How to Spend 48 Hours in Brisbane

No time? No worries! Here's our guide to the best of Brisbane.

Forget everything you thought you knew about dull old Brisbane because it doesn’t exist anymore.

Yes, Brisbane is still a friendly place with a warm, subtropical climate and plenty of venues that take full advantage of that, but the city is all grown up now with some pretty bright and shiny things to experience.

Here’s what
 you could do with 48 hours to spare.


Afternoon: You’ve arrived, and you are ready to dump those bags and run out to have some fun. Explore the city and discover the shopping mecca of James Street.

Whether your weekend itch will be scratched by beautiful housewares, designer fashion, Scrumptious Reads or the latest movie, James Street will have the answer. Finish your afternoon with a relaxing session at the Thai Foot Spa.

The Apo
Stop in for dinner and a drink at The Apo. (Courtesy The Apo)

Evening: Take a short stroll up Ann Street for dinner and find The Apo, located in a heritage-listed pharmaceutical dispensary that dates from 1862. There’s a restaurant downstairs and a sneaky bar upstairs just perfect for that pre-dinner drink.

The Apo sits on the corner of Bakery Lane, a cute little enclave where you’ll find quirky menswear, instant garden delights and heart-shaped brownies that you’ll wonder how you ever lived without.

Eleven Rooftop Bar
Eleven Rooftop Bar. (©Kerry Heaney)

Up late: Still ready to roll after dinner? Head back towards James Street but stop at Eleven Rooftop Bar on the way. This sophisticated bar on the eleventh floor of 757 Ann Street offers sweeping views of the Valley’s nightlife.

A Brisbane Greeters tour of Burnett Lane
A Brisbane Greeters tour of Burnett Lane. (Courtesy Brisbane Greeters)


Morning: Bless yourself with breakfast at Reverends Coffee in Brunswick Street where the coffee is smooth and velvety and the breakfast filling. Tea is also treated with reverence here, and you’ll find a fine selection served with a different touch.

Fortitude Valley has a long Brisbane history from the earliest days of settlement around 1850, through its role as the premier shopping district, to its notorious part in Brisbane’s gangland past. Take yourself on a Brisbane City Council Heritage trail of the area or book a Brisbane Greeters tour for a local’s perspective.

Wander around South Bank
Wander around South Bank. (©PMG)

Midday: After walking through the streets, you’ll want to relax for a while over lunch, and River Quay at South Bank offers the perfect place. Relax on River Quay Green on the Brisbane River’s banks or dine at the restaurant strip, which lines the boardwalk.

Finish with a coffee at Brendan’s Café on the Goodwill Bridge. Located halfway across the bridge, this spot offers great coffee and one of the best river views around.

GOMA, the Gallery of Modern Art
GOMA, the Gallery of Modern Art. (©PMG)

Afternoon: Experience some afternoon delight by exploring the latest exhibitions at GOMA, the Queensland Art Gallery and Queensland Museum. There’s something for everyone here, including a large range of activities designed to engage and entertain children.  

Eat Street Markets.
Try all sorts of cuisine at the Eat Street Markets. (©Roshan Sukhla)

Evening: Eat Street Markets will both feed and entertain you for the evening. The market, which is currently closed but will reopen at the end of March, has everything your foodie heart could desire, from Mexican, Turkish and Thai to freshly cooked calamari, tender dumplings and gourmet burgers. Sweet treats range from chocolate fondue and crepes to cronuts and Greek honey puffs.

Up late: For a slice of night action and a serious selection
 of rum, try the Breakfast Creek Hotel’s Substation no. 41. Here
 you’ll find more than 400 rum varieties including some very top shelf items.

A Brisbane icon, the Breakfast Creek Hotel was built in 1889 and is also famous for its Spanish Garden Steakhouse, which still serves premium steak with coleslaw, tomato, an Idaho potato and 
a bread roll. In the 1970s this would have cost you just $1.50, 
but don’t expect those prices now!

River Walk
Enjoy the River Walk from New Farm to the city. (©PMG)


Morning: Start your day with a French-inspired breakfast of chicken waffles with whipped smoked butter or coconut porridge topped with toasted hazelnuts at The Long Road located at the New Farm end of Brunswick Street.

Work off breakfast and get your body moving with a walk along the Brisbane River Walk starting from Riverview Court at New Farm. You can follow the walk all the way into town down to Eagle Street Pier where you’ll have worked up enough of an appetite to be looking for lunch.

Eagle Street Pier
There are plenty of dining options by the river at Eagle Street Pier. (©PMG)

Midday: Eagle Street Pier offers a wide selection of food choices, from burgers and sushi to seafood and top-end steaks. Check out ARIA Restaurant, Cha Cha Char, Saké, Pony and George’s Paragon Seafood.

Afternoon: Time to pack up and head off home. You’ve done Brisbane proud with your spirit of adventure and have plenty of memories, plus a few extra kilos, to take home.