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 sparkling festive events bringing the CBD to life. This adults-only city itinerary will let you shop ‘til you drop (into a bar) and keep you in a jolly mood this Christmas season.
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 at Myer, 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 on the mall.
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 Riverbar, Madame Wu, Blackbird, Cha Cha Char, Rico or Patina at Customs House. Walk a little further to hit Howard Smith Wharves under the Story Bridge and try Mr Percival, Arc or Felon's Brewing, or find a seat with views over the river to South Bank at Brisbane Quarter with sustainable and local produce at Three Blue Ducks. Make your way across the river to Stokehouse Q and the River Quay restaurants, or keep it cheap and cheerful along Little Stanley Street.
Hidden down the city’s historic laneways, Felix For Goodness is the cutest cafe, as is Brew, while Super Whatnot or Alba are nice spots 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.
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 South Bank, Fish Lane is the coolest laneway south of the river with Julius Pizzeria, Gauge, Mauve, 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 ultimate place to start is the Christmas Parade. It marches down Queen Street Mall nightly starting at 7pm nightly from 13-22 December. For kidults (that’s all of us, admit it), there's plenty of joy to be found watching the dancers, choirs and Santa pass by.
Shopping the city earlier in December? You're in luck. From 29 November - 13 December the Enchanted Garden is taking over Roma Street Parkland again. Meander along a twinkling track where nature and glistening light displays meet. Arrive early – this event is always really popular!
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, ramen at Taro’s, 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 planning to be in town 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 parklands experiencing live music. South Bank is also home to Santa's Stop Over and a Carol's Extravaganza on these same nights. Alternatively, have an earlier dinner and 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 (this year it's about a cute koala named Clarence) will be projected onto Brisbane City Hall nightly from 7.30pm until midnight between 6-24 December.
Merry Christmas, Brisbane.