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7 Things to do in the Brisbane CBD

Home > Brisbane > Architecture | Exhibitions | Galleries | Gardens | Historic Houses | Lists
by Lynne Cargill (subscribe)
I'm a grandmother, a retired teacher, an avid reader and Pinterest addict who loves historical re-enactment, English Country Dance, writing and Op Shopping. My business www.Step Into History.com.au is designed to help children experience history.
Published December 22nd 2016
How Well Do You Know Your Home town?
7 Things to do in the Brisbane CBD

When I recently had to vacate my home due to asbestos removal, I decided to spend the 3 days in the City. I managed to have a great holiday spending very little money. The weather was overcast and showery but it didn't matter at all.

Here's what I did. This is of course a mere selection of what is available. I didn't shop or eat out. I didn't go to South Bank or the Museum or the Art Galleries.

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House
The view from my room. All photos by writer.



1.BRISBANE MUSEUM

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
City Hall - home to Museum of Brisbane.


This beautiful space - on the 3rd Floor of City Hall - has hosted so many exhibitions and each one is brilliantly curated. At the moment the exhibitions are 100% Brisbane and Ink Remix, Contemporary Art from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

INK REMIX is a fabulous exploration of new developments in ink art, which has emerged as one of the most important recent artistic trends in Asia. My favourite parts were the painted boots by Peng Wei and the Peng Hung-Chih's dog licking the wall clean to reveal writing.

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House
This is only half of the installation.


Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House
Watch the words appear.


Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House
Stunning boots.


100% BRISBANE
As someone who grew up in Brisbane, I just loved this exhibition. As you enter you are greeted by a huge screen with three indigenous people welcoming you.

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House
Welcome to country.


Further in there is a brilliant short film of actor and author William McInnes sharing his memories and impressions of the evolution of Brisbane. It is beautifully done. (Watch the clever way photographs turn into objects.)

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House
A model of a tram.


I got very nostalgic looking at the history of trams. I loved trams and remember going with my Grandma on the last day they ran. I still have the ticket somewhere.

Other things you can do in City Hall are visit the tower or go on a tour. Keep your strength up with a coffee and snack from the Shingle Inn cafe on the ground floor or the Red Cross Cafe in the basement. Long term residents of Brisbane will remember the iconic Red Cross Cafe - even though it has a new name, it is still run by the Red Cross.

Open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm (except public holidays) entry to the Museum and all tours are free.

2. CHURCHES

My favourite church from the outside is The Albert Street Uniting Church, previously the Wesley Methodist. Even though it has been built in by skyscrapers it is still elegant and classy.

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
Albert St UnIting Church


For it's beautiful interior I love St Stephen's Cathedral with its stations of the cross. You can join a guided tour on weekday mornings and see the architecture of the old St Stephen's chapel as well as the new St Stephen's church.


Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
The Cathedral of St Stephen. 249 Elizabeth St


You can also visit the St Andrew's Uniting Church on the corner of Ann and Creek Streets which houses the Vera Wade Art Gallery, fostering artists who find the visual arts enrich their lives and faith. Also worth seeing is St John's Anglican Cathedral at 373 Ann Street


3. ARCHITECTURE
There are some stunning building still in use in Brisbane. The most unusual is probably Customs House with its green domed roof. Old Government House at the Botanical Gardens is home to the William Robinson Gallery and is very interesting, There is also the Casino and many random buildings to see.

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
Customs House


Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
The Old and the New.


Brisbane CBD, Old Government House
Old Government House br


Brisbane CBD, Old Government House, Customs House
Customs House


4. CITY BOTANICAL GARDENS

Our gardens are really accessible and a very popular place to sit and relax, walk or bike. You can even enjoy a guided walk.There are ponds with ducks, fountains, wide paths through the gardens or along the river. See the Rainforest Garden, Cuban Royal Palm Lawn, Fig Tree Gardens, Bamboo Grove, Camellia Arbour, City Gardens Cafe, Brisbane River Stage and more.

There is sometimes entertainment in the adjacent QUT grounds. You can also find several good cafes there. While there call in at the QUT Art Museum or see what's on at the Garden's Point Theatre.

Brisbane CBD, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House
Watch the boats from the Gardens.


Brisbane CBD, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House
A huge playground if you have kids with you.



Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
Lovely wide paths for walking or cycling





5. ON THE RIVER

Okay I admit I just walked beside the river and didn't actually go on any of the vessels but I have been on them in the past.
You can travel by ferry, by City Cat or the free CityHopper service which travels regularly between Sydney Street, New Farm, and North Quay.

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
A pleasant walk from the top of town to the Gardens.


Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
Lots of choice of river travel .


The Kookaburra Queen paddle wheeler will take you on a journey of Brisbane's best sights including the beautiful Botanic Gardens, Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Southbank precinct, the Story Bridge while providing a 3-course meal.

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
The elegant Kookaburra Queen.



6. PARKS

Apart from the gardens, Anzac Square and Post Office Square are both delightful. Anzac Square has a number of historical statues and is home to the Shrine of Remembrance and The Crypt, World War 2 Gallery and Post World War 2 Gallery These have been closed for restoration but will reopen to the public on 9 January 2017.

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
Anzac Square


Post Office Square is a pleasant green space with benches and grassy spots. Also, Chairs2Share provides free deck chairs to allow you to relax in comfort in the Brisbane sunshine. Chairs are available from 9:00 to 3:00 Monday to Friday.

Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
Post Office Square


7. HERITAGE TRAIL

Follow the Heritage Trail signs through historic plazas and squares to see 20 of the significant artworks and memorials depicting Brisbane's history. Click on the link to see the online map and table which has a description of each stop. Commencing at King George Square the 1.3 kilometre walk finishes at St Stephen's Cathedral on Elizabeth Street.

Follow the trail.


Brisbane CBD, City Hall. Exhibitions, Brisbane Museum, Anzac Square, Botanical Gardens, Old Government House, Customs House, Churches, Ferry, River, Markets
A view of Anzac Square.
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Why? Explore your own city.
Where: Brisbane CBD
Your Comment
Wow there is so much to do!
by Jay Johnson (score: 3|1368) 897 days ago
Unfortunately I had commitments out of town. I'm going to have to do the rest in day trips.
by Lynne Cargill (score: 2|746) 897 days ago
You'll have to come and visit.
by Lynne Cargill (score: 2|746) 897 days ago
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