Two-day Christmas itinerary for families

There is nothing quite like seeing the joy of Christmas light up through the eyes of a child. Create new memories as a family this festive season by making the most of Brisbane’s mammoth free four-week Christmas program across two days. Why two? Because it can’t all be done in one.

Day 1

Arrive in Brisbane City

Queen Street Mall Decorations - Train

If you’ve booked a room for the night, coordinate an early check-in or park the car someplace. We recommend the Novotel Brisbane South Bank, a perfect location and just steps away from all the Christmas action and a short walk to the city. It is easy to get cheap parking in the city if you know where to look. Booking online is the best bet, or King George Square is always a flat $5 after 4:30pm weekdays and all-day weekends

Lunchtime in Brisbane City

The Gardens Club - Picnic Basket

Take the kids to one of the CBD’s many great cafes. Botero, Brew, Pando, Felix, The Cutting Board and Gardens Club have something for everyone. Find an excellent list of cafes here to keep the hanger pains away.

Afternoon in the Queen Street Mall

Take the kids to explore David Jones and the rest of the Queens Street Mall – perhaps you’ll be hunting for last-minute gifts or getting insider info on what the kids want from Santa. The Myer Christmas window display is always something to behold or catch Santa roaming throughout David Jones from 11am - 3pm Wednesday 12 December until Christmas eve, make sure you have your list ready. 

For a mid-shop pick-me-up, hunt down Dello Mano, I Heart Brownies, Amy Sargeanston and Noosa Chocolate Factory for a chocolate fix.

Early dinner

Miss Kay's

With young ones, make a dinner reservation for 5pm because the Christmas Parade starts at 7pm (14-23 December) and you’ll want find the perfect spot to view the fun festivities. The parade marches into King George Square, so to help you plan an early dinner here are some local family-friendly restaurants -  Miss Kay’s for burgers, Corbett & Claude for pizza and Izakaya Kotobuki for sushi.

Evening of events

Brisbane City Christmas Tree

Early on in the Christmas program, Roma Street Parkland is the place to be with the Enchanted Garden open nightly from 7-19 December.

Myer Christmas Parade & Pantomime

Make sure you don't miss the Gold Lotto City Hall Lights in King George Square. A custom-designed Christmas tale is projected onto the historic hall from 7-24 December.

When planning your adventure, keep in mind the Lord Mayor’s Christmas Carols at the Riverstage on 8 December, and the Lighting of the Christmas Tree in King George Square on 30 November.

Day 2

Good morning sunshine, it’s a brand new day and there is plenty of festive fun to explore. 

Morning – take it easy

It’s your mini holiday, so take it easy, sleep in and let someone else cook breakfast. Finish off any last-minute shopping in the mall before wandering over the bridge to South Bank.

Afternoon – get cultured

Yayoi Kusama's Obliteration Room 2002

At this time of year, South Bank is also in school holiday mode with every gallery, museum and space primed for fun. Check out QAGOMA's APT9 kids exhibit entitled Purple Reign where kids can engage through an animated video and touch screen activity focusing on Brisbane's beautiful Jacarandas. The State Library has a many exciting kids activities planned for the holidays so check out their program or experience Monkeys! A Primate Story at the Queensland Museum and cool off with a dip at Streets Beach.

South Bank's bustling Christmas Markets

Wander through the Gift Markets in the Christmas Village open every day from 14-23 December from 3pm to 10pm. Buy festive treats, hand-made goods and Christmas decorations ahead of the big day. 

What’s for dinner?

South Bank itself is a very family-friendly area and the restaurants around the precinct reflect this. 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 for river views of the Christmas Fireworks.

Evening – celebrate Christmas tropical style

Get comfortable at River Quay for an outdoor cinema experience every night from 14-23 December, B.Y.O. picnic blanket. If you're planning to catch the fireworks over the river Streets Beach is a prime spot to watch them and get a good seat for your movie.

More ideas for Christmas cheer...