Top things to do in Brisbane at night
Whether it’s your first or thirtieth trip to Brisbane, you may have asked yourself what are the best things to do in Brisbane at night? Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and the third largest city in Australia in terms of population. It’s a beautiful city and attracts visitors from all over Australia and the world. There’s plenty to see and do here, and not just in the daytime. From admiring the city lights to checking out some of Brisbane’s best bars and restaurants, there’s plenty to do once the sun sets.
Whether you’re after a romantic date night or an exciting adventure, we’ve got you covered. Read on for 14 of the best things to do in Brisbane at night.
Don’t forget to drop your bags off with Stasher and then get exploring all that Brisbane has to offer.
1. Kayak on the river at sunset
Whether you’re a seasoned kayaking pro, or it’s your first time out on the water, this is one of the best ways to see Brisbane by night, earning it top place on our list. Starting at Kangaroo Point, a guide will take you out and show you the ropes, followed by 90 minutes of paddling under the stars. From the river, you’ll get unique views of Brisbane lit up at night, making it an unforgettable experience.
Every Friday evening, kayaking company Riverlife run Paddle & Prawns, so called because after your session out on the river you’re treated to a classic Aussie banquet of prawns and cold beers. What could be better?
For details on booking your tour, head over to Riverlife’s website.
2. Admire the night sky from the Skydome
Once a week on Saturday nights, the Cosmic Skydome stays open late for visitors with a tour of Brisbane’s night sky. You can learn all about the wonders of our universe and the history of cosmology, the science of the origins of the universe. There is a range of different shows on the programme which are fascinating for children and adults alike. Did you know that Brisbane is named after a famous astronomer, Sir Thomas Brisbane? No trip to his city would be complete without some astronomy! You can find the show schedule here.
3. Gastronomic delights at Eat Street
Eat Street Northshore is the most popular night market in Brisbane. Here you’ll find over 70 street food vendors serving delicious treats from all over the world. From Shanghai dumplings to Peruvian paella, there’s something for everyone and you’re sure to have a hard time choosing.
The market is open from 4pm to 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 12pm to 8pm on Sundays. Make sure to come hungry and be prepared to be rolled home.
4. Brisbane Lights Tour
What better way to see Brisbane lit up by night than taking the Brisbane Lights Tour? This night tour takes you round all of the city’s best attractions, including Mt Coot-tha, the Story Bridge, and Government House. You’ll get a full commentary on the way round, and plenty of opportunities to stop and take the perfect snap for Instagram.
The tour schedule has been disrupted recently due to the pandemic, so make sure you check on their website before booking for when the tours are running.
5. Have a laugh at some live comedy
When you think of comedy, you may not think at first of Brisbane, but this city has got plenty of options if you’re looking to be entertained. Our top picks are Blutes bar in Fortitude Valley where you’ll find free comedy every Tuesday. If you find yourself in New Farm on a Friday night you should head over to Powerhouse for some free comedy – whether it makes you laugh or not you’ve got nothing to lose! On Sunday nights, you’ll find free comedy at The Milk Factory in South Brisbane. For bigger comedy names, head over to QPAC in South Brisbane, but expect to pay more than at the other venues.
6. Get spooky on a ghost tour
The locals might tell you that Brisbane is an old town haunted by the past. Uncover the city’s spooky past with Brisbane Ghost Tours, combining a tour of the most historic haunted sites in Brisbane with the ancient art of storytelling. Not your average way to explore the city by night, this is guaranteed to be a memorable evening. You’ll cover the Brisbane Arcade ghost, undead politicians, and Boggo Road Gaol ghosts. Expect to hear classic local ghost stories, urban legends, and tales of magic, murder, witchcraft, crime, love and death. Fair warning from us, this is not one for the faint hearted.
7. Enjoy the sunset views from Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Anyone can tell you that Kangaroo Point Cliffs is THE place to be for spectacular views of the Brisbane sunset. From here you can see the sun descend over the city and the lights of the iconic skyline switch on. If you’re feeling brave, you can also scale the cliffs with some outdoor rock climbing. Climbing up 20 metres to the top of the cliffs, you’ll be rewarded with the views of the city and the river. Here you’ll find climbing routes to suit all levels of experience, including beginners.
8. Groove in one of Brisbane’s jazz bars
When the night descends, Brisbane has a thriving jazz scene for you to groove the night away. We recommend Brisbane Jazz Club for some smooth jazz and river views, or for some funkier Australian jazz, hit up Doo-Bop Jazz bar, located in the CBA. On Thursday nights, head over to the Jazz Music Institute (or JMI as it is known to locals) where they have an epic jazz night each week. Many great up-and-coming jazz performers have passed through these halls, so be prepared to hear the finest musical talent in town. Don’t forget your dancing shoes!
9. Listen to some live music
If jazz isn’t so much your thing, there’s plenty of other options for live music in Brisbane. One of the best things to do at night in the city is check out one of the city’s numerous live music venues. The Fortitude Music Hall is the largest ballroom / theatre-style venue in Australia, with a capacity of 3000. The building was inspired by some of the world’s most loved live music venues from classic art deco theatres to larger clubs. Check out their schedule to see what’s on; they host a wide variety of genres and acts, so you’re sure to find something to your tastes.
10. Watch a movie under the stars
One of the most popular things to do in Brisbane at night for locals and visitors alike is to kick back and watch a movie at one of Brisbane’s many open air cinemas. The Powerhouse Moonlight Cinema and American Express open air cinema show a mix of new releases and classic movies most summer nights. Bring a picnic blanket and a pillow and chill out under the Brisbane night sky. If you’re feeling flash, you can also get drinks and snacks ordered to your spot on site.
And if you happen to be in Brisbane with a car or van, check out the Yatala drive-in cinema.This old school drive-in cinema is having a real moment. Grab some popcorn and settle down for a movie night all from the comfort of your car.
11. Hang out in trendy Howard Smith Wharves
Since opening in 2018, Howard Smith Wharves have become a favourite hangout for the hip and cool of Brisbane. Just a 10 minute walk from Brisbane’s CBD, this once-neglected piece of land has been completely transformed into a buzzing nightlife area with tons of restaurants and bars. Soak up the evening rays and enjoy drinks and delicious food into the night where tourists and locals rub shoulders. We especially recommend Felons brewery and gastro-pub for an outstanding selection of beers and ciders. If you’re looking for a fancier fare, check out Stanley, a great Australian-Cantonese restaurant, or Polpetta for an Italian feast.
12. Admire James Turrell’s Night Life installation at GOMA
The GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) in Brisbane regularly hosts up-late events allowing visitors to enjoy its exhibitions after hours. Every Friday after 5.30pm you can expect live music and drinks as you wander the gallery, giving you an entirely different experience to visiting in daylight hours.
Even if you don’t go into the gallery, you can admire some art from the outside with James Turrell’s impressive Night Life installation. From sunset to midnight every day, the artist’s light installation brings the facade of the building to life. The whole sequence runs for 88 minutes, so make sure to include this in your evening stroll along the river.
13. Climb up Story Bridge
If you have a head for heights then one of the best things you can do at night in Brisbane is scale the Story Bridge. Climbing up 74 metres, visitors follow the trail of neon lights to be rewarded with breathtaking views of Brisbane along with some cultural history from your friendly guide. From the top of the bridge you can see as far as the Gold Coast and Moreton bay, so make sure to save time for these panoramic views across the city. You won’t be disappointed.
14. Old School retro fun at Netherworld Arcade
Netherworld is a bar, diner, and old school arcade all rolled into one, and a highlight for any visitor to Brisbane. Located at the edge of Fortitude Valley, this monster-themed underworld is home to pinball and arcade classics, Nintendo consoles, and games that will send you in a time warp straight back to the 70’s. Lean in to the retro aesthetic and be prepared to get a bit competitive.
So there you have it, our top recommendations for things to do in Brisbane at night. Whether you’re a tourist or local, make sure to leave some time to enjoy all that this beautiful city has to offer when the sun sets.
Pro tip from us: Drop your bags off with Stasher so that you can make the most of your night in Brisbane without dragging around your heavy belongings.
And if you’re headed to other exciting cities in Australia, Stasher has got you covered: