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 Sydney 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.
Exploring an eye-catching and thought-provoking art exhibition hand-in-hand is very romantic. And it's even better when entry is free. Thankfully, this is exactly the case at White Rabbit's newest exhibition Supernatural.
In an incredibly rich and diverse show, artists work across a variety of mediums including painting, photography, video and sculpture. Several artists employ contemporary takes on traditional ink and brush techniques, such as Song Ling, Emily Shih-Chi Yang and Wu Chi-Tao, the latter whose series of 12 albums depicting the fragile landscapes of Taiwan's coast, threatened by modern day urbanisation, reflect his expert knowledge of Song and Ming Dynasty masters' ink paintings (he even grinds his own ink).
You'll also see less traditional approaches to landscape, like Huang Zhen's knitted wire mountains, Feng Yan's large-scale photographs of rocks and Zhou Xiaohu's dystopian video Garden of Earthly Delights, inspired by the Hieronymus Bosch painting of the same name. Marionettes based on characters from Bosch's painting act out fables of Daoist philosopher Zhuangzi in a work that acts as "a cautionary tale for a world on the brink of environmental catastrophe".
SPIN AROUND THIS ROOFTOP ROLLER SKATING RINK
Cue the 80s dance moves and big ol' hairdos — a retro roller skating rink has popped up on top of the Broadway Shopping Centre. Part of Sydney Fringe Festival, the rink is hanging around until September 30.
While it's open Wednesdays through Sundays (weekdays 5–10pm; weekends 9am–10pm), we suggest heading in on the weekend. Why? Cheap tickets. Yep, in this upside-down-world, weekend tickets are actually cheaper. From 9am–5pm you can nab entry tickets for just five bucks a pop. All other operating times will cost you $15, with rental roller skates included. A DJ will be on hand each night too, with a playlist of tunes you can skate along to.
Along with the rink will be a pop-up store featuring two Sydney-based designers, Stavroula Adameits and Katie-Louise Nicol-Ford, who have created one-off designs for the shop and are also the creators of this year's custom Fringe Festival print. Pieces from their respective fashion labels, Frida Las Vegas and Nicol & Ford, will be available for purchase at the pop-ups throughout the month.
GO FOR A SPRING DIP IN AN OCEAN POOL TOGETHER
If you haven't yet heard, it's going to be 28 degrees this week, which means it's time to start revisiting your favourite ocean pools. One primed and ready to impress is Icebergs. Around since 1929, it has stunning views of Bondi Beach and is attached to the famed Icebergs Dining Room and Bar — so when you've finished doing laps (or sitting in the shallows chatting) you can warm up with a spritz or a coffee upstairs. Entry here will set you back $6.50 a head.
A word of warning: the picturesque Bondi pool can get very busy. If you'd prefer a bit of privacy with your date, head down to the Bronte Baths — one of the city's oldest and most photographed pools — to Coogee's Wylie's Baths or across the Harbour Bridge to Manly's Fairy Bower Pool. Still not ticking all the right boxes? You'll find all our favourite ocean pools here.
TACKLE THIS MAMMOTH 2.2 KILOGRAM BOWL OF PHO
If you're both well practised in the art of devouring tasty Asian fare, you could spend your date night sharing this giant — and delicious — bowl of pho at District 8. District 8 is Cabra-Vale Diggers' 600-seat food precinct that riffs on the hawker market concept, and from September 13 until October 25 it's serving up mammoth bowls of pho.
If you manage to conquer the super-sized 2.2 kilogram bowl of meat, aromatic broth, rice noodles, bean sprouts and other additions solo, you'll score a $50 District 8 voucher. Successful contestants will also go through to the November 1 pho-slurping grand final, where the main prize is a huge $1,500 travel voucher. Best bring your appetite though — this mega bowl's the equivalent to three regular-sized phos.
However, for date night, we suggest bonding over the big bowl together — this way you won't enter a food coma part-way through your date. And, if you share, you'll also save yourselves some cash — the 2.2 kilogram bowl will set you back $30, which means you'll have $20 left to spent on beers and Asian baked goods (if you have room).
ONE BIG BLOWOUT
CATCH A HALF-PRICE SHOW AT THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE
Heading to a show at this Sydney icon is often outside many couple's date-night budget. But thanks to the Sydney Opera House's new Wednesday special, this week it might not be. Launched yesterday, the new midweek special features a weekly changing swag of two-for-one ticket deals, and some tidy food and drink specials to match.
Each week's theatre and event deals will remain under wraps until the Tuesday night, riffing on similar last-minute ticket programs offered by the likes of London's West End theatre set and on Broadway in New York. There'll be specials on shows presented by the Sydney Opera House and its resident companies, eats and drinks from onsite venues like Opera Kitchen and Portside Sydney, and even cheap parking at the Sydney Opera House Wilson Carpark.
To give you a hint of what to expect, this Wednesday's lineup could see you score two-for-one tickets to Sydney Theatre Company's hilarious political farce Accidental Death of an Anarchist, for example, or a production of Molière's comedy of manners The Misanthrope. There will also be two-for-one specials on Opera Kitchen's crispy chicken, matched with a wine or Sydney Lager.
The two-for-one Wednesday deals will be made available to email subscribers each Tuesday night at 5pm. To sign up, head to the Sydney Opera House website.