33 things to do in Fortitude Valley - Visit Brisbane

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33 things to do in Fortitude Valley

Updated: 21 July 2021

From the cranking of a coffee grinder to the final closing doors of nightclubs – Fortitude Valley is the suburb that never sleeps.

While Queensland’s premiere dedicated entertainment precinct is best known for its nightlife, there is plenty else to do from dawn to dusk, from shopping the hip laneways and leafy streets to eating through a melting pot of restaurants and sipping lattes at our best cafes and coffee shops.

1. Head in early for brunch in the Valley

Breakfast at Campos Coffee

King Arthur, Harvey’s and The New Black are our top picks for your daily brunching adventures but we'll let you be the judge. Try our top 13 Valley breakfast list and discover your new favourite breakfast haunt.

2. Sinking beers and sipping cocktails is more fun sky-high

Cielo

Head to the top on a rooftop bar crawl through Elixir, Cielo and Limes.

3. Go for a swim at the Valley Pool

Popular with elite swimmers and athletes, you might bump shoulders with an Olympian here.

4. Shop your way along leafy James St

James Street

With more than 130 stores calling this strip home, shop from top to bottom to find flagships, local boutiques and Brisbane designer items. Discover more details in our Valley shopping trail here.

5. Go for a street art greet

The Brisbane Greeters run bespoke tours all over Brisbane. Choose Fortitude Valley as your location and say you're interested in street art to be taken on a three-hour tour exploring the stories and people behind murals and other pieces in the area.

6. Jump in the spa at Les Bubbles

Les Bubbles

Les Bubbles serves just one dish – steak and frites. The good news is you won't get food envy, and the fries are bottomless. There is no bad news. Head downstairs to the Bathhouse and go for a cheeky dip in the spa with cocktails.

7. Order the Coconut Turmeric curry at sAme sAme

Walk past the arched James Street entrance to the Calile Hotel, down Ada Lane and into popular restaurant-slash-bar sAme sAme. It's the sort of place that calls for a cocktail with dinner and the coconut turmeric curry is a must.

8. Catch a show at the Judith Wright Centre

There's always something new and unique to see at the Judy. From circus and cabaret to dance, music and performance art – catch original shows right here.

9. Go on a record store trail

Hop your way between the Valley's best vinyl shops. Get the wheel turning at Butter Beats Record Store then head to Catalog Music.

10. Dance salsa at Cloudland

Cloudland

Every Thursday night the downstairs dance area at Cloudland transforms into a Latin nightclub with a live band, dance lessons and then free dance time late into the night. Don't miss Soul'sa.

11. Grab a damn fine coffee

The coffee game is strong here and it's easy to find a good cup on almost every street. Hunt down, Reverend's, Bellissimo, Smoked Garage and Bear Bones.

12. Transport yourself to Hawaii

Suzie Wong’s Good Time Bar is bringing a little slice of Hawaii straight into the Fortitude Valley. Think dive bar with a focus on live music, uncomplicated drinks and an epic dance floor.

13. Dance at The Beat MegaClub

It's been there for more than 30 years and if you haven't been for a groove on the dancefloor of Brisbane's biggest and oldest LGBTI-friendly bar – today is the day.

14. Catch a live gig at The Zoo

Come check out the animals at The Zoo – yes, it's a live music venue, but things can get truly wild in there. Especially in summer, extra life points for sweaty summertime gigs.

15. Get lost within X Cargo

Covering two huge blocks on McLachlan Street, X Cargo is your new party playground. Made up of shipping containers and spanning over three levels, there's plenty of room for everyone to enjoy the American-orientated flavours coming from the kitchen and lush libations flowing from the three separate bars.

16. Don’t miss big annual music event Bigsound

The Valley is the live music hub of Brisbane and each year plenty of gigs roll through the venues and big festivals through the showgrounds – but there is one event we really love. With serious roots in Brisbane, Bigsound is a music festival and industry conference that shows serious up-and-coming talent to industry bigwigs and those smart enough to book a ticket.

17. Go on a small gallery trail

Start off at the Institute of Modern Art, stop for lunch before trekking on to Jan Murphy Gallery, Mitchell Fine Art, Philip Bacon Galleries and TW Fine Art. Phew.

18. Eat your way through Chinatown

The Chinatown Mall is a buzzing hive of restaurants and bars – and most are BYO. Stop by The Prince Cellars on the corner of Brunswick and Wickham streets for a drop.

19. Shop the laneways

Winn Lane Fortitude Valley

Move over Melbourne – Brisbane’s strong list of hip laneways is ever-growing. Drop into Bakery Lane, California Lane or Winn Lane for burgers, arvo bevvies, boutique shopping and late-night eats.

20. Join a free workout class at Lululemon

Join Lululemon every Thursday morning at 6.30am and greet the day with a free exercise class with Lululemon James St. You don't need to bring a mat – just yourself, a towel and an open mind.

21. Cocktail crawl

The Press Club

Surprise – Brisbane's entertainment precinct is home to excellent cocktail bars. Pop by Savile Row, Finney Isles, Snack Man, Press Club, Viscosity, Gerard's Bar, Maya and O’Skullingans.

22. Swing clubs at Holey Moley

Built in 1885, the old Presbyterian Church in the Valley long ago farewelled religion and reopened as an 18-hole mini golf course and bar known as Holey Moley. This funky minigolf spot lets you sink balls, drink beers and compete against friends on the insanely themed holes. It’s loads of fun and is sure to bring your competitive side out.

23. Get down on event days

This bustling inner-city suburb is not light when it comes to events. Check out the My Valley website to find out what exciting events are coming up.

24. Climb some walls, literally

As the first indoor climbing gym in Brisbane, it is the obvious choice with climbers. So, chalk up your hands and head to Rocksports for some indoor rock climbing. P.S. They also do outdoor rock climbing for those who are inclined to hit the great outdoors.

25. Have a burger at Ben’s

Ben’s Burgers

Perfection shouldn't be messed with – and for that reason at Ben's Burgers you can't make alterations to your burger (oh, and it only offers three sorts). If you missed it on your tour of Winn Lane (see #20), then get back and realise the hype.

26. Love cake? Visit Jocelyn's Provisions

Slip into Jocelyn's Provisions along James St and walk out with a sour cream chocolate cake #noregrets.

27. Get a snap with the Woolly Mammoth

Craft beer megabar Woolly Mammoth has plenty of space for all your drinking. Snap a pose with the giant mammoth, play giant jenga upstairs and catch a gig on the Mane Stage.

28. Sink a pint and play a game at Netherworld

Netherworld

An old-school arcade games bar and diner, Netherworld is home to gaming relics from the past that will transport you back in time. There's pinball machines, arcade machines, classic consoles and countless board games from the 70s to present day.

29. Pretend you're in Italy and eat bowls of handmade pasta and gelato

Stuff your face with hand made pasta from Ripiena. Brisbane's first pasta laboratory focuses on fresh take home pasta, but also serves up bowls of tortellini, tagliatelle and more in store for those who just can't wait. Everyone knows a big bowl of pasta must be followed by gelato and lucky for you, Gelato Messina can now be found on James Street. With over 30 standard flavours and rotating weekly specials, choosing just one can be daunting. Our personal faves? Macadamia crunch, salted coconut & mango salsa and the super dulce de leche for something really rich.

30. Spend a day at the Calile Hotel

This hotel is popular with the young and Instagram-savvy crowd, with its aesthetically pleasing design and inner-city location. Grab a day pass and check into the Calile for the day (Monday to Thursday). Access an Urban Room, enjoy a day at the pool sipping cocktails and make use of the Friends of Calile discounts at selected boutiques in the James St precinct.

31. Head in for a Sunday sesh at Sixes and Sevens

If you've driven down James St on a Sunday afternoon, surely you've made a mental note to return to "that bar that spills out into the courtyard triple its size". On Sundays, Sixes and Sevens goes off – join the party vibes.

32. Order zucchini chips at Hellenika

While not your average chip (we still love you, potato), the zucchini chips at Hellenika are the next level up. The servings are generous (hint: you can ask for a half serving) and the flavour melts in your mouth. Trust us, you will not regret this one.

33. Stay the night

Make a trip out of it by staying in one of the Fortitude Valley’s many hotels. May we suggest the trendy The Constance or eclectic Ovolo the Valley as a spot to rest your head? You’ll need the energy to get through all these things to do.

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