Thanks to the belt-tightening happening around town thanks to out-of-control petrol prices, rent and lettuce, there's not a lot of dosh left for doing fun things on the weekends. And trying to live on the bare minimum is not only super physically hard, but it takes its toll on friendships, relationships and your own mental health.
If things aren't quite so rough for you, pay it forward. If you’re still in the trenches, it won't last forever. Either way, here's a heap of cheap things to do in Brisbane, most for under $20, that you might actually want to lock in with your mates—not a single art gallery visit or ‘walk along the river’ amongst them.
BYO Booze To New Farm Park For A Picnic
New Farm Park is the perfect place for affordable hangs with the homies. Steal your housemate’s picnic blanket, charge up the UE and head to the grassy area by the river for a boozy picnic. One of Brisbane’s largest parks, the New Farm Park is BYO friendly, host to a smattering of jacarandas and if you get there early enough some free barbecues. It's right near the water so expect idyllic conditions all year round. Whether you opt for the truffle brie and expensive crackers (you know the ones) or the cheddar and Jatz is up to you.
Head To The Cineplex For A Cheap Flick
Oh Cineplex, what a dear place you hold in our hearts. With free parking underneath, great cinemas and best of all the lowest ticket prices probably in the whole city, it's a sure-fire winner. Students can score a ticket for just $8.50 to see the latest flicks AND a large popcorn-drink-combo is only $8. You’re welcome. Head over here to see what's on at the South Bank, Balmoral, Hawthorne and Victoria Point locations.
Putt Putt To Your Heart’s (And Wallets) Content
It’s been said that putt putt is the new lawn bowls and it's starting to seem like that truly is our new reality. Relaxing but fun enough to not feel as boring as it is to watch on tv (sorry not sorry golf stans) and you can sip away at a bev while you're waiting for your turn. That's definitely what you’ll get at the putt putt at Victoria Park in Herston, along with stunning city views and challenging terrain. Oh yeah, you can also play for just $15 Monday to Wednesday after 5pm. Want to go right this very second? Find out all the deets here.
Play Pool At Cue Up
If like most of us you perfected the perfect break at your hometown pub or student accommodation rec room, you're in luck. For 18 bucks an hour per table (for any number of people) you can demolish your friends once more at Toowong’s Cue Up. They're open till late, you can BYO drinks and it's conveniently right near Toowong Village which you can read all about here.
Gather Your Mates For Some High Stakes Trivia
End of day exhaustion paired with drinks equals those times when you laugh so hard no sound comes out. Who came up with pub trivia we don't know, but we probably owe them a drink. Who would've thought trivia would be so fun and somehow so funny? We of course have the lowdown on all of Brisbane’s best trivia nights here. Our favourite is Get Ducked at the Defiant Duck in Newstead where you can win a $200 voucher every Wednesday. Best part? At most, the entry fee for any of them is copping a drink.
Channel Your Inner Tonya Harding At IceWorld
Blades Of Glory, Netflix’s Spinning Out and that one scene in Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus—we have been obsessed with ice skating for the longest. Boondall and Acacia Ridge’s Iceworld ice skating rinks have come through for those of us whose accounts are in the negative. They put on a night called Cheap Skate every Tuesday when for just $13 you can skate around or professionally perfect your triple axel from 8pm to 10pm, skate hire included. Even if you've never skated before, it’s guaranteed fun—and if you're that bad they have those little penguin things to help you skate. Need a visual for that? Find all the info here.
Go Op Shopping For Treasures
Ever since queen Emma Chamberlain made thrifting the hottest weekend activity, we’ve been scouring the local talent and have managed to narrow the long list down to the top 11 coolest op shops in Brisbane. Getting clothes second hand is good for charity, the environment and your wallet and you'll be surprised what you can pick up for under $10. You could easily fill in a whole day by cruising around to even just a few of the thrift stores on our list, which you can find right here.
Try Lawn Bowls With The Gang
AHT AHT! Right off the bat, no, barefoot bowls aren't just for nanna and pop. The outdoor bowling activity can be super fun, especially if your friends cannot be trusted to act right in any social situation. For $10 a person you can bowl to your heart's content at the Merthyr Bowls Club in New Farm as well as get the pub atmosphere we all know and love. You'll have to book which you can do here, after calling your grandad for his secret winning maneuver.
Set Your Inner Child Loose On a Trampoline Park
If you’ve been traumatized by the duality of man when receiving the notorious double bounce on your trampoline growing up: you can now unleash the weapon of the double bounce on your friends. For $18 ($15 for students) Monday to Friday you can hop on over to Bounce in Tingalpa for some good old fashioned fun (and to catapult your friend into the stratosphere). As always, it’s better to book which you can do here.
Take A Step Into A Futuristic Digitised Pong Bar
Elevate your night out at the pub and head to iPong in Macgregor instead. Walking into the neon-lit arcade feels like stepping straight into a video-game only you arrive to fully set up electronic beer pong, darts and a fully stocked bar. Traditionally played at sweltering house parties all over our great city, Pong is elevated at iPong to a cybernated experience—but it's still just as fun. The best bit of all? It's only $10 a game for pong and $2 a person for darts. You can find all the info here.
Yeet A Frisbee Into Oblivion In The Name Of Disk Golf
Bet you don't even know how good disk golf is. First and foremost, the disk is actually like a frisbee, and the go is it's basically the same as golf where your aim is to get the disk in the chain baskets in the least amount of hits possible. You have to bring your own disk (you can get one for under $20 here) but set up in the arvo when it's cooler and get some bevs and or furry friends involved and you’ve got yourself a wholesome activity for cheap. There's heaps of different courses all over, so find out which one is closest to you here.
Give Ariana A Run For Her Money At Karaoke
Ok, so as we know singing in the shower or the car hits differently. But what about the raving crowds at your concert? The fans singing along? Enter the pastime of the people: karaoke. Bust out your favourite artists choreo and belt that whistle note for just $10 a person on weekday afternoons at Cloud8 Karaoke. Even better, it's not some place with weird decor and sticky carpet (come on now we wouldn’t do you like that), the rooms, themed for the like’s girl power, street art and the ocean, are full of all the vibes. Take a look for yourself here.
Reclaim Your Title As Ping Pong Champion
Did that one douche at the house party cannonball onto your ping pong table recently, mangling it beyond recognition? You're in luck—as a part of the Commonwealth Olympics at the GC a couple of years back, the government installed free to use table tennis tables all around the city. Just cop a bat and a ball (or pull up to the list of council offices that have them to borrow for free) and pong the day away! Here's all the locations where you can find a table.
Game For Hours For A Couple Gold Coins
If games are your vibe, it doesn't get much better than valley-based arcade Netherworld. The range of gaming machines and board games on offer is actually insane and here’s the bit you're waiting for—it's only a buck to play each one. Yep, just one measly dollar. Bonus, if you're there from 4pm to 6pm daily you can score a bunch of extra tokens at the bar. You can also grab a bite to eat, because the menu here is super cheap and downright delicious. Oh yeah, there's also a bar. Find out more here.
Get A Complete Makeover For Under $20
Hearing Glamorous by Fergie come on at the pre-drinks, on the radio or in the club is usually cause to and truly break it down with the girlies. When you're on struggle street, however, hearing Ludacris telling you to take your broke ass home…really hits deep in every sense of the word. But boy do we have a beauty hack for you. In an incredulous turn of events, we’ve discovered that the French Beauty Academy has a student salon where you can get yourself looking gewd for under $20. Picture this: a full set of acrylic nails for only $10. Yes, girl, it's time to pull up. Not to mention you can get laser, facials, spray tans and a whole ass 2.5-hour bliss package that includes four different treatments for cheap as. Like all of those things under $50 total cheap. Nothing’s as bad when you have your nails done. Find out more here.
Knock Off Every Cheap Restaurant On Our List
You know who you're reading right? The food people. Now imagine when we can’t feast on our decadent restaurant finds. Yeah, not happy Jan. Between forking out money for groceries to have half your veggies start to rot in your fridge to eating spaghetti bolognese for two months straight, food on a budget is a nightmare. Fear not! No one has to know you're spending the last $15.70 to your actual name on some food. We have compiled a list of the best cheap places to eat out in Brisbane ($10 ramen at Hai Hai is a must). Check it out here.
Take A Dip Under Some Waterfalls
Oh, we do love a good hike, don’t we. You've gotta admit though, who can be bothered to just walk around a hot ass track? Well well well, here's the best of both worlds: hikes with waterfalls. Get that workout then stumble upon a beautiful lush clearing and jump in for a dip. You already know we have a roundup of the best ones, which is here.
Hunt Down Brisbane’s Coolest Street Art
If you're a southsider, you know that our city has a surprising amount of amazing street art—you know, the pieces that usually call cool Melbourne-ish laneways home, hidden in plain sight tucked away from the busy hustle and bustle of the city. Well we’ve got a great roundup of some crackers here, that range from arts hub Fish Lane to the Brisbane Powerhouse’s outdoor installations that you could totally bring your furry friend to. Take some cool pics for the ‘gram or grab a coffee at one of the sure to be nearby cafes. Here’s a list to guide your steps.
If you’re all cashed up, and have way more than $20 to spend on cheap things to do in Brisbane, check out these cute friend date ideas.
Image credit: Pandora Photography/Victoria Park