As Queensland’s capital city, Brisbane is a city worth visiting. With beautiful botanical gardens, outdoor community spaces and buzzing nightlife, there is plenty to do, which is all included in our 2021 Guide to Brisbane.
Situated on the Brisbane River, the city boasts plenty of waterfront restaurants, bars and event spaces in addition to paths next to the river that offer stunning views of the city behind. Abseiling, picnicking and swimming at a man-made beach-style pool are just a few of the miraculous things Brisbane has to offer.
In this guide, we’ll dive into some of the best things you can do in Brisbane, with tips from a Brisbane regular (AKA me).
Photo by Brisbane Local Marketing on Unsplash.
9 Top Things to do in Brisbane
1. Stroll through and picnic at The Brisbane Botanic Gardens.
The Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt. Coot-tha are some of the most beautiful out there. With 56 hectares of land, the gardens are open year-round and have free entry. However no dogs are allowed (besides guide and assistance dogs).
Explore the many attractions of The Brisbane Botanic Gardens, like the Tropical Display Dome and Japanese Garden, which are spectacular to stroll through (keep an eye out for the speedy water dragons).
Situated next to the Queensland University of Technology, students and locals alike can be seen picnicking and relaxing in the City Botanic Gardens. Stroll through the gardens to admire rare botanic species and unique wildlife. If you pass by the lower pond, make sure to keep an eye out for the eels!
Originally a veggie garden used by convicts, it’s no surprise The Brisbane City Botanic Gardens are the second oldest botanical gardens in Australia.
2. Abseil or picnic at Kangaroo Point.
Kangaroo Point is famous for the Kangaroo Point Cliffs and Storey Bridge. You can abseil down the cliffs, or watch the sunset from Kangaroo Point on the nearby grass. After sundown, you can walk across Storey Bridge and enjoy an excellent dinner at one of the many restaurants and bars at Howard Smith Wharves.
3. Enjoy dinner with a view at Howard Smith Wharves.
Located just under the cliff’s edge and under the Storey Bridge, the Howard Smith Wharves offer a rustic-modern design boasting some of Brisbane’s most popular restaurants and bars. With views of the water, choose from tasty beer at Felons Brewing Co to dinner over the water at Mr. Percival’s.
Hot tip: If you want something fancy, head to the award-winning Patina at Customs House for a divine meal (the Mushroom Tarte Tatin is incredible) .
4. Peruse the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA).
The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art are situated in South Bank, Brisbane. With both galleries offering spectacular works of art, each has different collections from historical to modern pieces. Both have free entry, however some exhibitions may have an entry fee, which can be purchased online or at the ticket desk.
Make sure to check out the gift shop for unique and memorable gifts on your way out.
5. Stroll through South Bank.
South Bank is located on the southern end of the Brisbane River. This buzzing location is well-known for its restaurants, pools, parkland, museums, river views and regular events.
From the iconic ferris wheel to the weekly markets, it’s a beautiful place to explore any day of the week. Stroll along Arbour to the river and head up to the Epicurious Garden for a change of scenery.
Take a dip in one of South Bank’s man-made pools, watch a live performance at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre or venture away from beautiful South Bank into the heart of Brisbane City for a fun-filled day.
6. Shop in Brisbane City.
Brisbane has some of the best shopping in Queensland, with Queen Street being the main attraction. With multiple stores and restaurants, be sure to head to the Queen Street Mall. Furthermore, at the start of the street is the Treasury Brisbane Casino, which is lit up at night with alternating colours.
Another hot tip: The best part of a few of my days in Brisbane have been the transportation between venues. Riding a Lime or Neuron scooter through the city is a thrill and almost a treasure hunt to find a scooter near you — and don’t forget to wear your helmet!
7. Pub crawl in Brisbane.
Brisbane has some great pubs and clubs, so why not make a weekend getaway to experience its best bars with a pub crawl? From bars with views like Felons and Sixteen Antlers, to unique bars like Ping Pong, there are so many cool places to go on a night out. Make sure to end up in Fortitude Valley, where there are streets full of bars and clubs.
If you’re not the best at organising an itinerary, then you can opt in for The Beer Run! The beer run will take you to 5 different bars or breweries, so you don’t have to plan anything. Just show up ready to run, and drink.
8. Watch a game (or concert) at one of Brisbane’s world-class stadiums.
Suncorp Stadium is a world-class stadium, hosting concerts and sporting events including Rugby League, Rugby Union and soccer matches. If you’re watching a match, be sure to head to Caxton Street after, where Aussies celebrate their team’s victory in the bars and pubs.
The Brisbane Cricket Ground is the official name of the Gabba, which is a major sports and entertainment facility in Brisbane. Home to teams like the Queensland Bulls, Brisbane Lions and Brisbane Heat, the Gabba hosts events from cricket and AFL to sold-out concerts.
Riverstage is an outdoor venue that hosts concerts and events, from community events to sell-out concerts. Artists like Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons, Arctic Monkeys and Florence And The Machine have graced Riverstage, often with sold-out performances, especially for the capacity of the venue.
9. Ride on the river ferries.
Why drive when you can catch a ferry? Enjoy the transportation while admiring the water and divine views of Brisbane from one of Brisbane’s ferries. There are a few different ticket options, like the 2 hour pass for $5.60, but it’s cheapest when using a GoCard.
Looking for a way to Brisbane? Find your transportation on localsearch.com.au.