Valentine’s Day is often regarded as commercial and cringeworthy. But it’s possible to reclaim it as an occasion to appreciate your loved ones, whether that’s your best friend or your grandma.
If you enjoy festivals about tomatoes, movies under the stars, or free orchestra performances, this Valentine’s Day guide is sure to have something for you.
If you’re in any capital city, the Moonlight Cinema will be showing Breakfast at Tiffany’s, while in Sydney, the St. George OpenAir Cinema will be showing Spanish flick Living is Easy With Eyes Closed.
Melburnians are also in for a classic, with the Shadow Electric at Abbotsford Convent screening When Harry Met Sally.
Cook a meal for the homeless and potentially find love while volunteering at the Fareshare Valentine’s Day charity dinner in Abbotsford, Melbourne.
Everyone is required to bring a single friend of the opposite sex, and the two kitchens will be divided into two ages groups, 20 to 30 and 31 to 45.
Split a slice of Cafe Sopra’s famous banoffee pie – which has been on the menu for 10 years – with a girlfriend/boyfriend while you chat in Alexandria, Sydney.
If banana isn’t your thing, head to Bondi Beach’s Avila Crepes, and fill up on cocktails, beer and crepes with your best friends.
From 7pm, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra will perform a free concert at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl with the romantic sounds of Strauss and Tchaikovsky.
For those who like something a little more contemporary, rock legends Sting and Paul Simon will perform together at the Hope Estate winery in New South Wales’ Hunter Valley.
In Brisbane, bearded crooner Chet Faker will be playing at the Convention & Exhibition Centre, and performing songs that are love ballad-free.
Tomato Festival Sydney
Wander the Royal Botanical Gardens with lovers, friends and family alike, and indulge in your love of all things tomato at the Sydney Tomato Festival.
Produce will be available directly from growers, and chefs will give lessons on preserving and pickling.
Romantic book launch
Celebrate a love less conventional at the Melbourne launch of photographer Jackson Eaton’s book Better Half, which celebrates both he and his dad falling in love with two women in South Korea.
Peruse the dreamy photos of the two romances at Minanoie, one of Collingwood’s hippest warehouse cafes.
Greek Festival of Sydney
Head to Darling Harbour for the Greek Festival from 3pm, which the Greek Orthodox Community of New South Wales promises will “come alive” with music, dancing and sumptuous Greek cuisine.
Grosvenor Hotel singles’ party
If you’re a daredevil who enjoys first dates and is looking for love, then head to the Grosvenor Hotel’s Valentine’s Day party for singles in St Kilda, Melbourne.
The $69 ticket includes an oyster buffet, cocktails, giant jenga, and heaps of other dares and ice-breakers.
Chinese New Year Lunar Markets
Whether you’re spending Valentine’s Day with your mum or your new love interest, you’re bound to have a good time at the Lunar Market’s pop-up food festival at Pyrmont Bay Park.
Feast on noodles, roti and chilled beer while enjoying free entertainment like lion dances.
Adelaide Fringe Festival
Grab a mate and laugh until your stomach hurts at comedian Raj Moodley’s acclaimed show ‘Is it Because I’m Indian?’ at the Lions Arts Centre.
For $25, listen to Moodley describe his life as the “token Indian”, or splash out and impress your date for $42 and get a meal around the corner at New India restaurant.