From free exhibitions and cinema screenings, to recreational sports and wellbeing events, Brisbane has something for everyone – and an impressive lineup of its attractions are free for visitors. If you’re in town during the summer months, be sure to take a dip at Streets Beach at South Bank. The huge beach-style lagoon, which is in the middle of the city, is popular with both visitors and locals keen for a dip in between sightseeing. The air-conditioned halls of the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art can also provide respite from the summer heat. There are two quite distinct galleries which showcase world-class art exhibitions which are more often than not free to attend. The little red CityHopper boats, which cruise from one side of the river to the other, travel between the Sydney Street terminal in New Farm Park and North Quay in the CBD transporting people between for free, and providing a great way to see the city from the water. On a Sunday, head to the Brisbane Powerhouse to laugh your socks off at Livewired Comedy, an hour of free, funny and surprising comedy starting from 5pm. Brisbane locals love their farmers’ markets too, and on weekends almost every suburb has its own. One’s to put on your list include Saturday’s Davies Park Market, the Jan Powers Powerhouse Markets, and the Jan Powers City Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays in the CBD. Brisbane is also home to Australia’s largest free live music program, with a line-up of local and touring bands and artists performing every week on the stages in the Queen Street Mall, Post Office Square, South Bank and other locations.
Built between 1920 and 1930, the heritage-listed Brisbane City Hall was the tallest building in the city until 1960. Today, visitors can enjoy free guided tours up the old city hall clock tower every 15 minutes during opening hours, riding in the original lift and savouring a bird’s-eye view over King George Square and the buildings that now tower over it. If animals are more your thing, you can explore the natural world through the Queensland Museum’s Discovery Centre and Wild State exhibitions, with general admission to the museum free. For spectacular views of the Brisbane’s city skyline and the sunrise, jump in a car before dawn and head to Mt Coot-tha. And for a spot of retail therapy, coupled with some people watching, venture to Queen Street Mall in the heart of Brisbane City; it’s the best place to watch busy office workers scurry by, spot tourists and see the city’s best street style. You can visit with koalas south of Brisbane at the Daisy Hill Koala Centre, which is home to a number of education koalas which can’t be released back into the wild. It’s free to enter, and as the centre sits within Daisy Conservation Park, you can also enjoy a short walk through the bushland. And finally, if you’re travelling with kids, The Corner is the State Library’s kid-friendly play zone, where children under eight can participate in free, creative, hands-on fun, digital games and reading activities.