Things to see and do in Brisbane


Australia has so many amazing destinations that sometimes poor old Brisbane gets overlooked. So it’s time we showed it some love. Here’s a heads-up on the good gigs that are coming up in the city in the near future, as well as general tips on the best places to eat, the things to do for free and where to stay:


There is a buzzing music scene in Brissy. Loads of international and Aussie acts swing by and the venues are generally packed. Here are a few things to mark in your diary over the next few days/weeks/months…

Brisbane Folk Club hits the stage of The Foundry on the first Wednesday every month. It kicks off on December 2nd with local folk favourites Ben Salter, Neighbour and Marcus Blacke.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre are at The Triffid on Friday 13th November. This’ll be a good’un.

Melbourne-based Milwaukee Banks combine their unique flow and detailed electronica with southern hip-hop production on Thursday 3 December at The Brightside.

Native Canadians A Tribe Called Red will be making their debut performance in Australia next month, playing along the east-coast, including a turn at Clancestry, a free event at QPAC Brisbane on 5th December.

Don’t forget it’s Stereosonic at the Showgrounds on the 6th December and then, the next day, the Thurston Moore Band play at the Old Museum.

Adelaide musician and triple j Unearthed artist Jesse Davidson is one to keep on your radar. He plays at Brightside on December 17th.

This might not be as hip as the above artists, but we bloody love Les Miserables. The new production is amazing (trust us, we’ve seen it) and it’s just arrived in town at for a limited run at Lyric Theatre QPAC. Do not miss it. Deets here.

Further ahead, don’t miss the amazing Sarah Blasko at The Tivoli on 15th April. She’s supported by our very own contributor, Jack Colwell! Tickets just went on sale so get some before they inevitably sell-out. Snooze = Lose.


We stayed at ibis Brisbane and can heartily recommend it as a good base if you are in the city for any of the above events. Why? Well it’s slap bang in the middle of town, with a delicious view of the river and good access to public transport. It’s great value, comfortable and with all the amenities you’ll need (our very nice room with a balcony and river view is pictured below). Also, the staff are super friendly and gave us lots of useful tips about the best things to see in the local area and where to eat.

ibis BrisbaneWhat’s more, we like what the folk at ibis are doing to support the Australian music scene. We went to an epic Astral People party in an ibis car park in Sydney last month and they’ve got lots of lots of good things in the pipeline too around the country as well. Keep up to date with all the good music stuff they’ve got going on at ibisPLAY.

ibis are currently offering a great deal if you fancy staying with them. The Best of Brisbane package includes free breakfast for two plus a $20 hotel credit per night. Guests can choose how to spoil themselves whether it’s a room upgrade, a pre-dinner glass of wine and nibbles or a dish from the room service menu. Available for bookings at ibis Brisbane (as well as Novotel Brisbane and Mercure Brisbane), rates start from $139 per night. Go here:


If you’re like us, you don’t have much money to throw around. And what little cash you do have goes on gigs and albums, right? Well, luckily there is plenty to do in Brisbane for zero dollars. You can head to the South Bank and get cultural at the Gallery of Modern Art, which is next to Queensland Art Gallery and the Science Centre. At GOMA from the 21st November is the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, which is a must-see.

Then stroll along the South Bank where you’ll find market stalls on weekends, a whole lot of talented buskers, a rainforest walk (think Ewok Village) and, if you want to pretend you’re on the coast, a manmade beach.

Botanic Gardens

On the water’s edge, the Botanic Gardens are a lovely place to spend a sunny afternoon. You’ll see ducks, a zillion lizards and some beautiful flowers, plants and trees, like this big guy (pictured above).

Another thing that seems too good to be free but absolutely is free is the Cityhopper ferry, which goes up and down the Brisbane River every half-hour or so. It’s a fun way to see the city and the Story Bridge.


As well as a cool music scene, they like their movies up here too. The BBC First British Film Festival is on right now. It features 31 titles, showcasing the magic, unique humour, romance and traditions of British culture. It takes place at Palace Barracks and Palace Centro until 18 November. Deets here:

Meanwhile, Ben & Jerry’s Open Air Cinema is still happening for a few more days, with Back To The Future closing the season on the 15th November. Tickets at:


Don’t miss LR Sushi on Adelaide Street. It’s a tiny little hole in the wall that serves the greatest sushi. It’s fairly cheap compared to its competitors. Also, try Botanica (Enoggera Tce, Paddington). They serve salad and baked goods. When we say salad, we’re talking turmeric-infused cashew cream drizzled over golden brown sweet potato and pumpkin. When we say baked goods, we’re talking decadent chocolate cookies the size of your face.

Boundary Street Markets

Then there are Boundary Street Markets (pictured above) in the West End, open Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. This place is a vibrant hub of food stalls, where you can grab cuisine from all over the globe and eat it around log fires in the courtyard, before washing it all down with a few beers and some live music.

So, that should do you for starters. Some top gigs, a place to stay, stuff to do for free in the daytime and the best places to eat. What are you waiting for?

bobby townsend


Words and pictures by Bobby Townsend