A local’s guide to Brisbane City

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As a full-time travel blogger, home is sometimes just where my mail goes. But no matter where I’ve travelled in the world, there’s no place like Brisbane to call home.

It’s a big city which on some days can still feel like a small country town. Not convinced? Just ask someone where they went to school and you’re bound to find six degrees of separation in Queensland’s capital. Trust me.

Finding your way around Brisbane’s boroughs is easy, however, especially when you have my guide.

EAT

Kiss the Berry South Bank

Finding good food in Brisbane is as easy as stumbling upon good pizza in Italy (read: it’s a cinch).

For breakfast, Brown Dog in Woolloongabba gets my tick of approval with their simple breakfast menu for those no-fuss, low-cost breaky meals out.

For something a little more special you can’t go past The Corner Store Cafe in Toowong whose chorizo chilli scramble tacos bring a taste of Mexico to the breakfast table.

Kiss the Berry | A local's guide to Brisbane

When it comes to acai bowls, Kiss The Berry South Bank knows how to blend this purple berry to perfection. Here’s a photo opportunity for you – take your bowl to the arbour to see how your breakfast matches the bougainvillaea.

For a cheap dinner out, I love Gnocchi Gnocchi Brothers in Paddington. They specialise in cloud-like gnocchi and each dish is $12. To really live on the edge, drive your dollar further and splurge a few extra dollars to get a special cheese (like stracciatella) grated on top.

DRINK

Brisbane

If there’s one thing Brisbane is good at, it’s quenching a thirst.

By day, I live for coffee – and being a soy milk drinker, I’m fussy to the brand (if anyone is asking, it’s Bon Soy or nothing!).

John Mills Himself looks after my latte-lust when I’m in the city. It’s tucked down an alleyway in the CBD – and you’ll also find it on this best coffee list.

Green Beacon | A local's guide to Brisbane

For brewskis, Green Beacon Brewery Co. serves craft beers out of the very warehouse the beers are brewed in Teneriffe. It’s a great location to spend one of those famous, blue-sky Brisbane afternoons – better still if you time your visit for when the food trucks park right out the front.

Not into beer? I’ve got you covered. Darling & Co. in Paddington has boozy-lunch written all over it. They do a two-hour bottomless bellinis and lunch for $39 – which means drinks turn into dinner here often for us!

All this aside, if we have friends or rellies in town, Riverbar & Kitchen is a perfect 10 when it comes to food, drinks and views. Hot tip – get here early if you want to sit down to drink it – things get crowded here! You’ve been warned.

STAY

Brisbane City

If you’re coming to Brisbane, you’ll want to stay close to all the action (IMHO).

Literally just out of the CBD, you’ll find Spicers Balfour, an urban oasis and boutique hotel, set inside a meticulously restored Queenslander.

Their service is unbeatable and the on-site restaurant and bar is amazing (ps. it’s got one of these great rooftop bars).

For mid-range digs, Sebel in the heart of town is well-located and their apartments are big in size. The on-site restaurant, Croft House does great food all day – if you’re really into eating, sleeping and drinking within a 100m radius of one another.

If you’re happy to fork out a little more on a place to stay, NEXT Hotel delivers the goods. Big pool, great bar and all the gadgets a modern visitor could ask for – seriously, you need to read this. Oh, and did I mention you can check in entirely via your iPhone and bypass check-in altogether. How’s that for modern feels?

PLAY

South Bank Parklands, Brisbane

When you’re in the capital of the Sunshine State – the best place to play is outside. It makes sense – there’s 283 days of sunshine in Brisbane each year.

On warm summer evenings, we like to ride our bikes around South Bank and the waterfront, stopping for a cold drink at one of the bars in the area.

We’re also big day trippers and make the most of Brisbane’s central location to make quick visits up to the Sunshine Coast or Gold Coast, down to Burleigh. You can get more tips from a Gold Coast local over here.  

Of course, we like to catch a Brisbane Broncos football game at Suncorp Stadium when we can – and make the most of Caxton Street on game day.

If we get itchy feet being in the city too long, we’ll get outta town to South or North Stradbroke Island and Tangalooma Island Resort is always a fun way to spend a day or head over for the night. If you’re considering Tangalooma – this blog will do the convincing for you.

SHOP

Brisbane Shopping

Much like Carrie Bradshaw, I’m big into op-shops and thrift stores and there are so many good ones dotted around Brisbane.

I love them because they’re a great way to take a sustainable approach to fashion and you know you won’t show up wearing the same outfit as anyone else.

Of course, if I’m under pressure to buy an outfit for a certain occasion, a few hours spent exploring the Queen Street Mall never goes astray – you’ll find all the usual specialty stores here.

Shopping sustainably is a big consideration for me so Biome is one of my favourites, too. This eco store franchise was started by a Brisbane woman and the stores are a great place to pick up eco-friendly gifts and homewares, like beeswax wraps, lip balms, reusable coffee cups, you name it. You can even buy individual ingredients to make your own beauty products, like face masks.

Archive Fine Books | A local's guide to Brisbane

For books, Archive Fine Books is a hidden gem that looks like it’s been ripped right from a fairytale and plonked onto Charlotte Street in the CBD. I challenge you not to come home with bundles of books.

For a bit of luxurious me-time, Kindred Toxin Free do the very best facials in town. Unlike your run-of-the-mill facial, they combine a facial with massage, meditation, and healing. You leave there feeling like a new person – glowing, relaxed, and light as a feather.

LOCAL’S TIP

In summer, Brisbane can sometimes feel like a hot mess. Escape the heat in the middle of the day with air-conditioned adventures, like exploring the Cultural Centre instead.

What are some of your favourite things to do in Brisbane? Let us know in the comments?