Whether you see it as commercial nonsense, a cliché about a cliché or just romantic, Valentine’s Day is coming. Here’s a list of ideas, from dinner in a secret garden and speed dating, to outdoor cinemas.

FOR THE TRADITONAL:

A special dinner at Bennelong
Bennelong is hosting an evening of cocktails, canapes and a set menu beneath Sydney Opera House. Start with Sydney rock oysters with lemon-and-pepper granite, followed by cured black-pig ham and Harvey Bay scallops. For mains, choose between Arkady grass-fed lamb with salty ice plant (an Australian native succulent) and capers, and a roasted local snapper with native parsley (also known as sea parsley), karkalla (a flowering native) and umami butter. Dessert is Queensland mango done five ways.

For bookings: reservations@bennelong.com.au

La La Land at Sunset Cinema North Sydney
Try one of the exclusive Valentine’s Day packages at Sunset Cinema. The Lawn Lounge Couples Package includes service direct to your lounge, complimentary drinks, a special dinner and the usual cinema snacks, courtesy of Jimmy Liks.

Cocktails at the Old Clare Bar
The Old Clare Bar has designed a special cocktail menu for the occasion. The First Date Feeling features Pampero rum, date-and-chilli syrup, lime juice and candied rose petals. Two Peas in a Pod mixes elderflower liqueur, garden-pea syrup and lime juice. And for those who aren’t in the mood, there is The One You Can’t Have with plantation pineapple rum, rhubarb and strawberry shrub, muddled with lime juice.

Shared menu in a seaside greenhouse
Barangaroo’s Vermouth bar and bistro, Banksii, has a special Valentine’s menu for two. Botanicals are infused into the wine, cooked in seafood broths and mixed into Martinis. Guests are treated to a glass of Ruinart rose champagne on arrival before they tuck into a specially curated degustation menu to share. The menu will feature trout rillettes, grilled prawns and snapper. In true Banskii form, dessert is a vermouth sponge with burnt vanilla custard and rosella jelly.

More information available here

A degustation in a secret garden
The Grounds of Alexandria is hosting a dinner in the garden beneath the stars. Try the best of the Grounds’ kitchen in surrounds of overgrown greenery and floral instillations.

There are drinks on arrival, followed by champaign lobster (a variety of Northern Queensland crayfish with a sweet prawn flavour) and an enchanted-garden-themed dessert.

Tickets are available here.

The Pomme d'Amour Lovers' Dinner at the Royal Botanic Gardens
The Sydney Tomato festival is cooking a three-course meal in the Royal Botanic Gardens this Valentine’s Day weekend. On February 12, personalised roses and a formal invitation will be sent to your partner. The menu will, fittingly, revolve around tomatoes.

Tickets available here.

FOR THE UNATTACHED:

Buckle Up Buttercup speed dating at Riley Street Garage
After a free drink on arrival, guests will rotate seats every 15 minutes. At the end of the evening you will receive an email with all of your mutual matches, and you can take it from there.

Women can book here. Men can book here.

Heartbeats on the Streets roaming dining-and-dating tour
In conjunction with the speed-dating experts at Dear Pluto, the Streets of Barangaroo is throwing a roaming dining-and-dating party. Ladies will meet at Bel & Brio for a cocktail, and gents will start at Shirt Bar. Ladies will then head to Anason, Banksii and Zushi while the men rotate between venues every 25 minutes. At the end of the night everyone will come together for the “final mixer”.

Ladies Network Valentine’s Day pop-up, Nobody's Baby
To challenge the meaning of Valentine’s Day and to celebrate self love The Ladies Network is hosting a pop-up exhibition to celebrate autonomy and friendship. The exhibition and pop-up store will feature artworks and crafts by more than 20 female artists.

No Lights No Lycra anti-Valentine's Day party
Not a fan of the V-word? This year the team behind workout dance parties No Lights No Lycra is holding an evening of self-love and self-expression. Dance like no one’s watching and learn self-esteem skills through movement.

More information available here.

FOR THOSE ON A BUDGET:

Free dessert on The Rocks
The Australian Heritage Hotel is offering every couple that books in advance a complimentary dessert.

Dine for $30 at PizzAperta
PizzAperta at the Star is offering a $30 Valentine’s Day menu. Couples will be treated to a heart-shaped margherita pizza, two glasses of Chandon and a complimentary heart-shaped Nutella bombolone.

FOR THE ADVENTUROUS:

Sing your heart out, 134 metres above Sydney Harbour
Kick off Valentine’s Day with a workout, a beautiful view and your favorite tunes. During the Valentine’s period, Sydney Bridge Climb is letting participants sing their hearts out above Sydney Harbour. You will come away with a great story, great memories and an eight-second video.

Book here.

Cupid’s Undie Fun Run
Give the undies an outing for a good cause this Valentine’s Day weekend. The fun run starts at Hyde Park North Fountain and follows Macquarie Street down to Opera Bar on Sydney Harbour, all to help the fight against neurofibromatosis.

More information available here.

Dinner and a show
The term “dinner and a show” doesn’t quite do this evening justice. An exclusive Valentine’s Day nine-course degustation is paired with El’Circo’s signature blend of cabaret, circus and burlesque.

More information available here.

Salt Meats Cheese pasta cooking class
Spend Valentine’s Day in the Salt Meats Cheese kitchen getting your hands dirty. The three-hour class will teach you the skills to make your own tagliatelle and sauce. The evening includes dinner, dessert and a glass of sparkling for you and your partner.

More information available here.

FOR THE ARTISTIC

Liquēre exhibition opening night
Artist Danny Eastwood’s exhibition explores the fluidity of the human form in a free photography exhibition for the 2017 Mardi Gras visual arts program.

More information available here.

What is love exhibition opening night
Artist Jenna YoNa Bloom took to social media to ask her followers to describe love and turned the results into stencil art. The opening night of her exhibition will feature food, drinks and free hugs.

More information available here.