30 things to do this summer - Visit Brisbane


30 things to do this summer in Brisbane

We don't mean to brag, but we're giving this summer a 10 out of 10. If you don't make it to Australia's subtropical capital this season, you'll miss out on the biggest blockbuster of summer events yet, great weather and even better vibes.

Cool down with a splash in one of Brisbane's natural waterholes, get lost in a world of dots or take the family on a mini island escape. Read on to discover our 30 best summer ideas, and share your photos with us using #brisbaneanyday

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

Arts & Theatre

1. WATER Exhibition | 7 December - 26 April 2020 

Image by: Angela Tiatia | Holding On 2015

This transformative exhibition flows through the Gallery of Modern Art until the 26 April 2020, changing the gallery landscape into a world of water. Encounter a vast rocky riverbed created by Olafur Eliasson or gather at an oasis with animals from around the globe with Cai Fau-Qing's beautiful glassy pool. Judy Watson's work reflects on the cultural traditions of bodies of water while Angela Tiatia work explores the rise and fall of currents. Humans have a natural affinity for water, with approximately 60% of the body being made up of H2O, come and find your balance and flow with this stunning exhibition.   

*Visitors must wear footwear at all times (no bare feet). Appropriate footwear is recommended to interact with the exhibition.

2. High Rotation| 30 August 2019 - 19 April 2020

Love all things music? Make your way to the Museum of Brisbane to see the exhibition, High Rotation. Follow the journey of some of Brisbane's most successful and influential musicians and experience what makes their music so popular and unique. Don't fret and play this one by ear, make sure you check it out before it closes in April 2020.

3. Cirque du Soleil: KURIOS| 10 January - 9 February 2020

Discover the cabinet of curiosities, a tale where time stands still, and audiences are transported to a fantasy world, where anything is possible. Poetic, joyous, absurd, fun and beautiful watch as gymnasts, acrobats, contortionists, clowns, actors and more bring alive a story that will have the whole family entertained. Featuring an extraordinary cast of 47 artists from across 17 different countries, you will not want to miss this enchanting performance.

4. BrisAsia Festival | 1 - 29 February 2020

BrisAsia brings Brisbane alive, celebrating Asian culture through live dance, theatre, music, outdoor activities, food markets and much more. There is plenty to see and do for the whole family. Make sure you check out the whole program here.  

5. Queensland Ballet's The Nutcracker | 13 - 21 December 2019

Christmas isn't officially here until you see Queensland Ballet's annual production of The Nutcracker. With the magnificent music of Tchaikovsky and lavish sets and costumes, Ben Stevenson's production of The Nutcracker is a must-see Christmas treat.

Adventure & Sport

6. Feel the heat in 2019/20 BBL Season | 17 December 2019 - 23 January 2020

The Brisbane Heat is the hottest ticket this summer, and we know you won't want to miss a minute of the action. This season will see the Big Bash League expand with five blockbuster Brisbane Heat Home games at the Gabba PLUS two Home Games at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast. Be a part of the electric atmosphere, fireworks, family entertainment and non-stop action. Get in quick as tickets are selling out.

7. Australian Youth Water Polo Championships| 11 - 23 January 2020 

Catch more than 3,000 participants from over 175 teams splash their way to the finals of the Australian Youth Water Polo Championships. Catch one of the matches at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre, Valley Pool, All Hallows, Sommerville House, and Stuartholme.  

8. 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...

9. 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.

10. Pick a sport and check it out live

Like Josh Lalor charging down the pitch to axe a full toss for six, another Brisbane summer has stormed in fast and that means more live sport than you can poke a stick at. Check out what's on, nab your tickets early and get ready - Brisbane's summer of sport is going to be a ripper.

11. Brisbane International | 6 - 12 January 2020

Brisbane International in 2020 is a women's only tournament. The event is headlined by Brisbane's own world No.1 Ash Barty and Japan's Naomi Osaka. Former world No. 1 Venus Willams is also confirmed to play. Get ready for some epic days of tennis. The tournament boasts one of the strongest fields in the world as players prepare for the Australian Open.

Running at the same time as the men's ATP Cup you can experience 10 days of electric tennis action to the Queensland Tennis Centre.

12. ATP Cup| 3 - 8 January 2020

Brisbane is the place for tennis in 2020! The ATP Cup is a new men's team competition featuring 24 of the world's top nations competing in Australia over two weeks in January, with group stages held across Brisbane, Sydney and Perth. Brisbane will host two groups of four teams. Each group winner will progress to Sydney for the ATP Cup finals.  Brisbane has an amazing draw, so make sure you get your tickets.

Music & Culture

13. Woodford Folk Festival | 27 December 2019 - 1 January 2020

In its 34th year, Woodford Folk Festival will bring more than 2000 local, national and international performers to the stage over six days and nights. With over 35 performance venues within the village, festival-goers will be inundated with concerts, dances, street theatre, circus performances and cabarets.

14. FOMO Festival | 4 January 2020

Created for Brisbane by Brisbanites, FOMO Festival once more returns to Riverstage with an epic lineup of national and international artists. Brockhampton, Madeon, Jax Jones, Octavian and Lizzo are just some of the names performing at this one-day-only event. So get ready for one stage, no clashes and one giant party. 

15. St Jerome's Laneway Festival | 1 February 2020

This boutique festival stays forever young by finding what's fresh and putting it on stage around the country and internationally. Headlining acts this year include Charli XCX, Ocean Alley, Tones and I, Hockey Dad and King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizzard. We salute you St Jerome's Festival for the exceptional line-up.

16. Brisbane Comedy Festival | 21 February - 22 March 2020

The Brisbane Comedy Festival held at the Brisbane Powerhouse is guaranteed to make you ROFL, crack up, LOL, chuckle, snigger, chortle, guffaw, heehaw and cachinnate your night away. So come and experience some comedy gold in the form of stand up, improv and sketch comedy and make up your own mind about who will be the next big thing. You have more than 75 national and international comedians to choose from. 

Food & Drink

17. Don't sweat it - keep cool with ice-cream, gelato or frosé

No way frosé! What is it, you ask? Why it's the drink of summer - frozen rosé. Delicious and alcoholic, Stokebar Q has it on tap for your enjoyment. If you prefer your icy treats sans alcohol, read our guide to the best ice-cream and gelato spots around the city.

18. Check out the new bars you'll be drinking at this summer

Make your way to James Street for sAme sAme just outside the The Calile hotel and indulge in the tasty Thai flavours, the new iteration from Longtime's team. Further into Fortitude Valley you will find the most mouthwatering delicious Mexican food at Baja. The Octopus and the pomegranate boneless chicken wings are a must, accompanied by the house margarita. Wet your whistle at Brew Dog to keep your thirst in check this summer.

19. Tick off all 63 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.

20. 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.

21. 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.

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

Eleven Rooftop

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

City Escapes

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

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