Starved of quality time with your partner but just too tired to go out at night? Plan a date during the day!
In this piece we have compiled the ultimate list of daytime date ideas. You’ll find inspiration here for every budget and style, and you can combine ideas for an long, leisurely (or action-packed) outing. Of course, many of the suggestions are suitable for evening dates too.
As Sydneysiders, we are blessed for options for walks with attractive scenery. A few favourites include the Glebe Foreshore walk; the Bay Run; the Sydney Harbour foreshore walk between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Circular Quay and Barangaroo; the Manly–Spit walk and the Bondi–Coogee coastal walk. Stop for a bite to eat or takeaway from a cafe along the way or BYO picnic.
Glebe Foreshore. Photo © Ginny Grant
Bondi–Coogee coastal walk. Photo by Laura Cros on Unsplash
If you want to skip the walk and cut to the chase, here are some of Sydney’s top picnic spots.
City: In the city area, Pirrama Park is lovely, and of course the spectacular Royal Botanic Gardens is very hard to beat!
North: On the north side, favourites include Wendy’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay; Cremorne Reserve; Clifton Gardens in Mosman and beautiful Balmoral Beach.
East: Over east, there’s the secluded Beare Park in Elizabeth Bay; Rushcutters Bay Park; McKell Gardens in Darling Point; Nielsen Park; Watsons Bay and of course the beloved Centennial Park.
South: Heading south, Cabarita Park and Wattamolla are popular spots.
West: In the Inner West, there’s Blaxland Riverside Park in Sydney Olympic Park; Birchgrove Park; Ballast Point Park and Mort Bay Park in Balmain; Camperdown Park; the winding Glebe Foreshore Parks; the stunning heritage Petersham Park; Steel Park in Marrickville and Sydney Park in Alexandria. And in the west, Auburn Botanic Gardens is superb.
Camperdown Park. Image © Ginny Grant
Sydney Park. Image © Ginny Grant
Create your own picnic spread from scratch, pick up some goodies at your favourite local providore or simply let the professionals take care of it for you!
Image courtesy of Sydney Picnic Co
Sydney Picnic Co is a Surry Hills-based business that creates gourmet picnic hampers. The hampers can be collected from the store or delivered to your home, office or picnic location in the CBD, Inner West, Eastern Suburbs or lower North Shore. They come with biodegradable cutlery, plates, napkins and cups. Wicker baskets, rugs, boards and enamelware are also available for hire.
Brunch, glorious brunch!
A leisurely late breakfast or early lunch is a glorious indulgence after having kids. We’re fortunate to have so many great cafes to choose from in the Inner West. Here are our top ten local cafes, as voted by the Inner West Mums.
Perhaps a pub lunch is more to your liking. There are so many fab pubs all across Sydney. In the Inner West we love the 3 Weeds in Rozelle. The recently refurbished light-filled Garden Room is a beautiful spot for a cosy daytime meal with your partner.
Garden Room. Image courtesy of the 3 Weeds
Restaurants with a view
Of course, many will choose fine dining. Some favourite elegant waterfront restaurants include Cafe Sydney at Circular Quay, The Boathouse on Blackwattle Bay at Glebe, Catalina at Rose Boy, Icebergs at Bondi, Ripples Milsons Point or Chowder Bay, The Bathers’ Pavilion and Public Dining Room at Balmoral Beach and Ormeggio at the Spit, Mosman. For more budget-friendly dining (still with views of the water), The Bathers’ Pavilion has a cafe, and the Boathouse locations at Balmoral Beach and Shelly Beach are both fab options.
Sports and recreational activities
If you and your partner love the outdoors, why not plan an active date?
Head to Centennial Park for horseriding (with the Centennial Parklands Equestrian Centre) or some bike riding. (Bring your own bikes or hire them at the park.)
If the weather suits and you both love the water, consider going kayaking or stand-up paddling. Kayak and stand-up paddle board rental is available at Sydney Harbour Kayaks near the Spit Bridge, Mosman, and Rose Bay Aquatic Centre.
For an indoor activity, you could go rock climbing at the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym at St Peters. Or perhaps ice-skating is more your thing. Ice Zoo at Alexandria and Canterbury Olympic Ice Rink hold general admission sessions throughout the week.
For something completely different, you could learn aerial and circus arts skills together. Check out Aerialize in Canterbury. Private lessons and open training are available.
Urban axe throwing is now all the rage, and what could be more romantic than hurling a bunch of axes together with your partner?! Take a look at Maniax in St Peters.
Archie Bros Cirque Electriq in Alexandria brings to life arcade game experiences of days gone by. Unleash your inner kid with dodgem cars, carousels, ten-pin bowling, luck and skill tests. This place is seriously fun for young and old! Finish with old-school burgers and shakes. Archie Bros is open from midday Monday to Friday and 10 am at weekends.
And of course, there’s always the old favourites of ten-pin bowling or mini golf.
Classes and tours
Learn a new skill or enrich an interest together with your partner.
A few recommendations among the Inner West Mums include Italian cookery at Cucina Italiano Cooking School in Annandale; seafood cookery at the Sydney Seafood School; Italian bread or sourdough making at Bourke Street Bakery and various workshops in cooking techniques at the Cornersmith School in Marrickville.
If you’re more of the tasting rather than creative type, there are plenty of experiences on offer covering all the vices! For coffee and chocolate fans, there’s Dave’s Coffee and Chocolate tours, allowing you to sample the various offerings of local producers. For craft beer lovers, there are Dave’s Brewery tours too. Both start in Surry Hills.
You can discover the city in a different light with Culture Scout’s walking tours through cultural hubs of the city. Sydney Street Art, Chippendale and Redfern, Chinatown and Ultimo, Darlinghurst and Surry Hills and Taste: Redfern are just some of the tour options. Oh, and there’s even an Inner West tour!
Feed your minds at the School of Life in Surry Hills which runs seminars during the day and the evening on a wide variety of stimulating topics.
There are also many one-off classes and workshops teaching creative and practical skills that you can enjoy together with your partner. We covered some of them in this recent piece.
Forget yawning (or snoozing!) through a movie late at night. Book Gold Class/Platinum movie tickets and enjoy a film together in comfort and style.
The Palace Central Platinum Cinema, in Chippendale, offers a luxe cinema experience. Follow your movie with a bite at one of the many outstanding eateries around Kensington Street. (We love A1 Canteen, Kensington Street Social and all of the hawker-style eateries along Spice Alley.) Afterwards, you could seek a sunny spot on the grass at the back of Central Park – an ideal place to relax and people-watch! Or stroll over to the Rabbit Hole Organic Tea Bar on Abercrombie Street for a lovely cuppa.
A1 Canteen, Chippendale. Photo © David Grant
Spice Alley, Chippendale. Photo © David Grant
If music or theatre is more your thing, take in a matinee performance.
If you’re arty types, plan a morning or afternoon of gallery hopping. First head to the Art Gallery of New South Wales, take a leisurely stroll through the Botanic Gardens and across Circular Quay and then head to the MCA. Or take a small tour of Paddington and Woollahra’s small galleries, with this DIY guide from Woollahra Council.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Photo by Holger Link on Unsplash
Ever tried an escape room? This is highly memorable stuff! Put your brains together to solve tricky puzzles to secure your freedom. In the Inner West there are two great options, The Cipher Room or Second Telling, both in Newtown. Afterwards, grab a bite at one of King Street’s diverse eateries. We can’t go past Table 9 Restaurant for amazing laksa and pho!
Treat yourselves to a couples spa treatment (or two!). Some of our favourite Inner West and city day spas are found here.
Take a ferry or water taxi and soak up the magnificent harbour views, no matter the destination. Head to Manly or Watsons Bay for a relaxed feast of fish and chips by the beach. Or make your way to Milsons Point then jump on the rides at Luna Park – minus the kids in tow!
Another way to enjoy Sydney Harbour is an afternoon sailing cruise. Sydney by Sail offers daytime yacht cruises with BYO food and beverages.
For something truly memorable, go on a whale watching adventure. Between May and December each year, thousands of whales migrate along the East Coast and can be spotted just outside the Sydney Heads.
Photo courtesy of Whale Watching Sydney
To really boost your daytime date to the next level, incorporate a prestige car ride. Fuga Veloce, run by Inner West Mum Melanie, gives car enthusiasts the opportunity to cruise around the city in a slick Ferrari, self driven or, if you prefer, a chauffeur can be arranged.
Ice-cream is the perfect way to end a daytime outing. We’re blessed with amazing options in the Inner West, such as Cow and the Moon in Enmore or Gelato Messina at Tramsheds.
If you can spare the time, the Blue Mountains or Southern Highlands both make fabulous daytrips.
In the Blue Mountains, take in the scenery with a bushwalk or ride on the Scenic Railway with spectacular views of the Jamieson Valley. If you’re in an indulgent mood, book in for a treatment at a day spa, such as Lilianfels or Echoes in Katoomba. Follow it with lunch or afternoon tea at the stunning Hydro Majestic or Megalong Valley tearooms.
In the Southern Highlands, enjoy winetasting and/or lunch at one of the excellent local wineries, such as the award-winning Centennial Vineyards, about a ten-minute drive from the Bowral town centre. The cellar door is open seven days with wines and produce available to purchase. Centennial Vineyards Restaurant, which has a warm, rustic feel, serves lunch Wednesday through Monday and high tea Monday through Friday. In Berrima is the elegant European restaurant Eschalot. It’s open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and Wednesday to Saturday for dinner. You will find more Southern Highlands ideas here.
Centennial Vineyards. Photo by Milk and Honey Photography.
Palm and Whale beaches, approximately one hour from the city, offer further opportunities to relax and connect with your partner. Jonah’s at Whale Beach has an award-winning restaurant with breathtaking views that is open for lunch daily. For a more chilled-out setting, try The Boathouse Palm Beach.
You might also like:
Creative Classes for Adults
The Inner West Mums’ Favourite Romantic and Special Occasion Getaways
The Inner West and City’s Best … Day Spas
Sydney’s Best … High Tea
The Top 10 Inner West Cafes