13 romantic things to do in Sydney
From a date at a retro cinema to a beach day at Gordons Bay this is the guide to the most romantic things to do in Sydney.
Golden Age Cinema and Bar
Travel back in time to Hollywood’s Golden Age at this retro cinema and intimate bar located inside the old Art Deco Paramount Pictures building in Surry Hills. While it once served as the company’s screening room, it has since been renovated and revived, and now screens a thoughtfully curated mix of new release films and cult classics. The adjoining bar, designed to match the theatre, is the perfect place to enjoy nibbles from their seasonal menu or a movie-themed cocktail before your session.
A perfect date spot, whether it’s your first or your fortieth, bring your partner here and impress them with your extensive knowledge of film history at one of their regular trivia nights, or impress them with your impeccable taste by inviting them to a screening of Wong Kar-wai’s In The Mood For Love. Either way they’ll be impressed, even if it’s just by the fact that you know movies outside the Fast and Furious franchise exist.
A secluded oasis, Gordon’s Bay is a favourite spot among locals, and can be found north of Coogee Beach and south of Clovelly Beach. Protected by an offshore reef, the beach feels enclosed and private in a way others don’t, and as a result, it’s an ideal spot for a day out with your significant other. Whether you prefer to lie back and soak up the sun, dig into a good book, swim, or even snorkel, the world is your oyster at this Eastern Suburbs highlight.
Fans of snorkelling in particular will want to visit Gordons Bay, as it is home to the Gordons Bay Underwater Nature Trail, a self-guided, 600-metre trail that Randwick City Council described as a “bush-walking track in the wilderness, only it’s underwater”. Diving the trail will take you around forty minutes, leaving you plenty of time to relax and unwind on the shore afterwards.
Perhaps the closest one can get to Paris in Sydney, Restaurant Hubert is the perfect dinner date spot for both foodies and casual eaters alike. The gorgeous interiors ensure the restaurant has a distinct post-war France vibe, complete with a grand piano situated on a low stage overlooking the dining room — if you’re lucky, you may be able to enjoy live jazz during your visit. The restaurant is also home to three bars, and the extensive wine list, dominated by drinks from France and Australia, reflects that.
Aware of its status as the main event, the food does not disappoint. Boasting a raw bar with caviar and oysters as well as house specialties like Duck à l’Orange and Hubert’s Gâteau au Chocolat , the menu is a carefully crafted homage to French cuisine with clear Australian influences – consider the escargots dressed with XO sauce, Kimchi gratin or Murray Cod à la Hubert. An evening out at Hubert is sure to delight all of your senses and put you in a Parisian state of mind.
For a romantic staycation, look no further than The Langham, located in Sydney’s historic Rocks district just minutes away from Circular Quay, the Harbour Bridge, and some of the best views Sydney has to offer. Boasting some of the largest hotel rooms in Sydney, harbour views, a decadent indoor pool that has to be seen to be believed, and pink taxis that provide the perfect photo op, The Langham Sydney has enough to keep you entertained and engaged during your stay.
The hotel’s iconic pink taxis can be pre-booked for airport transfers, ensuring your arrival into Sydney is a fabulous one, or city tours, allowing you to explore Sydney in style. Enjoy having some of Australia’s most iconic landmarks just moments from your door, or stay indoors and make use of the hotel’s wellness facilities, including the stunning 20-metre heated indoor pool and Day Spa by Chuan. Whatever you decide, your getaway at The Langham will be an incredibly romantic one, and one you won’t soon forget.
Star gazing with your significant other is a time honoured tradition, but seeing the night sky in all its splendour can be difficult in a city like Sydney. Fortunately, the Sydney Observatory, located on a hill overlooking the sparkling harbour city, exists, and offers a monthly Sydney Observatory Lates program, allowing you to consider your place in the universe while gazing up at the stars.
The free Sydney Observatory Lates program is a monthly event set to tide amateur astronomers over until the Observatory properly reopens in mid-2023 with stargazing, talks from astronomers, music and other performances, with food and drink from local producers on offer throughout the night. Dig into some delicious eats, enjoy locally-made wines, listen to the live music and sit back and stare up at the stars, or into your partner’s eyes – your choice.
Archie Rose Classes and Tastings
Archie Rose, one of Australia’s best distilleries and makers of some absolutely sinful spirits, offers a range of experiences that could make for an unforgettable date night. There’s the blend your own gin classes, where you’ll be guided through the process as you blend a curated selection of Archie Rose pure native and local botanical distillates into your own 200ml bottles of gin, which would be perfect for a connoisseur. Why not spend the class blending a gin for your significant other based on what you think they’d like, exchanging bottles at the end of the evening?
Another unique date night idea is their cocktail masterclass experience, where you’ll learn how to create three classic cocktails, which you’ll then get to enjoy. They also often offer unique one-off experiences like watercolour painting or ceramics classes complete with complimentary drinks.
If you’d rather sit back and let someone else do the work, they also offer gin tasting sessions and distillery tours where you’ll learn all there is to know about gin, as well as all there is to know about Archie Rose.
Spoil your significant other with what is undoubtedly one of the most romantic things to do in Sydney – visiting a day spa together. For a luxurious and decadent experience, look no further than The Darling Spa, located at The Star in Pyrmont. The Spa boasts 11 treatment rooms, two couples suites, a Moroccan Hammam, steam room, jacuzzi and gym, as well as a seasonal menu of culinary delights.
Whether you’re in need of a facial, a massage, a full-body treatment, or a combination of all three, Darling Spa has you covered. In addition, they offer facials and packages curated specifically for men’s skincare needs. Perhaps their most romantic offering is the Darling Couples Bath Ritual, which starts with you and your partner sharing a private bath fused with essential oils before enjoying a relaxing couples massage. Our recommendation? Enjoy a high tea (which must be ordered 24 hours in advance) beforehand to ensure your experience is as luxurious as possible.
Old Mate’s Place
Perhaps surprisingly, the perfect spot for drinks during your romantic evening out is tucked away behind a discrete entrance and up four flights of stairs (or a lift, if you’d prefer) on Clarence Street in the CBD. Don’t be fooled by the unsuspecting façade, however — once you get inside, you’ll be greeted by dark timber furnishings, brown leather booths, bookcases, and an entire garden’s worth of foliage. It’s essentially a book lover’s dream library brought to life, with bonus drinks service.
On warm spring and summer nights, head up to the rooftop bar overlooking the city, and whatever you do, be sure to order a signature cocktail or two. If you get hungry, try the house specialty, a Philly cheesesteak – there are six styles to choose from, including a vegetarian option.
Harbour Cruise at sunset
Rediscover the romance of Sydney and play at being a tourist for an evening with a dinner cruise on the harbour. Admire the sights that make Sydney Harbour so unique as the sun sets and paints the sky burning orange and blushing pink.
With Captain Cook Cruises, you’ll enjoy a three-course menu and up to two hours of cruise time on the harbour, with flexible boarding times from 5 to 5.30pm. A range of drinks including cocktails, beer, wine, soft drinks, coffee and tea are also available for purchase on board.
If dinner and a show is more your speed, Sydney Showboats offers a three-hour cruise with a three-course menu, licensed bar, and a one-hour show to entertain you as you enjoy the view of Sydney from the water. Sydney Harbour at night is an unforgettable sight, and an evening cruise with your loved one is sure to make your night out that much more romantic.
Picnic in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, nestled right on the harbour with the stunning views that entails, are the perfect spot for a romantic outdoor date in Sydney. Open every day from 7am to 6.30pm, the Gardens are the perfect spot for a lazy afternoon stroll, or a lengthy lunchtime picnic with your paramour.
If a picnic in the gardens sounds idyllic, you can either pack your own or leave it up to the professionals, and order a picnic basket ahead of time from Botanic House, a restaurant located on the grounds. A picnic box by chef Luke Nguyen is packed full of delicious delights based on the restaurant’s modern Asian cuisine — plus, you can upgrade your hamper by adding Pimms cocktails or prosecco.
Pick up your hamper and walk towards the water’s edge until you find the right spot for your romantic day out. Just remember to keep an eye out for the overly friendly wildlife that might try to help themselves to your meal!
One of Sydney’s finest restaurants, an evening out at Bennelong is undoubtedly one of the most romantic things you can do in Sydney. Dress up in your evening best, then head to the iconic Sydney Opera House for an unforgettable dining experience brought to you by the legendary Peter Gilmore. While an evening sitting in the waterfront dining room gives you the advantage of admiring the sights of Sydney harbour at night, lunch sittings are also available on the weekend, complete with Sunday Jazz for you to enjoy on Sunday afternoons.
Pre-theatre dining is available from 5.30pm, allowing you to take your time and enjoy your meal before taking in one of the many shows on offer at the Opera House at any given time. With a stunning three-course à la carte menu curated by Gilmore that has been described as “Australia on a plate”, an evening out at Bennelong is one neither you or your partner will forget anytime soon. Dinner at Bennelong would be perfect for anniversaries, milestone birthdays, or celebrations, but ultimately, who needs an excuse to dress up to the nines and enjoy fine wine and delicious food?
A night out at the theatre
Home to some of Australia’s best theatre companies, there’s almost always an interesting and entertaining production taking place somewhere in Sydney. Two of the best-known theatre companies are Sydney Theatre Company, based in The Rocks and at the Sydney Opera House, and Belvoir Street Theatre, found in Surry Hills. STC is perhaps more widely known because of its connection to Cate Blanchett – she served as artistic director alongside husband Andrew Upton from 2008 to 2013 – but the shows at Belvoir are just as exciting.
For larger productions featuring famous faces like John Bell or Succession’s Sarah Snook, STC is where you’ll want to venture. Belvoir’s program is full of smaller productions crafted by the best emerging talent from around Australia, although these are by no means prescriptive – STC also supports newer and emerging artists and programs smaller shows across their multiple venues in the CBD.
For a particularly romantic evening, grab dinner nearby (for STC, try Walsh Bay Kitchen inside the Roslyn Packer Theatre; for Belvoir, try one of the several Lebanese restaurants in the area, particularly Abdul’s or Fatima’s) before catching a show, then enjoy a nightcap (STC: any of the historic pubs in the Rocks; Belvoir: Fat Angel Bar and Dine).
Perhaps the bar with the best location in Sydney, Opera Bar is located underneath the concourse of the Sydney Opera House, right on the water, facing the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A favourite of tourists and locals alike, a trip to Opera Bar is sure to remind you what it is you love about Sydney, while even perhaps reminding you what it is you love about your special someone.
Arrive in the early afternoon and enjoy a long, leisurely lunch full of scrumptious food, delightful drinks, and endless people-watching opportunities – just be sure to guard your food from enterprising seagulls. People-watching over drinks while soaking up the views of Australia’s most famous landmarks is most certainly one of the most romantic things to do in Sydney; for added romance, stay and enjoy the sunset before taking an evening stroll around Circular Quay.