With the Commonwealth Games right around the corner, Brisbane is getting ready to say hello to visitors and athletes from all over the world. With so many people coming to see our fine city, I got to thinking about what they might need. No doubt, they’ll be looking for amazing food experiences and some fantastic accommodation in Queensland. So, I thought I’d kick things off with 13 of the best things visitors can see and do in Brisbane.
1. Explore local markets
There are loads of wonderful markets dotted in and around Brisbane, offering visitors the chance to get hands-on with the best fresh produce and delicious food the region has to offer. Foodies will love the Eat Street Markets and the yummy bites on offer at the Eagle Farm Markets too. Head to the Davies Park Markets and Northey Street Organic Market for great produce, The Finders Keepers and The Collective Markets for art, fashion, jewellery and more.
2. Food Truck Fiesta
Take yourself on a DIY food tour of some of Brisbane’s very best food trucks! The guys at Welcome to Bowen Hills have set up Brisbane’s first permanent food truck park. You’ll find it open Wednesday and Thursday from 5pm to 9:30pm, Friday and Saturday from 11am to 10:30pm and Sundays from 11am to 9:30pm. Make no mistake, this isn’t your average meals on wheels, folks, it offers a fantastic opportunity to eat yourself sick on amazing Brisbane food and drinks.
3. Enjoy award-winning local beers
Spend a golden Queensland afternoon sampling the amazing range of craft beers on offer at local favourite, Newstead Brewing Co. The wide range of beers here means you’re sure to find at least one you love and the Newstead location is a nice cool spot to escape the heat.
4. Get active outdoors
Live la Vida Brisbane and make the most of the incredible weather by getting outdoors and active. Thanks to the guys at River Life you can go kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding on the Brisbane River, right through the heart of Brisbane. You can also soak in unbeatable views while rock climbing or simply hire a City Cycle bike and explore the waterfront for yourself.
5. Go thrift shopping
If like me, you love a spot of thrift shopping you’ll find yourself spoilt for choice while exploring some of the beautiful little suburbs surrounding Brisbane city. Head up to Paddington and take a stroll along Given Terrace where you’ll find Retro Metro and Latrobe Terrace to explore Vinnies Paddington. Wander the streets of West End and Fortitude Valley and you’ll unearth more vintage wonders.
6. Join the Pub Choir
If you love the idea of karaoke but hate getting up in front of people to sing by yourself, Pub Choir is exactly what you’ve been looking for. Head down to The Elephant Hotel in Fortitude Valley where, once a month, they kick off a pub choir. Beers are encouraged, of course, and you and your many new Brisbane friends will jam out to awesome tracks. It’s one of those ‘sing like nobody’s listening’ experiences that’s empowering and liberating. It’s a great way to mix it with the locals and have a fun night out!
7. Take a day trip
You’ve come all the way to Brisbane, so why not make the most by heading out on a day trip and seeing more of what Queensland has to offer. Visitors can easily explore country Queensland with a foodie tour out to Toowoomba and Stanthorpe. Get your beach break on with an adventure on Fraser Island or Moreton Island or head up to the stunning Sunshine Coast to check out the hinterland or beach spots like Caloundra.
8. Enjoy a free tour of Brisbane
The Brisbane Greeters offer free tours of Brisbane to everybody and anybody! And, you guys, they’re totally free, none of this ‘hidden cost’ business. I’m a local and signed myself up for the art tour and was blown away by how many hidden artworks I’d been walking past my whole life. It gave me a new appreciation for my city and is the perfect way for visitors to get acquainted with Brisbane.
9. Explore a vintage bookstore
If, like me, you love books, head directly to Archive Fine Books in Brisbane’s CBD. Tucked in a lovely old brick building in Charlotte Street, you can enter a seemingly endless world of wonderful books. Escape the outside world for a while and pick up a few good reads then head around the corner to John Mills Himself for a fantastic cup of coffee and some quiet reading time.
10. Peep the best rooftop bar views
Enjoy a cocktail or refreshing mocktail at one of the best rooftop bars in Brisbane and soak in stunning views of our fine city. Head to The Eagles Nest or Dandy’s Rooftop, peep the views from Sixteen Antlers or Soleil Pool Bar then get high above it all the Next Hotel Pool Terrace and Bar. Still keen for more? Head to Eleven Rooftop Bar, Up On Constance or Limes Rooftop Bar.
11. Take a free ferry ride
Amazingly, the City Hopper Ferry is totally and completely free, making it the perfect way for visitors to get acquainted with our gorgeous hometown. Head down to the North Quay Terminal and climb aboard, taking in Brisbane from the water. Enjoy your ferry ride all the way to New Farm and, once there, spend some time exploring New Farm park before catching the ferry back again.
12. Enjoy the flavours of Queensland
For an absolutely amazing meal in Brisbane, don’t miss out on The Croft House. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and even grab to go when you’re in a hurry and need that caffeine boost to kick-start your day. Embrace the locally sourced menu, focusing on authentic modern Australian. The best night of the week is a Friday when you can unwind with great food and drink while listening to live music.
13. Catch the sunrise somewhere beautiful
One of my favourite things about Brisbane is the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets it offers. If you’re an early bird, head up to Mt Coot-tha and watch South-East Queensland come alive with the colours of the morning sun. For sunset, I recommend sitting up at the Kangaroo Point Cliffs with some cheese and snacks and watching one of those famous Brisbane sunsets. If you’re lucky, it’ll be one of those ridiculously beautiful ones, where the sky turns brilliant pink and orange.
Phoebe is a travel writer and photographer with a love for storytelling and making people laugh. Matt is a videographer and photographer with a passion for the great outdoors and big adventures. Together we inspire big adventures through our guides, videos, vlogs and photographs. Find out more about us here.