Thinking of escaping to Brisbane for a weekend away? You should! There’s so much to do and see, and we’ve got plenty of ideas to inspire the perfect weekend getaway in Queensland’s marvellous capital!
A beautifully laid-back city with culinary wonders, culture hotspots, romantic experiences, and blissfully warm weather, Brisbane doesn’t disappoint travellers. With this handy guide to what to see and do, you’ll have the perfect 48 Hour stay in Brisbane.
Related article: Looking for Queensland’s Best Romantic Accommodation? Find it here!
Friday afternoon & evening
After checking in somewhere sumptuous for your two-day Brisbane stay, you’re probably going to want to get out and see the city’s sights. Ditch the tourist-y, well, tours, grab a Translink Card, and head to the closest City Cat terminal. You can get to so many places via Brisbane’s City Cats. Still, as you are easing into your Brisbane short break, we suggest simply cruising over to Southbank for an afternoon cocktail at one of the trendy river-side restaurants and a walk to The Queensland Art Gallery and Museum of Modern Art where you can easily spend a few hours.
For dinner, you are spoiled for choices. If you are a fan of Italian eats, check out the alfresco dining locale Persone or devour the Sichuan flavours and authentic Cantonese cuisine at what is arguably Brisbane’s best Chinese restaurant, Donna Chang’s.
If you want to head a bit further afield (literally two minutes’ drive from Brisbane’s CBD), head to Paddington and grab a table at Brisbane icon Gambaro’s Seafood Restaurantfor fine dining or indulge yourselves at nostalgic speakeasy Seymour’s Cocktails & Oysters on the same street. Not ready to retire for the evening? Walk just a few steps to let your hair down at one of Brisbane’s best live music venues and cocktail bars (Gourmet Traveller named this spot its best bar of the year in 2014), Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall.
Note: You can even stay at Gambaro’s boutique, luxury hotel in trendy Paddington – read our review.
If you consider yourselves a fitness-focused couple, get your day off to a revitalising start and hike Mt Coot-tha. At the top you’ll find breathtaking views of Brisbane and its surrounds, plus a lovely cafe for breakfast. If you prefer to take things a little easier on holiday, don’t worry – it’s accessible by car and bus, too. However you get to this brilliant spot, top it off by visiting Slaughter Falls at the mountain’s base. Here, follow a gentle walking track surrounded by beautiful bushland to reach a spectacular waterfall and swimming hole… just under 20 minutes from the CBD!
Planning a lazy sleep-in? Brisbane is great for enjoying a leisurely brunch – top spots include Paddington’s Kettle & Tin, West End’s The Gunshop Cafe, South Brisbane’s Scout (with an all-day brunch menu) and Pineapple Express in shopping-and-dining hotspot James Street Precinct.
With breakfast sorted, get out and soak up Brisbane’s famous sunshine by wandering through the Powerhouse Farmer’s Markets before literally smelling the roses at New Farm Park just next door. Top tip – pick up some goodies from the markets for a romantic picnic under the park’s giant fig trees.
Weather not so wonderful? Head to the Fortitude Valley’s beloved Holey Moley for quirky-themed, adult-friendly putt-putt in a converted church. Or, if you didn’t get to your culture-fix at the Gallery of Modern Art and the Queensland Museum in South Brisbane on Friday afternoon, we recommend you make sure you get there today.
Toast the second night of your romantic getaway at one of the Fortitude Valley’s best wine-and-dine spots. Amongst the pulsing nightclubs you’ll stumble across acclaimed culinary gems like the APO, LONgTIME and Madam Rouge.
If you’re on the south side of the river, make your way to Fish Lane for more foodie havens and eye-catching street-art. Julius Pizzeria, Chu the Phat, hole-in-the-wall bar Maker, Wandering Cooks and Gauge all call this street home. Top it all off by grabbing an ice-cream cone of something delightful at local fave Gelato Messina before hopping on the nearby Wheel of Brisbane and taking in sigh-inducing views.
If you’ve got all day to spare, venture out and see Brisbane’s wonderful neighbourhoods. For a coastal day-trip, drive 45 minutes north of the CBD to the charming seaside town of Redcliffe. Home to tiny golden-sand beaches and harbour-side hangouts serving no-fuss seafood straight from the trawlers, this sun-kissed spot is also where you can hop aboard a whale-watching cruise.
If you are make the most of your last day in Brisbane, enjoy both Brisbane’s urban and riverside lifestyle at the cherished Eat Street Northshore (opens 4pm). A hub for sensational street-food, this foodie playground is where vendors sell amazing international cuisine out of converted shipping containers. With a riverside location and unique touches like a giant disco ball, fairylight-lit dining halls and vibrant neon signs, it’s perfect for live music, food and river breezes.
Events and festivals to look out for
Whether you plan your getaway around an event or it just happens to be on when you’re in town, there are plenty of incredible things to check out year-round in Brisbane.
A winner with food-lovers, the Night Noodle Markets transforms South Bank into a massive Asian street-food wonderland and is definitely worth visiting (due to return in 2022 after closing due to Covid – at the time of publishing dates were yet to be announced but be sure to Google for updates!). Also in the area, Regional Flavours welcomes an excellent lineup of celebrity chefs to showcase their talents in (returning in 2022 – check this site for annual date updates), while Brisbane Festival (usually in September, updates here) celebrates international and local theatre, music, dance, circus and opera, and concludes with the renowned spectacle that is Sunsuper Riverfire.
Thinking of catching a show while in Brisbane? The city’s main theatre QPAC hosts everything from ballets to musicals and world-class comedy.
Brisbane has so much happening, and it really is a fabulous destination for your next romantic getaway or weekend away. Add a few days either side and visit the Gold Coast or Sunshine Coast. You could add all three and have the perfect Queensland honeymoon or holiday and easily spend a week or two exploring the southeast!
Planning a Queensland getaway? Find the perfect accommodation here…