Things to do in Brisbane City for Families
Brisbane is proudly a family-friendly city – there’s plenty of parks and playgrounds to explore, museums and galleries with dedicated kids’ spaces, and when it comes to child-approved food, the Shingle Inn have you covered!
Whether you’re a tourist or a local, Brisbane Kids have put together an itinerary for the perfect family day out in the Brisbane CBD. Best of all, most of these activities, along with dozens of our other Queensland holiday ideas, are free.
Breakfast at a Brisbane institution
Start your day with a hearty breakfast from the Shingle Inn at City Hall – the perfect launching pad for your day’s activities. Originally opened in 1936 on Edward Street, this elegant teahouse and restaurant moved to its present location in City Hall in 2002 and is an important part of Brisbane’s heritage. Children can choose from the kids’ menu, which includes pancakes, bacon and eggs and babycinos, while the adults will be spoilt for choice with options like eggs Florentine, waffles and omelettes, washed down with barista made coffee.
Learn about Brisbane’s story at the Museum of Brisbane
Also located within City Hall is the Museum of Brisbane, which has engaging exhibitions and activities covering indigenous culture, convict history, local artists and Brisbane architecture. No matter how long you’ve lived in Brisbane, you are guaranteed to learn something new at this innovative museum. If you’re visiting on a Sunday, take advantage of the Museum of Brisbane’s family themed tours and activities. Entry is free.
Take in the view from the Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower
Before you leave the Museum of Brisbane, grab a free ticket for the Brisbane City Hall Clock Tower tour. Running every 15 minutes, seven days per week, you will ascend to the observation platform in an old hand-operated lift before taking in the view of Brisbane’s ever-changing CBD. Timing your visit with the chiming of the clock is always a fun (and noisy!) experience.
Get your science on at QUT’s The Cube
From King George Square, head to bus stop 10 on Ann Street to catch the free City Loop service (Route 50) to bus stop 94 on Margaret Street. From here, a short walk will bring you out at the Queensland University of Technology’s Gardens Point Campus. Follow the signs to the Science and Engineering Centre to check out The Cube – the world’s largest digital interactive learning and display space. Consisting of 48 multi-touch, two-storey screens, The Cube is a hub for scientific and digital exploration. Their excellent kids’ programs are hands-on and interactive, and the whole experience is free.
Burn some energy at the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens
Adjoining QUT are the sprawling Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. There’s riverside walking trails, an all abilities playground, and plenty of green space to stretch the legs. In summer, take refuge in the shade of the towering trees, or in winter, soak up the sun from your picnic rug on the lawn.
Skip lunch and go straight to high tea
When your tummy begins to rumble, catch the free City Loop bus (route 40) again from QUT back to King George Square (board at stop 114 and disembark at stop 21). Walk the short distance to the Shingle Inn for an indulgent high tea that has been a Brisbane tradition for decades. High tea is served between 11am and 3.00pm, and the Shingle Inn even offers a Teddy Bear High Tea for children aged 12 years and under. This special experience includes a ham and cheese ribbon sandwich, mini sausage roll, teddy bear fairy bread, patty cake, teddy bear biscuit, chocolate marshmallow and a choice of drinks. While the kids are happily munching away, the adults can enjoy one of five decadent high tea experiences.
Walk off the carbs at Roma Street Parkland
You don’t need to feel guilty about the amount of cakes, scones and sandwiches you just consumed, because a 10-minute walk away is the beautiful Roma Street Parkland. Wander the 16 hectares of lush lawns, flower gardens, ponds and exciting playgrounds at your own leisure or join one of the free guided walks. The kids will love the colourful trackless train, the Parkland Explorer, which weaves along the pathways, crosses bridges and provides an audio guide about the park (cost is a gold coin donation). Don’t forget to check out the children’s garden, vegetable garden and worm farm while you’re there!
Take a (free!) sunset ferry ride
As your day out with the family comes to a close, what better activity to end with than a sunset cruise along the Brisbane River? Operated by Brisbane City Council, the free CityHopper ferry service runs every 30 minutes between 6am and midnight, seven days per week, stopping at North Quay, South Bank 3, Maritime Museum, Thornton Street, Eagle Street Pier, Holman Street, Dockside, and Sydney Street Terminals. And, if you haven’t run out of puff, dinner at one Brisbane’s many riverside restaurants is the perfect way to cap off a day in the “river city”.
For more inspiration, head to the Brisbane Kids event calendar, which is filled with free school holiday events, fun school holiday workshops and a huge selection of exciting things to do all year round!