15 of the best things to do in Brisbane at night
If you thought fun in Brisbane City only had daylight opening hours, think again. As the sun sets and natural light fades, a string of festoon, neon, and fairy lights illuminate a different side of Brisbane, and it’s well worth becoming a night owl to discover the CBD after dark.
From pubs and painting to galleries and games, here’s 15 things to do in Brisbane at night.
1. Stuff your stomach
Can’t decide what to eat? Us neither – that’s why we head to Hamilton for a night of nibbling at Eat Street Northshore.
From American-style burgers to Vietnamese bao buns, every corner of the globe is covered transporting your taste buds from salty snack through to sugar-coma.
Stroll through the elaborately decorated laneways (we’re talking everything from boats and giant marine creatures to fluoro lights and disco balls) to sample different cuisines from over 70 stalls, without leaving the banks of the Brisbane River.
Check out the Main Deck which features bands from 5pm while fire twirlers and magicians bring a touch of magic to the 7 Open Sky Theatre. Eat Street Northshore is open from 4-10pm on Friday and Saturday nights and 12-8pm on Sundays.
2. Team paddles with prawns
Switch up your usual daylight view of the Brisbane River with a night kayak tour of the city as it basks in a sunset glow.
Earning your supper, pull up to Riverlife’s Kangaroo Point headquarters for a seafood feast on the water’s edge.
3. Sink a hole in one
Like its Gold Coast twin, the 11-hole putt-putt course is disguised as a fantasy land with enlarged chess boards, roller coasters, Pacman and pinball inspired rounds.
The game of golf isn’t the only thing that turns tradition on its head, you’ll find the course inside an old church turned nightclub.
Get into the swing of things and make a night of it with the onsite bar and food truck.
4. Watch a movie under the stars
For a cinema experience straight out of a rom-com, shake up your usual date night and get your special someone over to New Farm Park.
From December to March, the Moonlight Cinema (run by Event Cinemas) takes over the turf outside of the Brisbane Powerhouse every night from sundown (6pm).
For the organised romantics, you can BYO a picnic blanket, pillows, and dinner, or for the spontaneous, hire a bean bed and pick up popcorn at the onsite food truck, and set up on the grass for a night to watch silver screen stars, under the stars.
5. Get your game on
Step back in time at Netherworld, a bar-slash-diner-slash-old-school-arcade perched on the cusp of Fortitude Valley.
Enter the monster-themed underworld to find pinball, vintage Mario-Kart, and Nintendo consoles, with gaming relics dating back to the 70’s, and a high scoreboard with your name begging to be written all over it.
6. Free Comedy? You’re kidding
It’s no joke, you can end your week with a free chuckle at Happy Hour at Knockoff, at Brisbane Powerhouse.
Each Friday, local and national comedians descend upon the Turbine Platform to bring you knee-slapping good times.
Leave the kids at home and start your weekend on the right note with this one-hour free comedy session.
Psst, you’ll find a list of other (almost) free things to do in Brisbane over here.
7. Welcome to Bowen Hills
Ever dreamt of an entire food festival dedicated to chicken nuggets?
Fulfil your foodie fantasies at Welcome to Bowen Hills, a series of food trucks which have come together in Bowen Hills (opposite the RNA showgrounds, the home of the Ekka).
You can take your taste buds on an adventure thanks to the everchanging themes (like vegan night and dumpling night).
Expect crowds – weekends draw over 1,000 people who treat their stomachs to themes like Everything Bacon and Chicken Wings & Tins.
8. Catch a game in Caxton Street
It’s hard to think of a street in Brisbane that’s hosted more celebrities -Taylor Swift, Jeff Horn and Angela Merkel – to name a few.
Arrive early and settle in for a night of silliness both in and outside of the stadium.
9. Cancel your curfew with Goma Up Late
Traditionally, galleries only open their doors after dark for exhibition openings, but GOMA knows modern art needs modern opening hours, which is why it throws open its doors every so often on a Friday night from 5:30pm*.
Promising dinner (well, canapes) and a show, you can expect live music, food, and drinks taking your usual gallery gander to the next level.
*For specific Up Late dates, make sure you check out the QAGOMA website.
10. Listen to a story about a bridge
Follow the neon lights to the top of the Story Bridge with a night climb, where you ascend 74 metres (close to the height of a 22-storey building) for sweeping Brisbane views and a history lesson dished up at great heights.
Once you reach the top, standing on 12,000 tonnes of structural steel, you’re rewarded with 360 panoramic views of the bridge, looking straight into the skyline of the city out as far as the Gold Coast and Moreton Bay.
Plus, nothing makes a selfie ‘pop’ like a grey onesie, safety harness and gigantic carabiners clipped around your midsection.
11. Get lost down a laneway
Move over Melbourne, the once dingy alleyways of Brisbane have been transformed into hipster heaven, with enough hidden gems to fill this guide.
Packing some of the best Italian food, live music, eclectic homewares and op-shops, seek and you shall find inside Brisbane’s twinkle-lit laneways after dark.
12. Dance the night away
If you’re feeling like Leo Sayer and want to dance the night away, feel Brisbane’s beat at one of the city’s live music venues.
From swaying to a blues number at Brooklyn Standard to headbanging to a rock concert at the Triffid or Tivoli, music lovers will find the perfect soundtrack to their night in the city that brought you Powderfinger, Bee Gees and The Go-Betweens.
13. Sip and swish a paintbrush
If you thought Brisbane’s West End couldn’t get any more artistic, think again. The creative district welcomes Cork & Chroma to its stomping ground, and the order of events is simple: hold a paintbrush in one hand and a glass of Pinot Grigio in the other.
Get your creative juices flowing (no, we aren’t talking about your wine, although you can do that too) at their relaxed painting classes. Everyone is given a picture to replicate under the guidance of a professional artist but expect lots of laughter, especially if your end product still resembles a stick figure.
14. Pub crawl, Brisbane-style
Gone are the days of walking from pub to pub, the Brisbanites have discovered something better – a CityCat pub crawl, ferrying you from one location to the next.
Grab your mates, save your legs and set off for a night along the Brisbane River, hopping from one waterfront watering hole to the next.
P.S. Not recommended for those with a weak stomach.
15. Have a cocktail on top of the new world city
What do you do when you have a balmy tropical climate all year round? Drink outside of course!
You’ll find these best bars 30 storeys high, complete with pool terraces, hot tubs, and even a fake Aussie backyard (set with fake turf and beach umbrellas) to charge your glass.