How to spend a day in The City

Brisbane City may be compact in size but don’t let its easily walkable streets confuse you. The City is Brisbane’s favourite destination to eat, shop, play and stay and is jam-packed with things to do, see and experience for a full day out. From daybreak to nightcap, we’ve curated an insider selection of The City highlights and hidden gems for visitors to enjoy.

Brisbane City skyline with the Brisbane River
The City

As you explore Brisbane City, make sure to include a stop at one of the 50+ participating restaurants and bars in Dine BNE City this June. Tantalise your taste buds with 90+ exclusive dining offers and events, adding a delightful culinary experience to your day. Discover the full program here.

Morning: Breakfast in the gardens

Ease into your day at City Botanic Gardens and enjoy breakfast amid lush greenery to a soothing soundtrack of native birdsong. The Gardens Club café is nestled within the urban oasis, serving Toby’s Estate coffee and an enticing all-day menu of meals and snacks from 7am daily. Start your day the healthy way with toasted muesli, fruit and coconut yogurt, indulge early with ricotta hotcakes, raspberry compote and chocolate ganache or fuel up for the day ahead with a hearty big breakfast. Finish breakfast with a leisurely stroll along the Riverwalk or explore the expansive Gardens on a self-guided walk.

Mid-morning: Museum of Brisbane

Head to King George Square and Brisbane City Hall to visit the Museum of Brisbane (MoB). Free to enter, it’s a local gem that hosts a year-round calendar of permanent and special exhibitions that showcase the people and stories of Brisbane. There are often hands-on activities and interactive displays to intrigue the littlies and the MoB Shop is always worth a look for locally made arts and crafts that make great mementos or gifts. Hop on a free, guided Clock Tower Tour at Brisbane City Hall for a view of The City from the top.

Midday: Lunch in The City

After soaking up the natural sights and cultural delights, it’s time for lunch. The City is bursting with options from food court eateries and cheap grab-and-go meals to breezy cafes and fine dining restaurants. Look to The City’s hideaway venues for an inspired lunchtime feed. Follow Burnett Lane to Felix for Goodness for an honest-to-goodness healthy and wholesome meal and all-day breakfast menu. Split some dim sum at Longtime Dining, visit Cheeky Poke Bar in Ulster Lane for a fresh salad fix, or hide in plain sight at Stanton bistro with a superior view over the Queen Street Mall.

Girls walking through Queen Street Mall
Queen Street Mall

Afternoon: Shopping and cinema in The City

The City is Brisbane’s premier shopping destination with more than 500 stores along Queen Street Mall plus a luxury precinct and independent boutiques to browse. The open-air pedestrian mall makes it easy to wander and window-shop with all the high-street favourites, department stores and international labels you know and love plus local designers and quirky finds. For a truly personalised experience, book in with a personal stylist, Spree with Me, as your private shopping guide. After you’ve shopped along Queen Street Mall, check out the Edward Street luxury precinct for more upscale style. Need a boost? Make a beeline for Noosa Chocolate Factory’s flagship store on Adelaide Street for a sweet pick-me-up where your coffee or hot chocolate always comes with a sample treat.

Once you’ve stashed those shopping bags securely, take a load off and enjoy an early evening film at Elizabeth Picture Theatre. The family-run, heritage cinema shows a range of new blockbuster movies, anime favourites and independent flicks with screenings suitable for the whole family to enjoy.

Food at Donna Chang
Donna Chang

Night: Dinner and drinks

Time to head out on the town at night. Drink in the riverside ambience at one of The City’s fine dining restaurants on the waterfront with sparkling views of the Brisbane River and cityscape. There are plenty of venues and cuisines to choose from along Eagle Street. Some new restaurants to try include Tillerman’s premium seafood menu, Japanese seasonal dining at Exhibition, Walter’s elevated steakhouse and Middle Eastern-flavoured Babylon.

There’s plenty of after-hours action awaiting in The City, too. Sidle up to one of Brisbane’s cosy wine bars or cocktail lounges. Check out City Winery Edward St Cellar Door, the hidden Before + After amaro specialty bar on George Street and the fun-loving Frogs Hollow Saloon on Charlotte Street. Other well-stocked specialty drinking dens worth seeking out include The Gresham Bar, Death & Taxes and Alba Bar & Deli.

Linger longer

Want to extend your Brisbane City experience? Book a stay in one of The City’s premier hotels and apartments. You’ll find options from 5-star and designer-led hotels to boutique accommodations and self-catering apartments. Choose from the show-stopping W Brisbane, heritage-listed Treasury Hotel, or quirky-cool Ovolo Inchcolm. For a convenient central location, check-in to the Hilton Brisbane, Sofitel Brisbane, The Westin or Hyatt Regency Brisbane. There’s also the popular Adina Apartment Hotel Brisbane, Oaks Brisbane Aurora and Meriton Suites for serviced apartment stays.

An image of the Regent on the Queen Street Mall.