Festive Season Guide - Visit Brisbane

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Your ultimate guide to the festive season in Brisbane

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Crank up the Bublé, grab those mince pies, and queue up the holiday rom-coms... The most wonderful time of the year is almost here! But don’t worry, we’ve done the thinking for you, with our tantalising, tasty, and very Brisbane guide to the festive season. So swap out the jolly red suit for a summer fit and let’s dive in! 

Your festive adventure plan:

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STAY

Looking for an enticing destination for a festive Brisbane getaway? We’ve got you covered.

Crystalbrook Vincent

Head to Howard Smith Wharves to enjoy a luxurious riverside stay at the Crystalbrook Vincent. Enjoy marvellous Story Bridge views with a cocktail in hand at the rooftop pool bar. Or treat your taste buds to an adventure at some of Brisbane's most in-demand dining spots, including Greca, and Yoko and Stanley, just to name a few.

And just in case you need another reason to book… the hotel is offering a Stay & Play package. Gift yourself or your loved ones an overnight stay, with breakfast at Polpetta (a slice of Rome right here in Brisbane), plus a $100 voucher to spend at the Wharves precinct.

Hotel X

For families, Hotel X marks the spot. This year they’re giving big, with their Family Island Staycation package. The package includes accommodation, plus two fun-filled scenic tour options to Tangalooma Island Resort or Moreton Bay. Breakfast, lunch, transportation, activities and equipment are all covered! Indulge in a relaxing island escape or snorkel the iconic Tangalooma Wrecks - there is something for everyone!

The Ovolo Inchcolm

Perched above Brisbane’s CBD, The Ovolo Inchcolm fuses modern elements with the sophistication of the 1920’s. This hotel is the perfect boutique destination to explore Brisbane during the festive season. With eclectic art pieces and an air of rhapsody, think of it as your parisian-inspired home away from home.

W Brisbane 

If a cosmopolitan vibe is more your thing, the iconic W Brisbane is for you. Turn up the AC to escape the summer heat, enjoy the panoramic views, and indulge in Piña Coladas on the WET Deck - their poolside oasis with photo-worthy vistas.

Hyatt Regency

For shopaholics and fashionistas, try Hyatt Regency. Adjacent to the Queen Street Mall, you’re smack-bang in Brisbane's iconic retail hub - with international and local designers at your doorstep. Between sprees, put your feet up at their rooftop infinity pool and bar, or enjoy a delicious meal at Lennons Restaurant & Bar - the hotel's premium dining experience. 

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EAT

Christmas time = food-coma, right? But remember, the festive season is a marathon, not a sprint. There’s everything from al fresco dining at Howard Smith Wharves to riverfront restaurants at South Bank, renowned Asian eateries in Fortitude Valley, and modern Australian fine-dining in the CBD.

But, if you’re anything like us, then you’ll love long lunching and ticking off rooftop bars over the festive season, to take a load off and soak up the Brisbane sunshine. Our top picks? Maya Mexican - you’ll be dreaming about their fish tacos and margs until you visit again. Or for that Italian Riviera feel, you can’t go past Cielo Rooftop Bar to satisfy your Aperol desires in style.

Check out the full list here.

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FOOD & DRINK EXPERIENCES

The festive season is a great time to support local.

Breweries, wineries and distilleries 

In recent years Brisbane has been a hub for new craft breweries, including renowned establishments like Brisbane Brewing Co, Newstead Brewing Co, Revel Brewery and Green Beacon Brewery. So get your tasting paddles at the ready!

For a no-fuss, more fun option, let the local experts show you around. Companies like Kiff & Culture and Hop on Brewery Tours, offer mouth-watering, belt popping tours to some of Brisbane’s best food and drink destinations. Just make sure you’ve got a few extra holes on your belt...

If you’ve ever dreamed of making your own vino - check out City Winery’s one of a kind wine blending experience.

For a sit back and sip, Brisbane Distillery’s gin tasting is a great option - or take part in their Gin School for a more hands-on experience.
And of course, no Brisbane adventure is complete without a trip to the home of the Milton Mangoes, the iconic XXXX Brewery. Enjoy a tour of the factory, taking you through their 140+ year history, topped off with a beer tasting session.

First Nations

Not to be missed, check out QAGOMA’s First Artists: Cultural Experience. Feel enriched and awakened with an exclusive evening of Queensland's unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and culture.

Find yourself immersed in memorable connections to Australian First Nations art, music, native food, dance, culture and storytelling. The experiences are co-designed by QAGOMA and 100% Indigenous-owned business Blaklash Creative. Bookings are essential.

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SHOP

Banking on Santa for your shopping this Christmas? We’ve heard he’s a bit busy, so it might be worth having a backup plan. Never fear! Brisbane is a stress-free shopping dream. And we’ve made it even easier with a list of the best shopping precincts so you can conquer your gift list with ease. 

From Queensland’s premier shopping precinct – The City and Queen Street Mall – to funky favourites in Fortitude Valley and Paddington, you’ll discover unique shopping experiences in Brisbane.

The City, complete with the open air Queen Street Mall, offers more than 1000 stores and the state’s largest collection of flagship stores. This year they’re also gifting you with their biggest Black Friday (26 Nov) sales ever.

On 27 November, King George Square is hosting the BrisStyle Twilight Christmas Market, featuring 100% locally made items from Queensland-based designers. You can support local and get all your Christmas shopping done in one hit. Win! The kids can even visit the big man in red!

If you’re opting for a cruisier approach to gift shopping, South Bank’s Fish Lane is hosting their Christmas markets nestled among their leafy Town Square from 19 December. With bars and eateries abound, we’re sure this will give you all the essentials you need to smash through your list and enjoy some festive cheer. 

And of course, there’s Fortitude Valley, home to local designers and high-end fashion along leafy James Street

Paddington is the place to head if you are an audiophile or vintage lover with its plethora of unique and quirky boutiques.

Don’t forget about yourself this Christmas - treat yourself to a Spree with Me session for the ultimate shopping tour. Guided by a local stylist, enjoy one-on-one styling sessions through some of Brisbane’s most unique treasure troves of fashion.

PLAY

Love Christmas lights? So do we! Join us across The City, South Bank and Roma Street Parklands for the inaugural lighting of the tree, Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols, City Hall Lights, and the South Bank Christmas show. Check out the full Christmas in Brisbane program here.

Already all over the gram, but aptly one of the most visited multi-sensory immersive experiences in the world – Van Gogh Alive has landed in Brisbane until Christmas Eve. Step into a world where Van Gogh’s greatest creations come to life all around you.

Up for some water fun? Book in with Jet Ski Brisbane to experience the city from a different perspective. For those who prefer life in the slow(er) lane, try Riverlife for kayaking, get your crew together and captain a Go Boat, or get dolled up and hop aboard the super flash YOT Club - because who doesn’t love a festive season boat party! 

If you’re keen to get your wildlife fix, visit Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Get up close and personal with many beloved Aussie wildlife friends. Make sure you book in advance as it’s on everyone’s list!

For those with a competitive streak, Victoria Park decks the halls with their Christmas Putt-Putt, featuring 18 holes across challenging terrain. Eat Street Northshore is a sure-fire way to eat your way through most of Brisbane in a night. Or get your gig on at one of Brisbane’s many music hall institutions like the Tivoli and the newly revamped Princess Theatre.

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ROAD TRIP

Hop on the motorway and head to Summer Land Camels for the Christmas Markets on Saturday 4 December. Support local growers and pat the friendly camels. On the same day, Ipswich is also playing host to the Scenic Soul Christmas Market, bringing together the best of local artisans and creatives, live entertainment and tasty treats. 

Flip the compass and head out to the Moreton Bay region for the Redcliffe Christmas Carols. Pack a picnic blanket and jingle on down for the ultimate Christmas evening on Sunday 12 December. While in the area, why not stop by the Lyell Deer Sanctuary to see real-life reindeer - Rudolf might even make an appearance!

Looking for more festive inspiration? Keep browsing below!

PLAN YOUR TRIP