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20 Weekend Ideas and Fun Things to do in Brisbane

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by Roy Chambers (subscribe)
Lover of all things interesting and new
Published March 30th 2016
There is no excuse to be bored on the weekend in Brisbane
The weekend comes around every week (go figure). There is always something to do in the city from early morning through to late in the evening. Here are 20 great ideas for your weekend.

Find something to do this weekend
Find something to do this weekend


It is amazing how some people are unable to find anything to do on the weekend, yet Brisbane has many fantastic activities. Most items on this list are free and the rest are dirt cheap.

1. Visit a park

There are lots of parks in Brisbane. Walking around Roma Street Parklands or the Brisbane Botanic Gardens is always a pleasure, but there are also many amazing little parks that people have never heard of. You can visit the ones on this list, this one, or this one, but you can also just find a green patch near you on a map and visit.

Roma Street Parklands
Roma Street Parklands


2. Go for a walk

There are lots of places to go for a walk around Brisbane. My top three are Woody Point to Redcliffe, Wynnum to Manly and from Teneriffe to the City along the river via the Riverwalk. But there are many other great places to walk as well. Check out this list as well. Then if you want to find somewhere a little more wild to stroll, then this list is for you.

Walkers at Manly
Walkers at Manly


3. Go Cycling

Too many cyclists take it a bit too seriously, in which case you don't need this list as you have already cycled 100 km and are back home. However there are lots of places to get on a bicycle and go for a casual ride around Brisbane. Toombul to Nudgee Beach or the Bondall Wetlands are two must do rides. But beach rides like Shorncliffe to Redcliffe or Wynnum to Manly are also fun. If you want a more serious ride, you can ride from Mitchelton all the way out to Scarbourough , riding on bike paths most of the way.

A family cycling at the Boondall Wetlands
A family cycling at the Boondall Wetlands


4. Go for a hike

You can do some serious hiking in the Brisbane area. Mt Coot-tha has both easy and challenging paths to take, while Lake Enoggera, Gold Creek Dam and Lake Manchester are beautiful bushwalks all within the Brisbane area. Let's lot forget Daisy Hill Conservation Park or the Chermside Hills Reserve, among many other bushland reserves. You can even do a 2 day hike with camping without leaving the Brisbane City Council Area from Lake Manchester to Enoggera. There are also many other great hikes within an hour of Brisbane.

Hiker on the Bellbird Track at Mt Coot-tha
Hiker on the Bellbird Track at Mt Coot-tha


5. Visit an Art Gallery

Most people consider the Cultural Precinct the main place for art in Brisbane. The two main galleries there are the Queensland Art Gallery and GoMA. They are definitely worth visiting at least once ever 3 months to see the changing exhibitions. The State Library also features art exhibitions from time to time. There are a number of other public art galleries around Brisbane. The galleries at QUT Garden Point and The University of Queensland often have very interesting and varied exhibitions. Then you will find little exhibitions featuring local artwork at the Petrie Terrace Gallery and the Richard Randall Studio at the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. If you search around you will find many more art galleries.

The Gallery of Modern Art
The Gallery of Modern Art


6. Visit a Museum

Brisbane is not famous for its museums, but there is still some great ones to visit. The Queensland Museum is worth popping into. There is usually a free section as well as ticketed exhibitions. The Science Centre is also a fun place to visit. Nearby the State Library of Queensland usually hosts several historical exhibitions in various rooms around the Library. Let's not forget the Museum of Brisbane in the Brisbane City Hall. The MacArthur Museum located in General Douglas MacArthur's WWII office is one of Brisbane's little secrets that few people visit. The Maritime Museum impresses everyone who visits it. Out at Ipswich The Workshops Rail Museum is popular among both train enthusiasts and families.

The Maritime Museum at South Bank
The Maritime Museum at South Bank


7. See a free outdoor concert

The two main places for free outdoor music is South Bank and Brisbane Square in front of the casino. But there is free music, especially at markets. It is even better when they have an event in a park. However, because this schedule changes all the time, all I can say is keep a watch on the WeekendNotes site for events that are coming up.

A free concert at Brisbane Square
A free concert at Brisbane Square


8. Visit a market

One of the best activities on a weekend is to visit a market. I like that I can pick up a week's supply of fruit and vegetables, buy some gourmet food options such as bread, fish or meats, have breakfast, brunch or lunch, listen to some music and browse the stalls, all in one place. There are markets for all times of the day, in all locations with all sorts of options. You can head to your local market, though there are definitely some great markets that are worth a trip. I have a fondness for the coastal markets where you can combine a market trip with a coastal walk.

The Manly Creative Markets
The Manly Creative Markets


9. Go shopping somewhere different

Too many of the shopping districts in Brisbane are basically the same shops as everywhere else. However it is fun to head off to areas full of independent shops and quirky outlets to browse. One of the best of these is Paddington. However you can have fun browsing the antique shops in Wooloongabba, wandering around African shops in Moorooka or shopping for hard to find Asian groceries in Sunnybank.

A shop in Paddington
A shop in Paddington


10. Watch the sunrise

I may be a little weird as I love getting up early on weekends. The best reward for rising early is a great sunrise. My preferred spot is at the summit of Mt Coot-tha after hiking up, but you can drive up as well. You can also head to the coast. Woody Point, Shorncliff, Victoria Point and Wellington Point are all great sunrise locations.

Sunrise over Brisbane's suburbs
Sunrise over Brisbane's suburbs


11. Watch the sunset

Not everyone wants to wake up early, so you can watch the sunset instead. The two best spots for this that I know of are Mt Gravatt in the south and the Milne Hill Reserve in the Northern Suburbs. Other spots can include the Kangaroo Point Cliffs for sunsets behind the city.

Sunset seen from Milne Hill Reserve
Sunset seen from Milne Hill Reserve


12. Have a barbecue in a park

While it is nice to have people around for a barbecue I would rather go out to a park (though I don't mind visiting people when they have a pool). Brisbane's parks are full of barbecues. Some popular spots include South Bank where you can swim, Roma Street Parklands, where it is legal to drink, New Farm Park where people drink anyway and Captain Burke Park underneath the story bridge. Other popular spots include any of Brisbane's coastal or beachside areas. .

Captain Burke Park seen from the Story Bridge
Captain Burke Park seen from the Story Bridge


13. Go for a swim

My advice for swimming on weekends in Brisbane is to arrive early. Most swimming pools are packed during the day if the weather is hot. South Bank's beach is not that much different. Here are a list of great swimming pools in Brisbane as well as heated pools for winter. You can also swim at Redcliffe's Lagoon, Suttons Beach and at Wynnum's Rock Pool.

Suttons Beach at Redcliffe
Suttons Beach at Redcliffe


14. Go on a tour

Okay, so you are a local, but you can still do a tour. A river tour is a cool way to relax. Most include food, coffee or even meals and entertainment. However, also consider the walking tours at the Boondall Wetlands or Brisbane Botanic Gardens. For something different, why not try a ghost tour. There are also walking tours of the city such as the BrisBeat walking tours.

The River Tour Cafe Boat at Jetty B at South Bank
The River Tour Cafe Boat at Jetty B at South Bank


15. Join a class

The Brisbane City Council organises a number of free or very cheap classes around Brisbane. You can learn to cook your favourite Thai food or how to compost in your backyard. There are even dance classes, where I have learnt how to salsa, waltz and foxtrot (badly, but that is more about my inherit lack of rhythm than problems with the classes.) There are classes for everyone including everyone from babies to retirees.

Free Dance Class at South Bank
Free Dance Class at South Bank


16. Heritage Trails

While Brisbane doesn't have a lot of history and a lot of it has been lost, there are some interesting heritage trails to walk on. Some of these are very popular, especially Bulimba or the combination of the Reflections on the River Art Trail at Kangaroo Point followed by the[ LINK=https://www.weekendnotes.com/secrets-of-south-brisbane-heritage-trail/]Secrets of South Brisbane Heritage Trail[/LINK].

The GPO laneway on the city heritage trail
The GPO laneway on the city heritage trail


17. Visit some cool suburbs

Brisbane has some interesting suburbs worth the trip. My top 10 suburbs to visit in no particular order are:

1. Sandgate which is a lovely village by the sea

2. Manly which is similar but in the south

3. Moorooka for African culture and food

4. Sunnybank for Asian Culture 5.

St Lucia for the University of Queensland

6. Redcliffe as one of the most interesting places in the greater Brisbane area with shopping, cafes, restaurants, swimming, galleries, museums and much more

7. Bulimba for the Heritage trail and the trendy cafes

8. The Gap forEnoggera Dam

9. Paddington for the shopping

10. Chermside for more lots of nice little cafes, specialty grocery stores, nice restaurants and the Downfall Creek Bikeway.

Sandgate is one suburb worth a trip
Sandgate is one suburb worth a trip


18. Play some sport

Brisbane has a lot of free facilities for sport. We are not just talking exercise, but basketball half courts, handball walls, cricket pitches, soccer fields and even some free tennis courts (which are nearly impossible to find much information about.) There is really no excuse not to grab a basketball and play some one-on-one with a friend or take a soccer ball with several friends and play a game.

A basketball half-court in a park
A basketball half-court in a park


19. Join a fitness group or class

Thanks to the Brisbane City Council's active parks program you can do a wide range of activities in Brisbane parks. It is hard to keep track of all of these, and they change on a regular basis, but regular activities include the increasingly popular park runs along with things like yoga in the park or kids fitness activities. They even organise free or very cheep activities such as canoeing or abseiling (sign up quick or you will miss out).

Tai Chi at South Bank
Tai Chi at South Bank


20. Star gazing

There are several astronomy groups around Brisbane. They routinely organise public nights to share the joy of watching the stars at night. They turn up in all sorts of places including the summit at Mt Coot-tha. They are usually very happy to answer any questions you have and give you the chance to look through a telescope. Here is a list of astronomy clubs in Queensland.

Mt Coot-tha Summit at night
Mt Coot-tha Summit at night
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Why? Do something on the weekend
Your Comment
Great article Roy you put a lot of work into it!
by schal (score: 2|155) 928 days ago
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