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What to Do in Brisbane: Must See Attractions

Brisbane Attractions

The capital of Queensland and the third-largest city in Australia, Brisbane is a bustling hub of culture, entertainment, history, and nature. Within the city, visitors and locals alike enjoy a range of attractions, including art museums, sporting events, festivals, and shopping, while the city's location on the banks of the Brisbane River offers much in the way of outdoor activities. Whether you want to peruse the flea markets for vintage finds, climb the face of a centuries-old cliff, or take in views of the city from the height of the Wheel of Brisbane, there are plenty of things to do and see in this thriving metropolis.

Things to Do in Brisbane with Kids

Brisbane is a wonderful destination for a family getaway. Take the kids along and have a go at these family friendly experiences together:

Areas & Neighborhoods in Brisbane

Broken up into a series of precincts, Brisbane boasts a collection of urban villages each with its own unique vibe, offering a seemingly endless selection of fascinating things to see and exciting things to do.

Ascot & Hamilton - Historic homes and flowering poinciana trees provide an idyllic setting in these northeastern neighborhoods. Here, along the main street of Racecourse Road, find trendy Brisbaners sipping coffee at chic cafes and shopping at luxury boutiques. Toward the river, the Portside Wharf sits among award-winning restaurants, designer fashions, and weekend markets.

Bulimba & Hawthorne - Across the river from Ascot and Hamilton is where you'll find the districts of Bulimba and Hawthorne, quaint destinations where village charm meets contemporary elegance. During the day, the hub of Oxford Street pulses with alfresco eateries, quirky bookstores, and eclectic art galleries. The area also boasts a plethora of leafy parks that provide prime spots for picnics or sports.

Caxton Street & The Barracks - Good food, great nightlife, and world-class sporting events-find it all here in the tiny area of Caxton Street, sitting in the shadow of Suncorp Stadium. The neighborhood comes most alive on the weekends, when energetic rugby fans descend upon the strip. The nearby Barracks-a former jail, police station, and army barracks-has been transformed into a landmark destination for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

The City - Brisbane's premier shopping destination, The City-also known as the Central Business District-is home to more than 1,000 stores, including the largest range of flagship boutiques in Queensland. The district is also a food and drink lover's paradise, with everything from rustic burger joints to swanky riverside bistros, as well as galleries, parks, performance spaces, and the Museum of Brisbane.

Fortitude Valley - Just northeast of The City, Fortitude Valley has a little bit of everything, with historic properties standing among modern buildings and sophisticated hotspots sharing the street with alternative venues. Live music thrives here, as international bands and DJs are drawn to the popular nightclubs. The Chinatown Mall is a hub of exotic Asian eateries, The Emporium channels an upscale European village, and Brunswick Street is home to a slew of multicultural culinary options.

Kangaroo Point & Woolloongabba - Located south across the river, few other neighborhoods can match Kangaroo Point in its natural beauty. Standing atop ancient cliffs, the area offers unparalleled views of the river, skyline, and mountains, which truly show Brisbane at its best. Further south, the precinct of Woolloongabba is a favorite of bargain hunters and vintage lovers who flock to its antique district on the weekends.

Milton - The first neighborhood to undergo urban revitalization, this little corner of Europe is where you'll find the city's best French and Italian fare. The main street of Park Road is a hub of coffee shops and pizzeras, including the iconic La Dolce Vita Caffe.

New Farm, Teneriffe & Newstead - To the southeast of Fortitude Valley, New Farm encourages an outdoor lifestyle with its expansive New Farm Park. The public green space boasts easy cycling loops, charming picnic spots, and a treehouse-style playground for children. Further north, Teneriffe and Newstead have recently become commercial hubs with trendy restaurants and bustling bars.

Paddington - The rolling hills of Paddington are dotted with quaint cottages transformed into enticing storefronts and stylish eateries spilling out onto the sidewalks. Locals and visitors alike love to browse the area for vintage fashions, funky keepsakes, and retro homegoods, while the pocket of Rosalie Village is the perfect place to find a range of international cuisine.

South Bank - The city's premier lifestyle and cultural destination, South Bank covers 42 acres (17 ha) of lush parklands, top-notch restaurants, and spectacular riverside sights. Venues including the Queensland Museum, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, and the Lyric Theatre provide hundreds of delightful events throughout the year. Here is where you'll also find The Wheel of Brisbane, offering panoramic views of the city at 200 feet (61 m).

Spring Hill & Roma Street Parkland - Directly to the north of The City, Spring Hill is a quieter destination, home to cafes and restaurants but most known for the Spring Hill Baths and historic Old Windmill. Hugging its western border is the Roma Street Parkland, a breathtaking space considered to be one of the best examples of contemporary gardens in Australia. Stroll the manicured grounds to enjoy the amazing collection of trees, flowers, herbs, artwork, and water features.

West End - In the hip and quirky West End, find a fascinating fusion of cultures that's reflected in the neighborhood's eclectic shops, organic eateries, cozy coffeehouses, and vintage-inspired bars. On the weekends, locals peruse the outdoor markets to uncover rising designers, or can be found enjoying the renowned music scene that's been thriving since the early days of the Go-Betweens and the Bee Gees.

What to See in Brisbane

Scope out the most jaw-dropping sights of the city and its surrounding landscape from the top of the Wheel of Brisbane. Climb around an enclosed glass capsule for a ride 200 feet (61 m) above the ground. Upon reaching the peak, marvel at 360-degree views of the Queensland capital, including the sparkling Brisbane River, the iconic Story Bridge, and towering Mount Coot-tha in the distance. On a full day tour, enjoy admission to the Ferris wheel, and then soak in even more spectacular sights from the mountain's 942-foot (287-m) summit.

Sightseeing in Brisbane

For Outdoor Adventurers

Head to the Brisbane River for an afternoon of kayaking beneath the city skyline. Paddle your way along the shimmering water, taking in views of landmarks such as the beautiful botanic gardens, the historic Maritime Museum, and the sprawling South Bank Parklands. Back on land, embark on another adventure-a thrilling rappelling excursion down the cliffs of Kangaroo Point. Feel the rush of adrenaline as you descend vertically down the rocky surface for nearly 60 feet (18 m). If even those heights aren't enough for you, strap yourself into a harness for a climb to the top of the 243-foot (74-m) Story Bridge.

For Animal Lovers

It's no secret that Brisbane and its surrounding cities boast a wealth of incredible wildlife for you to enjoy. From the heart of the Central Business District, board a coach for a convenient ride out of town to the Australia Zoo, made famous by the late Steve Irwin. Spanning 100 acres (40 ha), the destination offers visitors one-of-a-kind encounters, bringing you close to creatures such as koalas, crocodiles, and kangaroos. Back in Brisbane, make sure to pay a visit to Lone Pine, the largest koala sanctuary in the world. Get even closer to native Australian wildlife as you feed the emus, come face-to-face with snakes, and pet the cuddly koalas.

For Art Aficionados

From blockbuster exhibitions and inspiring theater productions to intimate galleries and colorful street art, Brisbane is a hotbed of cultural and creative offerings. For lovers of musicals, live theater, and dance, head to the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, where some of the country's most renowned stage shows take place. Explore contemporary Asian and Australian artwork at the Gallery of Modern Art, or stroll the streets of Fortitude Valley to uncover intricate street art on your own. For live music enthusiasts, make your way to the West End, where you'll have no problem discovering a new band or up-and-coming DJ.

For Sports Enthusiasts

Grab your favorite jersey for a behind-the-scenes tour of the famous Suncorp Stadium. Gaining exclusive access to the Member's Exclosure, explore the state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge design, and all-weather fields that have earned the stadium a place among the world's premier sporting venues. Across the river at The Gabba, grab tickets for a game of the Lions, the city's top-ranking Australian rules football club.

Free Things to Do in Brisbane

Leave your purse in the hotel. It's possible to amuse yourself in Brisbane without surrendering a penny.

Museum of Brisbane - Speak to the staff and learn all about the unique collections on exhibit at this museum.

Frew Park - Find time to play and add some extra good times to your time here.

King George Square - Swing by this modern landmark and enjoy its distinctive design.

ANZAC Square War Memorial - If you're captivated by bygone eras, this is one stop you ought not to miss.

Cathedral Square - This vibrant area is a favorite of both locals and tourists.

Brisbane Square Library - If you're eager to check out a few of the more important or unique places in the community, it's worth visiting this place.

Albert Street Uniting Church - No matter your religious leanings, this place will invoke a sense of reverence.

Colmslie Beach Reserve - Get stuck into a great book or play some music while you're catching those rays.

Kangaroo Point Cliffs - You're bound to feel connected with Mother Nature at this magnificent place.

King Edward Park - If you like hanging out in the garden, this attraction will excite your inner green thumb.

Explore The Neighborhoods of Brisbane

Brisbane Central Business District

Discover the beating heart of the capital of the Sunshine State with its shiny high-rises, subtropical parks, funky rooftop bars and classy riverside restaurants.

ShoppingBusinessFamily-Friendly

Brisbane Airport

Travelers come to Brisbane Airport for its abundant dining options, and you can see top attractions like DFO Brisbane and Southern Connector Drain while you're in town.

ShoppingDiningFriendly People

Fortitude Valley

Bustling bars, funky shops and edgy art galleries make up the heart and soul of Brisbane’s most iconic nightlife district.

DiningShoppingFamily-Friendly

South Brisbane

South Brisbane is a destination visitors seek out for is abundant dining options, interesting museums, and stunning river views. You might want to check out attractions like South Bank Parklands or Queensland Performing Arts Centre while you're exploring the neighborhood.

MuseumsWalkingDining

Redcliffe

Explore the calm sandy beaches and green parks that surround this picturesque peninsula and great family holiday destination just north of Brisbane.

SeaBeachesWalking

Kangaroo Point

Striking cliffs line the river at this inner-city location, where Brisbane locals come to get active and spend time outdoors.

FerriesRiversMarinas

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Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Brisbane on a sunny day?

When the forecast is full of sunshine, these outdoor activities are impossible to resist:

What to do in Brisbane on a rainy day?

There's no need to splish and splash your way through a soggy day when there are so many wonderful indoor activities like these to try:

What should I not miss in Brisbane?

If you want to experience the best of this place, slot these attractions into your schedule:

  • Queen Street Mall
  • Roma Street Parkland
  • Suncorp Stadium
  • Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre

Are there cheap things to do in Brisbane?

What can you do in Brisbane for free?

You could put your wallet in the hotel safe for the day, because these attractions can be seen for nothing:

  • Queen Street Mall
  • Roma Street Parkland
  • Brisbane Cruise Terminal
  • South Bank Parklands