The best things to do with visitors in Brisbane

Three people with Story Bridge in background

Whether the 'rellos' are in town for 24 hours or a week, or you have some friends to impress, we've got list of fun places to visit - from the big ticket must-sees to the quirkier things you may not have even heard about - all to show off the uniquely Brisbane moments that make our city great.

The personal safety of Brisbane residents and visitors is our top priority. Due to coronavirus, some of our events, facilities, services and venues have been impacted. 

Check our Coronavirus: Council updates and impacts page for latest updates, cancelled events and venue closures. Protect yourself and others by practising social distancing in our parks.

Thanks to everyone on Instagram who shared their top tips for our list! If you have more suggestions, share them with us by using #SeeDoBrisbane on Instagram, or join our Views of Brisbane Facebook group.

Got your hat? Let's go!

Feel on top of the world

The Mt Coot-tha precinct is a must-do for residents and visitors. With more picnic areas and walking trails available (we've finished extra upgrades), it's the perfect day out destination to enjoy Brisbane's beautiful climate and connect with friends and family in this iconic greenspace.

For sweeping views of Brisbane's skyline and Moreton Bay, make your way to the Mt Coot-tha Lookout - by car, free shuttle bus, or if you'd rather earn the view (and some serious fitness cred) walk up the Summit Track.

If the peak still isn't high enough, head down to the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium to catch an out-of-this-world show and tour of Brisbane's little piece of space. Don't leave without exploring the Galaxy Gift Shop and Sundial Courtyard. 

Live out your green dreams at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha with a free guided discovery tour or self-guided walk, Insta-worthy subtropical plants, or explore the Mt Coot-tha Forest along part (or all) of the 31 kilometres of multi-use garden and bushland trails. Be sure to catch a glimpse of J. C. Slaughter Falls while you're exploring.

Nobody puts Brisbane in the corner

Brisbane is taking a leading role in the culture scene with a cast of world-class talent making appearances, both on the stage and off.

Belly-laugh your way through March with Brisbane Comedy Festival, where there are over 70 of the funniest national and international performers set to hit stages across Brissy. Catch some of the world's biggest music performers at Riverstage - from Parkway Drive to 5SOS, there's something for every taste. Marvel at some of the world's best arts performances at Queensland Performing Arts Centre. Celebrate our own homegrown talent by catching the finalists of The QUBE Effect battle it out. For even more inspiration, check out our What's On calendar.

Looking for something a little more underground for your out-of-towners? Treat youself to an epic performance by Underground Opera Company, from 8-17 May and various other times throughout the year, performing haunting music in Brisbane's very own Spring Hill Reservoirs. Make sure to book in advance!

Opportunities abound in South Bank

If you haven't been to South Bank, have you actually been to Brisbane? Give your guests that Insta-moment on River Quay Green, a splash at the iconic Streets Beach (Australia's only man-made beach in the middle of a city) and an Aussie barbecue with river views. South Bank Parklands is a one-stop for a guaranteed day of fun for everyone, with lots of transport connections and budget-friendly options. (Hot tip: see what free live music is on Sundays and when free Medibank Feel Good Program classes are on.)

Nearby you'll also find Fish Lane, one of Brisbane's delightful city laneways, with great eateries, bars and street art, as well as Brisbane's Cultural Centre Precinct with galleries, museums and more.

Boating for great views and full bellies

Catching a CityCat - including the new CityCat 22 double-decker vessel - is one of the easiest and most spectacular ways to see Brisbane. A leisurely jaunt up or down the river lets you see city sights like the Story Bridge, gleaming CBD towers and the Kangaroo Point Cliffs, while hopping on and off for a riverside coffee, lunch or dinner at your leisure.

Top CityCat stops included Northshore Hamilton ferry terminal which is a hop, skip and jump from Eat Street Northshore (aka 'foodie heaven'), home to some of the city's most Instagram-worthy eats and a destination that will wow your out-of-Brisbane friends and family.

There's also Brisbane's newest kid on the river, Howard Smith Wharves - a transformed wartime wharf with lots of restaurants and bars. It's just a scenic, short stroll from the Riverside terminal. Bonus points for guessing the Story Bridge light colour of the night.

Better in the 'burbs

Play tour guide and go beyond the usual inner-city adventures, impressing your guests with your local knowledge of our city neighbourhoods. There's even more to see and do with various markets, events and heaps of hidden gems. Check out our 'foodie finds and hidden gems' blogs for each city region - gluten free chesee and bacon rolls in Brisbane's east to handstuffed olives to rival Italy's best in the north, and lots of yummies in between.

For history buffs, dive into Brisbane's wartime past at Fort Lytton Reserve, learn about how we used to get around at the Brisbane Tramway Museum in Ferny Grove, or if you're after the perfect photo to commemorate your adventures, check out all the sweet street art across the city.

Movie night under the stars

By now, you've already seen Brisbane's night sky at the Planetarium, so impress your visitors with stars of the Hollywood and open-air varieties. A free movie night in your neighbourhood park is a super local Brisbane experience (complete with resident wildlife if you're lucky), so head to one of Council's Outdoor Cinema in the Suburbs events. 

Like all great nights out, there's fun before the feature, so arrive early for pre-movie activities including food stalls and other fun. 

Related links


We first published this blog in December 2019 and updated the content in March 2020.

Date posted:
Last updated:30 April 2020
Topics: things to do