Melbourne lays claim to being the cultural capital of Australia, but it also delivers in the romance department; not only for interstate visitors on a romantic getaway but also for Victorians and born-and-bred Melburnians in search of the best date ideas.
Whether you are celebrating an anniversary, popping the big question or simply wanting to surprise your partner for no particular reason, our date ideas in Melbourne will make you fall in love all over again.
Here are 8 picks for some of the most romantic things to do in Melbourne.
Most Romantic Places in Melbourne
- Carlton Gardens, Carlton
- Melbourne Recital Centre, Southbank
- St. Kilda Pier
- Yarra River, Warburton
- The Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne CBD
- Mount Dandenong, Greater Melbourne
- IceBar Melbourne, Melbourne CBD
- Melbourne’s Laneways
1. Carlton Gardens, Carlton
This World Heritage-listed beauty surrounds the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum in Carlton, just a stone’s throw from the Melbourne CBD. The Carlton Gardens are one of the city’s most popular picnic destinations. Pick up some takeaway treats from one of the delis, trattorias or cafes on nearby Lygon or Brunswick Streets and then mosey over to the Gardens to find a grassy patch to lay out a rug or blanket.
If you’re looking for other things to do in Carlton, make your way to the Royal Exhibition Building and join one of the guided tours to explore the beautifully ornate interior of this emblematic Melbourne landmark. Or why not have a classic movie date at IMAX Melbourne, the third-largest screen in the world only a 2-minute walk from the gardens?
2. Melbourne Recital Centre, Southbank
Seeing a performance at Melbourne Recital Centre is one of Melbourne’s most romantic activities and makes for a unique date idea. The Recital Centre is located in Southbank and is one of the city’s premier destinations for acoustic music. Check out the online performance calendar to plan your date night around headliners, and you can even arrange to join one of the guided tours.
Early dinner or late night supper at one of Southbank’s restaurants completes this romantic night out. Share a wood-fired pizza with jazz music as your soundtrack at Blondie Bar, sip on a cocktail after a delicious roast dinner at Batman’s Hill on Collins, or discover a new, inventive take on Australian cuisine at The Deck Southbank.
3. St. Kilda Pier
With panoramic views of the Melbourne skyline and Port Phillip Bay, the St. Kilda Pier is a pretty place for a dusk stroll with your partner. The magnificent sunset views will make your date even more special and if you stay after dark, you might even spot adorable penguins strolling around. During the day, the St. Kilda beach foreshore is a lively stretch – often frequented by street performers and musicians – and wandering along the boardwalk should be added to your route.
There are a number of beachfront bars and restaurants for those keen on a sundowner, or you could find a table at one of the diners along nearby Acland Street. From gourmet burgers at Ziggy’s Eatery to modern Mexican food at La Cabra Mexican and classic Italian delicacies at Rococo Acland Street, in St Kilda, you’ll easily find whatever food your taste desires.
4. Yarra River, Warburton
The Yarra River winds through a number of Melbourne suburbs, from leafy neighbourhoods to the heart of the CBD. There are a handful of trails and walkways that follow the river, and there is a myriad of options to stop for a picnic, a chat or to soak up some sunshine. While gazing out over the river, you might spot Herring Island, a nature-filled 3.2-hectare island you can get to by ferry during the summer.
Once you near closer to the CBD, there are some great riverfront restaurants and bars should you need a bite to eat – look to the eateries just beneath Federation Square or along Southbank. Those that want to see the Yarra from a different vantage point can even hire sea kayaks or canoes to paddle up and down the river.
5. The Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne CBD
Located atop Curtin House is Rooftop Cinema, a favourite CBD go-to that packs out with movie-goers keen to catch new releases and cult classics backdropped by a scene of skyscrapers and city lights. The Cinema happens every night from 8 pm between Tuesday and Sunday during summer and is attached to Rooftop Bar.
An evening at Rooftop Cinema is a beloved Melbourne date night, no matter if you head straight to your deckchair upon arrival or if you opt to grab a bite before or after at any of Curtin House’s diners – burgers at Rooftop Bar, spicy Thai flavours from Cookie on Level 1, or empanadas, tacos and quesadillas from the Mexican menu at Mesa Verde.
6. Mount Dandenong, Greater Melbourne
Mount Dandenong is a bit more than an hours’ drive from Melbourne – an easy day trip if you want a date away from the city. Head up to the viewing area at SkyHigh Mount Dandenong to get your bearings and admire the sweeping panoramas, or stay closer to ground level and meander the English-style gardens. See the sculptures at William Ricketts Sanctuary, and have a picnic on the grounds of Doongalla Homestead.
Take your partner on a beer tasting date at the Mt Dandenong Hotel, boasting a tasty lineup of 60+ brews and 35 ciders, and attend one of the many events hosted by the brewery (including karaoke on Friday nights and live music on Saturdays). Or why not put your endurance to the test and take on the 1000 Steps Walking Track to the summit of Mt Dandenong?
7. IceBar Melbourne, Melbourne CBD
Take your special someone to the coolest place in Melbourne and enjoy an ice-cold cocktail at IceBar Melbourne. The perfect spot if you want to have a drink with your partner, but want to make it unforgettable, IceCold Bar offers different entry packages, all of which include snow gear to keep you both warm.
Continue your boozy date at Charlotte’s Bar, head to Beer DeLuxe Fed Square for a burger and a craft beer or join a drinking history tour through Melbourne. Craving some carbs? Sit down at the Time Out Fed Square and choose between one of the many pizzas and sandwiches.
8. Melbourne’s Laneways
Melbourne is world-renowned for its lanes and alleyways, and exploring this network in the CBD makes an exciting and rewarding date idea. Head out early in the morning to have the laneways to yourself and finish your stroll with breakfast at the likes of Cumulus Inc, Holy Crumpets or Hardware Societe. Another option is to plan your route in the direction of Queen Victoria Market (open Tuesday to Sunday) and grab a bag of famous hot jam doughnuts for your morning repast.
A few non-negotiables during your self-guided Melbourne laneway tour are AC/DC Lane, a short laneway dedicated to the famous Australian band; Hosier Lane, home to a 50-metre tall portrait of an indigenous boy; and Centre Place, a quirky laneway where you can grab a bite to eat while buskers perform in the background.
Keen to explore Melbourne as your next romantic getaway? No matter what type of date you have in mind, the coastal city is an excellent destination for love birds. Book cheap flights to Melbourne with Webjet, and also lock in your accommodation and car hire at the same time. Plus, browse the best things to do in Melbourne and start planning those date ideas now. Travelling around other parts of Australia with your partner? Discover romantic things to do in Brisbane and in Sydney.