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By Concrete Playground
July 06, 2021
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By Concrete Playground
July 06, 2021
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Tired of the classic drink and dinner date night combo? Us too. That's why we're always on the hunt for new things to do, scouring the city for not-boring Melbourne activities — ones that are guaranteed to take your next date way beyond done-before beers at the pub. Whether you're taking someone on a second date or doing your 100th with your significant other, we've got some killer (and, yes, cute) ideas for dates to go on this week, no matter how much money you've got to spend. Just think of us as your cultural wingman. You're welcome.

Under current COVID-19 restrictions in Melbourne, some venues are still operating under capacity limits, so booking ahead is advised. Check out the latest information on the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website.

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FREE

TAKE A SELF-GUIDED ART TOUR THROUGH THE CITY

A stroll through the city, or a gallery visit? You and your date can do both at once, with the Flinders Quarter Augmented Art Walk. Until Friday, July 16, the CBD pocket's laneways and buildings will be brought to life through augmented reality, which you can experience as part of an immersive, self-guided art adventure.

Simply grab a copy of the map from participating businesses (or online), download the supporting Eyejack app to your smartphone for free, hit the 'Launch AR' button and let the tour begin. Spanning nooks, crannies and walls throughout Flinders Quarter, the art walk showcases a slew of commissioned contemporary works from the likes of Stanislava Pinchuk (Miso), Anton Hasell, Dee Smart and Carla Gottgens, which are brought to life on your phone with a combination of digital animation and sound.

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UNDER $50

Phoebe Powell

SHOW OFF YOUR NOSTALGIC SIDE AT THE DISNEY EXHIBITION

Reconnect with a few childhood favourites when you take your date for a spin around ACMI's Disney: The Magic of Animation exhibition. Here on its only Aussie stop, the exhibition explores everything from 1928's Steamboat Willie — the first talkie to feature Mickey Mouse — through to this year's Raya and the Last Dragon. Fantasia, Alice in Wonderland, Lady and the Tramp, The Lion King, Frozen — they're all here, too.

Move between mouse ear-shaped doorways as you check out art from the Mouse House's hefty back catalogue of titles. More than 500 original works feature, spanning paintings, sketches, drawings and concept art. The entire lineup has been specially selected by the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, and will let you get a glimpse at just how the movie magic comes to life, how some of Disney's famous stories were developed, and which animation techniques brought them to the big screen.

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TREAT THEM TO A TASTE OF LUXURY

If your date's got a soft spot for gourmet eats, they're sure to be chuffed with a visit to the huge annual Truffle Melbourne festival, hitting Queen Victoria Market on July 10 and 11. Here, you can watch live mock truffle hunts, while sampling a huge variety of truffle-infused dishes. Think, truffle mac and cheese, truffle-topped pizza and even a four-cheese truffle gnocchi served hot from a parmesan wheel. Or, get your truffle fix in liquid form, thanks to the bar's specialty truffle-charged lineup of cocktails, beers and ciders.

Meanwhile, chefs including Guy Grossi (Grossi Florentino) and Jesse Gerner (Bomba) will host a program of cooking demonstrations covering everything from pork and truffle dumplings to a black truffle tiramisu. Plus, you can stock up on take-home truffle from some of Australia's leading growers — that's your next home-cooked dinner date sorted, too.

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UNDER $100

PICNIC IN A PRIVATE IGLOO

What better way to embrace the chill, than cosying up with that special someone in your own private igloo? These Winter Igloo Gardens have popped up at four Melbourne venues for the season, available to book out for a variety of snug, two-hour wining and dining sessions.

The Studley Park Boathouse igloo is serving a winter high tea full of sweet and savoury bites with a glass of bubbly for $49 per person, with the option to add on 90 minutes of bottomless drinks for an extra $25.

The Wharf Hotel's riverside Winter Igloo Garden is offering a shared grazing board and drink for $49, while The Auburn is serving a $59 shared three-course feast, including your choice of wintery tipple. And at The Station, you're in for a meat-heavy menu teamed with your choice of drink for $69. While you're hanging out in any of the above igloos, further drinks can also be ordered via an app, so you don't have to leave your wintry lair.

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ONE BIG BLOWOUT

GET OUTTA TOWN FOR SOME WINE AND MUSIC

Ready to amp up the relationship with an out-of-town adventure? Jump in the car and check out the final weekend of the East Gippsland Winter Festival, which wraps up on July 11. The multi-venue event is serving up a program filled with local produce, fresh seafood, art, breweries and endless drops of pinot, and there's still plenty more to get involved in. On the final two days alone, you can catch light displays, interactive town tours, stargazing and paint sessions, wine tastings, stacks of live tunes and even a food truck festival.

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Top image: Flinders Quarter Augmented Art Walk

Published on July 06, 2021 by Concrete Playground

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