Your summer guide to keeping cool in Brisbane City - Visit Brisbane

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Your summer guide to keeping cool in Brisbane City

As locals in Australia's subtropical capital we all know plenty of ways to keep cool when the mercury rises. After all, compared to other cities around the world, our “summer” really goes for more like six or eight months. Sometimes it can be tough, but it also means we get to enjoy the best of summer’s delights and treats for more than a mere dozen weeks. From picnics and pools to sundowners and staycations – here’s a dozen things you can do to keep cool in Brisbane City in the summer months.

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ICE-CREAM

Or gelato. Let’s be honest, since that European summer holiday to Italy we now pretend to know the difference between ice-cream and gelato and only order the latter. Gelatissimo in Queen Street Mall or Goodtimes Gelato at Howard Smith Wharves scoop both traditional scoops like pistachio and creative flavours such as apple pie. You can return to your childhood with Baskin Robbins’ 31 flavours on Albert St. Or mix it up entirely with a frozen custard from Betty’s Burgers.

Time for retail therapy

When it’s hot outside, it’s cool indoors – but no one truly wants to be stuck inside when it is a beautiful day out. That’s where the charm of Queen Street Mall comes in. Duck between air conditioned stores and shopping centres along the tree-lined pedestrian mall, enjoying short bursts of vitamin D (and if you’re lucky, live music) between brands. Read our comprehensive guide to Queen Street Mall to navigate the street.

Sunshine spritz by the river

Summer is for enjoying the sunshine – and, since we’re only expert hikers in our dreams, drinking by the water is how we best experience the great outdoors. Between Howard Smith Wharves and the Brisbane Quarter there are more than a dozen riverfront bars worth dropping into for a cooling spritz, ice-cold beer or cocktail jug. Chin chin! Here’s where to drink by the river.

Let the games begin!

On the other hand, maybe the great indoors is where it’s at. If you’re looking for indoor, air conditioned entertainment this summer head to the Wintergarden Centre. Here you’ll find bowling, laser tag and escape rooms at Strike on Level 1, and the all-new Holey Moley with nine themed putt putt holes and karaoke rooms.

Cool your caffeine

Image credit: Savannah Van Der Neit

A hot long black in February? Um, no thanks. Add some ice (ice, baby) to your morning caffeine hit to keep cool when it’s warm out. Our favourite coffee shops all know what’s up, so head over to this list and find a coffee dealer near you.

Escape to the museum

Museum of Brisbane

One of the most underrated things to do in Brisbane City is visit the incredible and interactive Museum of Brisbane. Right now there are two epic and special exhibitions on – High Rotation, which traces Brisbane’s music scene over the past 30 years, and New Woman, a show sharing the art, stories and legacies of Brisbane’s most significant female artists. While there, grab a free ticket to ride up the clock tower – better yet, go late on Friday nights.

Mix it up with a matcha made in heaven

Have you ever tried bingsoo? It’s a shaved ice dessert from Korea. Nominom on Elizabeth St dish this up to share in flavours like cookies and cream, matcha or taro. The dessert bar also serves frozen yogurt. Another top spot for sweets is Koto Sanpo, a modern Kyoto-style cafe down FudoDori Lane. The focus here is on matcha and its signature dessert is a matcha tiramisu parfait, made with matcha soft serve. 

Cut laps in the city

Forget jogging or cycling in summer – make like a fish and go for a swim! Next to the City Botanic Gardens at the QUT Gardens Point campus is a huge YMCA fitness and aquatic centre with a big 50 metre Olympic swimming pool. Swimming is a great way to work your whole body and cardiovascular system, plus you’ll burn almost as many calories as while running. 

Take it to the rooftop bar

Next Hotel

With almost 300 days of sunshine every year, it’s almost always rooftop bar weather in the CBD. Brisbane City is home to half a dozen rooftop bars – grab a cocktail from the highest bar in all of Brisbane (at 30 storeys up!) or recline by hotel pool with epic views. Find all rooftop bars in Brisbane City here.

Picnic in the shade

There are half a dozen parks in Brisbane CBD where you can lay down a rug and relax on the lawns, but everyone has a favourite. Our is the City Botanic Gardens. Edged by the Brisbane River, this huge park is Brisbane’s oldest and was first used as a farm to trial growing tropical fruits like pineapple. These days you can find shade under giant, 100-year-old trees and catch a cool river breeze any day of the week.

Go on a staycation for the pool and room service

Upgrade your weekend with a room in one of the City’s five-star hotels. Swim up to the bar at the Westin, dine on paddock-to-plate dishes at W Brisbane’s Three Blue Ducks, and kick back by the rooftop pool with Italian snacks and aperitivo at The Fantauzzo. After all, it would be unfair to let tourists have all the fun, right?

Get your palms around craft beer

There’s nothing like an ice-cold schooner to lift your spirits and cool you down. If you have an afternoon, we’ve pulled together a sweet craft beer trail hopping you between breweries, bars and bottle shops in Brisbane City. At every stop along this route find beer specialists and spots cracking the tops off truly special brews. Cheers to that!

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