Big Christmas Day Out: 1-day family adventure

Parents are you ready for this? * Cue Space Jam theme song * It’s the ultimate Christmas big day out for all. Brisbane’s mammoth four-week Christmas program can’t be tackled in one day - you’re going to have to spread out the fun over multiple days. On that note, we’ve also written a two-day guide for families that will help you  make the most of #Christmasinbrisbane this year, so check that one out too #merrybrismas.

Stay overnight

Check-in at the Novotel Brisbane South Bank Hotel, a perfect location and just steps away from all of the Christmas action. Here you will find contemporary open plan suites with amazing amenities including a heated swimming pool and gym.

Late morning – swim time

Start the day at South Bank for an early morning wake up swim. The whitest Christmas we’ll get in Brisbane is sand at Streets Beach, so let the kids enjoy a dip in the pools and make sand angels on the beach. 

Lunch at South Bank

Hungry? Our tummies are grumbling. If you didn’t find sufficient food at the markets, try nearby Zeus Street Greek, Mister Paganini for crowd-pleasing pizza or pick up a picnic basket from Popolo and lie out on River Quay Green

Early afternoon – get cultural

Qld Museum

At this time of year, South Bank is also in school holiday mode with every gallery, museum and space primed for fun. Pop by the free exhibitions and children’s activity centre at QAGOMA, check out what’s happening at the State Library, drop into the Moneys! A Primate Story at the Queensland Museum and finish with a dip at Streets Beach (if you haven’t already).

Markets

After exploring the cultural sites, from 3-10pm, visit the Christmas Gift Market which takes over the cobbled streets of Stanley Street Plaza (14-23 December). Let the kids explore the markets while you shop for locally made gifts, Christmas treats and ornaments to the sounds of carollers and live music.

Evening – choose your own adventure

Come evening you have a choice: You can stay on the South Bank side of the river or cross a bridge into the CBD. It’s time to choose your own adventure, so read on below.

Cross the bridge to Brisbane City

Myer Christmas Parade & Pantomime

There’s something especially romantic about seeing the Christmas Parade go by. The parade starts outside QueensPlaza and winds its way down the Queen Street Mall, turning at Albert St and into King George Square. Running nightly from 14-23 December.  

Gold Lotto City Hall Light Spectacular

After the parade it should be dark and late enough to see the giant tree lit up and view the Gold Lotto City Hall Lights – a crazy-cool 3D animated projection on the historic walls of Brisbane City Hall.

If you’re in town too early for the parade, from 7-19 December Roma Street Parkland will be home to the new favourite, the Enchanted Garden. It’s just a short walk from the city centre.

Extra note: If you plan your trip specifically for Saturday, 8 December, the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols are on at River Stage at the City Botanic Gardens.

Dinner in the city

Corbett & Claude, Elizabeth St

If the little ones are hungry, escape to Jamie’s Italian, Bavarian Bier Café or Corbett & Claude for dinner and come back to view the light projections and tree afterwards. December is a busy time in the city, so best make a reservation to be safe.

Stay on the South Bank side of the river

Sparkling fireworks at South Bank

If you choose to stay at South Bank, you can catch an outdoor movie at River Quay Christmas Cinema or catch the Live Carols every night between 14-23 December. And don’t miss the fireworks on the river nightly from 20-23 December.

Dinner in South Bank

South Bank itself is a family-friendly area and the restaurants around the precinct reflect this. Stop in for dinner before the cinema at Ginga Sushi Train, Bamboo Basket, and Guzman y Gomez, or time it right and make a booking with river views from 20-23 December at Southbank Beer Garden or any of the River Quay restaurants to get a solid view of the sparkly action.

After dinner – get enchanted

If you didn’t manage to fit it in before dinner, check out the Enchanted Garden at Roma Street Parkland from 7-19 December, or pop by King George Square to see the City Hall Lights from 7-24 December and the giant Christmas tree lit up.

What a big day! 

More ideas for Christmas cheer...