Two-day Christmas itinerary for families

There is nothing quite like seeing the joy of Christmas light up through the eyes of a child. Create new memories as a family this festive season by making the most of Brisbane’s mammoth free four-week Christmas program across two days. Why two? Because it can’t all be done in one.

Day 1

Arrive in Brisbane City

Queen Street Mall Decorations - Train

If you’ve booked a room for the night, coordinate an early check-in or park the car someplace. It is easy to get cheap parking in the city if you know where to look. Booking online is the best bet, or King George Square is always a flat $5 after 4pm weekdays and all-day weekends. 

Lunchtime in Brisbane City

The Gardens Club - Picnic Basket

Take the kids to one of the CBD’s many great cafes. Botero, Brew, Pando, Felix, The Cutting Board and Gardens Club have something for them. Find an excellent list of cafes here.

Afternoon in the Queen Street Mall

Take the kids to see the Myer Christmas windows. Each year they tell a different story with mechanic puppets and lights – a must-see. Afterwards, perhaps you’ll be hunting for last-minute gifts or getting intel on what the kids want from Santa. 

Family Fun in The City

Maybe dad hasn’t started his Christmas shopping, or mum needs time to run around collecting last-minute extras. Or maybe it’s the other way around – we’re not here to tell you how to live you lives, just to let you know the Queen Street Mall is filled with great shops that’ll make finding the perfect gift a breeze.

For a mid-shop perk-me-up, hunt down Dello Mano, I Heart Brownies, Noosa Chocolate Factory, The Doughnut Bar or Doughnut Time all around the mall.

Early dinner

Miss Kay's

With young ones, make a dinner reservation for 5pm. The Christmas Parade kicks off at 7pm from 15-24 December and you’ll want to stake out a good spot. The parade marches into King George Square, so best eat beforehand so you can keep the fun going in the evening. Family-friendly eateries include Miss Kay’s for burgers, Corbett & Claude for pizza and Izakaya Kotobuki for sushi.

Evening of events

Brisbane City Christmas Tree

Do not miss the Christmas Parade (15-24 December). You can grab a vantage point along the railing to watch the parade stretch from the Edward St end of the Queen Street Mall and hook down Albert St to King George Square. 

Early on in the Christmas program, Roma Street Parkland is the place to be with the Enchanted Garden open nightly 6.30-9.30pm from 8-17 December, with Christmas Movies in the Park starting at 7pm each night from 8-17 December as well.

Myer Christmas Parade & Pantomime

Make sure you don't miss the Gold Lotto City Hall Light Spectacular in King George Square. A custom-designed Christmas tale is projected onto the historic hall from 9-24 December starting at 7.30pm and finishing at midnight.

When planning your adventure, keep in mind the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols at the Riverstage on 9 December from 5-9pm, and the Lighting of the Christmas Tree in King George Square at 6.30pm on 25 November.

Day 2

Good morning sunshine, it’s a brand new day and there is plenty of festive fun to explore. 

Morning – take it easy

It’s your mini holiday, so take it easy. Sleep in. Let someone else cook breakfast. Truly finish off that last-minute shopping in the mall if you must before wandering over the bridge to South Bank.

South Bank's bustling Christmas Markets

Here the Gift Markets are on in the Christmas Village from 11am-10pm every day from 16-23 December in the Stanley Street Plaza. Buy festive treats, hand-made goods and Christmas decorations ahead of the big day. The kids will love the markets’ custom-built pedal-powered Christmas tree. Challenge them to light it up! 

Afternoon – get cultured

At this time of year, South Bank is also in school holiday mode with every gallery, museum and space primed for fun. Pop by the free exhibitions and children’s activity centre at QAGOMA, check out what’s happening at the State Library, experience ancient history with the Gladiators exhibition at the Queensland Museum and cool off with a dip at Streets Beach.

What’s for dinner?

South Bank itself is a very family-friendly area and the restaurants around the precinct reflect this. Stop in for dinner before the cinema at South Bank Surf Club, The Jetty and The Yiros Shop, or time it right and make a booking with river views from 20-23 December at South Bank Surf Club, Southbank Beer Garden, or any of the River Quay restaurants for river views of the Christmas Fireworks at 7.45pm.

Evening – celebrate Christmas tropical style

Check out Christmas Carols  nightly from 20-23 December. Pull up a bean bag or dive into Streets Beach for Christmas flicks at 6.30pm and 8.30pm every night from 16-23 December. And don’t miss the fireworks over the river at 7.45pm nightly from 20-23 December (hot tip: Streets Beach is a prime spot to watch them and get a good seat for the free cinema).

After dinner – end the adventure

If you didn’t manage to fit it in yesterday, cross back over to Brisbane City and head straight to the Enchanted Garden in the Spectacle Garden at Roma Street Parkland. From 8-17 December it will be in action from 6.30-9.30pm. Or pass through King George Square one last time to see the 15-minute light projection show on City Hall and say one last goodbye to the giant solar-powered Christmas Tree.

More ideas for Christmas cheer...