They say the best things in life are free and exploring the best Brisbane has to offer shouldn’t break the bank. We’ve pulled together some fabulously fun, family-friendly activities to enjoy on any budget.
1. Learn to longboard, paddleboard or skateboard
There are hours of fun to be had at one of Council’s many free or low-cost activities held year-round. Try kayaking, longboarding, abseiling, putt-putt golf, paddleboarding, windsurfing, scooter coaching and more – all available for free or just $5. Bookings are essential, so get in early to secure your place.
2. To infinity and beyond
Blow your mind with fun facts on the solar system at the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium. In the sky dome you can escape to far-flung destinations departing from Mt Coot-tha. Go here for more details on show times and tickets.
3. Go wild at a free water park
Perfect for kids of all ages, Rocks Riverside Park in Seventeen Mile Rocks offers a jam-packed family day out, with a water-play area and two playgrounds to choose from. The water park features are awesome for little adventurers navigating the miniature river rapids, while older kids can whiz through the sky on the flying fox before scaling the nautical-inspired playground. This day out won’t cost you a cent, with BBQs and picnic areas for your own BYO feast. On the other side of the river head to Ferny Grove Aqua Park for more free water park fun.
4. Life's a beach at South Bank
Have a dip at Streets Beach at South Bank Parklands on the edge of the Brisbane River. Positioned within 17 hectares of gardens at South Bank, Streets Beach is Australia's only man-made inner-city beach and a must-do activity in Brisbane. The pools are free to use and patrolled by lifeguards from 7am until 10pm, daily, although times may change due to season. Pack a picnic and make a day of it, with lush lawns and shady nooks to relax after a dip.
5. Bust a move at our BMX tracks
Hone your freewheeling, flairs and flat spins at our free world-class BMX facilities in Fitzgibbon and Darra – two of the biggest BMX tracks in Australia! Both facilities have an asphalt track suitable for beginner through to more advanced riders. Council also hosts free BMX, skateboard, scooter and longboard coaching clinics if you’re just starting out. Check out our What’s On calendar to find a session.
6. Take a CityHopper or CityCat adventure
Cruise the river on a free CityHopper to take in the city from a different perspective. Hop on and off at any of the six stops between North Quay and Sydney Street, from 5.30am to midnight, seven days a week. Or jump on a double-decker CityCat and make a stop at New Farm Park for a picnic or hit the impressive playground with the kids, before a return trip home.
7. Go on a park crawl
Brisbane’s brilliant year-round weather means heading to the park is always a good idea. Even better when you’ve got more than 2160 to choose from, including some of the city’s most popular spots like New Farm Park, Roma Street Parkland, Calamvale District Park and Frew Park. Roma Street Parkland is an inner-city oasis covering 16 hectares of sprawling lawns, designer gardens as well as an epic children’s playground. View our map or list of some of Brisbane's favourite picnic and barbecue spots or get some ideas for your next family outing here.
8. See the sights by bike
Explore the city’s endless bikeways and shared pathways using the Cycling Brisbane bikeway map. The map allows you to see the locations of bike parking and drinking fountains. To help you take your riding adventures to the next gear, here’s a list of the best Brisbane bike rides and cycle paths to try. There's something for everyone - easy riders, sightseers, families, scenery-seekers, mountain-climbers and more.
9. Catch a free movie
There may be no place like home, but our Outdoor Cinema in the Suburbs will have you heading out to catch all the fun films. The screenings are free with movies starting after sundown. You don’t need to book, just take along chairs or a blanket, and don’t forget the snacks. Some parks even allow furry friends to come along. Just check the event details before inviting your pets. With events throughout the year, we’re bringing the entertainment to you!
10. Uncover Brisbane's history
One of the best ways to get to know a city is through the eyes (and tales) of a knowledgeable local. Our friendly Brisbane Greeters are passionate volunteers who take free daily tours, sharing Brisbane's stories, and showing you some great hidden gems along the way.
While you’re in the CBD, the free Clock Tower Tours are also a ‘must-do’! For many years, City Hall’s Clock Tower made the building the tallest in Brisbane, offering visitors a magnificent 360-degree view of the city. Whilst the view has changed significantly over the past 90 years, the time-honoured tradition of ’taking a trip up the tower’ happily continues from the Museum of Brisbane, where entry is also free.
11. Embark on a nature adventure
Our three environment centres at Boondall Wetlands, Downfall Creek and Karawatha Forest are the perfect places to explore Brisbane’s diverse bushland, wetlands and forests. Each centre offers a unique nature experience, with opportunities to learn about local flora and fauna, participate in free or low-cost activities such as canoeing, guided walks, bird watching and crafts. There’s lots of things to see and touch, so the kids will love this adventure.
12. Become a bookworm, connect and learn
Brisbane’s 33 libraries provide a wide range of free activities including book clubs, reading programs, computer training, rhyme time, and toddler time events and workshops. Visit your local library to sign up for a free membership, renew or borrow books, and use the many resources on offer. The online catalogue’s also got thousands of books, music, ebooks, magazines, and movies available to download. You can renew Council library items in person, over the phone, through our online catalogue or the BNELibraries app.
Even more to see and do
Looking for more to see and do in Brisbane? We've got you covered! Having fun doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg when you are looking for entertainment around Brisbane, so get out there and try some of our ideas today.