We all know summer in Brisbane is not for the faint-hearted. It may be the season of (predictable) afternoon thunderstorms, out-of-control hair situations (the humidity will get you every time) and air-con abuse, but there are plenty of exciting new season menus, delish summer dishes, and totally incredible activities to get amongst—making summertime in Brisbane actually pretty great.
To get around them all you’ll need more than just on-foot enthusiasm (have you tried walking in this heat?!); we’re talking two wheels, breeze-through-your-hair, minimal effort awesomeness! Once signed up to CityCycle, for only $2 a day, every bike hire is totally free for trips under half an hour, or, for the teeny fee of $5 a month or $3 for students, you can take unlimited 30 minute trips to your favourite places across the inner city.. You can ride them as much as you like (and you can’t put a price on not having to worry about parking your car). Not to mention, there are 150 stations to pick the bikes up from across our beautiful city (check them all out here)—there’s really no excuse not to get out and about.
So along with scoffing mangoes, and taking all the blankets off the bed, here are 50 things to do in Brisbane now that summer is here:
1. Go to Kiss The Berry in South Bank for a fresh acai bowl, borrow one of their complimentary picnic rugs, and find a nice sun-dappled area on the lawn out front.
2. Become obsessed with marshmallow and pineapple parfaits from Sourced Grocer. Yep, they’re as refreshing as they sound.
3. Take a gentle ride along the New Farm Boardwalk on a CityCycle. It’s breezy, beautiful to boot and a little less crowded than the city pathways.
4. Skip the highway stress and make your way to Street’s Beach for that vitamin D injection. All you need is a towel and your bestie—set!
5. Escape to QAGOMA and see the Indigenous Australian Collection by Albert Namatjira. This exhibit is a permanent installation and a must-see for all Brisbanites.
6. Experience the moving Mao’s Last Dancer Exhibit: A Portrait of Li Cunxin at Brisbane City Hall, which details his life from poverty to world-famous artist and artistic director of Queensland Ballet.
7. Jump on a CityCycle and take a tour of Brisbane's ever-growing street art.
8. Or, shake it up with a Brisbane Barre Class at Spring Hill Baths. Located behind door #37 you can get your active on in a totally new way. BYO leotard…
9. Pick up a CityCycle in South Bank and cruise down the river boardwalk to the Davies Park markets in West End. No parking troubles, yass!
10. Indulge in an ice cream sandwich from Mister Fitz. ‘Tis the season to take advantage of this decadent treat… heck, why not try every flavour combo?
11. Kiss The Berry also holds Primal Saturdays boot camp classes at Musgrave Park, West End. Do it for the #rig.
12. Take advantage of Brisbane’s prime summer weather atop Next Hotel’s rooftop bar. Equipped with a luxurious pool to maximise those summer feels, it’s the perfect place for a summer afternoon chill.
13. Impress your friends with your mad barefoot bowls skills at Merthyr Bowls Club.
14. After you dominate on the green, kick back for some nibbles on the beautiful Riverdeck overlooking the Brisbane River. Idyllic!
15. Change up the weekly shopping routine by stocking up on fresh fruit and veg from the Jan Powers Farmers Markets in New Farm. Popping up every Saturday morning, this is the spot to get your fresh local fare and spot all the cute doggos.
16. Go for brekkie amidst the pink neon goodness that is Miss Jones café.
17. Indulge in a dessert Scatter Platter For Two at Cowch Dessert Cocktail Bar. Grab a pal and settle in to feast of churros, hot shots, banana, marshmallows, udder puffs with ice cream, toppings and a waffle—yum!
18. Have a meat and cheese board paired with the perfect beverage at Malt Traders in South Bank and watch the world roll by.
19. Set up a lush picnic at New Farm Park. Ask your friends to BYO plates and put on a spread that will put the other countless picnics to shame.
20. Lose your mind at the pastel-hued and oh-so-instagrammable Arc + Family on James Street.
21. Start Sunday the right way by hiring a CityCycle in South Bank and riding the Riverloop. Covering some of Brisbane’s best riverfront cafes, there are heaps of options to choose a cute brunch spot from as well.
22. Plan a staycation at Queensland’s first Art Series Hotel, The Johnson in Spring Hill; the décor will have you frothing from the get-go. PS: their pool won Best Hotel Pool in Australia. Just saying…
23. Refresh your locks for summer with a visit to the hair gods at Luke Reynolds Hairdressing. Whether it’s for a standard chop or going all-out with pastel pink, this award-winning hair salon’s got your back.
24. Rejuvenate yourself with a spa day at Salon Blend. With a full menu of spa treatments to choose from, it’s the perfect place for a summer treat and much needed me-time.
25. Get the gang together and have a go at Cork and Chroma. Head there on a CityCycle so you only have to Uber one-way home. Genius!
26. Get your thrift shop on with a visit to Swop in West End. Known for their unique finds and gorgeous garments, Swop is a sartorial treasure trove.
27. Splurge an entire week’s pay at the newly-opened (and huge) beauty wonderland that is Mecca Cosmetica on Queen Street Mall.
28. Gorge yourself on one of Brisbane’s best banquets at Chu The Phat. With the option of a classic or express you know they’ve got you covered—even if you’ve somewhere to be!
29. If a nourish bowl’s more your thing, The Farm Wholefoods in Newstead’s “farm bowls” offer maximum nutrient goals.
30. Escape the heat with a visit to Spring Hill Baths, voted Brisbane’s cutest public pool due to the brightly coloured bathing boxes!
31. Enjoy the blooming delights of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Hire a CityCycle and roll through the gardens then along Eagle Street Pier for the ultimate summery experience.
32. Lose yourself in the ice cream mecca that is Gelato Messina. With a new special every month, there’s always room for a second scoop.
33. On the first Sunday of every month, take a trip into Brisbane’s CBD to pick up a killer bargain at the Suitcase Rummage.
34. Get the group together for a long lunch at South Bank’s The Jetty.
35. Kick back at the freshly refurbed The Osbourne Hotel. With super-high ceilings and a tropical beer garden that just won’t quit, it’s the perfect place for a summer meal in the heart of Brisbane.
36. Take advantage of Popolo’s picnic menus which cater for two, four or very large groups. Equipped with your very own picnic blanket, the perfect place to enjoy this treat is just across the pathway at River Quay Green.
37. Make the most of alfresco dining at Riverbar & Kitchen on the stunning Eagle Street Pier. With uninterrupted views of the iconic Story Bridge is there a better way to spend a summer’s day?
38. Update your summer jewellery game with unique finds at Molten Store. Whether you’re channelling minimalist chic or sparkling statement pieces, this is the place to refresh your jewellery box.
39. Be the epitome of #cleaneating this summer with a personally crafted poke bowl at Suki Poke Bowls & Sushi. Fresh, colourful and irresistible!
40. Get to Betty’s Burgers’ new store in Newstead, bringing all the burgs and concretes we love to love. Hallelujah!
41. Cruise into Little Big House, the newest gastropub-come-summery haunt to hit Brisbane. Situated in a heritage-listed converted Queenslander, we can’t think of a better place for lazy arvo summer hangs.
42. Change up your weekend with a SUP experience at Riverlife on the beautiful Brisbane River.
43. While away an afternoon at Kangaroo Point then watch the sun go down behind the stunning CBD skyline.
44. Say howdy to deep fried maple ice cream with smoked butter popcorn and drunken rum and raisin sauce from Buffalo Bar.
45. Get a cheeky head start on that summer glow with a tanning session at Lush Tan Beauty in New Farm (or pay for a multi-pack to keep you looking bronzed all summer long).
46. Guys, it’s time to update your summer wardrobe with a visit to new man-style mecca Calexico Man.
47. Spend a gorgeous summer afternoon chilling at new West End hotspot Covent Garden. Get lost in this gorgeous bar oasis, filled with lush greenery and a refreshing food and drink menu that screams summer.
48. Have a sticky beak at Mas & Miek Ceramic House and experience what this amazing craft is all about. Grab a coffee on the mezzanine lounge and fall in love with their unique items in-store, or book a clay class and throw a pot yourself.
49. Indulge in deep fried brownie bites with coconut custard from the newly relaunched The APO’s more casual gastropub-style menu.
50. See why everyone is freaking out over the toasted Nutella ice cream burger at Red Hook.
Editor's note: This article was produced in partnership with CityCycle. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. For more information on our editorial policy, click here.