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Five Romantic Melbourne Date Ideas for This Week From Budget to Blowout

Just think of us as your cultural wingman.
By Concrete Playground
July 14, 2022
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By Concrete Playground
July 14, 2022
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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.

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FREE

TAKE YOUR SPECIAL SOMEONE TO EXPLORE A STRIKING CHIHARU SHIOTA SHOWCASE

Not quite ready to whisk your date interstate to check out Brisbane's huge Chiharu Shiota exhibition? No worries — Melburnians can now check out the Japan-born, Berlin-based artist's pieces without hopping on a plane, thanks to this new showcase at the Anna Schwartz Gallery. Titled State of Being, the exhibition is on show at the Flinders Lane venue until Saturday, July 23, and it features works that are just as stunning as its northern counterpart.

Red and black are a big feature, colour-wise, as they always are in Shiota's work. String, yarn, wool — they all make an appearance as well. This showcase is smaller, more intimate, but still inescapably striking. Staring at a room filled with dangling, intertwined, labyrinthine threads always will be.

The exhibition spans both 2D and 3D pieces, including sculptures, and works on canvas and paper. And for a romantic touch, you'll even spy reclaimed love letters, diaries and photos picked up by the artist at flea markets.

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UNDER $50

TRANSPORT YOUR DATE TO FRANCE WITH A DAY OF CROISSANTS AND CHAMPAGNE

Just because you haven't wrangled a trip to the City of Love this year, doesn't mean you and your SO can't channel date-night drinks in Paris — right here in Melbourne. The annual Bastille Day French Festival returns to Fed Square from Saturday, July 16–Sunday, July 17, dishing up a lively program of food, entertainment and market stalls to woo the most avid of Francophiles.

A winter marketplace will be stocked full of French favourites; think, buttery croissants, cheese and charcuterie, crepes, toasty serves of mulled wine and of course, the world's finest bubbly, straight out of Champagne.

The French-accented entertainment runs from live acoustic tunes to hip hop dance demonstrations, or you can dive into topics like art, history and sustainability at one of the festival's Les Lumieres talks. There'll even be culinary masterclasses dedicated to French favourites including wine, cheese and cocktails — so you can pick up a few tricks guaranteed to impress the next time your date comes over for dinner.

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UNDER $75

The Passing Winter, 2005, Yayoi Kusama. Tate: Purchased with funds provided by the Asia-Pacific Acquisitions Committee 2008. ©Yayoi Kusama. Tate. Photo: Phoebe Powell.

EXPLORE MELBOURNE'S BLOCKBUSTER NEW TATE EXHIBITION

If you're looking to impress the 'light of your life', here's a date idea that's right on theme. One of the world's most acclaimed galleries has arrived in Australia for a special showcase of more than 70 works chronicling the past 200 years, all themed around the concept of light.

The UK's Tate is descending on ACMI until Sunday, November 13 for Light: Works from Tate's Collection — a hefty exhibition spanning everything from painting, photography and sculpture through to drawing, kinetic art and installations — and, of course, the moving image.

Art-lovers are in for a serious treat, able to see works by famed English romantic painter and watercolourist Joseph Mallord William Turner alongside the light- and space-focused efforts of American artist James Turrell, plus pieces by impressionist Claude Monet and Japanese favourite Yayoi Kusama. And if you and your boo want to dig in even deeper, check out the supporting program of talks, performances, workshops, late-night events and film screenings.

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SNUGGLE UP OVER DINNER IN A PRIVATE POP-UP IGLOO

Fancy a little privacy? You and your date can enjoy a couple of hours in your very own winter wonderland hideaway, thanks to these cosy igloos that have popped up at four pubs across the city — Studley Park Boathouse, Footscray's Station Hotel, the Wharf Hotel and the Auburn Hotel.

Each beautifully decorated pod is serving up different food and drink packages for groups of two or more — ranging from share platters matched with mulled wine and river views for $59, to a three-course winter feast with welcome drink for $75. You'll want to hurry though — these igloos won't be sticking around forever.

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ONE BIG BLOWOUT

HIT THE YARRA VALLEY FOR A FIERY WEEKEND WINE ADVENTURE

If you and your boo have a shared love of weekend getaways, fire and wine, then this one's for you. 16-day wine festival Fireside has descended on the Yarra Valley once more, with a region-wide program of brunches, dinners, markets, tastings and other events well worth venturing out of town for.

Enjoy a romantic brunch at Chandon pairing sparkling pours with chic eats (July 16, 17, 23 & 24), and visit Six Acres Wines for a chilled afternoon dedicated to vino and vinyl (July 16). Pope Joan's Bente Grysbaek hits Seville Estate for a four-course wine-matched dinner centred around fire and smoke, and Healesville Sanctuary hosts a drinks festival among the wildlife, featuring local beer and wine, live tunes and top-notch eats.

Throw in Tokar Estate's Spanish fiesta, a traditional asado dinner at Oakridge, and a pop-up cellar door manned by some of the region's winemaking legends, and you've got yourself a smorgasbord of wintry wine-filled fun to enjoy with your other half.

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Top image: Igloos at The Wharf Hotel.

Published on July 14, 2022 by Concrete Playground
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