Tired of spending your evenings doing the same ol' thing (like binging episodes of Friends in your pyjamas)? Thanks to a little local help, we've pulled together a bunch of the city's best waterfront bars, restaurants and all-round fun things to do after dark on the Brisbane River. So ditch the remote, assemble your crew and head riverside for a night out in Brisbane that is anything but ordinary.
When it comes to travel, there's nothing more iconic than zooming along the river on a CityCat. Luckily, water travel isn't limited to daytime hours! For the ultimate night river experience, jump on one of the double-decker CityCats and head upstairs for a sparkling 360-degree view of the city skyline. You won't be disappointed!
Alternatively, the CityHopper is a free inner-city ferry service on the Brisbane River, featuring KittyCats – Council's 5 modern vessels with wide panoramic windows to allow exceptional views of the city. The service runs between 5.30am-midnight Sunday to Thursday, with later services operating on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Howard Smith Wharves ferry terminal are the gateway to Fortitude Valley and New Farm. Unwind with a meal at Mr Percival's waterfront bar before catching a lift to Bowen Terrace and walking a short distance to your venue of choice. Whether you want to explore the nightlife in Fortitude Valley, or have a relaxed meal at one of the hidden gems along Brunswick Street, like La Costa, it all starts with a trip on a CityCat.
Brisbane's oldest and grandest park isn't just popular among day-trippers. It's also got some serious night appeal! Round up the gang and snag a spot along the riverbank for a starlight picnic, or snuggle up with a blanket and simply watch the world float by.
Looking for entertainment! The historic Brisbane Powerhouse is an easy, five-minute walk from the New Farm Park ferry terminal and is constantly dishing up live performances, comedy and culture. It also houses two much-loved riverside hangouts - Mary Mae's Bar & Kitchen and Bar Alto.
If the thought of doughnut fries, cronut ice cream or Snickers cannoli has your taste buds in a tangle, then you need to spend a night at the famous Eat Street Northshore, Hamilton. Catch a CityCat downstream to Northshore Hamilton and head towards the brightly coloured shipping containers for a serve of tasty dishes and funky beats every Friday and Saturday from 4-10pm and Sunday from 4-9pm. It's eat your way through this venue in one sitting, so multiple visits are a must (as if you need the excuse)!
Whether you're new to the Sunshine State's capital or a local, a night on the Brisbane River isn't complete without a visit to the city's most iconic, riverside playground - South Bank. Sporting some of the city's best bars and restaurants, the parklands offer endless opportunities to eat and play. Indulge in something tasty at one of the many eateries, take a dip at Streets Beach, catch a show with friends at QPAC, or ride the Wheel of Brisbane for an unparalleled view of the city. You can also sneak in a spot of late-night shopping at the Collective Markets which take over Little Stanley Street on Friday and Saturday nights until 9pm. If you take a short stroll towards Grey Street, you'll also find Fish Lane - a vibrant mix of buzzing bars, stylish restaurants and an ever-evolving canvas of street art.
Getting the CityCat to Bulimba is a sure-fire way to pack the most into a short walk! There's plenty of choices for drinks, dinner and dessert, including popular Vietnamese Mint. Why not make it an Oxford Street progressive dinner and stop at a few places as you explore this iconic Brisbane street?
What better way to see the river than spending a night on it. Get adventurous and experience Brisbane from a different angle with a twilight kayak tour. There are several evening tours on offer with businesses like Riverlife Adventure Centre and some even have the option of ending the paddle with a glass of wine and grazing board. Tours are guided by trained instructors and no previous experience is necessary. You'll be gliding under bridges and past iconic riverside locations like a pro in no time.
Take advantage of Brisbane's weather and catch a show at Riverstage – the perfect place to experience outdoor, live gigs. With a busy schedule of events from large-scale music concerts to family-friendly and community events, check out their upcoming event calendar.
With so much to see and do in Brisbane, nights never have to be boring. For more inspiration on the best things to see and do in Brisbane City and the suburbs, visit our Brisbetter Explore page and download the Brisbane app.
**Updated in December 2023.**
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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