Best free things to do in Brisbane this summer

Become a tourist in your own city and explore Brisbane for free this summer.

By Lou Parker | 16th December 2015

December may have hit you like a punch in the bank account but you’re on HOLIDAYS and you deserve to have some fun. Lucky for you, we know just how you can have an epic summer holiday on a budget. Farewell 2015 and ring in the new year with the best things to do in Brisbane for FREE!

Wonderland Food Markets

You’ll be spoilt for choice with a range of delicious pop-up food and drink options at the Wonderland Food Markets. Enjoy sizzling goodies, baked treats and even a chilled wine as the sun goes down; it’s almost impossible to resist the delicious smells.
Where: Powerhouse Plaza, 119 Lamington Street, New Farm
When:  Thursday to Sunday each week from December 3 to December 20 2015, 6pm-10pm

South Bank Christmas Markets presented by eatSouthBank

Last-minute Christmas shopping is made easy with the endless range of gifts available at the South Bank Christmas Markets. If you’re one of those amazingly organised people who has their shopping under control (teach us your ways!) you can always head down to soak up the atmosphere of twinkling lights, festive decorations and the scent of real Christmas trees.
Where: Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank Parklands
When: December 11 to December 23 2015, 11am-8pm daily

Christmas Carols at South Bank

’Tis the season to be jolly and Brisbane’s not short of festive activities. Head down to The Courier-Mail Piazza for a creative community spin on classic Christmas carols for an evening the whole family will enjoy.
Where: The Courier-Mail Piazza, South Bank Parklands
When: December 17 to December 20 2015, 6.45pm

Christmas Fireworks Spectacular

For five amazing nights, the Christmas Fireworks Spectacular will light up the night sky above the Brisbane River. Grab your mates and head to the Clem Jones Promenade for the best view, or make it a solo celebration when you finish the last of your late-night Christmas shopping in the city.
Where: Clem Jones Promenade, South Bank Parklands
When: December 17 to December 21 2015, 8.15pm

Christmas Cinema Series

What’s better than watching a relaxing moving on a balmy summer’s night? Watching it by the beach, of course! Round up the troops and take a picnic down to Streets Beach to catch free Christmas family classics on the silver screen.
Where: Streets Beach, South Bank Parklands
When: December 17 to December 21 2015, 6.30pm and 8.30pm & December 22 to December 23 2015, 6.30pm

River Cruise

Experience Brisbane on the water! For a cheap day out, put your feet up and travel the Brisbane River on the free CityHopper ferry. The boat runs every half-hour from from Sydney Street in New Farm all the way to North Quay seven days a week.
Where: From Sydney Street ferry terminal, New Farm to North Quay ferry terminal, Brisbane
When: Every half-hour, daily

Have A Laugh

Kick off your weekend in fits of laughter at the Brisbane Powerhouse. From 6pm on Fridays, you’re in for a night of free comedy showcasing some of the city’s funniest local talent with acts to tickle any sense of humour.
Where: Brisbane Powerhouse, 119 Lamington Street, New Farm
When: Every Friday, from 6pm

Brisbane Botanic Gardens

Get your nature fix at Brisbane’s two stunning Botanic Gardens. A trip to these splendid surroundings is the perfect way to get the family outdoors for a picnic, or a quiet place to relax alone as you admire beautiful flora and geographical displays
Where: Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong, and 147 Alice Street, Brisbane
When: Mt Coot-tha: 8am-5pm daily; Brisbane City: 8am-5.30pm daily

Discover Tamborine

Beauty and tranquillity at its finest, Mount Tamborine offers breathtaking scenery and views, abundant wildlife and clean mountain air. You’ll be able to make a day of it with multiple walks, cafés and even wineries along the way.
Where: Mount Tamborine, QLD
When: Daily

Browse Paddington

Spend the day sightseeing in the unique suburb of Paddington, where more than 130 cottages have been transformed into quirky vintage shops, stylish restaurants and fashion businesses. Even if you’re not in the market to buy, you’ll love seeing all this gorgeous boutique area has to offer.
Where: Paddington, QLD
When: Daily


Wind down your weekend with a Sunday sesh of chill beats at Livespark. There’s something for everyone with a variety of indie, pop, jazz, folk, alternative country and rock music from a range of talented musicians. The stage is often graced by newbies and some of the country’s most experienced musicians alike, so you’ll never be short of a good track to sing along to.
Where: Turbine Platform, Brisbane Powerhouse, 119 Lamington Street, New Farm
When: Every Sunday, from 3.30pm


Get your boogie on with fast steps, quick beats and a night full of fun swinging your hips! No matter how well you can cha cha, anyone is welcome to enjoy the live entertainment and free dance lessons on offer.
Where: Cloudland, 641 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
When: Every Thursday, from 8.30pm

Brisbane Greeters’ Tours

Get to know the city with Brisbane Greeters. This free service provides passionate guides who are keen to show you all the best things about living in Brisbane. They know all the trends, all the new hot spots and have the inside word on where’s best to take people in the River City. Whether you’re a local, on holiday or want to show visitors around, Brisbane Greeters is a great way to explore what’s on and available.
Where: For days and times, visit

Queensland Museum

This is the perfect adventure for all ages. General admission is free, though entry charges apply to some special events and exhibitions and the Sciencentre. Be wowed and inspired by the variety of natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement on display, or bring the kids along for some exciting activities such as the Discovery Centre or the Lost Creatures exhibit. Whatever you choose, you’ll be bursting with new knowledge after a day at the museum!
Where: Queensland Museum, Corner of Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Brisbane
When: 9.30am-5pm daily

Latin Fridays

Head to Reddacliff Place (outside the Treasury Casino) on a Friday night for free Latin dancing classes! Although Latin Fridays have been going strong for some years, few people know about it. Get to know some basic moves with a free informal dance class, then use your new mad skillz to mingle with your fellow dancers. Head out for a drink afterwards to spend more time with your new friends!
Where: Reddacliff Place, outside the Treasury Casino, Brisbane
When: Friday nights, from 7pm


The Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) is a single institution spread across two riverside buildings in South Bank’s Cultural Precinct. This summer, you’re spoilt for choice with all their free exhibitions. Experience stellar works from Asia, the Pacific and Australia with APT8. Kids can have their own APT8 experience with interactive artworks, hands-on and multimedia activities created especially for children and families. Explore Charles Blackman’s important connections with Queensland artists and writers in the Lure of the Sun exhibit, or pay a visit to the permanent collections, which feature Australian, Indigenous, international and Asian works for all to enjoy.
Where: QAGOMA, Cultural Precinct, South Bank
When: 10am-5pm daily

Trivia at The Fox Hotel

Put your obscure bank of knowledge to good use at The Fox Hotel’s weekly foodie-based trivia nights! Journey through secret ingredients, mystery varietals and delicious dishes as you taste-test and hazard a guess on your way to victory. With foodie prizes up to the value of $1000 each week, people will be rushing to secure a place.
Where: The Fox Hotel, 71-73 Melbourne Street, South Brisbane
When: Every Wednesday, from 7.30pm