One day in Brisbane City - Visit Brisbane

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Got one day in Brisbane City? Here's how to spend it

If you’ve landed in the Brisbane CBD and only have one day to lap up everything on offer, don't fret – our complete guide has you covered with all the things you need to pack in during your stay. Hop to it.

Morning

8am – But first, coffee

Get your day started at one of Australia’s best cafés with coffee and breakfast at Coffee Anthology. Café review site Beanhunter named it as the top spot in Oz a few years ago, and they do a damn good brew. The CBD is filled with amazing thrid-wave coffee spots, so take a look at our guide to specialty coffee in Brisbane City for other ideas.

9am – Hit the mall

Queen Street Mall, Brisbane

There’s more than a thousand retailers in the CBD ranging from awesome bargains to the truly luxe, so take the chance to shop up a storm. Most of the stores either spill onto Queen Street Mall or are tucked inside shopping centres off the pedestrian mall. If you’re from out of town, pick up the Travellers’ Perk Pass from the Myer Centre Customer Service Desk for discounts and deals. Read more about the mall in our shopping guide.

11am – Explore City Hall

Brisbane City Hall organ

She’s a grand old civic building with plenty of history, and even more to do inside. Book a free tour up the clock tower. They only take 15 minutes and are worth it for the view and ride in an antique elevator alone. Be sure to check out the museum itself and explore the gift store - it’s stocked with Brisbane-made artisan goodies. If you have time, take a City Hall Tour to really get under the skin of the building and explore spaces usually closed to the public.

12.30pm - Lunch

From fine dining to fast takeaway, the City has a range of options for all lunch budgets. You’ll find most high-end restaurants along the river, and most cheap eats near the mall. If you haven’t visited the Howard Smith Wharves since they opened in late 2018, trot down for a pizza and pint at Felons Brewing, seafood feast and spritz at Mr Percival or Greek spread at Greca

Afternoon

2.30pm – Beautiful one day, perfect the next

Thousands of events happen every year in the heart of the city. It’s hard to suggest what to do with your time in the city without checking what’s on that day. From second-hand clothes markets to produce markets, and from indie arts productions to Aboriginal culture on stage, there’s always music, theatre, art shows and markets popping up in and around the CBD. If there’s no events on, kick back in the sunshine at the City Botanic Gardens. Set by the river, these gardens make it easy to forget you’re in a concrete jungle.

4.30pm - Sweet hit

Dello Mano brownies

From artisan chocolate to gooey gluten-free brownies, it’s easy to sate a sweet craving in the city. We have a few favourites. Try the famous Dello Mano brownies from Tattersall's Arcade, or pop to nearby I Heart Brownies for the perfect gluten-free treats. Noosa Chocolate Factory and Amy Sargeantson offer rustic, tasty chocolate and drinks, while Mayfield crafts refined chocolate truffles. And don’t forget “baked not fried” donut genius found at Nodo.

5pm - Sunset wine down

Did someone say cheese? We did. Cheese boards and wine bottles pair perfectly at Grape Therapy, an underground bar on the city fringe. If you’d prefer to be above ground with sunset views and a cool breeze, hunt out a bar stool by the river or on a rooftop. There are too many good ones to mention, so we’ve put together a guide to bars with a view in the city here.

Evening

6.30pm – Treat yo'self

If you didn’t splurge at lunch, now is your chance. Book a seat at Italian focused two-hatted OTTO Brisbane, or dine on the degustation at Urbane. Three Blue Ducks puts the focus on local produce, while nearby Phoenix are contemporary yum cha specialists. Chinese cuisine has had a fine dining makeover at super hip Donna Chang, and Walter’s Steakhouse delivers American-style beef in an incredible heritage setting. Find more spots to treat yo’self here.

9pm – A nightcap or warm up

Bar Pacino Outdoor Terrace

It’s tough making decisions. Head to Bar Pacino for cocktails with views of the river and twinkling Story Bridge by night, or go to whisky saloon and award-winning bar The Gresham for fine golden tipple and peanuts. End there, or ramp it up. Choice is yours.

10.30pm – Dance your heart out

Ready to boogie? Underground laneway bar Brooklyn Standard has live music six nights a week blasting jazzy tunes, blues and plenty of funk. Doo Bop Jazz Bar is another good one. It’s open until 3am most nights with live jazz bands of all varieties on stage plus regular jam sessions.

2am – Breakfast is served

Every Brisbane local knows the only acceptable time to be seen at Pancake Manor is after midnight. This classic venue (housed in an excellent old church) is open 24/7 on Charlotte St. So if you get hungry and need to refuel after throwing many shapes on the d-floor, head to the one and only house of pancakes for a stack.

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