How Jasmine Dowling spent a day exploring Brisbane City

Just like Jasmine Dowling’s freehand illustrations, Brisbane is genuine, playful and maintains a delicate balance of breezy and sophisticated.

Brisbane's favourite blogger, hand-letterer and graphic designer, Jasmine Dowling spent a day exploring Brisbane City.

The local creative has lived in Brisbane her whole life and says: “One of my favourite things (about Brisbane) is that there is always something new opening up.”

Teaming up with Brisbane photographer Michael John Hughes, she shares her favourite spaces and things to do in the CBD through her famous stylised palettes. 

Start by designing your picnic hamper 

Jasmine curates her picnic spread from the Jan Powers Farmers Market (every Wednesday, top of Queen St) and French patisserie Le Bon Choix

“Pop by the Jan Powers markets and pick up some fresh bread, cheese and fruit from local vendors,” Jasmine says. 

Make sure you grab a coffee from Marchetti on the way to finish it off.



Picnic in the City Botanic Gardens

The City Botanic Gardens feature a lush collection of palms, figs, macadamia nut trees and bamboo. It’s the perfect setting to graze on your delicious picnic of treats. 

“My favourite thing (perhaps after eating) would be exploring. The things that you don't buy. Looking around at gardens, smelling flowers, looking up at architecture, the things only noticeable on foot,” Jasmine says. “Take your bounty down to the gardens, find a spot in the shade and let the day slip away from you.”

After your picnic, follow Jasmine's tip and explore the gardens. You can take a self-guided walk using the Brisbane City Council’s guide. Learn about the bamboo grove, rainforest garden, Cuban Royal Palms and other attractions.

Brisbane City tip: There are free fitness classes offered by Brisbane City Council in the gardens. You can take a Tai Chi Qigong class next to a waterfall (seriously) every Tuesday, 12.30-1.30pm. Inner-city workers, escape your desk at lunch and get a mind/body workout in these tranquil surroundings.

Shop where the tastemakers go

Want to shop and play like a visual stylist? Jasmine recommends dropping in to the crisp, white gift store and creative space, Showroom

“If you are after local products, homewares, styling props – this is your heaven,” she says. 

Showroom is a retail and event space owned by creative entrepreneurs. They source cool stuff from makers located in Brisbane and all around Australia, and run creative workshops and pop-up events. 


Good independent bookshops can be hard to come by, and Folio in Brisbane City is one of Jasmine’s favourites. 

“(It's my) go-to when searching for new art books, coffee table books or philosophy reads," she says. 

Throw some shade with new or vintage frames from Optiko Eyewear. Optiko Eyewear exists for the person who doesn't follow the masses – that's probably why it makes Jasmine's list of stores to visit.


Images captured by Michael John Hughes.

Thinking of grabbing dinner after your day in the city? We recommend having a drink or meal at one of these hidden laneway gems.

Don't forget, if you drive into the city, you can park for $5 every evening and weekend or access special parking rates here.

You can read Jasmine's original post on exploring Brisbane City here.

Discover where to eat and shop in the city