A local’s guide on romantic things to do in Sydney | A couple of travel makers
Sydney's best activities and experiences for two.
My husband and I have lived in Australia our entire lives. We met here, we dated here and we were married here.
So I think it's safe to say we know a thing or two about the city and what it holds for couples.
As the sign of a great date is really about the experience some of these may be biased. However, if you're looking to woo your better half in Sydney, we've given these romantic things to do in Sydney our seal of approval.
We're Stef and D, a pair of married jetsetters. Together, we've visited 55 countries and we're determined to see even more – all while working full-time and paying off a mortgage. We count our dollars at home and while away and we're here to share our tips on how you can travel on a budget.
1. Wine and dine in Surry Hills
Surry Hills is a breeding ground for some of Sydney's most renowned restaurants, cafes and bars. (Check out Messina and Bourke Street Bakery if you don't believe us).
Its dining is high quality and its atmosphere is vibrant. Not to mention that it welcomes new establishments to the fold every other season, so it's unlikely you'll ever exhaust your options each time you pay it a visit.
Some of our favourites that have been stayers for a while include The Winery, The Beresford and House of Crabs.
2. Go to the movies
This is easily a crowd pleaser and you really don't have to go far to find cheap and comfortable seats.
Optus members can nab tickets for $12.50 at Hoyts which is what we do. Head to Hoyts Broadway and you'll get to live it up in leather reclining seats, which is standard across the entire theatre.
Telstra, NRMA and Bupa members can bag movie ticket discounts at Event Cinemas.
If you're not a member of any of the above, Groupon regularly boasts discounted tickets at both Hoyts and Event Cinemas.
3. Attend a beachside event
From the artistic works that hug the coastline at Sculpture by the Sea to the high-flying Festival of the Winds kite festival (see image) there are numerous beach-bound events to attend throughout the year.
Nothing on? No sweat. On weekends it's common for beach promenades to feature local arts and crafts markets, which are also a great date activity.
4. Spend Saturday brunching at The Grounds
The Grounds of Alexandria has gone from strength to strength and despite the crowds, we can't sing its praises enough.
Its coffee and fare are out of this world and its gardens are often decked out to a pop-culture-based theme. So far it's taken on Aladdin, Maleficent and Frozen in magnificent form.
5. Picnic on Observatory Hill
Being a coastal city, you won't fall short of picnic spots with views to make your eyes water in Sydney.
A favourite where you can soak up Sydney Harbour vistas without heavy crowds on a weekday evening is Observatory Hill.
The best thing about this location is you can double down on activities and visit the Sydney Observatory if you're keen stargazers.
6. Keep your head above water by stand-up paddleboarding
Sydney is blessed with beaches by the bucket loads and calmer spots beg to be paddleboarded.
Popular haunts are Cronulla, Watsons Bay, Balmoral, Rose Bay and Manly.
We booked a lesson through Groupon and made a date of it, heading up to Balmoral for an hour lesson and some of the best fish and chips we've ever tasted.
7. Glamp on Cockatoo Island
You won't have to shell out the big bucks to spend an evening on the relaxing and historical Cockatoo Island.
Glamping tents start from $130 per night and come with everything you need for a restful night including beds, blankets and toiletries. Not to mention waterfront views.
Make a weekend of it and spend the following day exploring the island and its former prison, dockyard and shipbuilding facilities.
8. Catch a musical or a play
Sydney's theatre scene may not be as celebrated as New York's or London's but it does welcome world-class productions and performers.
Check out what's going on at the State Theatre, Lyric Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company for a lavish night out. If you're looking to spare some change for drinks though, The Belvoir Theatre and Seymour Centre offer local, wallet-friendly performances.
9. Head to the open-air movies
Every summer like clockwork open-air movie screens are erected at some of Sydney's most prominent locations to hail the sunshine.
There's the American Express openair cinemas in Pyrmont, Moonlight Cinemas in Centennial Park and St.George OpenAir Cinema at Mrs Macquarie's Chair.
We've been to the American Express and Moonlight cinemas multiple times and loved every minute. Bring a picnic blanket and basket and sit back and enjoy the show.
10. Take a walk
Coastal, bush or city, Sydney has them all.
While coastal walks are a dime a dozen, tried and true hotspots to sweat along include Coogee to Bondi and Manly to the Spit.
If you're more bush-bound than beach-bound, we rate the Blue Mountains as it offers a wealth of forest walks of varying difficulties.
And if you're in for that ultimate sense of achievement where competition reigns supreme? Put your best foot forward at the 28-kilometre 7 Bridges Walk. This is a day-long commitment that winds around Sydney's bays and harbour, challenges you with bush walks and stair climbs and entertains you at grassy event pit stops.
11. Go beer, gin or whiskey tasting
Fans of a good tipple? Whatever your alcoholic beverage of choice there's bound to be a tasting experience in Sydney for you to enjoy.
For beer, you can go on a brewery tour of the Inner West's finest, including Wayward Brewing Co, Grifter Brewing Co. and Young Henry's.
For gin or whiskey, take a gander through Archie Rose. The distillery offers tours where you can learn the science behind whiskey making and workshops where you can mix your own gin. Otherwise you can simply slip into the bar for a romantic evening of drinks and nibbles.
12. Learn to dance
I was bowled over when my then boyfriend (now husband) merrily agreed to accompany me for dance lessons. If in doubt, all you have to do is open up the idea to your other half. You never know, they may surprise you too.
Whatever the case there's bound to be a class to suit your music tastes.
Hip hop? Dancekool in the CBD comes highly recommended. Salsa? Head to The Argyle in The Rocks on Wednesday evenings. Swing or Rockabilly? We adore Swingtime in Marrickville.
13. Head to the festival, market or fair
Which one? Believe us, there are oh-so many. Of the stock-standard lot you have Sydney Festival, Good Food Festival, Vivid Sydney and Night Noodle Markets to pick from.
But if you are seeking that more intimate atmosphere, try sinking your teeth into a quieter, local event.
For example during winter, play dress up at the Winterfest Sydney Medieval Fair in Parramatta, in October transport yourself to Germany at Oktoberfest in the Gardens in the CBD and in December and May spend an afternoon at the Finders Keepers markets in Barangaroo.
Do you have a favourite date-night activity? We've love to hear about it in the comments below! Otherwise, if you're keen for more ideas check out our Things To Do in Sydney guide.
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