Brisbane Powerhouse: a power station fuelled by culture

Nestled on the riverbank, Brisbane Powerhouse is one of Brisbane’s most recognisable landmarks. A cultural icon, it’s a stunning example of reclaimed industrial architecture and a dynamic space for exhibitions, contemporary performances and live music for all ages.

Maybe you’ve been to Brisbane Powerhouse and think you’ve seen everything there is to see. Impossible! With a packed year-round program of shows and events, there’s more to this historic building than its industrial red-brick facade.

Here’s a handy guide to help you discover a whole world of new experiences, ideas and art at Brisbane Powerhouse, the city’s creative heart brought to you by Brisbane City Council:

1. Book your next night out

A hub for theatre, music, comedy, film and visual arts, there’s always something to see at Brisbane Powerhouse. Planning a night out, date night or just craving some live entertainment? Choose something from the diverse and engaging what's on program.

2. Eat, drink and be Mary

Looking for a place for a special celebration, a lazy long lunch or sunset drinks? Escape the noise and hustle of the city and dine riverside at Brisbane Powerhouse. Begin with drinks at Bar Alto, overlooking the Brisbane River, then move into Mary Mae’s Bar & Kitchen – cue uninterrupted river views, sun-drenched terraces, and an all-day dining menu.

3. Take dining to the next level

If you prefer your meal with a side of adventure, elevate your dining experience at Vertigo. Perched 17 metres above the ground on the edge of the Brisbane Powerhouse building, you’ll be treated to an unforgettable locally sourced meal with one of the most spectacular views of the city skyline you’ll ever see. Australia’s first vertical restaurant is perfect for that special occasion. 

4. Enjoy cinema under the stars 

Boasting a giant screen and 350 outdoor lounge chairs with wide armrests and wireless headphones, Dendy Powerhouse Outdoor Cinema is an unforgettable moonlit night out. Featuring the quality films Dendy is known for, this year-round experience comes with all the trimmings, including drinks and snacks. You can even pair your bubbles with a cheese box – all to be enjoyed in the great outdoors. 

5. Discover things to do with kids

Brisbane Powerhouse doesn’t just cater to grown-ups – it’s also a hub of entertainment for kids. Take your family on magical, mind-blowing journeys with everything from circus performances, to science shows and puppetry productions taking the stage throughout the year. Young music lovers are also in for a treat, because Pevan & Sarah (29–30 October) are hitting the road again to put on a show filled with musical numbers, laughter and joy.    

6. Walk in the steps of history

Brisbane Powerhouse was constructed in stages between 1928 and 1940 and once supported the largest tram network in the southern hemisphere. After it was decommissioned in 1971, the building became a haven for the homeless, performers and graffiti artists, whose artwork is now known as heritage-listed aerosol art. It was renewed by Council as a vibrant and creative venue for the city.

Join a behind-the-scenes guided tour to trace the building’s unique history and venture backstage – an area normally reserved for performers and staff.

7. Find out why laughter is the best medicine

Brisbane Powerhouse really is comedy central! World-renowned and local comedians love performing for Brisbane audiences, with a packed schedule of performers to leave you in stitches year-round. The Powerhouse is also home to the Brisbane Comedy Festival (26 April–26 May) – a month-long celebration of laughter featuring more than 100 artists. 

8. Be proud and celebrate diversity, culture and arts

Melt Open (23 October–10 November) is promising to be a game-changing open access festival of Queer art and culture for Brisbane. The destination event will feature a huge lineup of artists across multiple venues to showcase diverse performance and cultural experiences, aimed at fostering inclusivity and celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. Not to be missed is the inaugural River Pride Parade (9 November) proudly led by ‘Queen of the River’ Courtney Act. 

Brisbane Powerhouse visitors will also be able to catch Night Feast as the much-loved food festival returns in October.

9. Shop 'til you drop at the markets

Every Saturday morning, from 6am to 12 noon, the Jan Powers Farmers Markets brings the freshest produce to the Brisbane Powerhouse forecourt. Kickstart your weekend with a quality coffee or fruity smoothie and a loaded bagel or gluten-free treat. Wander the 100-plus stalls and stock up on fresh produce, meats, baked goods and more bought straight from the growers and makers. Can’t wait to get home to eat? Head over to New Farm Park for a picnic!

More Brisbetter day out inspiration

Check out our other Brisbetter Days Out articles for more fabulous ideas.

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** This article was updated in March 2024.**

Editor's note: The featured content in Brisbane Explore is created to inspire residents and visitors to plan a day out exploring Brisbane. Brisbane City Council disclaims any relationship with, or endorsement of, businesses featured in this article.

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Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.