21 free things to do in The City - Visit Brisbane

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21 free things to do in The City

Whether you're bored, broke or just want to kill some time between events, Brisbane CBD has a great line up of free activities, indoors and out. So next time you’re in The City, add some of these fantastic free activities to your schedule and enjoy a big day out for doughnuts.

1. Step back in time at Museum of Brisbane

Book your free ticket online to access Brisbane’s stories and history on display in fascinating exhibitions. If you have kids in tow, check out the free craft workshops as well.

2. Picnic at City Botanic Garden

Originally planted by convicts in 1825 with food crops to feed the prison colony, Brisbane City Botanic Gardens is our oldest park. Flash forward and these days it’s a beautiful, relaxed spot to go for a walk or set up a picnic right in The City’s heart. Ancient trees, rainforest glades and exotic species are everywhere amid the Gardens Point greenery. The Riverside at the Gardens Market are held at this spot each Sunday from 8am-3pm and are sure to go down a treat with the kids. 

3. Get your fill at the Brisbane City Markets 

Take a tote to Reddacliff Place on Wednesdays from 8am-4pm to browse 85 stalls of farm-fresh produce, bakery treats and gourmet eats. Browsing will cost you nothing, just make sure you aren’t tempted by one of the various treats on offer.

4. Cycle the Brisbane Riverwalk

Run, cycle, walk or skate from City Botanic Gardens to Howard Smith Wharves via Brisbane Riverwalk. We love the breezy views from this elevated path over the river.

5. Window-shop Queen Street Mall

Queen Street Mall

Brisbane’s fave pedestrian mall is a treasure trove of more than 700 retailers in the one compact centre, making it easy to check out what’s new.

6. Tune in to Gigs & Picnics

The City Botanic Gardens turns up the volume with Gigs & Picnics – a feast of food trucks and free tunes. Get along to the festivities on the fourth Saturday of every month (from March-November) from noon-4pm. BYO picnic basket to keep costs down.

7. Tour City Hall

City Hall

Go inside the Neoclassical façade to learn more about the design and history of City Hall and marvel at the mosaic tiles and stained-glass windows on a free guided tour.

8. Go up the Clock Tower

Take a free tour of the Clock Tower, which includes a ride up in a working cage lift for panoramic views of The City.

9. Follow the City Centre Heritage Trail

If you’d prefer to DIY, download the City Centre Heritage Trail. The self-guided walk takes 26 points of interest from Brisbane’s convict sites all the way through until the Brisbane of the 1970s, starting at Queen Street via Jacob’s Ladder to Wickham Terrace and finishing in Edward Street.

10. Catch a City Loop bus

Did you know there are three free City Loop buses? Look out for the red buses for a free ride from QUT to Eagle Street every 10 minutes from Monday to Friday. Jump on the 40 (clockwise) or 50 (anti-clockwise) routes from the red bus stops.

11. Get your game face on at Vault Games

With more than 100 games available in-store, learn a new game at Vault Games on Charlotte Street. Free Social Saturday Tabletop sessions are on every Saturday from 10am until you can’t game anymore.

12. See The City’s street art

Keep an eye out for the street art in The City’s spaces and laneways. From vibrant murals to small-scale works and commissioned sculptures, make sure to always look up.

13. Ride the CityHopper

Free things to do in Brisbane City

The CityHopper is a free inner city ferry service for the brown snake (aka Brisbane River). Hop on or off at the six stops between North Quay and Sydney Street, New Farm or just ride the loop to enjoy the river. This service runs every 25 minutes.

14. Browse the Riverside Markets

The Riverside Markets at the City Botanic Gardens is a Sunday institution. Take your furry friend along for a stroll to check out the global cuisine food trucks and artisan wares.

15. View an exhibition at QUT Art Museum

See the latest contemporary art exhibitions from local and Queensland artists on display at the QUT Gardens Point Precinct. Entry includes the William Robinson Gallery in the Old Government House.

16. Discover Brisbane through a Brisbane Greeters Tour

The best way to learn about all things Brisbane and The City is through the eyes of our skilled and knowledgeable Brisbane locals. The Greeters will share Brisbane’s stories, show you some great Brisbane CBD spots and immerse you in our vibrant city..

17. Do yoga and pilates in the park

Clock-off and stretch. Bring your yoga mat to the Queens Gardens for free 45-minute yoga and pilates in the park sessions.

18. Enjoy free music with City Sounds

City Sounds

Listen to local musicians and bands playing for free all around The City as part of City Sounds. Check the schedule, or simply stumble across a session.

19. People watch on Queen Street Mall

There is no better place to get your people watching fix that on Queen Street Mall. Take a seat and watch the hustle and bustle of one the busiest pedestrian malls in Australia.

20. Bag a bargain at Suitcase Rummage

Our fave second-hand and pre-loved clothing market is on the first and third Sunday of every month at Reddacliff Place. Pick through the suitcases to see if someone’s trash is your recycled treasure

21. Get a slanted view from Brisbane Square Library

Go inside the distinctive blue-and-yellow cube that houses a public library for diagonal views of the cityscape and a quiet nook to read a book. There’s a great interactive kids’ corner if you’re with littlies, too.

22. Find fairy lights as the sun sets 

From Eagle St to QUT Garden's Point – some of The City's largest trees come to life with light as the sun sets. Enjoy the lights as you walk between destinations or seek out the best spots around The City for a snap. You can find a map of The City's light installations here