48 things to do in Brisbane City

With its vast array of heritage buildings, laid-back laneways, bustling shopping centres and high-end restaurants, Brisbane City is a treasure trove of things to see and do. From lunch break discoveries to days out worth bragging about, read our comprehensive guide of where to eat, drink, shop and play in the CBD.

1. But first, coffee. 

Coffee Anthology Image Credit: @basketballfreak6 via IG
Image credit: @basketballfreak6 via IG

This precinct is certainly a coffee aficionado's paradise. Have a read of our favourite haunts to get your caffeine fix before you conquer the day. If you want to settle in for a hearty breakfast, we've got your back on that too.

2. Shop up a storm 

Shopping on Queen Street Mall

With over 1000 stores ranging from local boutiques, luxury and affordable, Brisbane City is a fashionista's dream come true. If you don't know where to start, we’ve pulled together a guide to each precinct.

3.  Visit the Jan Powers Farmers Market

Jan Powers Farmers Market, Reddacliff Place

Pick up some fresh goodness for the week or conveniently forget your lunch and visit one of the tasty food stalls. The Jan Powers Farmers Market is located in Reddacliff Place on Wednesdays from 8am-6pm. 

4. Go bowling

Grab a group of mates and test your skills at Strike Bowling in Wintergarden. Also perfect for a super-cute date night.  

5.  Find your centre at Shri Yoga

Tucked away in Burnett Lane, Shri Yoga is a peaceful sanctuary for you to retreat to from the hustle and bustle of the CBD. Classes range from challenging to playful and meditative. 

6.  Be fancy and try out all of the high teas

Room with Roses

From ritzy hotels to heritage venues, Brisbane City is home to a variety of high tea settings

7. Treat yourself with a day of pampering

The Revival Lounge - Treatment Rooms

Take some time for yourself and enjoy a blissful day at one of these revitalising pamper spots.

8. Wine or dine at Eagle Street

Live music at Mr & Mrs G

What's better than sipping delicious cocktails or eating a scrumptious meal with the glistening city as your backdrop? Not much.

9. Do a laneway crawl

John Mills Himself

Move over Melbourne – Brisbane's strong list of hip laneways is ever-growing. Have a read of the hidden gems you can find weaved through the busy city streets.

10. Live and local

The City Sounds

City Sounds is Australia’s largest free music program with local and touring artists performing from Wednesday to Sunday. See who is coming up.

11. Sell your unwanted clothes at Suitcase Rummage

Suitcase Rummage

Pile up the clothes that are pushed to the back of your closet and sell them at Suitcase Rummage. Every second Sunday of the month.

12. Wet your whistle

From stylish bars, hole-in-the-wall haunts to laid-back pubs, some of Brisbane’s finest watering holes are located in Brisbane City. 

13. Experience Brisbane City Hall in all its glory

Go on a tour of the heritage-listed building or the organ and auditorium then head up to the clock tower to experience incredible views of the CBD below you. Next, descend the stairs and explore Museum of Brisbane's latest exhibition.

14. Organise the perfect picnic 

Roma Street Parkland

Dine al fresco at these parks in Brisbane City that are ideal for picnics. Pick up some takeaway on the way.

15. Treat your taste buds to a gastronomic dining experience

Esquire, Eagle Street

Award-winning degustation menus at Queensland’s only three-hatted restaurant Esquire and two-hatted Urbane are proof that good things do indeed come in small packages. 

16. Settle in for a tipple at Brisbane City's cosiest bars

Once the weather turns crisp, snuggle up at Super Whatnot, The Gresham, Brooklyn Standard, Sonny's House of Blues and Grape Therapy.

17. Get your mouth around a mouth-watering burger

Chur Burger

Red Hook, Chur Burger Express, Miel Container and Miss Kay's deliver the goods. 

18. Sink your teeth into Noosa Chocolate Factory's rocky road

Rocky road Noosa Chocolate Factory

If you want to beat that 3pm hankering for sugar, Noosa Chocolate Factory dishes out the goods in the form of soft rocky road, chocolate and icy drinks as well as coffee.

19.  Listen to live music as the stars twinkle above you at Riverstage

Browse the schedule to see if any touring artists interest you.

20.  Chopsticks at the ready!

Sake

Indulge in quality sashimi, noodle-rich ramen or crispy karaage at Brisbane's best Japanese restaurants.

21.  Drinks taste better in altitude

Eleven Rooftop

Sipping cocktails and sinking a few ales is much more fun sky-high. Have a read of our favourite rooftop bars.

22. Bust a move

Mad Dance House studio offers a wide range of dance classes taught by industry recognised teachers including ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, hip hop and more. Whether you are a beginner, professional or in between, there is a class to suit everybody.

23.  Fine dining palette with student budget?

Red Hook tacos

A week to go before pay-day and you're feeling the pinch? Read through our cheap eats round-up.

24. Support the arts

Visit Queensland University of Technology's Gardens Theatre to watch one of the professional theatre productions and student showcases or see and experience contemporary exhibitions and performances from emerging artists at Metro Arts.

25.  Satisfy your love affair with Italian food

Pizzantica

Coppa Spuntino, Jamie's Italian, Marchetti and the Pizzantica kombi are some of our Italian favourites when those pizza and pasta cravings kick in.

26. Mix it up 

Round up the girls for The Laneway’s cocktail-making class. Pick three cocktails you’d like to add to your repertoire from a huge list of options. Perfect for a hens or girls night out.

27.  Cruise the river 

Enjoy spectacular views from the iconic paddle wheelers of Kookaburra Showboat Cruises.

28.  Be transported to Germany

Eat a warm pretzel the size of your head and drink pure biers at Bavarian Bier Cafe.

29.  Catch a film 

Watch a blockbuster flick at Event Cinemas in The Myer Centre then channel your inner-child at FunZone next door.

30. Sip single malts and cocktails at The Gresham

The Gresham Bar

It's not just us that raves about The Gresham - Gourmet Traveller awarded this whisky and bourbon saloon Best Bar in Australia in 2015.

31. Shop local

Ubermen

Brisbane City is home to many local fashion designers boutiques, including Tengdahl, Maiocchi, Ubermen, The 400 Co., as well as Pistol at Dawns range at The Clockroom.

32. Eat KFD at Public

The beautifully crunchy and meaty Kentucky Fried Duck dish at Public keeps patrons coming back again and again. Definitely a must-try if you live in Brisbane or are visiting.

33.  Be a visitor in your own city

Take part in Brisbane City Council's public art walking trails or the City Centre Heritage Trail.

34. Make a splash

Cool off at Spring Hill Baths - Brisbane’s first in-ground pool housed in a heritage-listed building.

35. Spruce up your home

Showroom, Edward St; Brisbane City

For your decorating pleasure, we’ve rounded up the best homeware stores in the CBD.

36. Kids can discover the fun of science at The Cube

The Cube at QUT

Bring the kids to experience a workshop at Queensland University of Technology's extraordinary two-storey digital interactive learning and display space. Check out the program of events.

37. Pay a visit to high rollers and fine diners one-stop-shop – Treasury Casino

Treasury Casino & Hotel, photo by Ross Pottinger

Take a spin on the gaming floor and when you need to refuel, stop by one of its several deluxe eating spots and chic bars.

38.  Have a boogie

Sonny's House of Blues

Brooklyn Standard, Sonny's and lGrand Central Hote are perfect spots to listen to local bands perform live and boogie down until the wee hours. 

39. Sweet dreams are made of cheese 

Walk down a small flight of stairs to find Grape Therapy. The extensive wine list features impossible-to-find vintages, small-batch boutique gems and iconic Australian wines alongside carefully selected wines imported from the world’s classic wine regions. Pair your bottle with an artisan cheese or charcuterie board. A match made in heaven, if we do say so ourselves!

40. Experience history underground at the Spring Hill Reservoir

Brisbane Open House - Spring Hill Service Reservoirs

Discover the arched brick interiors of this 19th century structure that provided a vital role in providing fresh water to Brisbane from 1871-1962. Keep a look out for the occasional historic tour and theatre production

41.  Lose track of time at Folio Books

Browse through the extensive range of books in many subjects including cooking, photography, history, gardening, graphic design, art, fiction and much more.

42. Take a little staycation


NextHotelFebLGA_20160118_Wide

If you've caught the wanderlust bug but don't have funds or annual leave to travel, treat yourself to an inner-city staycation for some quality R&R.

43.  Eat local


If you love to experience a city via your plate Aria Brisbane, Customs House, E'cco Bistro, John Mills Himself, and Urbane go above and beyond to ensure where possible that its dishes and drinks come from within the local region.

44.  Discover the role Brisbane played in the Second World War

Visit the MacArthur Museum to look behind the front lines of the Second World War and discover the role Brisbane played from 1939-1945. You can even visit the office of General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander in Chief of the Allied Forces in the South West Pacific Area.

45. Order the Sand Crab Lasagne at Il Centro


The decadent Sand Crab Lasagne is a long-standing item on the Il Centro menu - and with good reason. 

46.  Go on a twilight paddle


Paddle & Prawns at Riverlife

Take in the beautiful sights of our river city at twilight from your own illuminated Riverlife kayak. When you return to the shore feast on buckets of fresh, ocean king prawns, bread rolls. Heaven.

47. Become a Saké master


Sake Restaurant, Eagle Street Pier

Taste your way through a series of Sake’s matched with beautiful fresh sashimi at the Sake and Sashimi Masterclass at Sake Restaurant on Eagle Street Pier. Available daily until 8pm for groups of four or more. 

48. Tummy rumbling past 9pm?

Madtongsan II, Brisbane City

Don't worry you're not destined for greasy fast food. We've sourced the best late night eats in Brisbane City that you won't regret in the morning.  

Want more?