Blue-sky days. Warm evenings. Many, many openings: this summer in Perth is looking like another ripper. While P-Town is home to plenty of big-night-out bars and restaurants, not every outing needs to be a direct hit to your back pocket. For a tenner or less – and sometimes nothing at all – you can listen to some live music, soak up some art and help earn some eating credits for the tasty (well-priced) snacks you’re about to eat. Happy holidays, Perth.
Snack on tacos by the beach
That Mexican beachside getaway looks like it’s still a while away; thankfully, Scarborough’s El Grotto is on hand to keep those Baja coast fantasies alive. While the breezy, beachside-casual bar is home to all manner of food and drink temptation, it’s possible to score a couple of mushroom or carnitas tacos for a tenner (they're $5 each with a minimum order of two). The million-dollar views of Scarborough are complimentary.
Take part in one of Australia’s great arts festivals
From shutting down highways to letting giants run loose throughout the CBD, Perth Festival has a reputation for thinking (and doing) big. Best of all, many of these big ideas and events are free for everyone in the community to enjoy. Check out the festival’s website and start planning your Perth festival experience now.
Visit the new WA Art Gallery (free entry)
Last year, it was about the new museum. This summer, the new-look art gallery is the star attraction of the Perth Cultural Centre. If you haven’t seen it – or even if you already have – the gallery’s reopening exhibition The View From Here paints a vivid picture of what contemporary West Australian art looks like in 2021. Head to the rooftop bar for a fresh perspective of surrounding Northbridge.
Eat Perth’s best gelato
Carly and Chez De Bartolo, the owners of Chicho Gelato, have spent much of 2021 collaborating with friends, but the couple’s Northbridge headquarters remains the place to best taste their handiwork and – even if it might go against the spirit of the $10-or-less pricepoint of this piece – bring a little of that Chicho magic home.
Explore Perth’s lesser-known beaches
Cottesloe. Scarborough. Trigg. All popular beaches, and for good reason. But sometimes, one seeks the beach for solitude, not crowds. The solution: find new stretches of shore to (temporarily) call your own. West Coast Highway, Marine Parade and Cockburn Road are dotted with beaches, bays and other bodies of water worth checking out. With any luck, I’ll be racking up plenty of beach time between Port Beach and Leighton: quiet, flat and perfect for dropping by on the way to or from Freo. (Bonus: there always tend to be spots in the car park just up from the main Port Beach lot). For further inspiration or forward-planning ahead of your next road trip, consider picking up a copy of Places We Swim.
Taste a cult wine bar’s snack-in-waiting
Liam Atkinson describes the “supa crunch taco” with lobster and avocado at Bar Rogue as the bar’s answer to Le Rebelle’s crab toast. The early feedback suggests he – and Bar Rogue head chef Sofika Boulton – are on the money and have conjured a two-bite wonder to be reckoned with. By turns lush, spicy and (supa) crunchy, it’s the perfect nine-buck pick-me-up.
Eat baked goods at Hyde Park
Since Seren and Ryan Chu opened Chu Bakery in 2015, nearby Hyde Park has become the bijou bakery’s unofficial outdoor dining room (and backdrop for many a matcha choux puff). Six years on and the Chu faithful continue to stroll across the road to devour their pastries and compare notes with fans of Miller & Baker, another artisan bakery conveniently located near Hyde Park.
Enjoy half-priced chicken wings and play video games
On Wednesdays, all of the Palace Arcade outposts sling half-price wings ($7.50 instead of $15) meaning more 20-cent pieces in your pocket to insert into all of those vintage arcade machines. Just be sure to clean your hands thoroughly before reaching for that joystick.
Listen to some free live jazz
“If you have to ask what jazz is, you’ll never know.” So said trumpeter and vocalist, Louis Armstrong. Across town, a number of venues make it possible for curious listeners to further their jazz education via free live performances. These establishments include Rodney’s Bait ’n Tackle (Wednesdays), Pooles Temple (Thursday to Saturday) and Madalena’s (Wednesdays).
Explore one of Perth’s urban parklands
Take your exercise out of the gym. While most people know about Kings Park, its cycle trails and Jacob’s Ladder, the suburbs are also home to green havens. In Victoria Park, there’s the Jirdarup Bushland Precinct, an oasis of native flora and fauna hiding in plain sight next to Kent Street Senior High. Closer to the coast, Bold Park in City Beach is another reserve that’s popular with runners and nature enthusiasts alike.