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Touring a City Icon Ultimate Guide to Brisbane City Hall

Touring a City Icon: Ultimate Guide to Brisbane City Hall

The Brisbane City Hall is one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, serving as a portal to the city’s history and a significant representation of civic pride. 

The towering building in the heart of Brisbane would definitely be hard to miss when walking around the CBD. You can find it in King George Square between Adelaide Street and Ann Street, plus it’s just a short walk away from Queen Street Mall. 

You might think, “why would I want to visit the City Hall?” Well, what’s great about this government building is that you can take a free tour, climb up the clock tower, and even visit its museum! 

There’s really so much more to see and learn about this spectacular city centerpiece. Our ultimate guide to the Brisbane City Hall will help you explore this treasure and see why it’s surely a must-visit! 

Brisbane City Hall Quick Facts

Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor, these quick facts about the Brisbane City Hall would be great little pieces to add to your knowledge of the Sunshine State capital! 

Image Source: Brisbane City Council

The Brisbane City Hall has been an important social and historical landmark for the people of Brisbane since it opened in 1930. Across its history, it stood witness to times of war, peace, and celebration and rightfully earned the title, the “People’s Place.”

To this day, the City Hall upholds its name as a place where the community gathers for various social, civic, historic, and cultural events. 

Some of these events include pageants, school graduations, political meetings, royal receptions, orchestral concerts, and the Lord Mayor’s Seniors Christmas Concerts. 

It’s the Largest City Hall in Australia

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The City Hall of Brisbane remains to be the largest city hall in the country, spanning two acres with a total of 573 rooms. These include the Lord Mayor’s office, Council Chambers, as well as the Museum of Brisbane. 

The clock tower is 92 meters high, while the Corinthian columns by the main entrance from King George Square rise 14 meters. Inside, its grand marble staircase is one of the building’s most iconic features. 

Meanwhile, the largest space in the building is its Main Auditorium, which is inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. Its ceiling has a copper dome that’s 31 meters in diameter – the largest one in Australia.

The City Hall’s architectural style has been characterized as “inter-war academic classical.” It’s also influenced by Greek and Ancient Roman classical design, which were popular styles for major public structures in Australia during the 1920s to 1930s.  

The Clock Tower Bell can be heard all the way from Wynnum

Image Source: Flickr

The sound of the clock chimes from the Brisbane City Hall clock tower can reach all the way to Wynnum, which is about 20 kilometers from the CBD. If you use binoculars, you can read the clock from as far as Camp Hill, which is about 8 kilometers away. 

The clock chimes of the clock tower are called Westminster or Cambridge. They include four bells that weigh over three tonnes and chime every 15 minutes, while another 4.3 tonne striking bell chimes every hour. 

The City Hall Hosted Rockstars and Royalty

Image Source: University of Melbourn Library 

In 1965, the Rolling Stones and Mick Jagger performed at the Brisbane City Hall, which was their first-ever concert in Brisbane. 

Later in 1977, people gathered at King George Square for the official visit of Queen Elizabeth II. 

City Hall Tour 


Fee: Free

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10:30am & 11:30am; Friday – Sunday 1:30pm

When you’re in Brisbane, touring the City Hall is a must! The tour is free and it’s one of the best ways to learn more about the city! 

This is also one of those rare opportunities wherein you’ll get to step inside a heritage-listed building, so it’s really something you can’t miss! You’ll get to marvel at its impressive architecture and discover fascinating stories about its history. 

What’s more, the tour will just take approximately 45 minutes so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the other areas of the building as well as the attractions nearby. 

An important thing to note is that it’s a working civic building, being the seat of the Brisbane City Council. Thus, some areas might not be accessible at certain times. 

The tour is suitable for all ages and each schedule can accommodate up to 20 people. Also, take note that the tour involves climbing up staircases.

Clock Tower tour


Fee: Free

Hours: 10:15am – 4:45pm daily, every 15 minutes

Do you want to see a 360-degree view of the city? You can ride a lift to the top of Brisbane City Hall’s clock tower to get magnificent views all around! 

The clock tower is the city hall’s most iconic feature and the people of Brisbane had always been curious about it since its construction. 

When the building first opened, the clock tower wasn’t accessible to the public yet, but due to popular demand, the city hall then allowed visitors to ride the lift up to the tower. At first, this came with a fee, which was sixpence for adults and half the price for kids. 

Today, you can tour the clock tower for free! The tour is available seven days a week from 10am to 5pm and runs every 15 minutes, accommodating up to seven people at a time. 

The tour is suitable for all ages but children under 12 years old need to be accompanied by an adult. It’s also best to book online to secure a slot as bookings can fill up fast. 

Brisbane City Hall Organ Tour


Fee: Free

Hours: Select Tuesdays, 1:30pm – 2:15pm 

After touring the city hall and scaling the clock tower, you can also get a glimpse of the Father Henry Willis and Sons Organ. This heritage-listed organ is the centerpiece of the Brisbane City Hall Auditorium. 

The organ was built in 1891 to 1892 and has been a backdrop at numerous social, civic, and cultural events such as concerts and other performances. 

Only a few organists are qualified to play this grand instrument, and during the tour, visitors can get some insights from one of these master musicians. 

Museum of Brisbane


Fee: Free

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm

The Museum of Brisbane is another must-see attraction that you can visit for free! It’s located at the third level of Brisbane City Hall and you can access it from the King George Square entrance. 

This is a perfect place to go where you can explore both Brisbane’s history, as well as its contemporary culture. Apart from its rich history, the exhibits celebrate and reflect on the people of Brisbane, their passions, and the ever-evolving life in the community. 

Before visiting, you can check out their website for the latest updates and events. You can join free tours of the museum as well as other walking tours around the city such as Public Art and City Walking Tours.

There are lots of activities that kids will enjoy as well. This includes art workshops like Little Artist’s Eye Spy, Carnivorous Plant Paper Puppets, and Pompom Cactus Studio. 

There are several workshops for teens, too, such as Teen Clay Relief Workshop, Screen Teen Printing Workshop, and Teen Paper Kokedamas Workshop. Just keep an eye out for the dates as they typically schedule these during school holidays. 

In addition, they feature different local artists at their galleries, so there’s always something new to look forward to each time you visit!

When and How to Book

The Brisbane City Hall is open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm and you can visit for free anytime during opening hours. For tours of the city hall, clock tower, and Museum of Brisbane, you can secure a slot through this link

They also accept walk-ins for the tours, but we recommend booking online to guarantee your slot especially if you’re going as a group. 

For bookings of groups of 10 or more, you can call them at (07) 3339 080 or e-mail through [email protected]

During your visit, you can expect school groups visiting as well, so if you wish to join tours, we highly recommend booking online beforehand. 


Within the Brisbane City Hall, you’ll find two cafes that each have unique character. These are spots that are worth checking out after touring the historic halls!  


Location: Basement Level, Brisbane City Hall

Hours: Monday – Friday, 7am – 3pm

Price: $$

“Marhaba” is a welcome greeting in Arabic and it invites you to a sumptuous selection of breakfast and lunch dishes along with great coffee! You’ll love their selection of brews especially if you like notes of milk chocolate and nutty caramel in your cup of joe. 

We also love that their food selection has lots of healthy options with vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free dishes. Some crowd favorites are their BLT on Turkish and Aleppo Chicken and Rice. 

It’s also worth noting that the cafe was opened by award-winning social enterprise, Nundah Co-op, in partnership with the Australian Red Cross. Every Tuesday and Thursday, they give back to the community by opening the Red Cross “Night Cafe.”

Through this initiative, the cafe is able to create a space where young people in need are given hot meals, clothing, warm showers, and support services. 


Location: Level 1, Brisbane City Hall

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 9am – 3pm; Sunday, 10am – 3pm

Price: $$ – $$$

At the Shingle Inn Cafe, you get to relive dining at Brisbane’s oldest cafe that opened in 1936 with its original location on Edward Street. 

After closing in 2002 to make way for the construction of Queens Plaza, it eventually found a new home at the Brisbane City Hall. On the building’s ground floor, the beloved cafe has been restored by the same architectural firm, Hall and Philips. 

We highly recommend visiting the cafe for high tea paired with a scrumptious platter of sandwiches and pastries! 

Some signature items are still available on their menu, such as their Welsh Rarebit, Chicken Maryland, lemon meringue pies, and breakfast waffles with butterscotch sauce. 

Places Worth Visiting Nearby

When in Brisbane, it’s really hard to miss the iconic Brisbane City Hall, as it’s located right in the heart of the CBD. 

This also means that it’s close to other attractions around the city! Here are some of the best places worth visiting nearby that are just a short walk from the historic landmark: 

Queen Street Mall

Image Source: Queen Street Mall Facebook


Location: Queen St, Brisbane City QLD 4000

Contact: +61734038888

Hours: Hours might vary per store

Queen Street Mall is a vibrant and bustling shopping precinct located just a few steps away from the Brisbane City Hall. It’s a great place to visit after exploring the city’s history with a wide array of shops, boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. 

If you’re in need of some retail therapy, this is the best place to go with its diverse style selections, from local designer brands to international luxury and fashion brands. 

It’s also an awesome place to just go for a stroll, as it’s a unique pedestrian mall lined with towering palm trees where you can also enjoy the beautiful weather. 

And for those who’d like to take a break and grab a bite, the mall has numerous options for leisurely dining that offer a range of different culinary experiences. 

Website: n/a

Location: Between Albert and George St., Brisbane QLD 4000

Contact: n/a

Hours: Hours vary per establishment

You can take a side trip to one of Brisbane’s hidden laneways, Burnett Lane, located just on the next block from the City Hall. 

This laneway will surprise you with quaint little cafes, interesting palate pleasers, and pubs that are just the perfect spots to unwind after a long day. You can take a swig of beer, sip some wine, and enjoy some eclectic cocktails! 

What’s more, this little gem is steeped in history as it was once a prison exercise yard during the penal colony days. Today, it’s a vibrant, graffiti-adorned laneway named after one of Queensland’s earliest surveyors, James Charles Burnett. 


Location: Corner of Grey and Melbourne Streets, South Bank, South Brisbane, QLD 4101

Contact: +61 (07) 3153 3000

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9:30am – 5pm

The Queensland Museum is an exciting place for kids and kids at heart wherein you’ll get to explore Queensland’s natural and cultural heritage. 

It’s situated in the city’s vibrant cultural hub in South Bank, which is just about a 15-minute walk from the City Hall. 

The whole family will get to enjoy a diverse range of interactive displays and exhibits, along with a vast collection that spans different disciplines. 

Kids would surely love to embark on a journey through Queensland’s prehistoric past, where they can marvel at dinosaur fossils and ancient marine life. Visitors will also get a deeper understanding about the cultures and traditions of the land’s indigenous people. 

From art and artifacts to immersive displays, the museum fosters an appreciation for the rich cultural heritage that has shaped the region.


Location: Stanley Place, South Brisbane QLD 4101

Contact: +61 (0)7 3840 7303

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm

The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA) are also located within the same cultural precinct in South Bank. 

If you’re an art enthusiast, these galleries are must-visits as they showcase impressive collections form both local and international artists. Their collections range from Australian, Asian, and Pacific art. 

During your visit, you can explore a vast array of paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, and multimedia installations that span various periods and styles. 

As you tour the gallery from the QAG to GOMA, you can experience a seamless transition from classical to contemporary art. 

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