Shop by day, festive fun by night
Dreaming of a kid-free Christmas adventure where you’re the centre of attention? Step right up. This guide is for you.
The city centre is a hive of festive activity come December with office parties, extended shopping hours and jolly events bringing the area to life. This adults-only city itinerary will let you shop ‘til you drop (into a bar) and keep you in a jolly mood.
Shop your merry self down the Queen Street Mall
Season's greetings shoppers. We truly think Queen Street Mall has everything you’ll need to find that perfect gift for those special humans (or pets) in your life. From departments stores such as David Jones, Myer, Target and Big W, international retailers including H&M, Uniqlo, Zara and Queensland’s first COS, to the small and unique local boutiques or large luxury retailers (Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Cartier, Gucci … need we go on?). If you’re lucky you could run into Santa and his fairy from 12-24 December in David Jones, so make sure you have your list ready.
This is thirsty work
Take a break from shopping and stay caffeinated, the City is crawling with great coffee spots. Escape the crowds and wander down historic laneways to discover hidden gems, from a turmeric latte at Felix for Goodness to an iced latte at Brew. If you’re looking for a harder substance, we’ll touch base with bars further down.
Where to find giftwrap, cards and all that jazz
Yes, you’ll need to wrap all those gorgeous gifts you buy in something flash. The big department stores will all sell you wrap, tape and more. There is an Officeworks on Adelaide St, Kikki K. and Card & Caboodle in QueensPlaza and Typo off the mall. Over in South Bank, the incredible Christmas events are on from 3-10pm daily from 14-23 December (for the full Christmas in Brisbane event map click here). Pop by for Christmas-themed, hand-made items, festive treats, gift wrap, cards and more.
Choose your own adventure for lunch: laneway or riverside
Felix For Goodness
There’s no shortage of delicious eats in the inner-city. For riverside views, stake out a table at Eagle Street Pier’s Pony Dining, Riverbar, Madame Wu, or Patina at Customs House. Wander across the river to Stokehouse Q and the River Quay restaurants, or keep it cheap and cheerful with Bavarian Bier Café.
Hidden down the city’s historic laneways, Felix For Goodness is the cutest cafe, as is Brew, while Super Whatnot is a nice spot for a secret boozy lunch. Comuna Cantina, Harajuku Gyoza and Vapiano make Albert Lane a lunch hotspot, and Red Hook is the pick down Gresham Lane.
Escape the crowds and head to Brisbane Quarter. Take in unparalleled views over to South Bank and the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) and take your pick of Italian cuisine at Persone or sustainable and local produce at Three Blue Ducks.
For something quick and easy on the wallet (Christmas can be a little draining, we know), Strauss and Pando Cafe are great cafes nearby Queen Street Mall, while there are food courts located under most of the large shopping arcades and centres (QueensPlaza, Myer Centre, Wintergarden).
If you pop across to the Christmas Village, Fish Lane is the coolest laneway in South Bank with Julius Pizzeria, Gauge, La Lune Wine Co and Hello Please calling it home.
Enough shopping, it’s time to be festive
If you weren’t already shopping with friends or loved ones, call upon them now. The Christmas season is better shared and the place to start is the Christmas Parade. It marches down Queen Street Mall nightly starting at 7pm from 14-23 December. For kidults (that’s all of us, admit it), it’s a complete joy to watch the dancers, choirs and Santa pass by.
If you’re shopping the city too early on in December, the Enchanted Garden in the Roma Street Parkland is the spot to get in the Christmas mood. From 6.30-10pm from 7-19 December, the gardens will be lit with a brand-new illuminated spectacle.
Hungry for a social outing
It’s Christmas time, and as we mentioned before that means office parties, friend meet-ups and more – best make a dinner reservation then, eh? For something fancy try OTTO, Urbane, Sake, Donna Chang or Jellyfish. Chase up dinner with a drink or two at Bar Pacino, a boogie at Brooklyn Standard, and a nightcap at The Gresham.
Keep it casual with burgers at Miss Kay’s or Charboys Burgers, ramen at Taro’s, Japanese at Kotobuki, Modern Australian at Motorwagen or Italian at Jamie’s. Afterwards try the Stock Exchange Rooftop Bar or Riverbar, chase the music at Boom Boom Room, lounge in luxury at the Silver Fox Wine Bar or slip deep into the underground at Brew.
If you’re here between 20-23 December, try getting a table over in South Bank with river views. On these nights the Christmas Fireworks will go off at 8pm and afterwards you can stroll the Christmas Gift Market by night. Alternatively, have an earlier dinner then cross the river to Stokebar Q, Soleil Rooftop, The Terrace, or the South Bank Beer Garden for drinks with a fireworks view.
Finish the night at King George Square
A 15-minute, custom-designed Christmas story will be projected onto City Hall nightly from 7.30pm until midnight from 7-24 December. Catching the Gold Lotto City Hall Light Spectacular at 11.30pm with a slight buzz could only make it better, right?
Merry Christmas, Brisbane.