Forget about the usual dinner and drinks combo you fill your evenings with in Brisbane; instead take advantage of your evenings to make every night count. QLD’s capital is bursting with a number of quirky things to see and do at night time, particularly if you’re willing to spend a little extra $$$ to maximise your enjoyment.
Move on from late nights watching Netflix and even later nights at the bar; we’re talking about doing something you’ll be able to “Instagram” without trying to think of a nifty caption to make it seem more interesting than it actually is.
Here, we take a look at 10 out of the ordinary experiences around Brisbane that will liven your nights right up! If you enjoy fun, exciting and scenic activities, read on; however if you’re happy sticking to the same old routines, then carry on as you were.
10. Browse The Collective Markets
Location: Stanley Street Plaza, South Bank
Prices: Depends on store and product
- Friday 5pm – 9pm
- Saturday 10am – 9pm
- Sunday 9am – 4pm
Before you roll your eyes at the thought of another market event, stay with us. The Collective Markets in South Bank are the only three day markets held in Brisbane, meaning you can browse some of the most creative stalls and products in Brisbane three evenings in a row. The perfect stop for some retail therapy after a long day at work on a Friday, an eclectic destination for your Saturday, and a great way to wind down from a great weekend with an early evening on a Sunday.
Bringing some of the city’s most creative minds straight to consumers, The Collective Markets is a collection of designers, artists, photographers and more all in one convenient South Bank space. Lining the length of Stanley Street, the back-to-back stalls are waiting for you to browse, test and buy. With something for almost everyone you can pick up a new outfit, some gorgeous jewellery or nibble on some delicious sweets.
In terms of food, if you’re looking for the typical market food as opposed to dining at one of the precinct’s popular restaurants and cafes, you’ll find bratwursts, spiral potatoes, churros, fudge, mini cupcakes and more tantalising offerings. One can easily spend the whole night wandering around the markets, browsing the various stalls and chatting to the designers and artists. A great way to spend an evening before or after dinner – or just as a way to get out of the house.
9. Snuggle up at an Open-Air Cinema
Location: Various locations
Prices: From $11 to $40
We all love going to a movie at the end of a long day. There’s something about the smell of freshly-buttered popcorn and reclining in a chair fit for a king that appeals to most of us. For those of you that agree with this sentiment, you’re in luck! Brisbane as a whole seems to love the idea of open-air cinemas, as there are quite a few to choose from in and around the city.
One of the most popular ones is the Ben & Jerry’s Openair Cinema held at the Rainforest Green in South Bank near the Wheel of Brisbane. For just over six weeks from September to November you can see some of the latest flicks as well as some classic favourites, you can purchase tickets for one session or all of them if it tickles your fancy. As you would know by the branding, there is Ben and Jerry’s ice cream present for you to buy and comfy inflatable couches for you relax in. Tickets are $10 for concessions and $18 for adults, $40 for the Star Lounge and $60 for a group of four.
Another popular pop-up cinema is the Moonlight Cinema in New Farm Park. Showing some of the latest movies thanks to their partnership with Event Cinemas, as well as some old faves. You can also enjoy a licensed bar, food truck and the comfort of your four legged friend as the night goes by. This cinema runs from December to March with tickets selling for $15 for Cine Buzz members and $17 for general admission.
For those looking for a more permanent set up, Limes Rooftop Bar in the Valley offers a hot tub/movie combo to die for. This popular bar transfers into a movie-buffs haven for two nights a week (Wednesdays and Thursdays) offering patrons the chance to cosy up on a bean bag or jump into the hot tub for just $15.
Additionally, the popular Eat Street Markets offers a retro experience for those looking to catch a movie. Bringing back the ‘drive-in’ theatre you can pull up in your own vehicle or grab a Moon Chair to sit in the dress circle as you enjoy a movie under the stars. This cashless cinema brings some of the latest cinematic hits and combines them with awesome views of a twinkling Brisbane. Movies play every Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30pm with tickets selling for $11 for general admission, $9 for concession and kids under 3 years are free. Oh, did we mention you can order food and have it delivered via segway? Yeah, it’s pretty cool!
8. Go for a spin on the Wheel of Brisbane
Location: Russell Street, South Brisbane
Prices: Between $10.10 and $74.25
- Monday to Thursday 11am – 9:30pm
- Friday & Saturday 10am – 11pm
- Sunday 10am – 10pm
Local Brisbanites, we implore you not to cringe at the thought of enjoying a tourist attraction, because this is one you’d be silly to miss out on. The Wheel of Brisbane is located in South Bank and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city and funnily enough, it offers some incredible views of the Brisbane region – who would’ve thought?
But seriously, the views you’ll see from the top of the wheel are incredible! Showing off the sparkling lights of the city skyline to as far as the eye can see. The wheel is made up of 42 enclosed capsules, so those afraid of heights will feel secure. To circle the whole wheel takes up to 12 minutes with stops at various points to let people on and off. Each carriage fits up to six adults and two kids comfortably so you’ll likely be in with a mix of other people, unless you buy a private gondola with your five friends and their two children.
The wheel is open until late at night so why not jump on for an after dinner adventure or kick your night off with some awesome views from the top.
7. Go for a kayak on Brisbane River
Location: Naval Stores, Lower River Terrace, Kangaroo Point
Price: $59 pp or $85 pp with dinner
Operating Hours: 7pm – 10pm
Spending an evening kayaking on the Brisbane River isn’t often considered an option, mainly because many are unaware this awesome experience is possible! You can spend 1.5 hours kayaking around the River on a Friday and Saturday night as Brisbane’s nightlife awakens. This is probably one of the best seats in the city for awesome views with a twist.
The perfect combination of sightseeing and adventure, once your kayaking time is up you’ll plant your feet back on land to enjoy a delicious dinner (which is optional, but highly recommended). Friday night kayakers can choose to enjoy a delicious seafood platter with fresh king prawns while Saturday night kayakers will be treated to a classic Aussie barbecue dinner. Both options offer drinks and snacks including lamingtons, Australian beer and wine to enjoy while you overlook the Brisbane River towards the CBD.
If this doesn’t sound like a night out to remember, then we’re not sure what you’re looking for. The night comes complete with an experienced guide, kayaking equipment and great company.
6. Eat yourself silly at Eat Street Markets
Location: Macarthur Avenue, Hamilton
Prices: $2.50 entry for adults; children under 12 FREE
- Friday & Saturday 4pm – 10pm
If you’re looking for a feast and a half then Eat Street is the number one destination for you. Bringing a selection of food vendors and trucks together in one convenient space, you can start your night off with a bowl of hot chips, continue it with some Turkish gozleme, add in some dumplings, pile on some Hungarian lángos, sneak in a wood fired pizza and top it off with a Nutella crepe, some Greek honey puffs or dough-cone (or all of the above) and wash it all down with a refreshing cocktail. There is so much variety at Eat Street Markets making it an ideal destination if you’re not sure what you feel like for dinner, but a not-so-ideal place if you’re an indecisive orderer (you might need an additional few hours to browse available options).
The markets are always a hit with groups as you can all get your own thing and then take turns scouting for a table amongst the hungry crowds. The popularity of the markets means finding a table to yourself in peak hours isn’t always the easiest, unless you get incredibly lucky. That’s not to say it won’t happen, you just have to make do by sitting on the benches, standing at the bar tables and hovering over groups at tables until they become uncomfortable and leave – it’s as easy as that.
To top off a stellar night at the markets, there is usually live music to make your visit all the more enjoyable. You could easily spend the whole evening grazing on various dishes moving your way from appetisers and entrees to mains and second mains to dessert and second and third desserts.
Getting to the markets is the only negative to factor in as during peak periods traffic can be quite congested as can be the free carparks on site and down the road. However, if you’re patient you will find a park and be on your way to eat all the food in no time. If you want to take away that hassle, you can catch the City Cat to the last stop in Hamilton and walk the short distance down to the markets. We can’t forget to mention that it’s dog friendly, so bring along your pooch because they can enjoy a treat or two as well.
5. Climb the Kangaroo Point Cliffs
Location: Kangaroo Point Cliffs, Kangaroo Point
Prices: $65 pp
- Friday & Saturday 5pm – 7pm
If you haven’t tried rock climbing or only climbed during the day, then you need to expand your skill set and try a nighttime climb. It’s one thing to admire the sunset over Brisbane from afar but it’s a whole new story when you’re admiring it while rock climbing, which is why Riverlife offers night climbing sessions of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs.
This two hour experience operates on Fridays and Saturdays and will teach you everything you need to know to master rock climbing. The cliffs reach a height of 20 metres, so the exhilaration and adrenaline you’ll feel is unlike anything else you’ve felt before (unless you’ve climbed the Kangaroo Point Cliffs before).
The best part of this activity is that there is no prior experience required meaning you can jump right in and try it first hand. Kids as young as 8 years old can take on the challenge of climbing the cliffs making this the perfect out of the box family weekend adventure. Riverlife offers night time rock climbing adventures on a weekly basis from 5pm until 7pm.
4. Splurge on a Twilight Helicopter Flight
Location: Archerfield Airport, 381 Beatty Rd, Archerfield
Prices: $299 pp
- Saturday & Sunday
Not your regular weekend activity, but for those looking for something to liven up a ‘special’ evening then this should be at the top of your list. A romantic, exhilarating and scenic adventure rolled into one, this an ideal evening out for couples and perhaps soon-to-be engaged couples.
Flights depart from Archerfield airport just outside of Brisbane and fly over St Lucia, along the Brisbane River and over the CBD. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Story Bridge, the Gabba and South Bank from above before looping back to land at Archerfield. The flight only lasts for 20 minutes but it encompasses so much of Brisbane’s beautiful sights you’ll definitely be impressed.
Twilight heli flights only depart on Saturdays and Sundays with times confirmed when you make a booking, which makes it ideal for those too busy during the week. Make sure you bring your camera because this is an experience you won’t want to forget and one you’ll definitely want to brag about to friends and family.
3. Have a laugh at the Powerhouse’s Knockoff
Location: Brisbane Powerhouse, 119 Lamington Street, New Farm
- Friday 6pm – 7pm
If you’re keen on a good laugh and free things then Brisbane Powerhouse is where it’s at. Every Friday comedians from around Brisbane and around Australia take to the stage to try and squeeze a few laughs out of the audience. The perfect way to knockoff from a long week of work, Knockoff’s brave comedians will bring you some great one-liners, hilarious stories and more to kick start your weekend on the right note.
On the last Friday of every month Knockoff gets taken over by one of Brisbane’s improvisational comedy groups; ImproMafia so be prepared for some side-splitting laughs. Due to most of the acts being stand ups and improvising their sets, some acts may include course language or concepts, so to attend you must be over the age of 15. The session is held on the Turbine Platform and goes for around an hour. You can grab a few drinks before the show, during the show and after the show and even enjoy a bite to eat overlooking the Brisbane River.
2. Relax on a scenic dinner cruise
Location: Eagle Street Pier, 45 Eagle Street, Brisbane CBD
Price: Adult $69; Senior $59; Child $49
- Thursday, Friday & Saturday
- Board 6:30pm; depart 7pm
An iconic Brisbane experience, this dinner cruise aboard an authentic paddle wheeler is a great evening activity for all ages. The cruise will take you on a relaxing journey along the Brisbane River as the sunsets over the city and the lights of the CBD begin to glisten. Combining entertainment, sightseeing, dinner and cruising this is a great package deal.
Dinner consists of a three-course meal starting off with toasted Turkish breads and a mixed antipasto platter. There are a number of different mains to choose from including roasted chicken breast, slow cooked pulled beef and pan seared rockling fillet as well as a wild mushroom tartlet for vegetarian guests. Come time for dessert you’ll have the choice of a summer pavlova, classic crème caramel or tiramisu.
The boat is also complete with an on board bar serving a range or soft drinks and alcoholic beverages with a number of different drinks packages available to purchase once you’re onboard. This cruise will provide you with some incredible views so make sure you have your camera at the ready!
1. Climb the Story Bridge!
Location: 170 Main Street, Kangaroo Point
Prices: $109.65 – $139
- Twilight Climb 4:20pm – 6:20pm
- Night Climb 5:20pm – 7:20pm
One of the best evening activities in Brisbane (which is why it’s topped our list), climbing the Story Bridge is a unique and exciting way to spend an evening in Brisbane. A great attraction for visitors to the city as well as those who have lived here their whole life, climbing to the top of the Story Bridge provides you with spectacular views of the surrounding region which are all the more beautiful when lit up at night.
The whole climbing experience takes only around 2 and a half hours to complete leaving you more than enough time to wander around the city and grab a bite to eat after. There are two evening climb options to choose from, the first of which is the Twilight Climb. The Twilight Climb operates on a daily basis from around 4:20pm until 6:20pm and is one of the most popular climbs. You’ll be able to watch the city transform from day to night as the sun goes down, hues of pink and orange fill the sky and the city lights begin to shine bright. The other option is the Night Climb which also runs on a daily basis however from around 5:20pm until 7:20pm. On this climb you’ll be able to see the city in full swing with lights gleaming back at you and views you won’t want to forget.
All of the climbs include equipment and instructions from an experienced leader as well as free copies of your group shots from the climb taken by your leader because you aren’t allowed to take your own cameras. Individual shots of you and your friends on the climb can be purchased for an additional cost. This is one of only three bridge climbs in the world and the fact that you can do it at night to see the city all lit up is an experience not to pass up which is how it planted itself at the top of our list. Experience Oz recently completed the Twilight Climb of the Story Bridge – read the review here.
If you’re looking for more things to see and do around Brisbane, check out our full catalogue page featuring a number of great tours, attractions and activities.