Blue-sky days, warm evenings and another roll call of new openings to tick off, revisit and discuss with your friends in person and over Whatsapp: 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 great 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.
Pick up a $5 banh mi
Head out to Mirrabooka to visit Ben Thanh a family-run Vietnamese joint selling your choice of three flavours of banh mi (pork, chicken or sardine) for just $5 a roll. Our pick has to be the pork roll with meat reliably roasted by the proprietor Anne and her husband Chung popped on a fresh bagette slathered in pate, gravy and mayo. While you're in Mirrabooka, check out the other venues in the hidden foodie hot-spot that should be on your radar.
Play original arcade games all night
On Wednesdays, all of the Palace Arcade outposts host a Super Session where guests can play unlimited arcade games for just $10. (The other offers on the night are for $10 chicken wings and $10 sides: handy information for those with a little more money to play with).
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Snack on tacos by the beach
Cancun. Tulum. Acapulco. Scarborough? WA might be a long way from the Mexican coastline, but beachside cantina El Grotto is duly qualified to play out those Mexican summer holiday fantasies. While the breezy bar is home to all manner of food and drink temptation, you can score a cauliflower, chicken, fish, pork or prawn tacos for five dollars a pop. The million-dollar views of the Indian Ocean, meanwhile, 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. In 2024 it's running from February 9 to March 3.
Eat some of Perth’s best gelato
2022 was a big year for Carly and Chez De Bartolo, the owners of Chicho Gelato. In addition to the couple’s seemingly endless collaborations with friends and brands, they also opened a second space in Fremantle – meaning that between the Cantonment Street outpost and the OG Northbridge headquarters, guests have twice the opportunity to taste truly benchmark gelato.
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.
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 the backdrop for many a matcha choux puff). Several 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.
Listen to records played on a top-end hi-fi sound system
At the time of publishing this piece, a middy of Swan Draught at Northbridge’s Astral Weeks is exactly a tenner (slighlty over the buy in for this piece but we'll allow it). It pours cold, crisp and refreshing: precisely what drinkers are looking for in this everyman beer. But Swanny D on tap isn’t the (only) reason to visit Perth’s first and only hi-fi listening bar. Instead, you’re here to hear records you likely don’t have played on a five-figure handmade sound system that you also likely don’t have, and to generally revel in the pleasures of drinking at a watering hole where the music isn’t just background noise, but (literally) front and centre.
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.
This piece was updated on December 21, 2023 to reflect changes to pricing and event times.