Even if you think Valentine’s Day is one huge cliché, there is still no need to stay home and avoid the whole thing on February 14. There’s plenty going on in Melbourne that doesn’t involve a restaurant full of lovesick couples playing footsies under the table with each other. Here’s a taste:

  1. Avoid the crowds and go out for breakfast instead of dinner. Hardware Société will be serving up its take on eggs with soldiers along with strong coffee to get you going for the day.

  2. Take in some alfresco cinema. Rooftop Cinema is avoiding the traditional Valentine’s Day rom-coms and screening an unashamedly “bleak film” by indie filmmaker Miranda July titled The Future. rooftopcinema.com.au

  1. Find three girlfriends and share a group cocktail at Eau de Vie. Try the ‘Lady’s Leg Cosmopolitan’, which is for a minimum of four people and is limited to ladies only. The drink is a twist on the classic Cosmo with a base of creamy cranberry sorbet instead of cranberry juice. It’s served in an antique 1930s cocktail shaker shaped like a replica of a lady’s leg, complete with a silver high heel. eaudevie.com.au

  2. Learn how to win hearts the easy way – via the stomach – at The Queen Victoria Market cooking school. The school is holding a Kitchen Confidence class on Valentine’s Day that promises to teach knife skills and vegetarian dishes.
    qvm.com.au

  3. Check out some art at Sophie Gannon Gallery. The gallery’s first exhibition of the year is Deborah Russell's paintings of Australian flora. Don’t expect romantic floral paintings; instead the artist depicts controlled burns and desert landscapes. ophiegannongallery.com.au

  4. Catch a gig at the Corner Hotel. Cult band The Necks are playing at The Corner Hotel in Richmond on Valentine’s Day with a sit-down concert. The Necks are touring off the back of the release of their new album Mindset. cornerhotel.com

  5. Eat some bargain oysters at the Wayside Inn. Admittedly, eating oysters is an obvious Valentine’s Day choice, but every day is a good day for oysters when they are at happy hour prices. Oyster Happy Hour (including Valentine’s Day) is on at the Wayside Inn in South Melbourne from 3.30pm to 5.30pm. You can get half a dozen freshly shucked oysters and a glass of wine for $14. waysideinn.com.au

  6. Shop amongst ‘Valentine’s Noir’ at SO:ME Space. The fashion and lifestyle collective showcasing the work of young Australian designers at South Melbourne Market promises a dark take on Valentine’s Day. Jewellery and accessory designers Stone Glint and Bone will be producing exclusive pieces especially for the occasion based around the theme ‘til death do us part’. somespace.com.au

  7. Take a walk that is not long, slow and romantic. Hidden Secrets is running its Lanes and Arcades walking tour of Melbourne on Valentine’s Day. The walking tour is aimed at locals who want to see their own city with fresh eyes as well as visitors. It showcases Melbourne’s local small businesses, street art and architecture and includes lunch.
    hiddensecretstours.com

  8. For a disorganised or spontaneous dinner on Valentine’s Day, Chin Chin will be sticking with its usual no bookings policy. Decide on the day to head there for lychee cocktails and pork roll ups with not a single long stemmed red rose in sight.

    chinchinrestaurant.com.au