100 of the best things to do in and around Brisbane
Like an all-you-can-eat buffet, Brisbane offers a little something for everybody.
So whether you’re a foodie fanatic, culture connoisseur or sports superfan, be sure to add these 100 must-dos to your bucket list when you visit the River City.
1. Enjoy the many tastes of the popular Eat Street Northshore along the Brisbane River.
3. Strap on SCUBA gear and explore the underwater world with the legends at Manta Lodge on North Stradbroke Island. In the warmer months Manta Rays are nearly guaranteed while Grey Nurse sharks converge in large numbers during winter.
4. Throw down a rug and have a picnic under the enormous fig trees at New Farm Park.
5. Turn game night into an all-day event with these pre-and-post match favourites at Caxton Street.
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 in September.
9. Swap supermarket chains for the Jan Powers Farmers Markets and support local growers every Saturday and Sunday at various locations across Brisbane.
10. Discover Brisbane from the water by kayaking the mighty serpent with Riverlife.
11. Strap on a harness and scale the Story Bridge with Story Bridge Adventure Climb. Did you know it’s one of only three 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.
12. Lace up your lederhosen and swing a stein at Oktoberfest hotspot – the Bavarian Bier Café on Eagle Street in the CBD.
13. Soak up some rays and cool off with a free dip at Streets Beach in South Bank.
14. Add some action to your Sunday session at New Farm and roll a bowl at the Merthyr Bowls Club.
15. Scale up then abseil down the Kangaroo Point Cliffs for some spectacular views of the city.
16. Unleash your inner bookworm at Avid Reader in West End, picking up a literary gem and pawing over their enviable collection of coffee table books. Over at Bent Books, settle in for a squiz of their 40,000 or so second-hand collection for unique and quirky titles.
17. Pick up some retro homewares then have a milkshake at the Camp Hill Antiques Centre and Tart Cafe.
18. Watch ice-cream go up in smoke at Nitrogenie at South Bank as these milk magicians add the drama of liquid nitrogen to your dessert.
19. Cheer on the mighty Maroons at Suncorp Stadium and watch the cauldron come to life when the State of Origin rolls around.
20. Take a free Brisbane Greeters Tour and discover the city’s hidden stories and art trails.
21. Add a dash (more like dollop) of culture to your South Bank activities list with this ultimate guide to the city’s beating cultural heart.
22. Have a flutter trackside at Eagle Farm or Doomben Racecourse.
24. More of an active enthusiast? Ditch the car hike and hike to the summit instead, or opt for one of the many other walking trails in Mount Coot-tha Forest ranging from the popular Simpson or JC Slaughter Falls – epic after a decent hit of rain – to the Eugenia Circuit winding through eucalypt woodland and vine forest. (FYI, picnic spots around here are a’plenty, so be sure to pack some edible goodies.)
25. Secure seats to watch the Australian cricket team whack a six at the Gabba.
26. Pirouette, prance or pointe your way into QPAC in South Brisbane to watch a show performed by one of the oldest and most acclaimed ballet companies in the world.
27. Dine on more than just rave reviews at the Gun Shop Café in West End. Be sure to try the Toulouse sausages with a sweet potato hashcake, tomato jam, a poached egg and rocket.
28. Follow your nose and taste your way around Noosa Chocolate Factory in the city.
29. 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.
32. Fancy yourself quite the beer connoisseur? Taste-test the local drops with this ultimate Brisbane craft beer crawl.
33. Visit Bee Gees Way in Redcliffe, a tribute to the band who made sure we were ‘Stayin’ Alive’ in the ‘70s.
34. Give your taste buds something to celebrate with a mouth-watering meal at DA’Burger in New Farm who support disadvantaged youth in the local community.
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 pizza and a bevvy at The Fox Hotel in South Brisbane.
37. Comfort food isn’t just found at home – head to Brooklyn Depot Southbank for a real American feed with ribs, wings and hotdogs on the menu.
38. Book a table at the Mick O’Malleys Irish Pub on Queen Street Mall on Paddy’s Day and see the city come to life in a sea of green.
39. Park yourself at Sandgate’s The Full Moon Hotel and take in sweeping views over Bramble Bay.
40. In Brisbane, the early bird gets the worm (and a spectacular view)! Take to the skies with Floating Images Hot Air Balloon Flights, the closest air-ballooning experience to the city.
41. Wander through pretty Paddington, where more than 130 cottages have been transformed into quirky vintage shops, stylish restaurants and fashion businesses.
42. Sip on a nightcap at the Walrus Club deep in the cellar of The Regatta, one of Queensland’s most famous historical pubs in Toowong.
43. Make like Picasso and paint your own masterpiece at Cork & Chroma in South Brisbane (with the help of some liquid courage!).
44. Praise the gelato gods by eating copious amounts of creative (and creamy) goodness at Messina in South Brisbane.
45. Learn how the marriage of hops, barley and wheat creates liquid gold with a XXXX Brewery Tour.
46. Want to go out without ‘going out’ on a Saturday night? Hit up Mt Gravatt Marketta for live music, street food and great vibes at the Mt Gravatt Showgrounds.
47. Chow down on fresh prawns, oysters, crab and sushi (for good measure) at Reef Seafood + Sushi at Gasworks in Newstead.
48. Throw a fiver on a roach on Australia Day at the Story Bridge Hotel.
49. Go troppo at the beachfront Mon Komo Hotel in Redcliffe where the lounge bar boasts a Caribbean atmosphere with tropical cocktails that pack a punch.
50. Get your genius on at the Sciencentre and see what fun the lab rats can get up to.
51. Get out of your comfort zone with a circus training session with Circa in Fortitude Valley. In 20 minutes you’ll be an expert in (basic) acrobatics.
53. Support up-and-coming comedians with free shows at the Brisbane Powerhouse every Friday night.
54. Visit Mykonos without leaving Brisbane. Buy a yiros bursting with slow cooked lamb, halloumi and tzatziki at South Bank‘s The Yiros Shop.
55. Catwalk through the latest collections from Aussie designers Sass & Bide and Camilla on James Street in Fortitude Valley.
56. Keen for a night out but your mates can’t settle on who’s the DD (Designated Driver)? Abandon the wheels in favour of the city’s most beloved form of transport with this CityCat pub crawl.
57. For those who amore authentic Italian eats, head to Beccofino Pizzeria in the cosmopolitan suburb of Teneriffe for wood-fired pizza and pasta. Delizioso!
58. Take a tour of the historic Brisbane City Hall. Take the free elevator up to the top of the clock tower to really appreciate the beauty of this 1930s icon.
59. Cast off into Lake Somerset and see if you can reel in the catch of the day.
60. Venture down Eagle Lane to the cosy New York-style basement bar Brooklyn Standard and enjoy live blues, funk and soul.
61. There’s coffee, and then there’s rainbow coffee. The Piggy Back Cafe in Jindalee has blown up on the social media scene thanks to their colourful golden brews, so make a date of it and grab brekky while you’re there, too. (FYI, their specials are like the Kinder Suprise of the cafe scene, with creative treats like Red Velvet French Toast and Golden Gaytime Hotcakes making the rounds.)
62. Hop aboard the Kookaburra Showboat Cruises for a paddlewheel ride up and down the river.
63. Climb aboard the historic warship HMAS Diamantina at the Queensland Maritime Museum. While you’re there, check out Jessica Watson’s (the youngest person to sail solo and unassisted around the world) yacht, the Pink Lady, in full repose.
64. For those who heart art, spot pops of street art nestled in the laneways around the city.
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. Hot foot it to the EKKA (Queensland’s Royal Show) in August for the requisite Dagwood dog and Strawberry Sundae.
69. Gear up for a scenic ride with Brisbane Bike Tours. They run three tours that showcase the beauty of the river city.
70. Satisfy your cravings for frites, burgers and beer at Fritzenberger on the corner of Caxton Street. You. Won’t. Regret. It.
71. Make the trip to Shorncliffe Pier in the Redlands to watch the sun make way for the moon in the noon.
72. Watch the universe come to life star gazing at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium.
73. Hobnob 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. Sleep in the same bed Rod Stewart, the Queen and Taylor Swift did at the Stamford Plaza Hotel in the city.
75. Visit the Tropical Display Dome at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens and explore the serene surrounds.
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. Walk through an antique wardrobe and state the password to enter 1920s secret speakeasy bar, Jack Rabbits Whisky Bar, in Woolloongabba.
78. Play old-school arcade games at Netherworld in Fortitude Valley.
79. Find your inner zen at SoHo Yoga in Newmarket and Fortitude Valley (voted one of the most beautiful yoga studios in Australia by Vogue magazine).
80. Discover the hottest upcoming Australian artists at the annual BIGSOUND Festival in September.
81. Love a latte? Express your affection under Brisbane’s own Eiffel Tower at La Dolce Vita in Milton.
82. Stroll along the vibrant assortment of shops, cafes and fashion boutiques in the ‘burbs at Oxford Street, and catch a movie at Balmoral Cineplex for less than $10.
83. Enjoy high tea while learning how to put together a beautiful bouquet at Francesca’s Flowers in Paddington. Get the know-how on everything from flower selection to bow-wrapping.
84. Head to Suitcase Rummage in the heart of the city to pick up rare, pre-loved treasures for bargain prices (sold out of suitcases)!
86. Take your miniature-golf game to the next level and work your way through the quirky course at Holey Moley in Fortitude Valley. Each hole is brilliantly themed with the likes of Game of Thrones and Snoop Dogg in the mix.
88. Treat yourself to modern Asian delights like fried duck at Chu The Phat on Fish Lane.
89. For a wheely affordable way to explore the city, fork out $2 for a casual subscription to hire a CityCycle and pedal your way around.
90. Stop and smell the roses at the evergreen Roma Street Parkland.
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.
96. Jump on a 10-minute ferry from Victoria Point and explore the tranquil Coochiemudlo Island. Try your hand at paddleboarding, tandem bike-riding, kayaking or jump on an old-fashioned aqua-bike and cruise around the calm waters of Moreton Bay.
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.