Brisbane and I have had a bit of a tumultuous relationship in the past. Brisbane was where I visited multiple times when I lived in Townsville. For a mini holiday, enroute overseas, or when I wanted to see Katy Perry or Rihanna in concert. It was the first city I moved to when I flew the nest. It was where I lived with my cousin, who became not only family but a great friend. It was also where I had a rough few months. But ultimately, Brisbane will always be a city I return to.
My visit in May was a little spontaneous for me (I bought my flights on sale about two months in advance). But my friend just happened to be in town at the same time, and our football teams just happened to be playing each other in Brisbane. I mean, I couldn’t not visit. I flew in on Friday afternoon and out on Sunday night, and it was one of those perfect weekends away that just refresh you.
So here is my visit to Brisbane via snaps on my phone. I thought this would be a good way to share what I got up to and some tips for where you should visit when you next head to the Queensland capital.
Golden Hour at Brisbane City YHA
How special is this view? When I booked my accommodation at Brisbane City YHA, I was reading the reviews and a lot of people mentioned the great city views from the pool area. So on my first night, as I headed out to see a friend, I made my way to the top to see if they knew what they were talking about. They certainly did.
On a side note, this hostel was great for my short break. You can easily walk to the city, Suncorp Stadium and Southbank. The staff were friendly and the rooms clean. There isn’t more you could want in budget accommodation in Brisbane.
Read More: My Guide to Brisbane’s Best Suburbs
Mister Fitz & Chinatown on a Friday night
I had seen a photo on my friend Elle’s Instagram a few weeks previously of the epic ice-cream sandwiches at Mister Fitz. I told her I needed to try one while I was in town, so we did just that on Friday night. Our first stop was for dinner in Chinatown, though. I couldn’t believe just how quiet Chinatown was. We decided to go back to King of Kings, a Chinese seafood restaurant I had been to previously when I lived in Brissy. There was a couple next to us who ordered a massive plate of fried rice with some sizzling steak and vegetables, so we asked the waiter if we could have the same. Best decision, the Mongolian beef was delicious.
Now onto the main course: dessert. We seemed to get to Mister Fitz at the right time, as by the time we sat down with our ice-cream, the line was about 15 people deep. My ice-cream sandwich consisted of cookie dough slices for cookies (a specialty), nutella ice-cream and mini M&Ms on top. So much sugar but sooo worth it. They have locations in Fortitude Valley and Southbank, so make sure you visit Mister Fitz when in Brisbane. Your Instagram feed will thank you.
Brunch in West End
Our first stop the following day was brunch in one of my favourite Brisbane neighbourhoods, West End. After scouring the streets we decided on Lock’n’Load Bistro, which was a smart choice. The service was quick and the scrambled eggs were perfect. Bonus points for crispy Canadian-style bacon. They also have a great outdoor deck and seating area, plus excellent nightly specials (2 for 1 meals on Wednesday I remember reading).
I don’t think you can visit Brisbane without checking out Southbank. We wandered down to the waterfront, through the bouganvillea vines to the beach, and then onto the weekly Saturday markets. It was a hot day, so the man-made beach was particularly busy. My other Southbank highlights: Ahmet’s for excellent Turkish cuisine and Cactus Republic for Mexican.
Footy on a Saturday Night
There are plenty of ways to spend your Saturday night in Brisbane, but as a rugby league fan I can’t think of anything better than checking out the footy. My friend and I put on our opposing team colours and headed to the game. The crowd was massive as there were two games back-to-back, but unfortunately my team lost. If you are going to Suncorp Stadium, it is worthwhile checking out Paddington while you are in the area. Kettle and Tin is a particular old favourite.
Brunch on a Sunday morning?
Oh, you bet I backed up my brunch game with another morning catch up with Vancouver friends I toured Canada and New York with in 2014. Although I didn’t snap a photo of my dish this time, we visited my friend’s sister’s cafe, Deedot in Holland Park. It is a popular spot with the locals, and they have a great menu to boot. They also just opened a new cafe in Manly West, if you happen to be in that neck of the woods too.
Shopping in the City
I wrapped up my time in Brisbane with a little movie break and shopping trip down Queen Street Mall. How Brisbane has a Forever21 before Melbourne blows my mind — this needs to change, fashion gods. I also discovered the Suitcase Rummage Markets were happening that day. If only I had room in my small carry-on backpack.
I also have to give a shout-out to my brother’s bar, The Village Social. I didn’t get a chance to check it out this trip, but I hear craft beer enthusiasts will love it. My Brisbane weekend was short, but I fit in everything I needed and wanted to. I hope this little snapshot gives you some tips for your next trip to Brisvegas (yes, that is a real nickname).