Shop by day, festive fun by night

Dreaming of a kid-free Christmas adventure where you’re the centre of attention? Step right up. This guide is for you.

The city centre is a hive of festive activity come December with office parties, extended shopping hours and jolly events bringing the area to life. This adults-only city itinerary will let you shop ‘til you drop (into a bar) and keep you in a jolly mood.

Shop your merry self down the Queen Street Mall

Shopping at 400 Co.

Season's greetings shoppers. We truly think the Queen Street Mall has everything you’ll need to find that perfect gift for those special humans (or pets) in your life. From the big departments stores (Myer, David Jones, Target, Big W) and the huge international retailers (H&M, Uniqlo, Forever 21, Zara, Topshop), to the small and unique local boutiques or large luxury retailers (Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Cartier … need we go on?).

Don’t forget to tear up and think about the magic of being a child at Christmas time as you wander past the Myer Christmas windows. We always get goose bumps and a solid serve of a warm fuzzies.

This is thirsty work

Coffee. You need coffee. Hunt out the best caffeinated beverage dispensers in the CBD with this fab list. If you’re looking for a harder substance, we’ll touch base with bars further down.

Where to find giftwrap, cards and all that jazz

Christmas Markets

Yes, you’ll need to wrap all those gorgeous gifts you buy in something flash. The big department stores will all sell you wrap, tape and more. There is an Officeworks on Adelaide St, Kikki K. and Card & Caboodle in QueensPlaza and Typo off the mall. Over in South Bank, the pop-up Christmas Village is on 11am-10pm daily from 16-23 December. Pop by for Christmas-themed, hand-made items, festive treats, gift wrap, cards and more.

Choose your own adventure for lunch: laneway or riverside

Felix for Goodness, Burnett Lane
Felix For Goodness

There’s no shortage of delicious eats in the inner-city. For riverside views, stake out a table at Eagle Street Pier’s Pony Dining, Riverbar, Customs House or go all out at Esquire. Wander across the river to Stokehouse and the River Quay restaurants, or keep it cheap and cheerful with Bavarian Bier Café.

Hidden down the city’s historic laneways, Felix For Goodness is the cutest cafe, as is Brew, while the Survey Co is a nice spot for a secret boozy lunch. Comuna Cantina, Harajuku Gyoza and Vapiano make Albert Lane a lunch hotspot, and Red Hook is the pick down Gresham Lane. 

For something quick and easy on the wallet (Christmas can be a little draining, we know), Strauss and Pando are great cafes nearby the Queen Street Mall, while there are food courts located under most of the large shopping arcades and centres (QueensPlaza, Myer Centre, Wintergarden).

If you popped across to the Christmas Village, Fish Lane is the coolest new laneway with Julius Pizzeria, Gauge and Hello Please calling it home.

Enough shopping, it’s time to be festive 

Myer Christmas Parade & Pantomime

If you weren’t already shopping with friends or loved ones, call upon them now. The Christmas season is better shared and the place to start is the Christmas Parade. It marches down the Queen Street Mall nightly starting at 7pm from 15-24 December. For kidults (that’s all of us, admit it), it’s a complete joy to watch the ballerinas, choirs and Santa pass by.

If you’re shopping the city too early on in December, the Enchanted Garden in the Roma Street Parkland is the spot to get in the Christmas mood. From 6.30-9pm from 8-17 December the gardens will be lit with a brand-new illuminated spectacle.

Hungry for a social outing

The Gresham Brisbane

It’s Christmas time, and as we mentioned before that means office parties, friend meet-ups and more – best make a dinner reservation then, eh? For something fancy try OTTO, Urbane, Sake or Jellyfish. Chase up dinner with a drink or two at Bar Pacino, a boogie at Brooklyn Standard and a nightcap at the Gresham.

Keep it casual with burgers at Miss Kay’s or Red Hook, ramen at Taro’s, Japanese at Kotobuki or Italian at Jamie’s. Afterwards try the Stock Exchange Rooftop Bar or Riverbar, chase the music at Sonny’s House of Blues or slip deep into the underground at Brew.

If you’re here between 20-23 December, try getting a table over in South Bank with river views. On these nights the Christmas Fireworks will go off at 7.45pm and afterwards you can stroll the Christmas Village by night. Alternatively, have an earlier dinner then cross the river to Stoke Bar, Soleil Rooftop or the South Bank Beer Garden for drinks with a fireworks view.

Finish the night at King George Square

Gold Lotto Lights

A 15-minute, custom-designed Christmas story will be projected onto City Hall nightly from 7.30pm until midnight from 8-24 December. Catching the Gold Lotto City Hall Light Spectacular at 11.30pm with a slight buzz could only make it better, right?

Merry Christmas, Brisbane.