Melbourne’s hidden date destinations

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Take in the art

The street art, that is. Melbourne is a perfect city to discover on foot, and its street art is characteristic of its inhabitants. If you’re in the CBD, you’ll find that from Lonsdale St to Flinders St there is loads of artwork, some tucked away around the sides of buildings and some above eye-level. Brunswick, Fitzroy and Carlton are also ideal destinations to check out the artwork. You’ll get a broader perspective of the city while at the same time learning about someone new.

Hit me with your best shot (of espresso)

Melbourne is full of hidden coffee nooks – it’s a town famed for its single origin roasts and skillful baristas, where every laneway has a hole-in-the-wall where you sit on an upturned milk crate and taste that sweet nectar of the gods. Sorry, coffee. Little Wish on Little Collins is about as hidden as they come, situated at the back of a building and on the back alleyway. You’ll probably get lost, but that’s part of the fun, right?

Gaze on some glorious architecture

To many, Victoria’s state library on Swanston St is just another stately Victorian building. But to those in the know, there’s a stunning view to be had on the inside. Impress your date by ducking inside – tell them to look down at the floor as you go, and lead them to the Reading Room. Then, when you’re in the centre of the room, tell them to look up at the glass dome. It is quite literally breathtaking. Perfect while you’re waiting for a dinner table to become available in nearby Chinatown.

Observe dumpling o’clock

If you’re on a budget but still want great food in a fun atmosphere, one of Melbourne’s many dumpling houses might be the place for your date. Shanghai Dumpling House is tucked away on Tattersalls Lane. You might have to queue up, pour your own tea and grab your own plates, but you will be able to stuff yourselves silly for a tiny bill, plus it’s BYO. It’s not to everyone’s first date taste, but it’s certainly cheap and cheerful and in the heart of the action.

Lead them down a dark alleyway…

Melbourne is one of the few cities in the world where that proposition is an exciting, rather than a potentially dangerous, one. Right next to the Shanghai Dumpling House sits Section 8, the shipping container bar. In fact, you’re right in the heart of laneway bar district, so a bar crawl is not out of the question. Shebeen on Manchester Lane is a for-charity bar, with all profits going to help businesses in Africa and South America start up.  Head to Drewery Place to pay a visit to Sister Bella, where the whimsical furniture and secluded location will make you feel miles away, while still right in the heart of Melbourne.


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