The City:
Free things to do

18 JANUARY 2023

There is no need to fork out money to have fun in The City, we have collated a great line-up of free activities, indoors and out for your enjoyment. Pencil a few of these activities into your schedule and enjoy a big day out in The City without blowing your budget.

01. Step back in time at Museum of Brisbane

Visit the Museum of Brisbane to access Brisbane’s stories and histories, displayed in fascinating exhibitions. If you have kids in tow, check out the free craft workshops as well.

A group of people playing at playground of the City Botanic Gardens.
City Botanic Gardens

02. Picnic at City Botanic Gardens

Head over to Brisbane’s oldest park, City Botanic Gardens and spend an afternoon basking in the sun. It’s a beautiful, relaxing spot to go for a walk or set up a picnic right in The City’s heart. Ancient trees, rainforest glades and exotic species are everywhere amid the Gardens Point greenery.   

03. Get your fill at the Brisbane City Markets

Take a tote to Brisbane City Markets at Reddacliff Place on Wednesdays from 8am to 6pm and Thursdays at Cathedral Square from 8am to 2pm and browse 85 stalls of farm-fresh produce, bakery treats and gourmet eats. Browsing will cost you nothing. Being tempted by one of the various treats on offer is a different story…  

04. Stroll up and down the Brisbane Riverwalk

Run, cycle, walk or skate from City Botanic Gardens to Howard Smith Wharves via Brisbane Riverwalk. We love the breezy views from this elevated path over the river.  

05. Window-shop Queen Street Mall

Queen Street Mall is Brisbane’s favourite pedestrian mall with a treasure trove of more than 500 retailers in one vibrant shopping precinct, making it easy to check out what’s new.  

A group of friends walk through City Hall
Brisbane City Hall

06. Tour Brisbane City Hall  

Step inside the neo-classical façade to learn more about the design and history of Brisbane City Hall. Marvel at the mosaic tiles and stained-glass windows on a free guided tour.  

07. Ascend the Brisbane Clock Tower

Take a free tour of the Brisbane Clock Tower, which includes a ride in a working cage lift, for panoramic views of The City.  

08. Follow the Brisbane City Centre Heritage Trail 

If prefer a DIY tour, download the Brisbane City Centre Heritage Trail. The self-guided walk takes in 26 points of interest from Brisbane’s convict sites through to Brisbane’s icons and landmarks of the 1970s. It starts at Queen St, taking in Jacob’s Ladder and Wickham Terrace, before finishing at Edward St.  

09. Catch a City Loop bus

Did you know there are three free City Loop buses servicing The City? Look out for the red buses for a free ride from QUT to Eagle St every 10 minutes from Monday to Friday. Jump on the 40 (clockwise) or 50 (anti-clockwise) routes from the red bus stops.  

10. Get your game face on at Vault Games

With more than 100 games available in-store, learn a new skill at Vault Games on Charlotte St. Free Social Saturday Tabletop sessions are on every Saturday from 10am until you’re all gamed out.  

11. Explore The City’s street art

Keep an eye out for street art in The City’s spaces and laneways. From vibrant murals to small-scale works and commissioned sculptures, make sure to always look up, down and all around.  

12. Ride the CityHopper

The CityHopper is a free inner-city ferry service for the Brisbane River. Hop on or off at the six stops between North Quay and Sydney St, New Farm or just ride the loop to enjoy the river. This service runs every 30 minutes between 5.30am and midnight, Sunday to Thursday, with the service running later on Friday and Saturday nights.  

13. Browse the Riverside Markets

The Riverside Markets in the City Botanic Gardens are a Sunday institution. Take your furry friend along for a stroll to check out the global cuisine food trucks and artisan wares.  

14. View an exhibition at QUT’s Art Museum 

See the latest contemporary art exhibitions from local and Queensland artists at the Queensland University of Technology Art Museum. When you’re done, wander over to its sibling gallery, the William Robinson Gallery, located in Old Government House.

Brisbane Greeter in blue talking to a group at Post Office Square.
Brisbane Greeters Tour, Post Office Square

15. Discover Brisbane through a Brisbane Greeters Tour 

The best way to learn about Brisbane’s hidden gems and surprising stories is through the wisdom of skilled and knowledgeable Brisbane locals. Brisbane Greeters Tours share stories, reveal great spots and immerse visitors in our vibrant city.  

16. Enjoy free music with City Sounds

City Sounds is Australia’s largest free live music program, introducing Brisbane to up-and-coming local musicians through live performances across The City. With everything from alternative and folk, to jazz and electro, and everything in between, City Sounds has a gig for every music lover. 

17. Bag a bargain at Suitcase Rummage 

Popular second-hand and pre-loved clothing market, Suitcase Rummage, is on the first and third Sunday of every month at Reddacliff Place. Pick through the suitcases to see if someone’s trash is your recycled treasure. 

An image of the learning space of Brisbane Square Library.
Brisbane Square Library

18. Get a slanted view from Brisbane Square Library 

Step inside the distinctive blue-and-yellow cube that houses Brisbane Square Library for diagonal views of the cityscape and a quiet nook to read a book. There’s a great interactive kids’ corner if your little ones are in tow.  

19. Find fairy lights as the sun sets 

From Eagle St to QUT’s Gardens Point Campus, some of The City's largest trees twinkle to life with fairy lights as the sun sets. Enjoy the illuminated trees as you walk between destinations or seek out the best spots around The City for a snap. You can find a map of The City's light installations here.   

20. Spend an afternoon sketching at Queens Gardens

Enjoy an afternoon basking in the sun and sketching the surroundings at Queens Gardens. Flanked by charming Heritage buildings, lush greenery and regal statues on all sides, there’s plenty to sketch, draw or paint.

Want more inspiration? Follow Brisbane City on Instagram to discover more news and events.