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.
LISTEN TO FREE JAZZ AT THIS FESTIVAL BY THE BEACH
Spin, sway and twirl together on the seashore when Manly Jazz Festival heads back into town this October long weekend, bringing its blend of New Orleans jazz, gospel, Latin and roots to the beachside suburb for the 41st time.
Running across three spring days, the jam-packed program features over 100 free performances held in a variety of indoor and outdoor venues dotted along the beach. On the lineup you'll find jazz drummer Carl Allen, who's flying in from the US to take the stage by the water, fusion group Back to Back and 'Sydney's first lady of blues' Alice Terry. A tribute show to one of the greatest singers of all time — Aretha Franklin — is also on the program.
If you and your lover want to get a bit more hands on, you can also head to a workshop or to the pop-up garden — which is stocked to the nines with craft beers, cider, wine and Mexican snacks from local eatery Bar Troubadour.
BUY EACH OTHER SOME GREAT (DISCOUNTED) BOOKS AT THIS GIANT SALE
If you or your beau fancy yourself a bit of a literature fan, this date might be right up your alley (or library aisle). Gould's Book Arcade is moving into a newer, and smaller, location and as a result it's seriously downsizing it's legendary collection. Thankfully for us, that means it's up for grabs. And it's going for cheap.
Commune — an organisation dedicated to the provision of low-cost spaces for creatives and communities — is taking over the building and hosting Booktown: an epic sale of books, records and comics. Single books start at $1, boxes from $10 and you can also snag records for $5 a pop.
Having kicked off on Monday, September 17, the event will continue until Sunday, September 30. And all proceeds will go towards restoring the building.
PLAN A ROAD TRIP HERE TO WANDER THROUGH 100,000 TULIPS
The event that floods Instagram feeds with thousands of vibrant flowers has returned to the Southern Highlands. Now in its 58th year, the annual Tulip Time festival features over a 115,000 tulips planted throughout Bowral's Corbett Gardens and the surrounding Shire.
If the stunning sight of a tens of thousands of the bulbous flowers isn't quite enough for both you, you'll be happy to know there's heaps of stuff happening at the garden throughout the two weeks, which is located a 90-minute drive southwest of Sydney.
We would recommend pencilling in a visit to the Festival Marketplace, where you'll find a selection of fresh food from the area — including hot mini doughnuts, artisanal ice cream and woodfired pizzas — among potted tulips to take home.
EAT PERKY PANNA COTTAS (AND DRINK NUT BUSTERS) AT A DRAG AND DINE NIGHT
Erskineville's freshly renovated Imperial Hotel is now home to Priscillas, a drag and dine restaurant where you'll find everything from plant-based food to late-night drag shows. Now, Priscillas is hosting the cheeky and raunchy Rood Food festival until October 10.
It's serving up a raunchy menu of suggestive dishes every night, including Bachelor Balls (herbed zucchini balls with spiced yoghurt), The Gay Time Gag Ball (salted caramel ice cream with almond nuts) and Panna Knockers ('perky' vanilla panna cottas). Drinks are equally titillating, with cocktails such as The Nut Buster ($17) and the The Blushing Blowy ($17). They're not exactly aphrodisiacs, but they're certainly entertaining.
If you have a bit more cash to splash, choose the show and set menu option. For $69, you'll get a three-course set menu, a glass of bubbly on arrival and prime seats to the hilarious show Bone Appetite & Oral Outhouse. A three-act drag extravaganza performed by Sydney queens Krystal Kleer and Coco Jumbo, the show comes with a side of phallic fare, crude cocktails and an interactive game, titled the 'glory hole game'.
ONE BIG BLOWOUT
GET OUT OF THE CITY AND GO GLAMPING FOR THE LONG WEEKEND
We've finally landed ourselves an extra day off work, so why not make the most of it and take date night out of the city? Simple Pleasures Camping Co. has returned to the grounds of Oberon's Mayfield Garden for its next luxurious eco-friendly camping retreat. Located three hours' west of Sydney's CBD, the gardens are seriously impressive and include an 80-metre waterfall, a walled kitchen garden and a six-acre water garden — plus a bluestone chapel, aviary and rose garden. Bookings include passes to explore the sprawling 160-acre gardens, with exclusive nighttime access for glamping guests.
There's plenty to do apart from moseying around, including romantic canoe rides, interactive garden mazes, tours and workshops, with Spring Festival also on October 13–28.
The bell-shaped tents are fitted with queen mattresses, lavish rugs, bedside tables and solar lighting. The experience also comes complete with towels, an outdoor table and chairs to sit at, lanterns and torches, along with on-site bathrooms and showers, which are exclusive to the glamping area. Bookings also include a 'paddock and garden-to-plate' barbecue menu for two, with 80 percent of the produce sourced on-site and 20 percent handpicked from local suppliers.
Bookings for Glamping in the Garden are now open. Prices start at $290 per night and includes accommodation and dinner for two, with family packages also available. If you're looking for more glamping options, check out our ten favourite glamping spots near Sydney.