The 10 most Melbourne first date ideas

First dates are often awkward and nerve-wracking, but they needn’t be boring. Have fun and learn something new with these out of the box date ideas.

Go out for dumplings

Dumplings are always reliable first date option. Some of the cheapest and tastiest are at China Red and the several Shanghai Street restaurants around the city including 342 Little Bourke Street, and level two, 360 Bourke Street. BYO wine from Blackhearts & Sparrows in Melbourne Central’s new dining, art and music precinct, Ella.

A bamboo steamer basket with small Chinese dumplings on a piece of white paper inside

Avoid a dumping and treat your date to dumplings

Watch The Room

Cinema Nova hosts regular screenings of the hilarious cult film, The Room, famously dubbed the worst movie ever made. There’s a late-night session every month where “fans” of the movie delight in awkward dialogue and shaky film work.

Have a romantic rooftop experience

Come for the city views, stay for the gorgeous Greek delights at Melina on the Rooftop. While away golden hour over fresh seafood, minty Cypriot pork sausages and feta loaded salad. Sparkling fairy lights make for perfect ambience above the city.

Two people on a rooftop bar at sunset

Melina on the Rooftop

Check out Summertime Social

This pop-up playground features lane games (think bocce and shuffleboard), a caravan-dotted communal lawn and delish dining precinct. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, with games designed to be played with a spritz or lobster roll in hand. Find Summertime Social in the Federation Square car park until 5 April 2020.

Eat at the Summer Night Market

Take the stress out of choosing where to eat and visit the Summer Night Market. There are dozens of options to please every taste, shops to peruse, and free live music. It’s on every Wednesday from 5-10pm until 11 March.

A caravan at night serving juices

Finish your date with a zesty treat from Ronnie Z’s at the market

Go ice skating

O’Brien Icehouse is fun for all ages and experience levels. Newcomers can take a free 15-minute lesson before hitting one of the venue’s two rinks. There are also regular themed nights including R’n’B night on Fridays.

Explore Presgrave Place

Some of Melbourne’s most unique street art can be found in Presgrave Place. Spy small sculptures and kitsch frames among larger works. After taking in the sights, have a classic cocktail at Bar Americano hidden at the end of the street (look for the blue Tabacchi sign). With room for only 10 standing patrons, it’s one of Melbourne’s smallest but most awarded bars.

Small framed images on a wall surrounded by street art

Presgrave Place

Explore Melbourne’s galleries

There are several small galleries in the CBD that host regular art exhibitions – many of which are free to attend. Flinders Lane Gallery, Tolarno Galleries, RMIT Gallery and Mailbox Art Space are all within walking distance of one another, making for a leisurely daytime date.

Pack a picnic

Make a day out of sampling some of Melbourne’s finest gourmet food. Queen Victoria Market and Spring Street Grocer both sell delicious picnic snacks such as cheeses, pastries, and rolls. After purchasing, head to Flagstaff Gardens or Parliament Gardens to relax and enjoy. Our picnic pick? The oozy cheese selection at RIPE.

 Food and fruit on a picnic mat on the grass

Picnics in Parliament Gardens

Attend a workshop

Learn a new skill while getting to know your date by attending a workshop together. There’s often classes happening at the Library at The Dock in Docklands, or the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre in Carlton. On the events calendar for early 2020 are workshops on how to prepare winter veggie patches, and brewing chai at home.

Play at the Cat Cafe

Cat lovers will love playing, patting and relaxing with friendly cats saved from rescue shelters at Cat Cafe Melbourne. The cafe serves drinks and small bites able to enjoy while hanging with the cats.

A small white cat in a pink bed with toys around it

Get cute at the cat cafe