Step outside the pizza (and Netflix) box with these not-so-ordinary date ideas!
We’ve all got one. A terrible date story that we share around the table, comparing the dull, daggy and down right disastrous dates of times gone by. But dating doesn’t need to be boring, so we think it’s time to go beyond the basic “drink at the pub”. With so much happening in Sydney, it can be an overwhelming choice trying to think something fun your date will actually remember. So to save you from sinking into the same old routine we’ve got some unusual date ideas to inspire you.
If gin is your thing, the Archie Rose Distillery in Rosebery offers gin tours and tastings and is a great way to impress your date. Offering an in depth look at the distilling process from start to finish, tours run for about an hour, plus the tasting afterwards and will only set you back $30 per person. Once you’re done, you can kick back and relax at the bar and get the low down from the bartenders on what goes into your favourite drink or enjoy the selection of cakes on offer from BlackStar Pastry. Should you feel like grabbing a bite afterwards, Zeus Street Greek is just a short stroll away and has delicious lamb, salads, wine and more.
Archie Rose Distilling Co. 85 Dunning Ave, Rosebery, 02 8458 2300, Sun – Mon 12pm – 10pm, Tues – Sat 12pm – 11:30pm.
Hammocks With A View
There are some incredible spots to string up a hammock around Sydney’s harbour. As a city we certainly are spoilt when it comes to killer views. So in the warmer months take yourself to Anaconda and purchase a couple of hammocks. They have some starting at $20. Then grab your date and head down to Nielsen Park and find some strong, sturdy boughs to string up your hammock. Pack a bottle of French bubbly and swing amongst the tree tops for a lazy afternoon of long chats and uninterrupted views. If you get hungry, why not order pizza to be delivered to the park? We swear this will be one of the funnest dates you ever go on. Just make sure you don’t drink too much, remember you need to be able to climb out of the tree at the end of it and nothing kills a romantic mood more than a race to emergency.
Boozy Art Class
Let the creative juices flow with a boozy art class. Cork and Chroma in Surry Hills is a ‘sip and paint’ studio suitable for both Picasso wannabes and first-timers to get involved over a glass (or bottle) of something special, socialise and produce some creative masterpieces. Think of it as liquid courage. Classes range from $48 – $60 and include everything you’ll need for the session, except whatever you’d like to drink, which is BYO. You’ll have your own station complete with: a 40 x 50cm blank canvas, paint, brushes, easel, apron, glassware for your beverages, and an artist to support you through the creative process.
Cork and Chroma , 55 Holt Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010, 0413 742 855
Mon – Sat: 7pm – 10pm, Sun: 10am – 10pm
Art After Hours
Every Wednesday, Art Gallery of NSW stays open late for Art After Hours, which showcases something different each week. On the program is anything from live music, lectures and talks, workshops and film screenings, all with a distinct theme in mind. It’s a unique way to spend a date and to learn more about your date’s artistic interests. Most of the programs that run are free, meaning it’s easy on your wallet. Beforehand you can always take a romantic stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens or head down to Woolloomooloo Wharf for dinner afterwards. If you’re feeling fancy book a waterfront table at China Doll. Or for something more low key the Tilbury Hotel is a great middle ground with more of a casual vibe but with excellent food.
Art Gallery of New South Wales,Art Gallery Rd, Sydney, 1800 679 278
Every Wednesday untill 10pm – check their program online for exact times and exhibitions
Visit A Bath House
Do you and your date need to destress? Maybe you just want an excuse to see them in their swimmers! Take some time to relax and rejuvenate at Nature’s Energy. They have three locations – Balmain, Glebe and Newtown, each with a hot spa, cold spa, steam room and sauna. Slip into your fluffy white robes and slippers and make your way around all four. This date idea is not only super zen but rather sexy. After you’ve finished your bath house session hit the showers (they have lovely natural hair products, hair dryers and towels). Then head for lunch or dinner. In Balmain you’re nice and close to Wilhelmina’s and in Glebe Thievery.
Natures Energy pricing $31~30min | $39~45min | $44~60min
Take flight with Sydney Seaplanes
Really want to impress your date? Take them to new heights with a scenic flight on Sydney Seaplanes. Fly over Sydney’s famous coastline heading north to Palm Beach then return past Pittwater and then the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Or really ramp it up and book lunch at a luxurious waterfront location like Jonahs, Cottage Point Inn, Berowra Waters Inn or Catalina and be dropped off and picked up by seaplane. Yes, you could save it all for the proposal but why wait? Go nuts!
Sydney Sea Planes Scenic flights start from $285pp
Go foraging for Mushrooms
Mushroom picking is seasonal, with the best time to go being in autumn. But it’s a great idea for something fun to do in winter. It’s also a good excuse to get our of town and take a little road trip. If you’re a totally newbie to mushroom foraging don’t chance it, you don’t want to accidentally poison your date with a bad mushie! Instead, enlist the help of mushroom foraging expert, Diego Bonetto and join him for a day tour. The tour takes place in Oberon, so be prepared for a day trip to the Blue Mountains! The cost is $100 per person for the day trip + lunch.
Wild Mushrooms Foraging Workshop, Diego Bonetto, 0411 293 178
Role Play at Underground Cinema
Push yourselves out of your comfort zone and book yourself in for an Underground Cinema experience. Happening twice a year in Sydney this immersive cinema experience will have you guessing the film right up until the grand finale. Before that all you’ll know is the theme and be asked to come dressed in character. Once you arrive at the secret location you’ll encounter actors and scenes from the film. It’s often hard to tell who’s an actor and who’s a punter as people get right into it and the lines are blurred. After a few hours of immersive behaviour and some drinks all will be revealed and you’ll get to sit down and watch the movie that’s been brought to life before you.
Go to a secret dinner party at Secret Foodies
Continuing on with the secret element this one is for food lovers with a sense of adventure. Secret Foodies is a surprise dining experience. Buy tickets to a themed dinner party and you’ll be unaware of where you’re going or who you’ll meet until two hours before when you and your date will be sent the address via sms. Popping up in amazing restaurants across Sydney, Melbourne and Queensland as well as randon locations including warehouses, laneways, parks and rooftops you’re in for a delicious surprise. Oh and there’s masks, making things ever so secret and mysterious for you and your date.
Instead of heading to a bar with a waterview, why not try something on the water instead? Kayaking is a great alternative to the usual evening date. Giving you a different kind of way to enjoy the scenery and ticks the boxes of; outdoors, challenging, memorable. Rose Bay Aquatic Hire offers single kayaks for $25 per hour, and double kayaks for $50 per hour. You can also take the option of stopping over at Shark or Clarke Island. We recommend going in early for this one to avoid the peak times, and it’ll mean a little more privacy for you and your date.
This twist on the old classic date idea is sure to bowl your date over. The Standard Bowl has four mini bowling lanes next to it’s live music stage and dance floor so it’s the perfect spot to encourage some light hearted competitiveness before a boogie. As with most things, the more the merrier so don’t be afraid to invite your favourite couple and make it a double date. Feel free to set a little wager – the loser has to buy dumplings downstairs at Johnny Wongs Dumpling Bar.
The Standard Bowl, Level 3, 383 Bourke St, Taylor Square, (02) 8080 7060, Fri & Sat 9pm – 3am
Golden Age Cinema & Bar
Golden Age Cinema is an art deco cinema that screens classic films and some new releases. This cosy 60 seat cinema screams Hollywood glamour and has an awesome bar next door for you to enjoy some cocktails before the film. We love the Maple Pecan Old Fashioned ($19) made with roasted pecan-infused bourbon, maple syrup, aromatic old-fashioned bitters, orange twist and candied pecans. You can also take your drinks into the cinema to enjoy while you hold hands and watch the film. If you’re feeling hungry after the movie you’re just a short stroll away from plenty of great restaurants including Nomad, Bar H and Longrain. Tickets the screenings are $22 +bf for adults.
Drop a line with your date and go fishing for something a little different. A couple of our favourite spots are Bradley’s Head, halfway down the harbour, and Pier 2 at Walsh Bay. This spot again reaches about halfway up the harbour and crosses the path of a lot of fish. This is one of those great daytime date ideas and with an abundance of good fishing spots in Sydney, your date will think you’re a catch for suggesting it!
Step way outside the box and blow off a little steam with an axe throwing date. Maniax in St Peters offers two-hour axe throwing sessions which are perfect for a group date as there are group session options ($55 per person). We highly recommend giving this one a go, and hopefully your date will think you’re a bullseye by the end of it.
Maniax, 01/75 Mary St, St Peters, 0420 849 280, Mon – Sat 9am – 10pm, Sun 9am – 9pm
Get into the swing of things with your date and take a dance class. Swing Patrol classes (starting at $18) happen all across Sydney, including Newtown, Paddington and North Sydney. Teaching a little mix of everything from Blues and Jazz to Lindy Hop, it’s a great way to test out your dates dancing feet and get a little bit of body contact happening.
Ok it’s a bit cheesy, but we think it’s been long enough since Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze made this sexy in the early 90s to be cool again. Taking a pottery class is definitely a fun and intimate date idea worth considering. Plus you’ll get to leave with a little something special to remember your date by – bonus! The Pottery Shed in Surry Hills offers a two-hour class in a rustic garage at $59 per person. Afterwards take the five-minute stroll over to The Carrington for a bite to eat and drink.
The Pottery Shed, 7 Nickson St, Surry Hills, 0411 950 409, classes run Mon – Fri 10am – 9pm.
A cooking class gives you the chance to learn something new that you and your date can do together should you decide there to be future dates. Add a little spice to your date and opt for a dish or a cuisine you’re both unfamiliar with. Or, for a safer option a chocolate making class is pure indulgence and never a bad idea. Check online for their full class timetable.
The Essential Ingredient, 146 Foveaux St Surry Hills NSW 2010, 02 95558300
Mon – Wed & Fri 10am – 6pm, Thurs 10am – 8pm, Sat 9am – 5pm, Sun 10am – 4pm
Hire A Bike
Instead of taking a casual Sunday stroll with your date, go for a bike ride. You can hire bikes including tandem bikes from Centennial Park. You might look a little bit daggy riding around on a tandem but it sounds like a good laugh to us plus you get to be outdoors, enjoying the great outdoors. There are some really cool parts of Centennial to go explore including the wood forest and the mini maze. If you get hungry along the way stop at Centennial Dining for some lunch and a coffee before getting back on the road. Bikes can be hired from Centennial Park’s Cycle Hire.
Centennial Park Cycles, 50 Clovelly Rd, Randwick, 02 9398 5027, Mon – Sun 8am – 5pm
They say the most fundamental part of any relationship is working together so why not put this to the test on a rock climbing date? The perfect wet-weather date, it’s also a good way to bring out some friendly competition, but also to have a bit of a laugh. Let’s face it those harnesses aren’t the most flattering thing on your derrière and they can be kind of awkward around the nether regions of a man, but they’re sure to make you giggle. Whether or not you’re into fitness, or just looking to have some fun and try something new, rock-climbing will certainly take your date to new heights and ensure you a rocking time.
Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym, Unit 4C/107 Unwins Bridge Rd, St Peters, 02 95193325, Mon – Wed & Fri 9:30am – 10pm, Thurs 9:30am – 11pm, Sat & Sun 9:30am – 9pm
Want to play it safe and grab a drink instead? Check out Sydney’s Best Rooftop Bars.