Our Family Guide to Exploring Brisbane City
Brisbane City is a walkable city that is full of art, culture and so much green space. The city caters really well for families and there is so much to do with the kids. And there is even lots to do if you can get a babysitter!
This is family central and a wonderful place to base the family as there is plenty to do in the South Bank area. In the middle of the city is the South Bank Beach. This area feels and looks like a beach with sand and large pools with lifeguards. The area has picnic tables with free bbqs and lots of seating. There are coffee shops and ice-cream places very close by too.
On the weekend there are the South Bank Markets which are wonderful to wander through and pick up a unique handmade piece.
The South Bank area has rows and rows of bars and restaurants and also large grass areas to sit and have a picnic. The archways lining the paths around South Bank provide a trellis for the beautiful pink flowers that make South Bank a happy kinda place.
Just up from the South Bank area, past the Brisbane Wheel is the Museum area. It begins with QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre) which is where you can book to see amazing plays and musicals. Along from QPAC is the group of museums that the kids will love. Starting with the Science Museum which in part is free including the dinosaurs which are huge and the kids will love. Often there are exhibitions that you can pay to enter and explore in depth. Next is the Art Museum which our kids appreciate and enjoy exploring, and there can be hands on experiences during the school holidays. Our favourite is the GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) where there is always a dedicated children’s area where the activities are hands on and interactive. The kids find the GOMA a real highlight of Brisbane. In between the two art galleries is the State Library which again has school holiday activities for the kids. The Library is a lovely building to explore and has a children’s section.
City Botanical Gardens
The City Botanical Gardens is a large space so close to the city and with a lot of paths to take and explore. The Gardens has a large playground for the kids to explore and run around. We took many paths in the Botanical Gardens which led us to different types of plants and environments. There were lots of chairs to rest on a coffee shop to have a pit stop at.
Brisbane City Hall
Right next to the Queens Street Mall is the Brisbane City Hall that is the home of the Brisbane Museum and the Clock Tower. Head up to the third floor to get you free tickets for the tour of the Clock Tour. Only 8 people at a time can be on the viewing platform. You will need to get your ticket in the morning and there will be a return time on the ticket. We had to wait half an hour which gave us enough time to look at the small Brisbane Museum.
Eagle St Pier
Just near the City Botanical Gardens is the Eagle Street Pier which an area for restaurants and bars. It is also a central place to catch a ferry across to different parts of the city. The ferries come every 10mins and go up river or down river. You can buy a ticket with cash only on board or use your GO card which means a cheaper fare and it is a tap on/tap off system.
Queens Street Mall
This area is the shopping district of Brisbane and it is where all the main chain stores are. Part of the mall is pedestrian only and there are restaurants along the middle of the Mall. There are many shopping malls off the Queens Street strip to explore. The Queens Street Mall is across the bridge from South Bank and also walking distance to the Eagle Street Pier.
The Valley is known for its mix of eccentric shops, weekend markets funky restaurants and adult entertainment places (not the place for kids after 5pm). The restaurants that we found great for date night are Kwan Brothers and a cocktail beforehand next door at one of the many bars, we loved Dutch Courage Officer’s Mess. The Valley has many laneways for coffee and record shops to grab that second hand vinyl. After Date Night head to Holey Moley which is a new concept in Brisbane – Mini Golf inside a beautiful old church with a bar!
Boundary Street in the West end is a long street with bars, breweries, restaurants and the Jungle tiki bar. We had a lovely evening visiting a few places. We ended up at Chop Chop Chang’s which is an Asian fusion eatery which the kids would love as the service is fast, the meals are to share and the flavours are amazing.
Brisbane being the big city it is there are so many accommodation options from hotels and Airbnbs. We were lucky to be guests of Airbnb and the amazing Luxury Glass House. You can read about our stay here.
A website that we love to refer to is the Brisbane Kids Website which is jammed packed with up to date info on all the activities for kids in and around Brisbane.
And when you have finished exploring Brisbane head an hour south to explore the Sunny Beaches of the Gold Coast. Read all our Gold Coast tips here.