30 things to do this summer - Visit Brisbane


30 things to do this summer in Brisbane

Summer in Brisbane has well and truly arrived ahead of schedule, and we think we all deserve a well earned break — let’s dive right in and enjoy the best season of the year. Not one to leave you in the lurch, we’ve done our research and got not one, not two, but THIRTY suggestions for you to add to your summer-lovin’ plans. Whether you’re the sporty type, love a bit of theatre in your life, or just keen for some snacks and riverfront spritzes, we’ve got you covered!

Read on to discover our 30 best summer ideas, and share your photos with us using #brisbaneanyday

Do you have a particular interest? Click below to jump to that section.

Arts & Theatre | Adventure & Sport | Food & Drink | City Escapes | Family

Arts & Theatre

1. The Motorcycle Exhibition, QAGOMA | 28 November 2020 - 26 April 2021

Don’t miss the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see 150 years of motorcycle design in the largest exhibition of historical, iconic and future road machines all in one place at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA).
Still looking for adventure? While at the Gallery, catch a moto-movie, grab a bite to eat or shop till you drop at the GOMA X DEUS collab store. The Motorcycle at GOMA is the perfect way to refuel after a ride.
Thinking about how to get there? We’ve done some of the hard work for you and planned three itineraries for your motorcycle day trip, no matter where you’re starting your journey!

2. Boomerang Installation, QAGOMA | Until 8 August 2021

Prepare to be absolutely dazzled by 270,000 crystals in Ai Weiwei’s Boomerang (2006). Set in the open space of Queensland Art Gallery’s watermall, this installation is one you cannot miss. Get your cameras ready and capture the sparkle!

3. A Christmas Carol, QPAC | 16-24 December 2020

Live theatre is back in a big way! Head to QPAC in Southbank to take in the sights and sounds we’ve so dearly missed.  Not sure what to watch first? How about getting into the festive spirit with the award-winning stage spectacle “A Christmas Carol”. The Charles Dicken’s classic returns to lift spirits and spread festivity in this magical production. On for a limited time only, don’t miss out! If you’re lucky, you might even be able to score tickets to the exclusive Christmas Eve performance, to get you ready for the big day!

4. Factory Summer Festival | 11-31 December 2020

Coming to you exclusively this year, the Factory Summer Festival - a West Coast tradition trying it’s hand at serving up arts and entertainment on the East Coast for the first time. Head to Victoria Parklands from the 11th December for all things experiential - think arts and live gigs. Major names are joining the line up this year, like Confidence Man, Vera Blue, Peking Duk and so many more. It’s the ultimate summer experience, to end the year grooving.

5. Escape the heat at Brisbane Powerhouse

Situated right on the very edge of the Brisbane river and New Farm Park, the arts and entertainment hub is the place to explore this summer time. Book into one of the many events on offer - like Tim Freedman’s ‘A Very Naughty Christmas’ or the ‘There’s Something About Music’ cabaret. While you’re there sip a riverside cocktail or settle in for a delicious feed at Mary Mae's Bar & Kitchen.

Adventure & Sport

6.  Vodafone Test Series v India| Starting 15 January 2021

Brisbane’s home of cricket - The Gabba, will be hosting the major sporting event of the summer, the final Australia VS India cricket test match. Kicking off mid January, the last leg of this series will be held on our home soil, so get your tickets quick to support our boys and watch them take home the win in Brisbane.

7. 2020 Elite, Para & U19 Track Nationals | 16-20 December 2020

Cycling Australia’s 2020 Track National Championships is being held across five big days at the Anna Meares Velodrome. These epic five days will boast 2020 Elite & U19 Track National Championships, as well as the Para-Track National Championships. Set to attract Australia’s best Olympic and Paralympic athletes across a variety of events to Australia’s home of cycling.

8. Big Bash Cricket | 23 December 2020 - 4 January 2021

Nothing says summer like some Aussie cricket! Get the gang together and head to one of the Big Bash games at the Gabba to support the Brisbane Heat. With an electric atmosphere on offer, it’s sure to be a great day out.

9. Do something left of field and try one of these 28 things you didn't know you could do in Brisbane

Think you've ticked it all off your list? Think again. We're pretty confident we could bet that you haven't done everything on this list - helicopter pub crawls, night kayaking on an island, buying ALL the cheese, visiting the drive-ins, trying hip hop yoga...

10. Plan your camping adventure near Brisbane

Camping at Lake Moogerah

Now is the time to plan your camping adventure in Brisbane. Surrounded by stunning displays of natural beauty, the Greater Brisbane region is home to national parks, beaches and lakes worth pitching a tent at. Read our top 10 camping picks here.

11. Christmas in Brisbane |  1-24 December 2020

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and what a city to celebrate it in! Get your festive hit with all the wonderful things on offer in Brisbane. Kick things off with the The Lord Mayor's Lighting of the Christmas Tree at King George Square - also live streamed so you can be part of the action at home and light up your own! Keep the spirit going with various events in the city, like the  Gold Lotto City Hall Lights, Christmas on Queen with an abundance of live performances and pop-ups right in the heart of Queen Street.

12. Bushtime | 12th December 2020 - 13th January 2021

If you’re the kind of adventurer who also likes to chillax on your getaways, check out Bushtime, brought to you by the team responsible for The Woodford Folk Festival. Bushtime is described as “an inspired camping holiday” where “you are able to treat yourself to the delights on offer”. Purchase a camping ticket to one or more of the camp sessions (between 3 and 9 nights!) and that gets you access to said delights! Think Butterfly walks, snorkel tours, painting, music and circus workshops and so much more than we could ever fit in this article! Check out the full details here.

Food & Drink

13. Don't sweat it - keep cool with ice-cream, gelato or summer spritzes

There's never a better time than summer to sip on spritzes like it's going out of fashion. Our picks? Check out Mister Paganini at South Bank (they've launched an all new $10 Summer Spritz menu, you're welcome) or Ciao Papi at Howard Smith Wharves. If you prefer your icy treats sans alcohol, read our guide to the best ice-cream and gelato spots around the city.

14. Check out the new bars and restaurants to wine and dine at this Summer

Brisbane has managed to still give us our new bar fix this summer despite the obvious hurdles this year has thrown!
You need your river-side bar thirst quenched? We’ve got the newly renovated Joeys on Kangaroo Point cliffs for a sunset vantage, or Treasury’s new over water bar Will & Flow for those who literally like to be close to the edge. 

If a good old fashioned beer is more your style, check out Felon’s Barrel Hall… heck, you can even spend some time in the brewery to see where your cold ones were conceived. Or, for a limited time only, head up to the old Eleven Rooftop bar and check out pop up venue MAYA-Mexican. Boasting a handpicked array of traditional Mexican spirits like Mezcal, Sotol and everyone’s favourite, Tequila, and a soaring city view to boot, you’ll be pleased you ticked this place off your to-do list.

15. Tick off all 30 items on Brisbane's ultimate food bucket list

Looking for a food challenge to last you the summer? Try eating your way through all of the city's iconic dishes. Venues around town can't take these items off the menu without public uproar - and for good reason.

16. Sunday sesh in the sun

Long summer days' call for afternoon drinks and no one does a Sunday afternoon session better than Brisbane's outdoor bars. Close out your weekend with a spritz and a bang at these venues.

17. Eating local: Brisbane's paddock-to-plate experience

If you love to experience a city via your plate - Brisbane is the place to unfold your napkin. Brisbane's restaurants, bars and cafes go above and beyond to ensure where possible that its dishes and drinks come from within the local region.

18. Take drinking sky-high at Brisbane's best rooftop bars

Image via Dirty Sultan

Soak up the sunshine and raise your glasses to drinking sky-high at our picks of the best rooftop bars in Brisbane.

19. Eat your way through Brisbane’s best breakfasts

They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not let someone else do the hard work and prepare it for you. We’ve put together a list of our favourite brekky spots all over Brisbane - from coffee specialists, to breakfast donuts to all the classics.

20. Eat Street Reopening | Weekends from 4 December 2020

Food lovers rejoice! The ultimate foodie haven is reopening it’s fairy-lit gates so we can all get our food-coma’s back on. Head back to Eat Street Northshore for all the food truck goodness. Reopening for weekends from Friday December 4th.

21. Brunch with Bite (Drag Queen brunch) - Sundays at Cloudland

Spice up your weekend at Cloudland’s Brunch with Bite - the weekly brunch series filled with risqué entertainment from some of Brisbane’s most fabulous entertainers, paired with an indulgent Italian-inspired brunch and drinks package - you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else! Plus, December will see both Saturdays and Sundays available for a bottomless brunch session. Book your tickets and have a blast!

Get Outdoors

22. Brisbane's Summer of Racing | 28 Nov - 2 Jan

Summer was made for racing and no better place than Brisbane to take it all in. Head to one or more of the many events as part of Brisbane Racing Club’s jam packed summer calendar.

23. Take a day trip out to the regions

Venture onto your doorstep to discover a world alive with natural beauty, quality organic foods and rural gems. From the islands offshore to the serenity of the hinterland - explore new places within an hour of Brisbane.

24. Take a mini break on an island

Moreton Island

Escape the city and head for one of the islands where wide, golden sandy beaches and refreshing aquatic waters to swim in come standard. Read more about Moreton Island, Bribie Island and North Stradbroke Island.

25. Hike through our national parks

From heritage-listed rainforests to sand islands and bushland - discover a new national park to horse-ride, fish, bushwalk or cycle around Brisbane this summer.

26. Go for a scenic drive - we've found 22 for you

Take the road less travelled and explore the hidden pockets of nature and history surrounding Brisbane on one of the many scenic drives in the region.

27. Cool off at all the lakes, waterfalls and watering holes

Brisbane summer is hot, so we can think of nothing better than escaping the heat at one of the many picturesque waterfalls and lakes around Brisbane - don't forget your togs (or bathers or swimmers, or whatever you like to call them).


28. Keep the kids entertained with these 40 family ideas

Looking for ideas to entertain the kids for an hour or a weekend or the whole school holidays? We've got you covered with things to do on hot days, rainy days, quiet days or adventure days with children.

29. Keep visitors entertained or play tourist in your own town

With an influx of friends and family visiting over summer, be the best host you can be with this handy guide to entertaining new visitors with Brisbane's top major attractions or to get ones who have overstayed their welcome out of the house. No one in town? You don't need an excuse to play tourist in Brisbane get out and about exploring the city's best.

30. Explore local parks and connect with wildlife

Plan a barbecue, relax by the river or entertain the kids at one of Brisbane's best local parks. Whether you've got children to entertain or are a child at heart yourself, discover Brisbane's wide range of wildlife parks, zoos and animal farms.

Don't forget to share your summer moments with us using #brisbaneanyday

Sign up to the Visit Brisbane eNews for more great ideas.