30 things to do this summer - Visit Brisbane

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30 things to do this summer in Brisbane

Updated: 13 December 2021

Summer is well and truly here in Brisbane, and we think it’s time for the fun to begin. We’ve done a deep dive into the most exciting activities and events happening in Brisbane this summer. Whether you’re after some adventure with the family, a splash of arts and culture, or just wanna chill out on a rooftop enjoying a cocktail and all the splendour our beautiful city has to offer, we’ve got you covered!

Read on to discover our 30 best Brisbane summer ideas

What's on

Music | Sports | Arts & Theatre | Experiences | Drink | Eat | Get Outdoors | Island-TimeOther

Music 

Music fest  700 x 305

1. The Long Sunset

A stone’s throw from Brisbane, set in the lush surrounds of Elysian Fields, Canungra, The Long Sunset brings you a sweet program of Australia’s top music acts. Plus, you can enjoy a massive spread of local food and art fare. Take a breath, pack a tent, and get set for Australia’s newest boutique regional music event featuring Angus & Julia Stone, Ball Park Music, Babe Rainbow, and Hatchie.

  • Where: Elysian Fields 3042 Beaudesert Nerang Rd, Canungra QLD
  • When: Sat 12 Feb 2022, 2-10 pm.
  • Tix here

2. Open Season - The Tivoli & The Princess Theatre

Open Season on live music and entertainment in Brisbane with the return of an amazing curated program of concerts and live performances across both The Tivoli and The Princess, from June to December 2021. Lineup includes: Regurgitator, Baker Boy, Bite Club: The Xmas Edition, The Paper Kites, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and many more. Because, what’s summer in Brisbane without live music, eh?

  • Where: The Tivoli, Fortitude Valley / The Princess Theatre Woolloongabba
  • When: June to December 2021
  • Tix here

3. This That Festival 2022

After five awesome years in Newcastle, THIS THAT comes to the Sunshine State for the first time at the breezy, picturesque Sandstone Point Hotel. It’s all about party-starter acts, epic headliners and full-service vibes - perfect for that Brisbane summer feeling. And with a lineup including The Rubens, Spacey Jane, San Cisco, Dune Rats, and The Presets, it’s almost impossible to resist!

  • Where: Sandstone Point, Bribie Island
  • When: Saturday March 5th 2022
  • Tix here

Sport


PGA

4. Golf Championships 

Australian PGA Championship & WPGA Championship, 13 – 16 January | Queensland PGA Championship, 20 – 23 January

A triple bogey of golf is teeing off in Brisbane this January. Catch the sports’ elite athletes competing at the Australian PGA Championship, with the inaugural Australian Womens PGA Championship to be held alongside at the Royal Queensland Golf Club. The Queensland PGA Championship will then tap in at Nudgee Golf Club from 20 – 23 January.

  • Where: Royal Queensland Golf Club & Nudgee Golf Club
  • When: 13-16 January 2022
  • Tix here

5. The 2022 Summer Slam | Water Polo

The National State Championships will return to the Water Polo Australia National Events Calendar in 2022, as the 2022 Summer Slam. State rivalries will come to the fore, with the best athletes from the 16&U, 18&U and 20&U age groups going head to head competing for their state.

  • Where: Pools around Brisbane 
  • When: 10 - 20 January 2022
  • Find out more

6. Ascot Green Grand Prix Stakes Raceday

With Christmas just around the corner, Ascot Green Grand Prix Stakes Raceday is the perfect chance to celebrate, wine and dine, and enjoy the thrill of horse racing this summer. Plus, you can stay after the races for the Ascot Green Christmas Carols and Markets!

  • Where: Eagle Farm Racecourse
  • When: 18 December, gates open 10:30am to public
  • Tix here

Art & Theatre

APT10

7. The 10th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT10)

Indulge in contemporary art this summer at the APT10 at QAGOMA. This landmark tenth edition features 69 projects of new and recent work from over 150 individuals from 30 countries. Focusing on the future of art and the world we inhabit together, this is a truly remarkable exhibition - not to be missed. Did we mention admission is free? Bring the fam.

  • Where: QAGOMA, Southbank
  • When: Sat 4 - Sun 5 Dec 2021 
  • Tix here

8. Ballet 

Immerse yourself in stories of sugarplum fairies or watch a series of iconic dances performed by some of the world’s best artists. Check out the amazing catalog of ballet coming to Brisbane this summer.

The Nutcracker

A favourite to share with family and friends, be captivated by this enchanting Christmas Eve story, as Queensland Ballet brings the loveable characters of The Nutcracker to life.

  • Where: Lyric Theatre, QPAC
  • When: 16-23 Dec 2021
  • Tix here

Ballet International Gala (BIG)

An exciting mix of classical and contemporary duets from some of the world’s most talented ballet artists, collaborating with our very own world-class Australian talent.

  • Where: Playhouse Theatre, QPAC
  • When: 26-30 Jan 2022
  • Tix here

9. Theatre

Experience the magic of theatre this summer with these award-winning productions at Queensland Performing Arts Centre.

A Christmas Carol

This December, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol returns to lift your spirits. Filled with song, humour, love, and lashings of festive joy, this spectacle is perfect for the entire family.

  • Where: QPAC Playhouse Theatre, Southbank
  • When: 2-24 Dec 2021
  • Tix here

An American in Paris

Hailed as a tour de force for its inventive choreography, the four-time Tony Award®-winning Broadway musical tells the entrancing story of a young American soldier and a beautiful French girl, set against the iconic backdrop of the most romantic city in the world.

  • Where: QPAC Lyric Theatre, Southbank
  • When: 8-30 January 2022
  • Tix here

10. Comedy 

We’ve got an absolute powerhouse line-up of fun and laughs for you in our Brisbane Powerhouse summer picks. 

Brisbane Comedy Festival 2022 presented by Brisbane Powerhouse

Comic musings, side-splitting stories and tear-inducing tales… From stand-up to improv and sketch comedy, and everything in between. (Note: Brisbane Comedy Festival is not responsible for medical costs incurred as a result of said side-splitting.)

  • Where: Brisbane Powerhouse, The Tivoli & The Fortitude Music Hall
  • When: 29 April - 29 May 
  • Tix here

Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves 

Relive the joy of the Sister Act soundtracks live on stage, brought to life by a celestial cast of divine divas backed by an electrifying live band.

  • Where: Powerhouse Theatre, Brisbane Powerhouse, New Farm
  • When: 17-19 Feb 2022
  • Tix here

11. Van Gogh Alive

Transcend time and space in this ultra-immersive experience through the life and art of Vincent van Gogh. Set to an evocative classical score, a thrilling display of over 3,000 inspirational images transforms every surface that surrounds you. Come find out why Van Gogh Alive is the most visited multi-sensory experience in the world!

  • Where: The Grand Pavilion, Northshore Brisbane
    When: 29 Oct - 24 Dec 2021
  • Tix here

12. Connect with country and culture 

This summer, embark on a unique, immersive journey of Indigenous experiences in art, storytelling, performance and food in Meeanjin (Brisbane).

Spirits of the Red Sand

An eye‑opening theatre performance that highlights the history, beauty and vibrancy of Aboriginal culture in Brisbane can be found at Spirits of the Red Sand.

Delvene Cockatoo Collins Art

Proud Quandamooka woman and artist @delvene_cockatoo_collins_art creates and expresses through artwork the stories of her family’s lived experiences while living on Minjerribah – North Stradbroke Island.

Nyanda Tours

Nyanda Tours invites visitors out for a guided tour by members of the Jagera people to Nudgee Waterhole Reserve in Brisbane for Aboriginal storytelling, smoke ceremony, bush food tasting, weaving and demonstrations.

Dreamtime Kullilla‑Art

Dreamtime Kullilla Art is a family‑owned and operated art gallery in the Redcliffe Peninsula showcasing a diverse range of Aboriginal art.

Birrunga Gallery & Dining

Listed as one of the best Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander food experiences in all of Australia, Birrunga Gallery & Dining offers a unique experience when connecting people to Brisbane’s First Nations culture.

Blackcard Cultural Tours

Walk together in the footsteps of Aboriginal ancestors through the heart of Meeanjin – Brisbane City with Blackcard Cultural Tours. 

Experiences 

Kiff  Culture

13. Brisbane Experiences 

Check out these uniquely Brisbane experiences - sure to delight the senses this summer.

Kiff & Culture

Enjoy Brisbane this summer through your eyes, nose and tastebuds with Kiff & Culture. They offer tantalising tours to eat and drink your way around Brisbane’s best artisan food and drink spots. Check out the tours here.

River to Bay

Experience the bay this summer by adventure cruising, swimming, snorkelling and bushwalking your way across four islands - all in one day! Or perhaps you’d prefer to blaze a trail of seafood, wine and craft beer, plus encounters with local Moreton Bay marine life. River to Bay tours have you covered. Check out the tours here.

Go Boat

Ever wanted to experience Brisbane with your very own self-drive picnic boat? Well, this one’s for you! Eight people per boat for 2 or 3 hours, BYO food and drink, no boat licence required, AND it’s environmentally friendly. Be sure to take a snap with the Story Bridge before you jump off at Dockside Marine, Kangaroo Point. Details here.

Boomerang at QAGOMA

Shaped after the iconic Aboriginal throwing tool, this oversized, intensely lit, waterfall-style chandelier fills the space above the water in the Queensland Art Gallery Watermall. It’s composed of 270,000 crystal pieces! While you’re there, go exploring - there’s plenty more to discover! Details here.

Drink 

CityWinery banner

14. Wine tasting & distilleries

Wet your whistle this summer with wine tasting and distillery tours in the heart of Brisbane.

City Winery

Head on down to Wandoo Street, Fortitude Valley, where City Winery does things a little different. Grapes are specially curated from Australia’s key growing regions, barrelled, bottled and served right to you. You can even join in the process by creating your own blend. The winery’s open daily for tours and tastings.

Brisbane Distillery Company

Hailed as one of the best entertainment bars in West End, Brisbane Distillery Company is all about keeping the artisan spirit alive. They produce batches of gin, vodka and rum onsite, and even offer Gin School so you can learn to make your own.

15. Brisbane Street Games

Imagine this - spy themed escape room/scavenger hunt on the streets of Brisbane city. Your game operator meets you, dressed in character, with your case and brief for your mission. The perfect activity for summer in Brisbane! Sign me up, Miss Moneypenny. Book your adventure here.

16. Rooftop bars

With almost 300 days of sunshine every year, it’s easy to see why rooftop bars have popped up all over Brisbane. Here’s our top list to help you cheers the sky this summer in style.

17. Nightlife in Brisbane

Looking for the best venues to cut the rug this this summer in Brisbane? Check out these hot spots.

Fortitude Valley

Home to Australia’s first designated entertainment precinct, the Valley comes alive at night, pumping with the sound of live bands, laughter and nightclub beats. To dance the night away, check out The Met, GPO and Cloudland. For live music, you can’t go past The Tivoli, The Triffid, The Zoo, The Princess Theatre, Fortitude Music Hall and Black Bear Lodge.

Caxton Street

If you love to watch summer sports with your mates, then you’ll dig Caxton Street. It’s Brisbane’s favourite hub during sporting events - before and after the sunset. The Lord Alfred Hotel, Brewski and The Caxton Hotel are our hot picks.

West End and South Bank

A melting pot of cultures, West End’s style is diverse, alternative and vintage. There’s a stack of boutique cocktail bars for an exotic bevy. Check out The End, Jungle Bar, The Rumpus Room, Bosc, Cobbler, Covent Garden and Lychee Lounge. South Bank is the entertainment hub of anything south of the river. It’s also got the added bonus of Fish lane - embracing the magic of laneway culture.

Laneway bars in The City

For live music six nights a week (plus free pretzels), head to our favourite basement bar, Brooklyn Standard. For a range of local and international brews with live sport on the big screen, check out Fat Angel - Brisbane’s first American sports bar. For quirky secret bars, check out Burnett Lane - between George and Albert streets.

Eat

food

18. International cuisine

This summer, take your tastebuds on a journey around the globe - right here in Brisbane. Here’s your itinerary of international culinary delights.

19. Summer ice cream

Here’s the scoop on our top ice creameries to help you chill out with a taste explosion this summer. Because ice cream and summer go like… well, ice cream and summer!

20. New restaurants

Keen to try the new culinary kids on the block? Check out these exciting new restaurants here in Brisbane.

  • Motorwagen: smart casual dining at its best in the heart of Brisbane’s CBD.
  • Sasso Italiano: contemporary Italian food drenched in old-world nostalgia - Woollongabba.
  • Bianca: perfecting classic Italian dishes with a nod to the Australian dining - Fortitude Valley.
  • Rothwell’s Bar & Grill: a timeless bar and grill in a historic setting in the CBD.
  • Southbeach Social: inspired by a holiday beach shack, with a Brisbane City twist - Southbank

Read our list of the best restaurants in Brisbane, click here. 

21. Unique food & drink precincts

Howard Smith Wharves

Well on the road to becoming Brisbane’s ultimate foodie and lifestyle precinct, Howard Smith Wharves has to be at the top of your Brisbane bucket list this summer. Be sure to check out Greca, Yoko, Ciao Papi, Betty’s Burgers for an excellent feed, and Felons Brewing Co., Mr Percival’s, Fiume Bar for a drink. More info here.

Eat Street

Located in the Northshore, just 15 min from the CBD, Eat Street is one of Brisbane’s favourite summer destinations. It’s an endless fun-filled adventure that will satisfy your taste buds matched with some of the best local live entertainment Queensland has to offer. Try the Potato Slinky at Slinkys, feast on the Mack Burger from Jake & Elle’s Kitchen, Black Angus Brisket and Crispy Fried Chicken at Rogue Spice, and Loaded Fries at The Doughnut Bar. YUMMMM!!! More info here.

Get Outdoors

ADVENTURE DAYS 720 x 405 px

22. Brisbane Outdoor Adventures

Let your adventurous spirit fly this summer with these experiences in and around Brisbane.

Kayaking: mix up your exercise routine and relish the beautiful scenery of the Brisbane river by hiring a kayak from Riverlife.

Bushwalking: Escape the heat of Brisbane and hit the Summit Track at Mt Coot-tha, Anstead Bushland Reserve, Morelia Walking Track at Mt Nebo, or head out to Lamington National Park for beautiful waterfalls.

Camel riding: located within the beautiful Scenic Rim, Summer Land Camels have an exciting range of activities and experiences for the whole family - and yes, you can ride the camels.

Hot Air Balloon: Take to the skys in a Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Ride. Just a 30 minute drive from Brisbane CBD you can find yourself cruising majestically above the stunning regions of Ipswich, the Scenic Rim and Somerset. 

Bayside Aqua Park: Sit back and relax and watch the water sports or strap on a wakeboard and get ready for some wicked air time at Bayside Aqua Park. Yes, you may face-plant into the water, but you’ll have a great time doing it. 

Island-Time

islands wide

23. Explore the islands

Summer = sun, sand and surf!. With so many beautiful islands in our backyard, this summer is the perfect chance to get out and explore. Get there fast, so you can take it slow.

Minjerribah

Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) is a stunning sand island in the pristine Moreton Bay. Take your car on the vehicle ferry, or get around the island on the local bus. Be sure to grab a feed at Kokomo Beach House for the freshest island produce, enjoyed under a thatch roof with breathtaking ocean views.

If you’re up for a bit of adventure, check out Kingfisher Tours. They offer kayaking, sand boarding, beach picnics, wildlife spotting and more, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Moreton Island

Crystal-clear lakes, lagoons among sand dunes, wildflowers, pristine beaches, dolphins, diving among shipwrecks, and it’s only 25km off Brisbane’s shore. If you’re feeling adventurous, try quad biking, four-wheel-driving, or sand tobogganing. Stay at the resort or pitch a tent - either way, there’s plenty of fun to be had. More details here.

Other 

craft

24. Craft’d Grounds 

Brisbane’s new artisan collective, Craft’d Grounds is a celebration of hand made, hand picked, and skills handed down over generations. The precinct features laneways, street art, brewers, baristas, musicians and more - all of it made for Brisbane. It’s opening soon in Albion. Jump on the website for details.

25. Have a BBQ at Kangaroo Point

Stunning city views, right on the water, playground for the kids, BBQs strung out along the top and bottom of the cliffs. It’s the perfect Brisbane summer combination. We reckon grab some takeaway pastries from Christian Jacques Bakery for some cheeky dessert.

26. Take a Dolphin Wild Island Cruise

Experience the beauty of Moreton Island and Moreton Bay Marine Park with a guided day cruise where you can see dolphins, turtles, dugongs and more. Snorkel the world-renowned Tangalooma Wrecks - famous for its abundance of marine life including friendly fish that will eat food straight from your hands. Take the family! More details here.

27. Enjoy an open-air flick at Moonlight Cinema

Take advantage of Brisbane’s warm summer nights with an outdoor cinema experience at Roma Street Parklands. All the latest blockbusters are on offer, plus a great collection of classics, family films, AND Christmas favourites like Love Actually, Elf, Home Alone, and Die Hard (Yes, Die Hard is totally a Christmas film!).

  • Where: Roma Street Parklands
  • When: 26 Nov 2021 to 20 Feb 2022
  • Tix here

28. Have a picnic at Mt Cootha

Pack your basket and blanket, grab your family and friends, and head out to the Brisbane Botanic Gardens for a summer picnic. Wander through the Japanese Garden and Tropical Dome, and don’t forget to leave enough time for the kids to tire themselves out in the epic playgrounds. Totally worth it.

29. Enjoy some jazz at Doo-Bop Bar

Nestled in Edward Street, the heart of Brisbane’s CBD, is multi-level jazz music experience. Head down to the basement bar for blues, funk, soul and jazz on the stage, surrounded by the big wooden beams and exposed brick of the original Youngs Building warehouse precinct.

Head upstairs to The Piano Bar for free entertainment into the night with intentionally-acclaimed pianists and singers. Worth mentioning, the cocktails are superb and the sing-a-long vibe is absolutely awesome.

  • Where: 101 Edward St, Brisbane City
  • When: Live music every Tuesday to Saturday 
  • Tix here 

30. Visit the Farmers Markets

The Jan Powers Farmers Markets are local icons. They’re big supporters of regional produce and that special paddock-to-plate connection. Enjoy a diverse array of fresh produce, handmade products, artisan wares, delicious food and warm service with a smile.

Powerhouse Farmers Markets

  • 6 am to 12 noon, every Saturday
  • Lamington St, New Farm

Manly Farmers Markets

  • 6 am to 12 noon, every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month
  • Manly Harbour Royal Esplanade, Manly

Mitchelton Farmers Markets

  • 6am to 12 noon, 1st Sunday of the month
  • Blackwood St, Mitchelton