First dates are often awkward and nerve-wracking, but they needn’t be boring. Have fun and learn something new with these out of the box date ideas.
Go out for dumplings
Dumplings are always a reliable first date option. Some of the tastiest are at China Red and the several Shanghai Street restaurants around the city, including 342 Little Bourke Street, 360 Bourke Street and the new 303-305 Elizabeth Street. Psst, this one has a tiki bar if you want to up your evening with cocktails. Or BYO wine from Blackhearts & Sparrows in Melbourne Central’s dining, art and music precinct, Ella.
Test your teamwork in an escape room
Work together and crack puzzles posed by Melbourne’s best escape rooms. Make it a double date and bring a team along to Trapt for journeys through the wonderful world of Oz. Dial up the fear factor to explore the paranormal world of Annabelle at Lost in Melbourne. Or use your critical thinking skills to unlock the Odditorium at Escape Hunt.
Have a romantic rooftop experience
Come for the city views, stay for the gorgeous food and great company. Show them you’re in the know by leading them to Melbourne’s newest (and highest) rooftop, Fable. Cosy up in an intimate booth for a romantic evening of cocktails and Mediterranean share plates. Then bar hop around nearby Pomelo, QT and Her.
Go ice skating
O’Brien Icehouse is fun for all ages and experience levels. Plus, it’s a great excuse to hold hands! Newcomers can take a free 15-minute lesson before hitting one of the venue’s two rinks. There are also regular themed nights, including R’n’B night on Fridays.
Brunch along Guildford lane
A rare pocket of Melbourne’s industrial heritage, Guildford lane is a secluded green oasis. Cycle on down the lane and park your bikes at Krimper for a delicious brunch. It's not a date without dessert, head to Shortstop Coffee and Donuts. Try the triple matcha cake donut or go for the crowd favourite vanilla bean.
Paint a bear
Forget build-a-bear, head to Bear With Us and paint an aesthetic bear figurine you can display at home. Choose from a range of stunning colours and sizes. Then pour the paint over your bear for a one-of-a-kind marbled design. The perfect hobby date to relax and shake those first-date nerves, let your creativity flow.
Play table tennis with cocktails
Looking for a non-traditional and fun first-date spot? Ballers Clubhouse has you sorted. Get to know each other over a selection of games like table tennis, stand-up shuffleboards, clubhouse darts and more. This date-idea won't hit your hip-pocket either. Book happy hour on weekdays from 4pm to 7pm for cheap games, pizza and selected drinks.
Explore Melbourne’s galleries
There are several small galleries in the CBD that host regular art exhibitions – many of which are free to attend. Flinders Lane Gallery, Tolarno Galleries, Science Gallery and RMIT Gallery are all within walking distance of one another, making for a leisurely daytime date.
Plan a summer picnic
Enjoy a picnic-date out in one of Melbourne's scenic spots. Perhaps the banks of Ornamental Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens, or the sun-soaked Queen Victoria Gardens where you can take a stroll to the hidden Lake Waterfall. Once your location's locked in, pick up the picnic essentials from Melbourne's best local delis and general stores and graze all day. Think epic DIY cheeseboards, ready-to-eat bento boxes, mascarpone stuffed figs and antipasti for days. Don't forget a bottle of vino!
Attend a workshop
Learn a new skill while getting to know your date by attending a workshop together. There’s often classes happening at the Library at The Dock in Docklands, the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre in Carlton and Laneway Learning in the Nicholas Building. You could get your hands dirty with some clay hand-building or test your artistic prowess in a portrait drawing class.
Belly laugh at comedy shows
Start the weekend with a laugh, there's plenty to be had around Melbourne. Head to Coopers Inn, grab a beer and enjoy the show. The weekly gigs showcase the best local, interstate and international stand-up comedians. One of Melbourne's most vibrant spots in the comedy scene is Spleen Bar. Spleen has seen everyone from Wil Anderson, Arj Barker, Dave Hughes to Fiona O'Loughlin drop in. Comedy Republic is the iconic and unique theatre bar with great comedy all year round. Their stage is home to stand up, sketch, improv, live podcasts, plays, storytelling and so much more.
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Meatball & Wine Bar
Casual diner offering a selection of meatballs and sauce, with great wines to match.
A vibrant mix of Bangkok and Melbourne, Longsong is the perfect place for a pre or after drink.