Dead cute if you get them right, activity dates are guaranteed to earn you maximum kudos with your date’s friends. No pasta and white tablecloths here, no sir. Here are 10 of Melbourne’s best activity date nights.
Holey Moley Mini Golf
Mini-golf is anyone’s game; there is only a small amount of sporting ability required and a little bit of luck. Even those who are lacking in hand-eye coordination have a chance at a hole-in-one at Holey Moley’s mini-golf course. Not to be confused with Holy Moly (which is also a killer venue), this place is mini-golf on steroids. Holey Moley started up in Brisbane, landing in Melbourne in 2017, and it’s quickly become one of the best date night in Melbourne. Photo ops on an Iron Throne and Simpsons Couch, cocktails while you putt, even a spooky haunted graveyard. Fun with a capital F.
You don't have to be Picasso to attend a Cork & Chroma painting class. Because luckily for those who aren’t as creatively gifted, there are no mistakes in art. The guided BYO art class teaches the basic techniques of painting with acrylics on canvas in a relaxed environment that is perfect for date night. When you put on a paint-splattered apron, pick up that paintbrush in one hand, and sit down in a glass of red in the other, it’s pretty hard to keep those creative juices from flowing. The liquid courage will also improve your painting and as well as your conversation skills.
South Melbourne’s underground paella club. Mix up your date plans with a Sunday morning Spanish cooking class, led by the awesome Lola herself. You’ll wander the markets, pick up some ingredients, learn a little Spanish, and cook one hell of a paella. Also includes jugs of DIY sangria. No date can go badly when sangria is involved.
There are a few classes around town, but the guys that run the ones in the Nicholson Building are great. There are no prerequisites for this place but it’s definitely a high-risk/high-reward date strategy, depending on a) your artistic talent, and b) how willing your date is to see genitals (that aren’t yours). Either way, you should have some laughs.
Lame? Amazing? Everyone’s got an opinion when it comes to escape rooms. They kind of followed that typical Melbourne parabola where everybody had to try one, then they instantly were considered super passé. Regardless of your standpoint, escape rooms can certainly make an excellent date activity. There’s no need for small talk, it gets you working together and you can learn very early on if you’re dealing with a control freak. As old mate Plato once said, ‘you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation’. If you’re pro-escape, we’ve rounded up the best in town, because nothing says romance more than putting your date under extreme pressure and trapping them in a room with you.
Oh, the nostalgia. Trampolining brings can fond childhood memories of spending hours playing ‘break the egg’ with your neighbours, double bouncing your younger sibling, and risking life and limb falling through the springs. While that doesn’t exactly scream romance, a date at Bounce guarantees good times. Because couples that bounce together, stay together.
Punting At Fairfield Boathouse
This one always takes them by surprise. Pick a beautiful day, hire a punt at Fairfield Boatshed, bring some snacks and a book of poetry (or a UE Boom and some bangers), and spend the afternoon messing around in boats on the river. Just like Noah and Ally in the Notebook, minus the several hundred white swans floating around you.
Wander The NGV
An oldie, but there’s a reason the classics never die. Go check out the latest NGV exhibition, stare thoughtfully, use words like ‘chiaroscuro’, then go lie down on the floor of the Great Hall and stare up at the biggest stained glass ceiling in the southern hemisphere. It’s basically a montage from 500 Days Of Summer.
Do like Danny Zucko and take your date to the drive-in. Some people knock movie dates, but the Coburg Drive-In ain’t like your usual cinema experience. There’s something about the novelty of going to a drive-in cinema that will never lose its appeal, even if it’s been 60 years since they were at their peak. Fill the car with pillows, a doona, chips, lollies, a bottle of red, and prepare for the retro date that never fails. You can also opt to have hotdogs, popcorn and more delivered right to your car via the Coburg Drive In app. If you’re as broke as you are romantic, every screening, every Monday, is just $10. Start your week off right, pick something romantic and snuggle up over the gear stick. Not a euphemism.
Blast music, throw some paint at a wall, maybe swing a sledgehammer at a TV or two or perhaps throw some glassware; nothing says "hey, I really like you," like some good old physical destruction. New kids on the block Smash Splash know how to help you have a good time. Plus throwing stuff at a wall with a complete stranger will definitely help you take stock of those red flags much faster.
Once you're past the first few dates, check out 10 weekend getaways around Victoria you need to book right now.
Image credit: Elle Borgward