100 things to do in Brisbane
While it’s tracksuit and ugg boot season inside, Brisbane’s year-’round activities calendar is hot, hot, hot!
Don’t let the winter blues get you down – get your pen ready and see how many of these 100 must-dos you can tick off in the River City.
1. Walk the 15 kilometre circuit along the Brisbane River, starting off at South Bank and finishing in New Farm. Pack $20 to refuel with a few brewskis en route at Riverbar and Kitchen.
2. Take a free Brisbane Greeters Tour and discover the city’s hidden stories and art trails.
3. Soak up some rays and cool off with a free dip at Streets Beach in South Bank.
4. Throw down a rug and have a picnic under the enormous fig trees at New Farm Park.
5. Dig into the sand crab lasagne at Il Centro and discover why this creamy delight has been on the menu for more than 20 years.
6. Wade knee deep into the water, armed with herring and have an encounter with the wild dolphins at Tangalooma Island Resort.
7. Secure box office seats to Brisbane’s night of nights and watch Riverfire from the banks of the Clem Jones Promenade.
8. Get Tiki’d with a cocktail mixed by the pros at Alfred and Constance.
9. Swap supermarket chains for the Jan Powers Farmers Markets and support local growers every Saturday and Sunday at various locations across Brisbane.
10. Strap on a harness, Madonna microphone and scale the Story Bridge with Story Bridge Adventure Climb. Did you know it’s one of the only bridges in the world you can abseil down? From the top you’ll have a bird’s eye view over the river out to Moreton Bay, down to the Gold Coast and out to the Scenic Rim.
11. Discover Brisbane from the water by kayaking the mighty serpent with Riverlife.
12. Lace up your lederhosen and swing a stein at Oktoberfest hotspot – the Bavarian Bier Café.
13. Get bang for your buck and visit Vietnamese favourite Trang Restaurant in West End.
14. Enjoy an open air cinema experience all year ’round at Limes Hotel Rooftop Bar & Restaurant.
15. Add some action to your Sunday session and roll a bowl at the Merthyr Bowls Club.
16. Scale up then abseil down the Kangaroo Point Cliffs for some spectacular views of the city.
17. Sample the smorgasbord of seafood at the Caxton Street Seafood Festival and rub shoulders with the 15,000 locals who attend.
18. Unleash your inner book worm at Avid Reader, picking up a literary gem and pawing over their enviable collection of coffee table books.
19. Pick up some retro homewares then have a milkshake at the Woolloongabba Antiques Centre.
20. Watch ice-cream go up in smoke at Nitrogenie as these milk magicians add the drama of liquid nitrogen to your dessert.
21. Cheer on the mighty maroons at Suncorp Stadium and watch the cauldron come to life when State of Origin rolls around.
22. Add a dash of culture to your champagne on Friday night with Up Late at QAGOMA.
25. Secure seats to watch the Australian cricket team whack a six at the ‘Gabba.
27. Pirouette, prance or leap your way into QPAC to watch a show performed by Queensland Ballet.
28. Dine on more than just rave reviews at the Gun Shop Café. My pick is the Toulouse sausages with a sweet potato hashcake, tomato jam, a poached egg and rocket.
29. Meet a real life Willy Wonker and taste your way around Monty’s Chocolate in the city. Start with their creamy hot chocolate, then nibble on salted caramel Belgian waffles and cubism – a dark chocolate cube, filled with praline, almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios and decadently decorated in gold leaf.
30. Bag a bargain at the ‘op shops’ in West End. There are more retro, vintage and second hand stores than you can poke a stick at.
31. Take a Green Cab to your dinner destination. Not only do you get great views and fresh air but the drivers put on a perfect playlist for cycling through the city.
33. Visit Bee Gees Way in Redcliffe, a tribute to the band who made sure we were “Stayin’ Alive” in the ‘70s.
34. Go native at Tukka West End and taste the real Australia like smoked crocodile topped with nasturtium leaves.
35. Have a superman moment and surf down the sand dunes of Moreton Island.
36. Do as the locals do – spend Sunday ‘arvo with a steak and a coldie at the grand old lady on the river, The Regatta Hotel.
37. Comfort food isn’t just found at home – try the Kentucky fried duck at Public in Brisbane City.
38. Wash down the day with a few coldies from Tipplers Tap, a craft beer boutique in Newstead. Their raspberry and white chocolate blend will even please the non-beer drinkers out there.
39. Book a table at the Irish Club on Paddy’s Day and see the city come to life in a sea of green.
40. Park yourself at Sandgate’s The Full Moon Hotel and take in sweeping views over Bramble Bay.
41. Wander through pretty Paddington, where more than 130 cottages have been transformed into quirky vintage shops, stylish restaurants and fashion businesses.
42. Sup on a nightcap at the Walrus Club deep in the cellar of The Regatta, one of Queensland’s most famous historical pubs.
43. Create your own culinary masterpiece at Spring Cooking School.
44. Eat, drink and sleep in a Queenslander at Spicers Balfour, a converted B&B in inner city New Farm with incredible views over the Story Bridge.
45. Learn how the marriage of hops, barley and wheat creates liquid gold with a XXXX Brewery Tour.
46. Brisbane boring? Never! Read about murder, intrigue and Brisbane’s colourful history in The Mayne Inheritance.
47. Chow down on a Moreton Bay Bug at Morgan’s Seafood, taking in the views out to the bay.
48. Throw a fiver on a roach on Australia Day at the Story Bridge Hotel.
49. Cat walk through the latest collections from Brisbane designer stars Sass & Bide and Easton Pearson on James Street in New Farm.
50. Go troppo at the beachfront Mon Komo Hotel where the lounge bar boasts a Caribbean atmosphere with tropical cocktails that pack a punch.
51. Get out of your comfort zone with a circus training session with Circa. In 20 minutes you’ll be an expert in (basic) acrobatics.
52. Put some dirt on your wheels and 4WD ‘Straddie’. If you don’t have your own 4WD, let Barefoot Dave show you around.
53. Support up-and-coming comedians with free shows at the Brisbane Powerhouse every Sunday.
54. Visit Mykonos without leaving Brisbane. Buy a yiros bursting with slow cooked lamb, haloumi and tzatziki at Char Char Yiros in West End.
55. Get hands on at the Sciencentre and see what fun the lab rats can get up to.
56. Lace up those hiking boots and bush walk Simpson Falls, only 20 minutes’ drive from the city centre.
57. Devour the house-made ricotta gnocchi with Italian sausage, red onion jam and pumpkin puree at Popolo. They say it’s for sharing. I disagree.
58. Watch a local band play live at popular hangout Black Bear Lodge.
59. Head to Flour & Chocolate and try their signature Gonuts – a sumptuous love child between a croissant and a doughnut.
60. Soar to great heights on the Wheel of Brisbane and see the city in from 60 meters above it.
61. All aboard the Kookaburra River Queens for a paddlewheel ride up and down the river. You’ll be greeted by Captain Col the Accordian player – and his magnificent handlebar moustache.
62. Take a tour of the newly renovated Brisbane City Hall. At the top of the clock tower you’ll discover the colourful history of the building.
63. Climb aboard the historic warship HMAS Diamantina at the Queensland Maritime Museum. While you’re there, check out Jessica Watson’s Pink Lady in full repose.
64. Try the field mushrooms on toast at E’cco Bistro to see why Philip Johnson has kept it on the menu for 18 years.
65. Cast off into Lake Somerset and see if you can reel in the catch of the day.
66. Discover the convict past of Brisbane at St Helena Island, Queensland’s foremost maximum security prison.
67. Saddle up and ride a steed from the quaint little town of Dayboro to Ocean View Estates Winery and Restaurant for a tasty lunch and wine tasting.
68. Ring in the weekend with a few beers at the classic Dugandan Hotel or ‘the Dugie’ as the locals affectionately call it.
69. Have a lazy breakfast at Pearl Café. Better yet, get some friends together and enjoy a Champagne Breakfast or Bloody Mary brunch for $35 or $45, served every day.
70. Leave your passport behind and let your tastebuds travel to Poland with pierogis and vodka at the Polish Club.
71. Hot foot it to the Ekka in August for the requisite Dagwood dog and strawberry sundae.
72. Try a steak at Australia’s worst vegetarian restaurant, The Norman Hotel. Better still – learn how to cook the perfect steak with one of their BBQ master classes.
73. Hob nob with society and pop along to the annual open day at Government House for a guided tour through the formal gardens. Bring a picnic, throw down a rug and enjoy the free musical entertainment.
74. Watch the universe come to life star gazing at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.
75. Sleep in the same bed Rod Stewart, the Queen and Taylor Swift did at the Stamford Plaza Hotel.
76. Dive into Brisbane’s history with a dip at the Spring Hill Baths. This little beauty was built in 1886 as Brisbane’s first in-ground pool and the quaint colourful change rooms on the pool’s edge are a nod to a time gone by.
77. Join Brisbane’s biggest street party – the Valley Fiesta. Held one weekend in August, it’s an epic live concert with stages set up across the whole Fortitude Valley precinct.
78. Sample the seafood at Brisbane institute Gambaros Seafood Restaurant before spending the night at one of Brisbane’s newest hotels, Gambaro Hotel.
79. Get your paleo fix at Primal Pantry – think sticky pork breakfast burritos. Nom nom nom.
80. Take your stressed, tired bones to Stephanies Spa at Sofitel Brisbane for an indulgent Traditional Opal Rasul Temple treatment. It’s a mud therapy massage in their custom built steam dome.
81. Dive among the Tangalooma wrecks off Moreton Island. Underneath the surface you’ll find wobbegongs, trevelly, kingfish yellowtail and all sorts of tropical fish.
82. Love a latte? Express your affection under Brisbane’s own Eiffel Tower at La Dolce Vita on Park Road.
83. Discover the Issada Cosmetic mineral make up difference with a makeover at one of its Brisbane outlets.
84. Fancy yourself a chocolate fiend? Try a chocolate making course at Chocolate Moments.
85. Head to the BrisStyle Indie Markets to check out the collections from our best artists and crafters.
86. Sweeten your date at the Southside Diner and share one their signature milk shakes – peanut butter shake, coconut shake, salted caramel shake and root beer float.
87. Plummet 12,000 feet to earth and Brisbane’s best beach, Suttons Beach with Redcliffe City Skydiving.
88. Grab a midnight dumpling at Brunswick Social and keep dancing all night long.
89. Gear up for a scenic ride, with Brisbane Bike Tours. They run three tours that showcase the beauty of the river city.
90. Taste the Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan difference at Aria Brisbane.
91. Take a hike through the glorious forests at the aptly named Mt Glorious. Make a pit stop at Mt Glorious Restaurant and Café and do as Miranda Kerr and Orlando Bloom did – snack against the backdrop of Moreton Bay.
92. Fork out $2 for a casual subscription to hire a City Cycle and pedal your way around Brisbane city. You’ve got 30 minutes to clock the bike back in.
93. Go to jail without committing a crime with a Boggo Road Gaol Historical Tour.
94. Stroll the four-kilometre Cleveland Heritage Walk past mid-nineteenth century buildings until you hit the goal – Queensland’s very first licensed pub, the Grand Hotel.
95. Jump on a ferry and cruise your way around Moreton bay – take a bike with you and cycle around the wildly named Coochimudlo Island.
96. Take the Cliffside boardwalk trail around Straddie, then set your clock to sunset with a brewski at the local Stradboke Island Hotel.
97. Cruise the length of the Brisbane River on a City Cat and see the University of Queensland, The Regatta Hotel, South Bank and the CBD from the water. If you’ve got a smartphone, fire up a City Cat Tour App for a free audio tour.
98. Roll the dice in one of Brisbane’s most beautiful icons, the historic Treasury Casino & Hotel.
99. Catch all the action of the annual Humpback Whale migration with Brisbane Whale Watching Tours in Moreton Bay.
100. Australia Zoo…Crikey! It’s not quite Brisbane, but we’d be as dead as a chicken drumstick on the end of a fishing pole if we didn’t put this world’s best on the list.