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.
EXPLORE THIS INTERACTIVE LIGHT-FILLED EXHIBITION
Date nights at Vivid might've been and gone for 2018; however, it's not the only event that brings brightness to Sydney's dark corners. Antony Youssef's Organism takes inspiration from the city's annual arts, culture and light show, as well as events such as Dark Mofo — and it's illuminating the University of Sydney's Courtyard Restaurant & Bar between August 13 and 17.
Here's how it works: you head along, walk through a tree-filled space, and then watch as the installation responds to your presence. The piece's lights and music change to interact with visitors, in a gorgeous — and luminous — blend of technology and nature.
Entry is free, with the installation open from 5–8pm across its five-day run. Have some spare change? You and your other half can also nab a drink special, including Iron Jack schooners for $6 or $20 growlers.
SIP MULLED WINE AND DO YOGA AT THIS FIERY PRECINCT NIGHT
Waterloo creative space Commune is hosting Our Hood, a massive monthly precinct night that brings culture, art and music together with wellness, maker markets and food stalls. Fittingly, this month's jam-packed night is set to the theme of 'hearts on fire' — perfect for date night.
While there may not be too much literal fire, FBi Radio will present a fiery lineup of live performances from synth-rock trio The Goods, hip hop emcee Mirrah and the 20-women Bad Bitch Choir. There will also be talks and workshops hosted by TEDxHaymarket, on the topic of making meaningful connections, and flow yoga run by drag superstar Dusty Glass.
Among the many food and drink stalls, there'll also be life drawing classes, art installations, a pop-up barber shop, plenty of mulled wine and a hidden rum bar. It's perfect for a fun and budget date night, with entry only costing a tenner each.
GET LOST AMONG CHERRY BLOSSOM TREES TOGETHER
Hanami and Japan go hand in hand (like you and your loved one) but what if you could indulge in the art of flower viewing a bit closer to home? Well, you can, at Sydney's Cherry Blossom Festival in Sydney's west.
Between August 17 and 26, the Auburn Botanic Gardens transform its Japanese Gardens into a beautiful, blooming wonderland. You'll be able to ramp up your appreciation of the fleeting natural phenomena that is cherry blossom season by attending a massive viewing party in the lead up to spring. 'Tis the season, after all.
And taking in the spectacular scenery isn't the only thing you'll be doing. Over the two weekends of the festival (that is August 18-19 and 25-26), you'll be able to get your fill of Japanese entertainment by floating on over to stages filled with sumo wrestling, J-pop performers and Hello Kitty makeovers.
Entry is only $5 a pop, so you'll be able to spend the rest of your cash on bao, bento boxes, Japanese hot dogs, gyoza and okonomiyaki, or a heap of cherry blossom-inspired eats. There'll be pink lotus buns from Tsuru, taiyaki by Otsu, Gelato Messina's Aunty Tomsu's Cherry Blossom Cheesecake and pink sakura burgers.
PAIR JAPANESE COCKTAILS WITH KARAOKE AT THIS SHINJUKU-STYLE IZAKAYA
If you and your partner are dreaming of travelling to Tokyo but don't have the funds (yet) here's a temporary antidote for your wanderlust. Bang Bang has just opened in Darling Square's Steam Mill Lane and it has all the hallmarks of a gritty Shinjuku izakaya. With ex-Nobu Tokyo chef Kokubo Yuji at the helm, the restaurant offers up Japanese favourites alongside a bar serving whisky, sake and craft beer (including a house-brewed lager).
The 85-seat space boasts an intricate layout of rooms, with multiple dining areas and a hidden tatami room adorned with traditional mats and cushioned floor seating. There's also a vending machine filled with Japanese soft drinks and — most notably — a soundproof and neon-lit glass karaoke room.
At the bar, citrus-infused shochu cocktails sit next to whisky and piña colada highballs, all inspired by the alleyway drinking culture of Tokyo. If you come in a group, you can also nab extra-large one-litre cocktails for sharing — served in a butler pump, of course.
ONE BIG BLOWOUT
DAY TRIP HERE FOR STANDOUT SEAFOOD BY THE WATER
Woy Woy Fishermen's Wharf is one of those longtime, NSW Central Coast institutions, famed statewide for its top-notch fresh seafood offering and its idyllic patch of waterfront real estate. And if you and your other half haven't yet visited it, now's the perfect time — its wharfside restaurant has just had a revamp.
It's located just over an hour's drive from Sydney, and you won't find a much better spot than this for chowing down on the day's freshest catch and sharing a jug of something light and fresh. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows boast views across the water and a custom-made fish trap, crafted by Maningrida artists Bonny Burarn.gara and Freda Ali Wyartja, presides over the dining room.
The seasonal food lineup might find you kicking off with local oysters and a sashimi plate of the day's best, tucking into some Singapore-style chilli crab, or settling for a family feast, sharing hot and cold seafood platters, barbecued scampi and spicy tomato mussels. There are endless crabs, mountains of prawns and a daily-changing carpaccio, though there'll always be room for the classic, no-fuss fish and chips.
To match, you'll find an award-winning booze offering that holds its own against all that seafood — wines from across Australia and Europe, a sprawling selection of beers and a crop of classic cocktails, including share-friendly jugs of negroni and Pimms.