12 unique Melbourne dates that will knock their socks off
Whether you’re lining up a first date or taking out your long-term partner for something special, it’s about time you ditched that tired dinner-and-a-movie format you’ve been sticking to like gum on a shoe. Melbourne is one of the most diverse, culturally rich and downright rewarding cities in the world, so there’s no excuse for being the brainstrust behind a boring night out with someone you fancy. From budget-friendly activities to extra special dates for the high rollers, here are our top unique and unusual date ideas for Melbourne.
Let your free spirit fly at the BOUNCE Inc trampoline park
We’re bursting right out of the gates with this one. BOUNCE Inc is heaven for the young at heart, giving you access to a massive warehouse full of interconnected trampolines and a licence to have fun. Let loose in the Free Jump arena, pelt your date with padded projectiles in trampoline dodgeball, show off your skills at the basketball hoops or try your hand (feet?) on the Wall.
Get geeky at an arcade bar
To our utter delight, numerous bars across Melbourne have adapted their watering holes into nostalgic tributes to the entertainment of yesteryear. Bartronica, Galactic Circus, Archie Brothers and B.Lucky & Sons are among our favourites, offering everything from cult classic arcade games to Nintendo consoles to ticket games, all within fully licensed bars. Take a trip down memory lane with your date, just remember to let them win once or twice!
Go for grassroots laughs a local comedy night
Melbourne is renowned for its stand-up scene, but it’s not all A-listers at sold out theatres. Intimate local gigs can be some of the best around, and a bonus is that you can usually pick up tickets for cheap. The Comic’s Lounge, Spleen Bar, Local Laughs and The Last Laugh are among the better venues, but why not branch out and try somewhere off the beaten track? Wherever you go, just don’t heckle: the last thing you need is footage of you getting humiliated by a comedian in front of your date going viral on YouTube.
Test your compatibility in an Escape Room
Feeling brave? Lock yourself in a room with your date and be ready to work together to have any hope of getting out. These can make or break a relationship, so get it over with early and find out if you’re compatible as you attempt to solve a series of mind-boggling puzzles and clues. They’re actually loads of fun and not as scary as they sound, so try your luck at one of the many around Melbourne and see if you can finish within the target time limit.
Have a Gouda time at a cheese making workshop
Cheese and wine at the park? That’s sweet, but go one better and make it yourselves. Melbourne has tonnes of workshops offering a casual environment where you can have fun and learn a thing or two along the way. Most will let you take home your delicious new creation, but our tip is to pick one that comes with complimentary beer or wine to pair with your delicious treats.
Embrace your inner lumberjack with axe throwing
In case you hadn’t noticed, doing something you’re normally not supposed to is an easy way to have an absolute ball. That’s the feeling you get at Maniax, where fully grown adults are not only trusted to hurl ancient weaponry but actively encouraged to have fun while doing it. Once the axe-perts show you the ropes and explain all the safety procedures, hand your date a weapon and see if they’d prove themselves useful in a zombie apocalypse.
Become part of the story at Underground Cinema
Don’t just watch a movie – live it! Underground Cinema takes film to the next level with secretive interactive experiences that movie lovers just can’t get enough of. All you’ll know is the theme of a film until you turn up to a secret location in appropriate dress-up. You’ll then mingle with other guests and paid actors, who play out scenes and talk to you in character. See if you can guess the movie before the end of the night, when the movie will be screened for all to enjoy.
Stay cool at Icebar
We’re still partial to dates at a trendy bar, but why not kick it up a notch at the coolest spot in the city? Icebar Melbourne is exactly what it says on the tin: pretty much everything is made of ice, down to the walls, decor and the bar itself. Wear long pants and closed shoes, but take comfort in the fact that they’ll give you Ugg boots, gloves and snow capes to keep you warm as you sip your drinks. When the cold gets too much, head next door to the much warmer Charlotte’s Bar for a cocktail.
Pretend you’re creative at a sip and paint
Even the least talented artists can create a masterpiece, all you need is a little liquid inspiration. Take your date to a painting class where an artist guides you through a specific subject matter over plenty of booze to keep things light-hearted and inevitably hilarious. Compare your creation with your partner’s: whoever’s is worse can buy a round of kick-ons at the bar next door.
Get your feet wet at a grape stomping session
The best booze is the stuff you work for, and nowhere is that more applicable than at Noisy Ritual. This urban winery “demystifies” your favourite poison with an effortlessly fun workshop that shows you through the entire winemaking process from grape to glass. Pop along for casual tastings and a bite or get right into it with some grape stomping (membership required for the latter, which is available between February and April each year).
Try a super spooky tour of Old Melbourne Gaol
If your idea of a great date is clutching one another in palpable fear, good news! The Old Melbourne Gaol runs super spooky night tours with highlights including A Night in the Watch House, Hangman’s Night Tour and Ghosts? What Ghosts! These tours are run in the dark and in confined spaces, so bring your date along only if you dare.
Make some four-legged friends at a cat cafe
Yes, these exist. No, we don’t know why you haven’t been already. Bring that special someone along to Cat Cafe Melbourne for coffee and/or brunch, a chat and some quality time with some furry felines. All the cats are rescues and spend most of the day lounging around the venue, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities for cuddles with these adorable locals.