Romance in The Rocks: intimate ideas for your next date night
Art to art
Show your date that you’re a little cultured and classy with a tour of galleries and museums in The Rocks, Sydney’s artistic epicentre. Wander through all four levels of the Museum of Contemporary Art, checking out their amazing permanent collections and ever-changing array of visiting exhibitions. Settle in at the MCA Café and Sculpture Terrace for lunch with a panoramic view of the harbour, the bridge and the Opera House. Then head up George Street to Billich Gallery, where the surrealist works of legendary Australian artist Charles Billich cover three mezzanine storeys of a gorgeous historic building.
Stroll a little further up to the gallery and workspace of iconic Australian artist Ken Done, famous for his colourful, whimsical slices of Aussie life, and of Sydney Harbour in particular. If you’re in the right place at the right time, you may even get to meet and chat with the warm and cheeky Ken himself, as he paints in his studio out the back of the building.
On the Market
Stroll hand in hand down cobbled seaside streets at The Rocks Markets, chatting to local stallholders and sampling gourmet produce. Discover some of Sydney’s best fashion designers, local jewellers and homeware designers – perfect for a thoughtful gift. And once you’ve explored it all, grab some delicious snacks and cuddle up in front of panoramic harbour views to get to know each other better. They say food is the way to the heart, so try your luck with spicy pulled pork tacos, sweet Turkish doughnuts, traditional Italian gelato and authentic Spanish paella.
Wine and dine
Once the sun gets low over the harbour, turn up the romance with a cocktail or two at Mrs Jones – or maybe a jug of rosé sangria (French rosé, Martini Riserva Vermouth, grenadine syrup, lime, mint and rose petals) to share. If the night’s warm, why not make the most of it and enjoy a couple Aperol spritzes while you take in the incredible harbour views from the rooftop bar of The Glenmore. Or get cosy and close by the fire with a premium whiskey cocktail and a gourmet cheese board at The Doss House. Impress your date with your knowledge of history and tell them this heritage basement bar was built in the 1840s and was once an opium den, a bootmaker and a doctor’s surgery.
When it comes to date night dinners, Sake is your best bet. This fine diner serves elegant, authentic Japanese cuisine with a modern twist and matches it to a selection of premium spirits and cocktails. The lights are dim and the food is delicious. Or if you really want to impress your date, dine at Harbourfront Seafood Restaurant, a waterfront seafood restaurant helmed by reknowned chef, Craig Knudsen.
Make a night of it
If dinner goes well (wink), The Rocks are home to some of Sydney’s finest boutique hotels. The Harbour Rocks Hotel is a 5-star luxury inside a lovingly restored heritage building in the heart of The Rocks. Nearby, you’ll find old-school opulence at the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, which includes Altitude, an elegant modern Australian which may have the best harbour views in the city. The hotel is also home to Blu Bar on 36, the perfect spot for a cheeky nightcap.
For something cosy, discover homely vibes at the Sydney Harbour Bed and Breakfast on Cumberland Street, and feel free to sleep in as long as you’d like. Or if you’re feeling fancy, share a bottle of champagne on your private rooftop courtyard at The Russell Boutique Hotel, before retiring together to your uniquely designed room for the night.