Deciding where to take friends or family from out of town, or recommending places to visit in Brisbane to tourists, can often be a bit overwhelming.
There are plenty of options, but it’s hard to know where to start.
A burgeoning foodie destination, with quirky cafes and great coffee, an increasing arts and music scene, and a gateway to gorgeous beaches and hikes, Brisbane has a lot going for it.
I’ve had several visitors recently, so I thought I’d put together my recommendations. They’re popular options, but I see it as they are popular for a reason.
The first six suggestions are easy for tourists staying in the city, while the final three are perfect for people who want to show off the city, without heading into the CBD.
A stroll through Southbank is a great way to spend a day, a couple of hours, or an evening.
Families and overseas tourists alike love hanging out at the man-made Streets Beach.
There are numerous venues for any meal of the day, or you can bring along a picnic and enjoy the river views on grassy areas.
From Friday through to Sunday afternoon, there are markets to visit too. The Collective Markets have an eclectic mix of original art, gifts, clothing, as well as foodie stalls.
Queensland Cultural Centre
For art lovers, the Queensland Art Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), right near each other at Southbank, are Brisbane essentials.
Entry is free (additional cost for certain exhibitions), the galleries are world-class and you can enjoy for as little or as long as you like (definitely opt for longer in summer, as that air-con is bliss in the Queensland heat).
GOMA always has fun activities for kids and the Queensland Art Gallery has both a café and plenty of seating.
While you’re in the area, stop by the Queensland Museum and make sure to see the see the wonderful whales swimming high above at the Whale Mall.
Brisbane is called the River City for a reason.
The CityCats are fast, fun (especially if you’re into windswept look or looking for an Instagram snap) and provide a great vantage point for seeing more of the city; they cover from Hamilton to St Lucia.
Or, tourists can jump aboard a CityHopper to get between banks in the city – they’re more leisurely (a.k.a slower), but free!
The Queen Street Mall is not merely the state’s shopping hotspot, with 700 stores along the street; it has long been considered Brisbane’s city heart.
It has a range of iconic landmarks, including City Hall just adjacent.
City Hall is a great place to explore Brisbane’s history, with the Museum of Brisbane inside.
City Botanic Gardens
Enter the City Botanic Gardens adjacent to the Goodwill Bridge to find two magical fig trees covered in fairy lights – they’re just incredible!
These gardens provide a lush green haven in the middle of the city, with attractions including Bamboo Grove, Weeping Fig Avenue, Mangrove Boardwalk and ornamental ponds.
Special events with big name musical acts are often held at the River stage, so make sure to look up what’s on during your visit.
Eagle Street Pier
Firmly established as one of Brisbane’s preeminent food and entertainment destinations, Eagle Street Pier is the perfect place to head for a delicious meal or enjoy drinks at one of the casual riverside bars.
The views are incredible and it’s hard to pick a favourite venue; I’ve had excellent experiences more recently at Blackbird , Jade Buddah, Riverside Bar and Bavarian Bier Café.
It’s worth taking guests up to the lookout to view the city – you’ll get spectacular panoramic views over Brisbane.
There are also numerous walking tracks around the vicinity of the lookout, for those wanting to get moving and feel like you’re in nature.
Mt Coot-tha also has a café and restaurant to cater to visitors, plus picnic areas on the mountain fully equipped with gas barbecues, so you can plan a meal around your visit there too.
Eat Street Northshore
There is nothing quite like Eat Street Northshore, so definitely save one weekend meal to enjoy here!
Situated right along the river are 180 shipping containers, which create a unique dining and entertainment precinct. If you haven’t been since Eat Street moved, I recommend you do, as it’s even more incredible and colourful.
There are cuisines for every taste and there’s a CityCat stop nearby, plus plenty of parking, making it easy to travel to.
Powerhouse Markets at New Farm Park
Head along to New Farm Park on Saturday morning to enjoy a wide range of fresh, local products, tasty ready to eat meals and all the other interesting stuff that can be found at Jan Power’s Farmers Markets.
Once you’ve bought your coffee and food, you can have yourself a picnic in the adjacent New Farm Park, or stroll alongside the river to walk your meal off.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions or other recommendations for people visiting Brisbane, pop them in the comments.
My Eclectic Muse