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The Ultimate Brisbane Culture Guide

The Ultimate Brisbane Culture Guide

Brisbane has a rich cultural landscape that’s worth exploring. In fact, it’s the perfect destination to take a deep dive into Australian culture through various historical and contemporary attractions within and around the city!  

Learn about Brisbane’s history, take part in unique cultural experiences, immerse yourself into its art and music scene, and discover more hidden gems along the way! 

Discover more about Queensland’s capital with our ultimate Brisbane culture guide! 

1. The Brisbane Powerhouse

The Brisbane Powerhouse
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

First up, we have The Brisbane Powerhouse, a 1920’s power station recreated as Queensland’s contemporary art and culture hub on the Brisbane River in New Farm. 

Locals and visitors enjoy over 1,000 events and performances every year from music performances, dramas, films, dance, comedy, visual arts, and more. 

A number of festivals are also held here such as the MELT Festival, Night Feast, Brisbane Comedy Festival, and OHM Festival of Other Music.

The Brisbane Powerhouse 2
Image Source: Brisbane Powerhouse Facebook Page

With a spectacular view of the river, Brisbane Powerhouse is a must-visit spot to enjoy performances at an iconic venue. 

To give you an overview, it has two main theaters, three smaller performance spaces, galleries, corporate facilities, Powerhouse Store, as well as restaurants and bars! You can even book the space for a private event like weddings and other celebrations. 

The Brisbane Powerhouse 3
Image Source: Brisbane Powerhouse Facebook Page
Pro Tip: The Brisbane Powerhouse has limited parking, so if you’re bringing a car make sure to arrive early! We also encourage taking other modes of transport such as the bus, taxi, rideshare, ferry, bike, etc. 
LocationYagara Country, 119 Lamington St, New Farm QLD 4005
Contact[email protected] / (07) 3358 8622 

2. Nurri Millen Totem Trail – Boondall Wetlands 

Nurri Millen Totem Trail - Boondall Wetlands
Image Source: Flickr / Brisbane City Council

There’s so much to explore at Boondall Wetlands where you’ll find the Nurri Millen Totem Trail. Along the trail, you’ll find 18 contemporary totems that were created by well-known indigenous artist, Ron Hurley, in 1996.

They are made of aluminum and were crafted in different shapes that represent flora, fauna, food, camp life, tools, and the Dreaming. Each totem is positioned at a particular spot to highlight its cultural significance in the Boondall Wetlands. 

Nurri Millen Totem Trail - Boondall Wetlands 2
Image Source: Flickr / Brisbane City Council

The cultural site is very accessible from the city center located just 15 kilometers north of Brisbane. 

Apart from the Nurri Millen Totem Trail, there’s even more to explore as you can also visit the Boondall Wetlands Environment Centre to learn more about the area. You can also do other activities such as birdwatching, biking, kayaking, and picnics! 

Pro Tip: When taking a walk at Boondall Wetlands, always bring a hat and pack an insect repellent and sunscreen. If you’re not familiar with the trail, bring a map or download the trail map on your phone through
LocationBoondall, QLD 4034
ContactBrisbane City Council – 07 3403 8888

3. Queensland Museum and Sciencentre

Queensland Museum and Sciencentre
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Queensland Museum and Sciencentre is a must-visit cultural attraction that the whole family can enjoy! 

The museum is home to Queensland’s wealth of cultural and natural heritage with a collection of more than a million items that hold special significance in the state’s history. 

It features a series of exhibits ranging from prehistoric displays, scientific discoveries across Queensland’s evolution, as well as modern achievements. You can check out their website for their current exhibits. 

Meanwhile, the Sciencentre features SparkLab that lets children experience interactive displays through the Maker Space, Science Bar, and Science on the Sphere. 

Queensland Museum and Sciencentre 2
Image Source: Queensland Museum Facebook Page

The exhibits revolve around science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and kids can learn how they’re applied to everyday life. 

This is really a great learning experience for the whole family especially if you have children ages 6 to 13 years old. 

Entrance to the Queensland Museum is free but some exhibits or areas charge a fee. 

Other museums worth visiting are the Workshops Rail Museum, the Cobb+Co Museum, and the Museum of Tropical Queensland

Pro Tip: Visitors usually spend around 2 to 3 hours at the Queensland Museum and it’s best to go on weekdays to avoid the crowd. The best time to go is from opening at 9:30am to around noon or from 2pm until closing time at 5pm. 
LocationGrey Street &, Melbourne St, South Brisbane QLD 4101
Contact+61 (07) 3153 3000
The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The fusion of the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art in one space will really take you to an unforgettable visual experience!

Located on the South Bank with spectacular views of the Brisbane river and stunning architecture, it really draws you in to take a peak at its alluring art marvels.  

Established in 1895, the Queensland Art Gallery moved to its South Bank location in 1982, while the Gallery of Modern Art joined the space in 2006. 

The Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art 2
Image Source: Flickr / Rob Deutscher

Together known as QAGOMA, the galleries now exhibit a monumental collection of Australian art, as well as pieces from artists in Asia and the Pacific regions. 

QAGOMA also features a Children’s Art Centre that showcases interactive artworks, a cinema, books, a gallery shop, and an outdoor cafe and restaurant. 

Entrance to the gallery is free and also comes with free guided tours. Check out their website to see what’s on. 

Pro Tip: QAGOMA is very accessible from the Brisbane CBD by foot by crossing either Kurilpa footbridge or Victoria bridge. 
You can even visit other attractions before heading to QAGOMA such as the Museum of Brisbane inside the iconic Brisbane City Hall. 
It’s also very convenient to take the bus or ferry to the gallery. If you’re bringing a car, enter Stanley Place on your GPS and you can either park under QAG or the State Library of Queensland.
LocationStanley Pl, South Brisbane QLD 4101
Contact[email protected] / +61 73840 7303

5. Coffee, Books, and Art in Paddington

Coffee, Books, and Art in Paddington
Image Source: Pexels

Are you up for exploring the streets for good coffee, books, and eclectic artwork? Take a stroll around Paddington, a suburb in Brisbane filled with art galleries, boutiques, art and book shops, and cafes where you can relax between your stops.

A diverse community of artists thrive in Paddington, so if you want to find a unique souvenir, you’d most likely find it here! From art prints, books, and trinkets to clothing, vintage finds, and homeware, surely you’ll find something that’ll catch your eye! 

Some of the galleries that you can visit are the Lethbridge Gallery, Latrobe Art Space, Robyn Bauer Studio, Red Sand Art Gallery, and Red Hill Gallery

When it comes to homeware, books, and other unique finds, you can pass by the Green Tangerine, Thousand Island Dressing, Bowerbird Collections, and Blake & Taylor.


Meanwhile, Scrumptious Reads combines an art and book shop with a gallery that showcases works from local artists. 

For your caffeine fix, you can stop by Anouk, Paddington Social, Kettle & Tin, Lil Gypsy, and Milo & Maisie Coffee Co.

Nothing says cozy and laid-back like books, art, and coffee! 

Pro Tip: If you want to eat your way through Paddington, visiting during the annual Taste of the Terraces dining festival would be a great experience! 
It’s going to be a 3-day food affair as more than 30 restaurants will be offering special discounts and whipping up off-the-menu dishes and drinks!  
LocationPaddington, QLD 
ContactContact individual establishments for more information

6. Judith Wright Arts Centre

Judith Wright Arts Centre
Image Source: Judith Wright Arts Centre Facebook Page

At the Judith Wright Arts Centre (JWAC), we celebrate art in all forms, from visual arts, performing arts, music, and literature. 

This serves as a creative space for cultivating the talent of contemporary artists and a venue for exciting performances that cater to diverse audiences. 

You can catch amazing innovative performances that include circus, dance, cabaret, musicals, drama, spoken word, and other visual and performing arts. 

Judith Wright Arts Centre 2
Image Source: Judith Wright Arts Centre Facebook Page

The venue is named after renowned poet and activist, Judith Wright. You can find it in the heart of the city’s entertainment precinct, Fortitude Valley.

Watching performances at the Judith Wright Arts Centre is a great way to support local artists! Check out their latest and upcoming events on their website! 

Pro Tip: JWAC is located in Fortitude Valley and is a pretty busy area. If you’re bringing a car, take note that parking is limited, so it would be better to take public transportation. 
You can easily take the bus or the train to JWAC. If you’re taking the bus, the 195, 196, and 199 all make stops right outside of the venue, while the Fortitude Valley Train Station is just a 10-minute walk away. 
Location420 Brunswick St & Cnr, Berwick St, Fortitude Valley QLD 4006
Contact+61 7 3872 9000

7. Queensland Performing Arts Centre

Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

A lot of the must-see shows in Brisbane’s contemporary performance scene can be enjoyed at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC)! 

With a bigger capacity of 2,000 at their Lyric Theater and 1,800 at their Concert Hall, the QPAC plays host to a number of major productions like musicals, operas, and ballets. 

They also have smaller venues such as the Playhouse with an 800-people capacity and the Cremorne Theatre with a capacity of 300. 

Queensland Performing Arts Centre 2
Image Source: QPAC Facebook Page

Another great thing is, they have cafes and restaurants within the venue where you can enjoy some food and drink before the show! 

Brisbane’s vibrant art and culture meets exquisite food at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, which is also perfect for a date! You can have high tea at the Lyrebird, enjoy a meal outdoors at the Bistro, or sip wine at the Russell Street Wine Bar! 

You can find the Queensland Performing Arts Centre within the Queensland Cultural Center in South Bank. 

Pro Tip: When purchasing your tickets, remember that it’s always safest to buy directly from the QPAC website or authorized resellers. 
LocationCultural Precinct Corner Grey/Melbourne Street, QLD 4101
Contact+61 136246

8. Street Art Trail

Street Art Trail
Mural on Wickham Street / Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

If you take a closer look at street corners, building facades, and even at the center of crowded places, you’ll see that Brisbane is brimming with beautiful art! 

Take a walk along Brisbane’s Art Trail starting from Tank Street by the Kurilpa Bridge to Albert Street, then maybe add the City Botanic Gardens to your route. 

The Brisbane Art Trail is a 1.8-kilometer walk which can take about an hour where you’ll find street art, public sculptures and installations, as well as modernist paintings. There are instagrammable spots everywhere so make sure your phone battery’s 100%! 

Image Source: Flickr / Chris Ring

Brisbane’s Art Trail is not limited to this route. In fact, there’s more to discover when you take a walk especially in areas like Fortitude Valley, West End, South Brisbane, Burnett Lane, Red Hill, Milton, and Paddington. 

Pro Tip: There are more places to explore that feature different forms of art in public spaces in Brisbane. We recommend renting a bike if you want to go a little farther and faster! 
Check out other public art trails here
LocationEverywhere in Brisbane
ContactBrisbane City Council – 07 3403 8888

9. Burnett Lane

Burnett Lane
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

One of Brisbane’s best-kept laneway gems, Burnett Lane, makes for an interesting walk as it abounds in street art, quaint cafes, and hole-in-the-wall restaurants. 

You can even spend the whole day here, from your morning coffee run, a casual lunch meeting, to your after-work nightcap. 

The best spots to check out would be Brew, Felix for Goodness, Super Whatnot, and Death and Taxes

Burnett Lane 2

Emu graffiti pointing to cafe and wine bar, Brew, on Burnett Lane / Image Source: Flickr / Kris Olin

Most importantly, Burnett Lane is also a historical site back in Brisbane’s penal colony days, and is the oldest and most popular laneway in the city. 

It served as a prison yard where floggings and hangings were done and was named after the city’s first surveyor, James Burnett.

Located just a few steps away from Queen Street Mall, Burnett Lane only came to life again in 2010 as part of the Brisbane City Council’s Vibrant Laneways Project. 

Pro Tip: If you fell in love with Burnett Lane, then you’d definitely enjoy uncovering Brisbane’s other laneways! This includes Fish Lane, Ada Lane, California Lane, Winn Lane, Bakery Lane, and Albert Lane! 
LocationBurnett Lane, Brisbane City QLD 4000
ContactBrisbane City Council – 07 3403 8888

10. Fortitude Valley

Fortitude Valley
Image Source: the zoo Facebook Page

Fortitude Valley or “The Valley” is Australia’s very first entertainment district and maintains that reputation to this day. 

This is Brisbane’s go-to place if you want to catch live music and drink and party at popular bars and clubs. 

But it has also evolved into something more than a hive for the nightlife, as a visit to The Valley while the sun’s out also deserves all the buzz. 

Fortitude Valley 2
Image Source: sAme sAme Facebook Page

First, James Street in Fortitude Valley showcases high fashion boutiques from local and international designers. And second, satisfy your palate with must-try restaurants such as Hellenika, sAme sAme, and Bianca

There’s even more to see at other major strips such as Brunswick Street, King Street, and Wickham Street. 

For your caffeine fix, check out Jamie’s Espresso Bar, Campos, Reverends Fine Coffee, and The New Black, among others. 

Pro Tip: If you’re planning to party all night, we recommend booking at one of the hotels in Fortitude Valley! The Valley is also a perfect place to go for a staycation if you like to shop, dine, and party! 
Some hotels we recommend are The Calile Hotel, Hotel X, Ovolo The Valley, and The Constance.
LocationFortitude Valley, Brisbane QLD 4006

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