One of my favorite summer – and autumn – evening activities in Athens is the outdoor cinema. Most Americans are familiar with our version, the drive-in theater – but in Athens you don’t need a car to enjoy the silver screen under the light of the silver moon.
An evening at the outdoor movies isn’t merely about what’s showing on the screen. For the Greeks, a trip to the cinema in summer is a family affair. Mom, dad, the kids, grandma and grandpa and maybe an aunt or uncle or two, some cousins … you get the picture. Some families pack a picnic, snacks or even mezedes and head to a park or square where outdoor cinemas screen mostly American films in English with subtitles. Occasionally you’ll find a theater with an early screening, usually a cartoon or child focused film. These will often be dubbed, so prepare yourself for missing the whole point of the film. Your kids, of course, won’t miss a thing – cartoons speak a universal language.
Here’s a list of outdoor cinemas in the downtown area of Athens (there are more than 50 outdoor movie theaters in the Athens area, the list below are the most central:
Thissio Cinema – Thissio – 7 Apostolou Pavlou Street, south side of the Acropolis
Tel 2103470980 (If you are bored with the movie, enjoy the view of the Acropolis)
Aegli cinema – In the Zappieo Gardens (between the National Gardens and Hadrien’s Arch/Temple of Zeus
Aphrodite cinema – Gazi- 7-9, Andronikou Street,
Aleka – Zografos – 3rd Or. Taxiarchias Street
Tel 2107773608 (Garden with tables)
Athinaia Ericsson – Kolonaki – 20 Haritos Street,
Tel 2107215717 (Garden with tables)
Cine Pari – Plaka – 22 Kydathinaion Street,
Tel 2103222071 – Terrace with tables
Cine Psyrri – Psyrri – 40-44 Sarri Street
Dexameni Cinema – Kolonaki – Dexamenis Sq. Across from the St George Lykavittos Hotel
Elena Cinema – Ilisia – 47 Antifyllou Street (Hilton area)
Tel 2107789120 (Garden with tables)
Oasis Cinema – Pagrati – 7 Pratinou Street, Pagrati
Tel 2107244015 (Garden)
Palas Theater – Pagrati – 109 Ymittou
Tel 2107511868 (Early children shows often)
Riviera – Exarchia – 46 Valtetsiou Street
Tel 2103837716 (Garden with tables)
Zefyros – Thissio – 36 Troon Street
For a complete list of outdoor cinemas and traditional year round movie theaters in Athens and the surrounding suburbs, visit the Athens Info Guide, http://www.athensinfoguide.com/nlcinemas.htm and for current movie listings in English, searchable by movie title, neighborhood or theater visit ExPat Athens.
* A bit of an update on this since I recently went to a suburban summer cinema, one I had never been to before. Seems they’re starting to get North American movie theater saavy – hot dogs, nachos with doritos and something that resembles liquid cheese, along with a selection of imported beer and blue margaritas were available for purchase. I missed having a souvlaki and ice cream, but at least the truly Greek garden setting, AND the intermission, have not changed a bit.