Fly under the radar and tick these ten secret things off your Brisbane bucket list
Brisbane is a breeding ground for fun. Top-tier restaurants, stellar sipping spots and grand galleries are just some of the things that keep locals and visitors busy. But there’s more to our river city than what meets the eye, with plenty of fun out-of-the-box activities waiting to be discovered – if you know where to look. Here’s ten not-so-obvious things to do in The City …
Listen to free tunes at this park concert: Grab a picnic blanket and rally up your mates to enjoy an afternoon of Gigs & Picnics in the city. This free event brings mellow jazz sounds, modern reggae, gypsy swing and more to the lush surroundings of the City Botanic Gardens. Plus, you don’t have to worry about bringing snacks as there will be an array of food trucks slinging delicious bites throughout the afternoon. It’s all happening from 12:00–4:00 pm on the last Saturday of every month, so make sure to pencil this relaxing event into your calendar!
Stroll the streets in search of art: Who says you need to visit an indoor gallery to see art? Brisbane City Council’s Outdoor Gallery transforms Brisbane’s laneways and city streets into imaginative, curious and engaging spaces. A stroll through some of your favourite streets (the gallery even goes as far as Howard Smith Wharves!) will reveal eye-catching art pieces like light boxes, banners, vitrines and colourful projections. Keen to walk past these wonderful works? Head here for more information.
Delve deep into these hidden culinary gems: Brisbane City is teeming with dynamite dining spots, but sometimes we can get stuck in a rut when it comes to our dinner-date choices. Some stellar spots that might not be on your list include Thai eatery Jumbo (the butterfly pea dumplings are a must-try), luxe Chinese restaurant Donna Chang, Adelaide Street gem Motorwagen and Goldfinch, which dishes up Mediterranean-inspired fare on the ground floor of Pullman Brisbane King George Square.
Discover the secrets of an iconic Brisbane structure: Uncover the hidden secrets of the heritage-listed City Hall building with a guided tour of the Clock Tower. This backstage pass includes a ride in one of Brisbane’s oldest working cage lifts, a look behind one of Australia’s largest analogue clock faces and time to explore the observation platform that shares a unique perspective of The City. Tours happen every 15 minutes from Museum of Brisbane reception. Book in here.
Visit a hidden bar: Sometimes the best watering holes are hidden from plain sight. They might be down alleyways, behind unmarked doors or in underground bunkers – but they are worth the extra effort to find. Some of our favourite hidden bars in The City include Super Whatnot, Brooklyn Standard, Death & Taxes, The Boom Boom Room and Miss Demeanour. Remember, the fun starts with trying to find them.
Workout by the river: Finding new ways to make working out fun can pose a challenge, so we are super thankful that Brisbane boasts a number of free-to-use, public outdoor gym spaces. Located underneath the Riverside Expressway in front of skyscaper 1 William Street is where you’ll find Waterline Park. This colourful concrete jungle gym is full of beams, bars and gymnastic rings – making it the perfect place for your next sweat sesh.
Watch a movie at an outdoor cinema: Brisbane is full to the brim with cosy cinemas (one of our favourites is the heritage-listed Elizabeth Picture Theatre), and at different times throughout the year, you can even enjoy a flick in the fresh air at an outdoor cinema. This month, Rom Coms & Nom Noms is taking over the inner-city green space of Post Office Square to play a line-up of beloved romantic comedies every Wednesday night. The best part? There’s even a pop-up bar catered by Isles Lane where you can purchase delicious grazing boxes and tipples.
Image credit: Customs House
Enjoy high tea at Customs House: Customs House’s high tea might not be technically top secret, but its mouth-watering spread isn’t talked about enough. For $80 per person, indulge in a classic high tea of ribbon sandwiches, savoury canapes, scones with fresh cream and jam, assorted handcrafted petite desserts, macarons, coffee, tea and more, all while taking in breathtaking views of the Story Bridge with a glass of Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne in hand. To book, hop over here.
Take your furry friend on a staycay: If your pampered pooch has a taste for the finer things in life (no judgement here), check in to W Brisbane in The City and revel in five-star luxury with your fur baby. The offer isn’t exclusive to handbag dogs –W Brisbane welcomes dogs of all shapes and sizes and has gone so far as to implement a P.A.W (Pets Are Welcome) program that includes clean-up bags, a custom pet bed, pet toys and treats, bowls and leashes. There’s even a dog-walking service available so you can enjoy a massage or a cheeky beverage on the Wet Deck guilt-free!
Check out Museum of Brisbane’s newest exhibition: Found on the top floor of Brisbane City Hall, Museum of Brisbane is an inner-city cultural hub that showcases exhibitions that focus on the identity of Brisbane – the place, its history, people and culture. Its latest exhibition, City in the Sun, is set to take the temperature up a notch with a sizzling showcase that tackles our city’s subtropical image – from the inner-city beaches that border the Brisbane River to the frangipani-lined streets. MoB’s backyard will be completely revamped by tinsel queen Rachel Burke and will feature a colourful playground full of flower beds, a tinsel sky, a garden swing, a bicycle and even a cubby house all adorned in Rachel’s signature sparkled style. To learn more about City in the Sun, hop over to the Museum of Brisbane website.
This article was written in partnership with our friends at The City.