, Batstone Pool and at the Drive-In of the Good Hope Seminary Junior School.

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