south beach brisbane

Brisbane is a city that is often unfairly stereotyped as a large and dull metropolis.

While it is indeed pretty large, the 3rd largest city in the whole of Australia to be precise, it is far from boring! It is a great destination for couples as well as those visiting Australia on a family holiday.

Brisbane is an outdoorsy city thanks to a moderate climate throughout the year. It enjoys a good balance between being a major metropolis while still having a relaxed approach that you’d find in a much smaller city.

Discovering the true charm of this beautiful river city doesn’t necessarily need to be an expensive affair.

We have compiled a list of 15 free things to do in Brisbane to really soak in the alluring charm of this magnificent city.

1.Brisbane City Hall

brisbane city hall

The Brisbane City Hall, located in King George Square, is one of the first places you must visit to get a feel of the city’s culture. Climb up to the top of the Clock Tower to get some wonderful views from what used to be the tallest building in Brisbane!

If you’re lucky enough, you might also stumble upon an event or a festival being hosted in the square of the City Hall.

2.Davies Park Market

The Davies Park Market is almost like a community in itself. It is a vibrant and lively marketplace that is the epitome of the city’s hippie Western End. If you’re looking to explore a farmer’s market in Brisbane, Davies Park Market is your most colorful choice.

Saturdays are the most crowded, but also the most interesting as all the stalls fill up with fresh groceries, organic produce, buskers and a variety of different ethnic street food!

3.The CityHopper Ferry Service

The CityHopper Ferry Service is, by far, the best way to explore the parts of the city that runs along the Brisbane River!

This free ferry service runs through the Central Business District of Brisbane and passes several popular tourist spots such as the Kangaroo-point Cliffs, the Eagle Street Pier, the Maritime Museum and the famous shopping precinct of Queen Street Mall.

4.Queen Street Mall

The Queen Street Mall is the central shopping and eating district of Brisbane, and while you’d need to shell out some money to get the full experience, exploring the district is totally free.

It’s easy to stumble upon different kinds of events and live performances at the Queen Street Mall as it is one of the most preferred venues for different types of artists, especially during weekends.

5.Eagle Street Pier

Located on the northern side of the city, the Eagle Street Pier is home to a wide range of excellent dining options and lots of different weekend marketplaces.

With plenty of open public space and a well-maintained riverfront pier, you can also choose to lay back for a while and enjoy the magnificent views that Brisbane’s riverfront has to offer.

6.South Beach

south beach brisbane

The South Beach located in Central Brisbane is a huge beach styled lagoon featuring the same lovely soft sand that all Australian beaches are known for.

If you’re keen for a dip right in the middle of the city or just want to lay back on the sand for a while, the South Beach is where you should be at.

7.Brisbane Riverwalk

The city side, as well as the southern banks of the Brisbane River, have riverwalk avenues that you can use to explore the city’s beautiful riverside. With several pedestrian bridges, it’s quite easy to cross from one side of the river to the other.

You can also check out the City’s Cycle Scheme, and explore the riverside on a bicycle.

Travel Tip for Dutch Speakers: If you’re staying in Brisbane and want to take walking to the next level check out this Guide to Trekking the Glass House Mountains which are close by!

8.Southbank Parklands

southbank parklands brisbane

Located just opposite to the Central Business District on the southern banks of the river is the Southbank Parklands.

Lots of green space, picnic areas, children’s playground, and BBQ-Areas are just a few of the things you’ll find here apart from a wide range of food options that will fit every budget.

9.The Cultural Precinct

Located just behind the Southbank Parklands, alongside the river, is the Cultural District of Brisbane which hosts a ton of shows and events throughout the year.

While most of the galleries and shows will require you to spend money on buying tickets, there are a few free options available such as the Queensland Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art.

10.Botanic Gardens

There are two botanic gardens in Brisbane, one located in the central city and the other at Mt Coot-tha. The one in the Central City on the riverfront is the original one, opened way back in 1855.

Both the gardens are free to enter and explore if you’re looking for some quaint and peaceful time alone!

11.The Kangaroo Point Cliffs

kangaroo point brisbane

If you’re looking for a less touristy place to get an absolutely outstanding view of Brisbane’s skyline, the Kangaroo Point Cliff is where you should be!

It is also a popular rock-climbing spot for the more adventurous ones, but can easily be accessed via stairs all the way up to the top.

12.Brunswick Street

If you’re looking for an alternative to the crowded Queen Street Mall, make your way to Brunswick Street located in the nightclub district Fortitude Valley.

Some of the city’s best and most happening bars and restaurants are located here, apart from weekend boutique-inspired markets for the fashion and arts scene of the city.


If you’re into antiques and other types of historical arts and crafts, you’re surely going to love Paddington.

It thrives on its specialty shopping scene, which includes antiques and other forms of unique are, apart from being home to a lot of art galleries and old-school coffee shops!

14.Mt Coot-tha Lookout

Located just a stone-throw away from Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens is the Mt Coo-tha Lookout, which is arguably the best spot to get a stunning view of Brisbane’s skyline.

Apart from the brilliant view, there are plenty of fanfares for tourists such as the Summit Restaurant and the Kuta Café. There is also a 1.5 Km bushwalk trail leading to JS Slaughter Falls in the vicinity of the lookout!

15.James Street

James Street is an upmarket shopping district which exudes an old-fashioned atmosphere and an undeniably classy charm.

It is full of brunch spots, upmarket boutiques, and even a cinema! Just take a walk along the lanes of this beautiful part of the city and bask in the chilled-out atmosphere of this old-fashioned district!


Brisbane is one of the most beautiful but underappreciated cities in the whole of Australia with some amazing things to do and see! So, go ahead and tick those activities off your list, we assure it will be worth it!

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