Skip the party: Night-time activities around Brisbane

Put away the wine bottle and give your liver a rest with these 26 night activities that don’t involve late night bar hopping. Kayak the Brisbane river by night, laugh yourself silly and maybe see a ghost or two as you discover Brisbane’s true beauty in a bunch of Instagram-worthy activities – no Netflix and chill allowed in this list. 

Paddle and prawns

Paddle & Prawns at Riverlife 

Discover Brisbane from a different perspective as you glide along the river in a kayak beneath the stars. Finish the work week with a bang and hop on over to Riverlife at Kangaroo Point to enjoy 90 minutes of paddling under the Story Bridge before stopping to take in sensational city views over a classic Aussie barbecue in a riverside marquee. 

Seasonal nights and city lights

Brisbane Lights Tour

See the city by night with Brisbane Lights Tours that take you past all of Brisbane’s big attractions including Government House, Mt Coot-tha, the Story Bridge and the surrounding suburbs that boast some of Brisbane’s rich history. Travel by bus and CityCat with full commentary and many opportunities to stop along the way and take that perfect night shot. 

Look to the stars

Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium

On Saturday nights the Cosmic Skydome stays open late to take you through a tour of Brisbane’s current night sky. Learn about dramatic advances in our knowledge of the universe, explore what’s to come in the future of cosmology and see what space really looks like in a spaceflight to the outskirts of the Milky Way.

Picnic by the river 

The fun of a picnic never gets old when it includes delicious food, city views and a classic cane picnic basket (event better, you don’t have to make it yourself). Popolo offers this picnic-style dining and will send you down to the grass with a basket filled with pizza, mixed salad, fries and an antipasto platter – just add good company to watch the sunset and the city light up against the night sky. 

It’s a kayak life for me

Kayaking in crystal clear waters

Put aside a weekend and go on the two-day Moreton Island tour with Australian Sunset Safaris to enjoy an unforgettable kayak at night. Paddling out to the Tangalooma Wrecks in a transparent kayak lit by LEDs will reveal the underwater world like never before. Drift over the top of the eerie sunken ships as fish and turtles attracted to the light come to say hi.

Board games galore

Jump back into the days where chess, scrabble and all board games distinguished an afternoon of fun. King George Square is bringing back this entertainment in life-size form once a month on Thursday evenings or Vault Games in the CBD can offer board games all week long. Grab your friends or grab a stranger and dive into some friendly competition with chess, cards, dominos and scrabble. 

Drown yourself in food at Eat Street 

Eat Street Markets

With more than 70 vendors ready to serve you culinary delights from around the world, Eat Street is the perfect spot for some weekend treats. Think Hungarian langos, Shanghai dumplings and Peruvian paella all washed down with Greek honey puffs and decadent doughnuts. Bring that friend who never finishes their meal – reap the rewards and don’t let that delicious food go to waste!

Get spooked with ghost tours

Despite its modern appearance, Brisbane is an old town haunted by the past. Hear real ghost stories about the Brisbane Arcade ghost, undead politician and Boggo Road Gaol ghosts on the haunted Brisbane Ghost Tours or head to St Helena to spend the evening in the cemetery. Speaking of cemeteries, dare yourself to attend the Toowong Cemetery night tour where it's said the silhouette of a woman is often spotted wandering the avenue around her grave.  

Laugh yourself silly at a comedy show

Knockoff

The Brisbane Powerhouse hosts a comedy knockoff every Friday night. Sit back and enjoy some of the best one-liners and hilarious stories gathered from around town. Missed your Friday comedy? The Sit Down Comedy Club hosts open mic nights throughout the week at various locations around Brisbane where you can get your dose of daily funny. 

Paint and Sip 

Although this one actually involves wine, we’re putting the emphasis on the art side of things. Make it a fun night out with friends or a unique date to show your creative side. Head along to Cork and Chroma in South Brisbane or the Stock Exchange in the CBD to learn the basic skills of painting as an artist leads you through a step-by-step session. 

Climb into the night

Two men climb the Kangaroo Point Cliffs

Abandon the fake rocks and indoor rock climbing - get out and test yourself with the real thing on the cliff face of Kangaroo Point Cliffs. It will certainly be a challenge, but scaling the weathered wall with the city lights behind will be an unforgettable experience – just don’t look down. 

Swing on down to a jazz bar 

Get your groove on at some of Brisbane’s best jazz venues. Brisbane Jazz Club can offer some smooth-sounding jazz and river views or the sweet brassy sounds of Australian jazz can be heard at Doo-Bop Jazz Bar in the CBD. Find more spots to swing your hips with our guide to blues, soul and jazz nights around Brisbane. 

The gondolas on the wheel go round and round 

Wheel of Brisbane

Take in a 360-degree view of the city as you soar into the sky on the Wheel of Brisbane. Rising almost 60m off the ground, each trip includes four rotations as well as a magical stop at the top to take in the surroundings – careful not to look straight down. 

Be serenaded by the local talent

Brisbane is a growing hub of local artists and bands all sporting a unique sound. Many venues around town offer these artists the chance to showcase their talent to an appreciative audience on a regular basis. Check out our guide to live music in the city to see the most popular venues. 

Skip dinner and see a movie

Openair Cinema

Running throughout summer evenings, the Powerhouse Moonlight Cinema and Ben & Jerry’s open air cinema will be showing new release and classic movies to make those hot summer nights a little more bearable. Get in early to grab one of the bean bag chairs for some extra comfort. 

1, 2, 3 strikes – you’re out

Calling all kidults who want to introduce a bit of fun into their evenings. Strike Wintergarden in the CBD offers bowling, laser tag and karaoke for big groups, so no need to sit at home feeling bored on your Saturday nights.   

Attend a sports game 

Almost every weekend throughout the year you’ll see multitudes of fans heading to the local sports ground to cheer on their favourite team. Head along to an AFL, rugby union, rugby league, soccer, cricket, netball or basketball game where the atmosphere promises to be wild.  

Twilight climb with a view

Story Bridge Climb

Watch the sunset and the city light up as you climb Brisbane’s iconic Story Bridge. Feel the cars race beneath you as you ascend 80m above sea level to snap that perfect shot of the city – we wouldn’t say no to a selfie either. 

Wander the evening markets

Find a hidden gem at the Collective markets in South Bank every Friday and Saturday night. With an eclectic mix of original art, photography, handmade jewelry, trending fashion and vintage clothing, that something special is waiting for you at market prices. 

It’s a hole in one!

Victoria Park Put tPutt Famliy Sky

It’ll start off friendly but may end in tears as everyone’s competitive side comes out. Visit Victoria Park for an 18-hole mini course full of wacky twists and turns or head to Holey Moley in Fortitude Valley to follow the traditional putt putt course through a labyrinth of unique holes that’ll keep you on your toes.

Bit of culture before dinner

The Museum of Brisbane is now open until 7pm on Friday nights for those night owls and office workers wanting to experience more of what the city has to offer. Climb the clock tower after dark to see the city by night and enjoy an intimate viewing of the current exhibitions. 

Get your shop on at the markets

Brisbane Twilight Markets

About once a month, the Brisbane Twilight markets are held in King George Square and offer this meet-the-maker event with all stallholders selling 100 per cent locally handmade products. Shop from a huge variety of unique and quality handmade items, grab a quick bite from local food vendors, listen to some live music and involve yourself in a free craft workshop. 

Skip your bedtime at GOMA

Watch out for the signature up-late events at GOMA that bring its major exhibitions to life after hours. Wander the halls with a background of live music or steer for an informal talk by local identities who will introduce unexpected views on exhibition artworks and themes. 

Sausage, bread and a sunset

Kangaroo Point Cliffs

You can barbecue for free almost anywhere in Brisbane, but snagging a barbecue at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs at sunset trounces all other spots. Get there early to secure a table and grill as it fills up quickly with people who have the same great idea. 

Dine and cruise in style

Kookaburra River Queens

Cruise the Brisbane River on a giant paddle-wheeler while enjoying a buffet and scenic views with Kookaburra River Queens. Live performers will entertain along the way, coaxing you to the dance floor for a boogie and a shake to end the evening. 

Eat everything at the markets

Taste food from around the world made fresh by the experts. Held every Saturday night, the Mt Gravatt Markets offers over 50 street food stalls and live music. Not to worry for our intolerant friends, as there are vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options available.