Tick off all 50 things to do on Brisbane’s bucket list - Visit Brisbane

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Tick off all 50 things to do on Brisbane’s bucket list

Updated: 12 July 2022

How well do you really know Brisbane? From ticking off the major city attractions, to catching a gig in a historic hangar or exploring Brisbane via your stomach, Here are the must-do experiences everyone needs to have in and around this stunning city. 

1. Brisbane City Hall

Go on a clock tower tour up Brisbane City Hall

It’s classic, it’s free and it only takes 10 minutes. Ride the original elevator past the giant clock faces to the top of the tower. 

Channel your inner creative at Museum of Brisbane 

The Museum of Brisbane believes art, culture and history should be experienced to encourage living boldly, share your ideas and challenge your perception. It’s the perfect place to explore and engage in a global conversation.

2. Mt Coot-tha

Take a free guided garden tour

Wander through the different surroundings with a free guided walk with your own personal guide. 

Watch the sunrise over The City from Mt Coot-tha

Rise and shine. Drive up to Mt Coot-tha pre-dawn to watch the sunrise over the City. Take a picnic rug, pop yourself down and wait for golden hour to arrive. 

Explore the exotic Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens

A bamboo forest, cactus garden and fern house, a contrasting array of gardens yet the perfect spot to breathe in nature, and get some epic Instagram shots.

3. Visit a local craft brewery

Sample brews from Brisbane’s best boutique breweries. Say that 10 times fast, after 10 beers. In Newstead try Green BeaconStone & WoodRange Brewing or Newstead Brewing. In Milton head to XXXXMilton Common or Newstead Brewing’s newer headquarters. All In Brewing at Banyo and Ballistic Beer Co in Salisbury and West End are great, as is Bacchus Brewing in Capalaba, Slipstream in Yeerongpilly and Aether in Northgate. If you're serious about your craft brews, leave it to the experts and book in a tour with Hop on Brewery Tours or Brisbane Brewery Tours

5. Explore Tangalooma 

Night kayaking the wrecks on Moreton Island

Moonlight and two strips of LEDs light your journey towards 15 rusty tin shells that make up the Tangalooma Wrecks. It’s quiet and eerie until fish spot your bright lights and come leaping towards the clear Perspex vessels.

Feed dolphins at Tangalooma Island Resort

Stand knee-deep in the shallows at Moreton Island and watch as if on cue wild bottlenose dolphins swim in to pluck fresh fish from your hands.

5. Watch a gig 

Turn up the tunes at The Tivoli 

Music is for everyone and at The ‘Tiv everyone is welcome. Come and experience Brisbane’s most loved music venue. 

Discover the iconic Princess Theatres 

Designed and built as a theatre in 1888, Queensland's oldest-standing theatre is Brisbane's newest home for live music, entertainment and the arts.

Catch a gig in an old WWII hangar at The Triffid

Our already excellent live music scene added another, rather large (probably peacock) feather to its hat when Powderfinger’s bassist John Collins opened The Triffid. The renovated World War II hanger has incredible sound quality, pulls killer acts and has a top beer garden.

6. Explore South Bank cultural centre

Experience world-class art at QAGOMA

“Have you been to GOMA?” will be one of the top three questions any local will ask. We’re proud of our modern art gallery. It’s the largest in Australia and conveniently located next door to QAG, the Queensland Art Gallery.

Uncover changing exhibitions at Queensland Museum & ScienceCentre 

Take part in the state’s centre for history, heritage and science, and enjoy exciting and educational interactive displays, experiments & exhibitions.

See live performances at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre

With award-winning Broadway productions, show-stopping musicals and everything in between, QPAC’s events will deliver a lifetime of memories. 

Be inspired at the State Library

Share stories and explore Queensland’s best established and emerging authors. 

7. Delve into Brisbane’s rich Aboriginal Culture 

Connect with Aboriginal culture like never before. Take a journey back in time and see the Spirits of the Red Sand show or take an art class at Henderson Gallery. Or immerse yourself with a Meeanjin (Brisbane City) to Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island) Cultural Day Cruise or Blackcard Visitor Tour. 

8. Sip on brews under the Bridge at Howard Smith Wharves 

You won't regret stopping in for a bev at Howard Smith Wharves, located directly under the Story Bridge. This riverside precinct boasts an overwater bar (cocktails at sunset is the winner here), a huge brewery, an Art-Series Hotel, a number of delectable restaurants and a large green space where you can relax with an epic view of the Brisbane River and Brisbane CBD. 

9. Take a Brisbane Greeters tour

Have you seen the locals with the bright red shirts and big friendly smiles? Join a free tour with a volunteer Greeter and unearth knowledge for trivia night and beyond.

10. Chase waterfalls at Scenic Rim 

Drive south-west of Brisbane to chase down incredible cascades hidden within lush rainforests. Recently named one of the Top Regions in the World, it’s an absolute must-visit.

11. Feed the hungry masses at Eat Street Northshore

A feast for the senses – drop into the multicultural shipping container market to experience the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of Brisbane’s much-loved Eat Street Markets.

12. Adventure along the Brisbane River 

Thursday through Sunday evenings Riverlife hosts a twilight kayak and grazing adventure in the river water by the Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Take a date, paddle out and watch The City skyscrapers spark from day to night.

13. Ride the CityCat

The Brisbane River defines the shape of The City and suburbs. One of the best ways to see Brisbane is from the water. Jump aboard and follow its curves.

14. Hold a koala at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary

Did you know that Queensland is one of only a few States where you can actually hold a koala? Prep those guns for a snap with your new furry best friend. 

15. Take in the sights with Jet Ski Tours Brisbane

Why not book yourself an adrenaline-filled adventure with Jet Ski Tours Brisbane! Choose from their guided jet ski safaris along the Brisbane River or even venture out to the stunning Moreton Bay – no licence required!

16. Brisbane Powerhouse 

Head to a show at Brisbane Powerhouse

See a show at one of the busiest performing arts centres in the region. The Powerhouse is ` bringing the magic with some of the best events and stage shows in Brisbane.

Join early birds at the Jan Power Farmers’ Markets

Get to know what grows around Brisbane at the local weekend farmer markets. Kickstart your Saturday morning at one of the best. 

Indulge at Mary Mae’s 

Whether it be for date nights or friend dates, meet over a drink and casual meal at Mary Mae's Bar & Kitchen before catching a show, or treat a date to an Italian feast at Bar Alto before a late night live act.

17. Bar hop between our rooftop bars

Brisbane’s array of rooftop bars are like the perfect spot to down an icy drink and soak up the 283 days a year of sunshine. Find a list of Brisbane’s best rooftop bars here.

18. Tour the XXXX factory

Do you even know Queensland if you haven’t stepped foot on the home ground of the Milton Mango? The XXXX Factory runs tours through the facility.

19. Scenic Rim Wineries 

Designate a driver or jump on a tour through the Scenic Rim or Somerset Valley wine regions.

20. Escape to North Stradbroke/ Minjerribah

Discover your island paradise and hang out with the local wildlife at the beloved ‘Straddie’. Wake up with the Dolphins at sunrise and chill out with the kangaroos as they have their dinner at sunset. 

21. Selfie with the BRISBANE sign

The real challenge is fitting all eight letters into the shot. Perhaps get a friend to take the photo – you’ll want to include the Brisbane CBD skyline after all. Find the colourful sign at South Bank.

22. See a live game

Watch the State of Origin kick off at Suncorp Stadium

It’s state against state, it’s mate against mate. Watch the city turn maroon as statetriotic Queenslanders defend our reputation.

Catch a cricket ball at The Gabba

Well, your chances of actually catching a cherry are slim – but it’s worth a shot. Slap on some zinc, grab mates and head to The Gabba for a summer game of cricket.

23. Devour a strawberry sundae at the Ekka

It debuted at the Royal Show in 1950 and it’s been a firm favourite since. Annually Brisbane eats approximately 10 tonnes of strawberries, 1800 litres of cream and 18,000 litres of ice-cream at the Ekka. 

24. Experience the Brisbane Festival

Each September Brisbane is tickled pink for the Brisbane Festival. Performing arts, live music, comedy and installations take over the city spaces.

Stake out a prime spot for Riverfire 

The last night of the Brisbane Festival goes off with a bang. Riverfire is Brisbane’s night of nights, second only to New Year’s Eve. Find a vantage point for the big fireworks spectacular.

25. Explore the unique laneways 

Shop the Valley laneways

Between neighbouring Winn LaneCalifornia Lane and Bakery Lane there are a bunch of petite shopfronts peddling boutique wares. Shop local and score a unique find.

Go for a laneway bar crawl through The City

The real question is, where to begin? Perhaps in Albert Lane with dumpling and sake shots at Harajuku Gyoza. Then happy hour at Brew, cocktails at Burnett Lane bars Death & Taxes or Super Whatnot, hop to whisky house The Gresham, and finish with a boogie at Brooklyn Standard.

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26. See the universe at the Planetarium

Have your La La Land moment hand-in-hand while looking at the stars from the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.

27. Wander through Fish Lane

Discover the vibrant inner-city laneway filled with everything from bustling bars, restaurants, cafes, art, and music. There’s something for every day of the week.

28. Treat someone to high tea at Customs House

There’s something extra-special about sitting on the leafy terrace with white table linen, high tea stands and views of the Story Bridge while historic Customs House towers over you. Celebrate something special, or just the fact that you’re in Brisbane.

29. Set sail with River to Bay 

Brining you the best of Brisbane’s bay, River to Bay day trips are the ultimate way to experience Queensland's most iconic islands upon one of their high-speed boats.

30. Hidden Bars

Speaking of bars, step through the wardrobe to Electric Avenue, find the pirate-themed Mermaid Lounge above Lefty’sThe Walrus Club beneath The Regatta and Greaser following the driveway.

Boogie and eat pretzels at Brooklyn Standard

Step into the underground and lose yourself to dance at this tucked-away Brisbane CBD bar. There’s live music every night it’s open, free table pretzels and Brooklyn lager on tap.

Drink a fine whisky at The Gresham

It didn’t win Australian Bartender Bar of the Year two years in a row (2015 + 2016) and Gourmet Traveller’s Bar of the Year 2016 for nothing. Order something special and settle into a chesterfield sofa at Australia’s best bar.

Sip a cocktail at Savile Row

This hidden treasure can be found behind an orange door on Ann St, The Valley, this bar is perfectly located in the epicentre of Brisbane’s entertainment precinct and is the home of a perfectly poured drink. 

31. Experience the boutiques and cafe scene of Paddington

Best wandered by foot, the two terraces of Paddington are home to a seemingly endless strip of cute boutiques set in Queenslander homes, along with hip cafes and an ever-increasing number of bars.

32. Chase the whales

Each winter when 20,000 humpback whales migrate to the warmer waters in north Queensland, Brisbane’s Moreton Bay becomes a whale-watching paradise. Here the curious creatures can relax, slow down, have a play and interact with the locals.

33. City river loop

Put your walking shoes on and loop from Kangaroo Point over the Story Bridge and down onto the City Boardwalk along the riverfront. 

34. Picnic in New Farm Park or at Kangaroo Point Cliffs

New Farm Park is a firm local favourite for lazy Saturday picnics, birthday celebrations by the river and space to kick a ball, while Kangaroo Point Cliffs are perfect for a romantic picnic with a spectacular view of The City. Do as the Brisbane people do – pack a rug and bring your favourite cheese.

35. Find the iconic Jacaranda Trees

Enjoy the best of Brisbane’s vibrant jacaranda scene. Starting in early October, be sure to get out and explore Brisbane’s top jacaranda tree hotspots. 

36. Plan a night out in Fortitude Valley

Fortitude Valley was Australia’s first dedicated entertainment precinct and it continues to thrive. Hide in a small cosy bar with a gin cocktail, tap your toes to live music or dance all night until your feet hurt and a 3am slice beckons.

37. Shop James Street

This leafy suburban street is a key shopping precinct with dozens of popular Australian fashion labels and flagship stores. Not to mention, the opportunities for wining and dining are endless. Find your guide to exploring James Street here. 

38. Sail the afternoon away at Manly Harbour 

Every Wednesday, weather permitting, enthusiastic yachties escape to the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for a sail around Green Island.

39. Animal Experiences

Hand feed the deer at Lyell Deer Sanctuary 

Get up close and personal with the deers at Lyell Deer Sanctuary. The peaceful hideaway is just 40 minutes north of Brisbane and gives you the chance to cuddle, sit with and hand feed the friendly creatures. 

Walk a llama down the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail

Embrace this opportunity to take your very own llama for a trek through the countryside using the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail with Ottaba Llamas. And when you’ve finished leading that llama, you’ll get morning tea as a reward.

40. Go strawberry picking near Caboolture

In the cooler months, drive north from Brisbane and spot the big strawberry signs. There are a few farms in the Caboolture area that offer "pick your own".

41. Chase sunflowers in the Lockyer Valley

For two weeks each year around late January or early February, field upon field of sunflowers bloom west of Brisbane. A small slice of sunshine found closest to Brisbane is near the University of Queensland Gatton Campus

42. Watch the sun rise from a hot air balloon

Set off in darkness and take flight before sunrise. Pastel-coloured skies will greet the breaking day as you beat the world to wake up. Back on solid ground, enjoy a champagne breakfast.

43. Experience Aboriginal culture with Quandamooka Coast

Quandamooka country is the waters and islands of central and southern Moreton Bay and the coastal land and streams between Brisbane and the Logan River. Learn more about our local Aboriginal culture on a whale watching boat tour or Aboriginal culture walk – you'll hear creation stories, identify bush tucker plants and more. 

44. Visit a freshwater island lake

With a sandy bottom and crystal-clear blue or tea-tree stained brown water, dive into the creatively named Blue Lake or Brown Lake on North Stradbroke Island, or Blue Lagoon on Moreton Island.

45. Explore the Butter Factory 

Kingston Butter Factory is a bustling precinct that is the home of exceptional artists of Logan, featuring regular free live music events and community events. 

46. Take in the view on the Wheel of Brisbane

With sky-high views of the river and The City, The Wheel of Brisbane has worked its way into the hearts of locals and visitors alike. Head along, settle in, and enjoy the ride.

47. Go for a helicopter pub crawl 

Hop from country pub to country pub in your own private chopper with Pterodactyl Helicopters.

48. Climb into the canopy on the O’Reilly’s Tree Top Walk

Nine suspension bridges swing high above in the trees through the ancient Gondwana rainforest. Climb ladders to the top of an old tree and pop your head out at the top above the canopy. 

49. Enjoy dinner along Eagle Street Pier

Brisbane’s largest concentration of award-winning and hatted fine dining restaurants lie along the Eagle Street Pier riverfront. Try SakeFatcow Steak & LobsterMadame WuNaga ThaiRico Bar and Dining and more. Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong.

50. Climb the Story Bridge at Twilight

For two glorious hours you can take in insanely great views of Brisbane on one of very few bridge climbs in the world with Story Bridge Adventure Climb. It also has the only bridge climb and abseiling experience in the world, so you can truly make the day an unforgettable one.

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