Given it’s my hometown, I’m often asked for tips on how to spend a weekend (or less) in beautiful Brisbane. To be honest, the feedback I hear a lot from people who have visited is they felt a little underwhelmed with my home city. If I look at it objectively, I get it. There aren’t quite the same immediately obvious tourist sites as Sydney and Melbourne. That said, I rep Brissie hard and I know it has a lot to offer any visitor. So, with that in mind, I thought I’d rustle up my top tips on how to spend a killer 24 hours in Brisbane city!
Start your day at the best breakfasts in Brisbane CBD
Turns out, Brisbane has quite the cafe scene and, as any good Brisbanite will tell you, we kinda love our breakfasts! Here are few awesome spots to get you started:
- Lennons Restaurant offers a relaxing, modern environment to relax in with great coffee and tasty bites like toasted waffles with peanut butter ganache and gelato or garlic roasted mushrooms with poached eggs and Persian feta
- Wander down the end of the lane on Elizabeth Street to discover a hidden favourite, Strauss, offering great coffee and a simple breakfast like poached eggs on sourdough and mixed grain bircher muesli with cacao nibs and fresh raspberries
- Visit local favourite Felix For Goodness for their well-priced all-day breakfast, which includes caramelised roast pumpkin served with a poached egg, whipped feta and bacon on rye toast
- The light and airy Croft House offers a warm, welcoming spot to slurp down fantastic coffee and munch on breakfasts like sweet potato hash with smoked beef brisket, sunny egg, spinach and chimichurri sauce
Shop till you drop
Now you’re all fuelled up for the day, it’s time to head out for a little retail therapy. First stop is to check out the Queen Street Mall, where you’ll find either side of the pedestrian-only street packed with stores waiting to be explored! If you happen to be in the city on a Wednesday, be sure to check out the Jan Powers Farmers Markets, held on George and Queen Streets each Wednesday.
Take a visit over to GoMA
Stretch those legs with a wander over the Victoria Bridge, taking in the Brisbane River, across to Southbank. Make a beeline for the Gallery of Modern Art, which plays host to some amazing rotating exhibitions, which you’ll find free to visit. This is a great opportunity to dig into the cultural side of Brisbane and also beat the heat if you happen to be here on a 38-degree day.
Grab a delicious lunch at Southbank’s best spots
Hungry yet? Time to get yourself a bite to eat at one of the best restaurants in Southbank. Here are a few ideas:
- If dumplings and cold beers are your bag, head directly to Harajuku Gyoza for great Japanese food and ice-cold Kirin!
- For something a bit fancier, with great views of the city, check out Italian-inspired Popolo for perfectly cooked pizzas, decadent pasta and the best Tiramisu the city has to offer
- Got a hankering for some American-style eats? Visit Bourbon Street for their buttermilk fried chicken, braised short ribs and Beignet cinnamon donuts served with all the toppings!
- Stop into Tippler’s Tap on Grey Street for hotdogs, burgers, sandwiches and ice cold craft beers to soothe away those hot summer days
Stroll around the city
Here’s the thing about Brisbane, it’s so dang liveable because the weather is so good! It offers up an outdoors lifestyle I just can’t get enough of, so if you really want to live la Vida local, I’d recommend you walk off your lunch with a leisurely stroll around the city. If you’re starting from where I left you, in Southbank, there are two loops you can do. Either take the shorter option and head over the Goodwill Bridge into the Botanical Gardens and back into the CBD or head along the Brisbane River, up along the Kangaroo Point Cliffs for stunning views of the city (especially at sunset) then over the Story Bridge and back into town.
Afternoon drinks with a view
Now you’ve earned it, it’s time for a relaxing evening drink with a great view! Head down to Eagle Street Pier and visit one of the fantastic bars offering unbeatable views of the river, Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point Cliffs. Try a trip to Mr & Mrs G, the Bavarian Beer Cafe, Pony or Riverbar and Kitchen.
Have dinner at the best restaurants in Brisbane CBD
If you know me, you’ll know I LIVE for food and hate the idea of missing out on good food memories. So here are my tips on great places to grab dinner in Brisbane CBD:
- The Croft House offers some pretty freaking spectacular charcuterie, perfect for sharing with friends over a few cold, local craft beers. They also offer a delicious dinner menu too, which includes perfectly cooked steaks and decadent seafood dishes too
- Alchemy Restaurant and Bar offer diners amazing views of the river and Story Bridge as well as award-winning food, so it’s a bit of a fancy investment, but the food experience is well worth it
- If you love Japanese food, look no further than Sake for really delicious, fresh food in a gorgeous setting. They also have their own in-house beer on tap, Blushing Geisha, which I highly recommend
- If you’re after something a tad more budget-friendly or even just low-key, without compromising on taste, head to Comuna Cantina for top-notch South American street food
Where to stay in Brisbane CBD
I got the chance to check out The Sebel, located on the corner of Charlotte and Albert Streets in Brisbane CBD and, honestly, I loved it! We stayed in a one bedroom apartment on the top floor and were pleasantly surprised at just how great the accommodation is. Our apartment was a great size, with plenty of space to spread out, relax and unwind.
Our apartment was fully equipped with a little kitchen, washer and dryer, a dining area, pull-out couch and a separate bedroom. There was also a great balcony, which we found ourselves on later in the evening, soaking in the cool evening air while talking with two friends.
The Sebel is excellently located, it gives you really easy walking distance to all corners of Brisbane’s CBD, so you can easily visit the Botanical Gardens and stroll across to Southbank over the Goodwill Bridge. You can head down to Eagle Street Pier or take off the other way up toward Southbank, exploring Queen Street Mall and beyond. It makes for a great location for those on foot.
On-site restaurant The Croft House has been included in this guide for breakfast and dinner and you can rest assured those recommendations are 100% genuine! I love that the hotel breakfast isn’t a tacky buffet, but rather offers an a la carte menu to choose from while offering fresh pastries and such to graze on while you wait. It really compliments the hotel nicely, making it easy and enjoyable to get something tasty to eat.
You’ll also find The Sebel offering parking options as well as a nice big pool to cool off in, especially on those stinking hot days Brisbane is kind of famous for.
All up, I’d definitely recommend The Sebel to my family and friends as a great place to stay in Brisbane CBD. We found the staff to be lovely, the food amazing, the apartment to be extremely comfortable and enjoyable and our whole experience a good one! It’s suitable for families travelling with children, small groups of friends or couples in need of a great base for their Brisbane adventures.
Useful travel resources for your trip to Australia
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Agoda – one of our go-to sites for booking hotels
Skyscanner – our go-to for booking flights
RentalCars.com – a great search engine for renting a car
Booking.com – another of our go-to sites for booking hotels
TourRadar – a great search engine for booking tours
Uber – our go-to ground transport option