Tired of the classic movie 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.
WANDER AROUND THE CBD'S CITY-STOPPING ARTS AND CULTURE INSTALLATION
If you haven't been down to White Night before, here's how it works. From 7pm, much of Melbourne's CBD is closed to cars. From then on, the streets give way to pedestrians, who are free to wander between temporary installations, live music and on-street projections — as well as in and out of galleries and cultural institutions — up until the sun comes up at 7am the next day. It's the Australian version of Nuit Blanche, which was founded in France in the 80s.
Next year's festival — which will shut down the city for 12 hours on the evening of Saturday, February 17 — features work from a tonne of both local and international artists. Expect to see neon pups, two Burning Man installations and one laneway covered in snow. There are far too many works to list, but you'll want to look out for a giant shimming silver net that will hover above Federation Square for White Night (and two weeks afterwards), drag queens singing from balconies above Collins Street and a laneway filled with virtual neon 'dogs' and another filled with falling 'snow'.
PICNIC UNDER THE STARS AT ONE OF MELBOURNE'S OLDEST YEARLY CONCERTS
A staple of Melbourne's cultural calendar for 80 years and counting, the Sidney Myer Free Concerts are back for another year. Held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, the latest of this long-standing favourite will, as always, feature a trio of performances from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Whether you're a classical music buff or just want to stretch out with a picnic on the grass, there's a good reason these concerts have become a summertime tradition.
After kicking off on February 7 and keeping the fun going on February 10, Melburnians can enjoy the last evening in the series on February 14. Making the most of the date, the MSO will perform a series of love-inspired music, opening with Richard Strauss, and followed by several pieces by Giacomo Puccini and others.
Performances begin at 7:30pm however gates are open at 4:30pm — be sure to arrive promptly with your picnic basket in hand.
EAT ALL THE GYOZA YOU CAN HANDLE
They're words every hungry stomach likes to hear: all you can eat. And, they're words that echo a little bit louder when gyoza are involved. After all, who hasn't sat down to a plate of them, finished it quicker than they thought they would and wished someone would keep magically refilling it?
We all have, and that's just what'll happen at Bosozoku on Wednesdays. It's all rather simple: you venture in after 5pm, choose from pork or vegetarian, and settle in for an hour of power. The best part? It'll cost you only $25. Usually the gyoza cost $2 each, so you'll have to eat at least 13 to get your money's worth. So come with an empty stomach.
For $18 you can indulge in an $18 tasting session that covers 12 flavours at once, or just rampage around the place like a deranged, hungry Pac-Man and try to taste 'em all at $4.80 a pop. Compare the relative merits of flavours like gin and tonic, dark chocolate and beer, turmeric and espresso, and finger lime cheesecake and strawberry gum — all while relaxing in the grounds in either Yarra Glen or Bellbrae (or both). The view may well be lost on you as you slide into a sugar-induced happiness coma, but that's okay. They aren't inventing all those flavours for you to not try them.
GRAB A SLICE AND GO FOR A ROLL
If you want that special someone to really fall for you — maybe even literally — put wheel to concrete at Moon Dog Brewery's Skate Date Roller Disco on February 14. From 5.30-10pm, the warehouse space will be transformed into a rockin' roller rink, complete with party tunes from the likes of Jim Westlake, Chesh and Toni Pixelton to inspire your grooviest moves. As always, the bar will be slinging Moon Dog's greatest beer hits fresh from the source, and the pizza van out front has dinner sorted with a tidy range of pizzas. Roller disco tickets are $15 a pop if you buy them online, and $18 on the door (if they don't sell out).
For those searching for a last minute Valentine's Day date idea, we've put together a list of cute and budget-friendly ideas here.