10 Ways to Experience the Cool Side of Brisbane

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Book Flights

Sep 01, 2015

by JOHN BIRMINGHAM, Writer

Wake up and smell the (single-origin) coffee, Australia: there’s a new capital of cool. A burgeoning food scene, hip hotels and edgy urban spaces are earning Brisbane serious cultural cred.

West End markets

Every Saturday morning. Even if you’re not shopping for produce, the huge marketplace down by the river is the perfect place to while away a couple of hours.

Walking the old waterfront, down Teneriffe way

The one-time wool-packing district is a great spot to wander around and take in some architecture and river views.

Shopping and eating on boutique-and café-lined James Street

Grab a brew at Jamie’s Espresso Bar, one of the pioneers of the new-look Brisbane.

Work out at the University of Queensland 

You can ride your bike, or a city cycle, out there on the dedicated cycleway; use the pool, gym and tennis courts; or run around one of the country’s most beautiful campuses.

Ride the cat

Catch a CityCat back from the uni. It sweeps up the river for half an hour, letting you see the city from an entirely new perspective.

Bookshop tour

From the crime and sci-fi nerds at Pulp Fiction to the million second-hand volumes at Archives and the smarter-than-thou think space of Folio Books, Brisbane has some great independent booksellers in the city and the inner suburbs. 

Tour the cocktail haunts of South Brisbane

There has been such a Cambrian explosion of bar life here, it’s impossible to track every new opening. Finish up in West End, at The End bar.

Lunch on the river at Stokehouse

With superb food and booming views across the water. For dinner, try the degustation at Esquire, one of the country’s best and most intriguing experimental diners.

Check to see what’s touring at GoMA

Then go anyway to spend a morning with the art in a vast, postmodern cathedral-like space. The State Library, just next door, has good kids’ programs. And the gardens of South Bank beckon for a stroll.

Do a lazy lunch

In the summer months, old Brisbane takes lunch in the beer garden of the Victory Hotel. For a longer session, the Breakfast Creek Hotel is still considered the go.

SEE ALSO: The best places to eat, shop, stay and play in Brisbane