Brisbane’s CBD has undergone a transformation in the last five years, from a once fairly standard commercial precinct to a bustling centre with lots to offer both tourists and locals alike.

HIGHLIGHTS

The city itself is an interesting collection of shopping strips, bars, and historical landmarks. While a lot of the CBD is glass and concrete, it’s split up by lovely sandstone buildings and churches dating back to its early colonisation. These landmarks are easily discovered on a lazy stroll from the top of the city, at the fascinating design of the Treasury Casino complex, all the way down to beautiful Customs House on the river.

You’ll get your fill of arts and culture in Brisbane, with something to take anyone’s fancy. For a look into Brisbane’s living history, wander around the Museum of Brisbane, located at City Hall, Brisbane’s premier heritage building. Here you can learn about the people and places that make up the city and even take a tour of its iconic clock tower.

To refuel, stop into Brew, a funky little bar/ eatery tucked away on Lower Bennett Lane. Here you’ll find great food and drinks and live music or DJ’s from Thursday through Saturday. There’s a great many other bars and restaurants to discover in town, too. Jimmy’s on the Mall is a local institution, and has been open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since 1982. If you’re after a meal in an undeniably cool location, head to Brisbane’s original underground bar and only dedicated cider house, Verve Restaurant and Cider House. Here you’ll get a warm greeting, pizza, pasta, and risotto.

For a cup of Brisbane’s best coffee, swing by Gramercy Coffee or Coffee Anthology, and discover for yourself why Brisbane’s cafe scene is going from strength to strength.

COMMUNITY FACILITIES

There are plenty of facilities in the CBD for those wanting to explore, meet people or simply find a quiet place to study and learn. The Brisbane Square Library has study rooms available, and as well as a large collection of English and other language texts, offers display televisions for visual aids, Wi-Fi, and English conversation groups running every Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.

Health services are right at your doorstep, with the Queen Street offering comprehensive care in the heart of the city, CBD 7 Day Medical Centre offering a wide range of services, including travel vaccinations, sexual health services, workplace health checks, and onsite Japanese interpreters available daily.

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to fitness options in the CBD, with numerous gyms available 24/7. If you’re after something different, check out The Pole Gym, which offers fitness and dance classes in a fun and friendly atmosphere.

FREE & FRUGAL

The lush City Botanical Gardens followed by a stroll up Eagle St Pier is always a highlight, especially on a weekend when the markets are on.

For a leisurely sunny afternoon activity, hop on the City Cat river ferry and meander your way along the Brisbane River. It’ll cost around four dollars on your goCard from Eagle St Pier to South Bank, and is a relaxing way to get around and get acquainted with the city.

For something different and a quicker way to get around, you can take a ride on a CityCycle. These bicycles can be hired, and returned, all around the city, and start at $2 a month for students.

If all this activity has left you feeling peckish, you can count on Communal Bar & Eat House to satisfy your cravings. With $10 steaks on Sundays and Mondays, or a schnitzel and chips for $14 on Tuesdays, you can’t go wrong.

For the art-minded, follow the Cultural Heritage Public Art Trail, and take a look at artworks and memorials that commemorate Brisbane’s history