At drinks recently in Vancouver, it was Queensland versus New South Wales: two of us were from Brisbane, whereas the other two hailed from Sydney. We were discussing our cities when my fellow Queenslander announced that Brisbane was named Australia’s hippest city. I was shocked. I thought that title automatically went to Melbourne with its street art, alleys, fine arts scene and coffee culture. So I decided to research it. And it’s true. Lonely Planet declared in its latest Australian guidebook that Brisbane was indeed the hippest place to be in Australia.
This is what Lonely Planet has to say about Brisbane:
- Pumping night-life
- Edgy arts scene
- Cool book shops
- Globally-inspired restaurants
- Great cafes
- Abundance of live music and band venues
I can just imagine Aussie reactions to this. Somewhere along the lines of bulls*** or insert other expletive here. But look, they are right. Brisbane is up-and-coming. It is trying to catch up to the hipster likes of Melbourne and Fremantle, and the city’s doing pretty damn well.
As I have written about previously in my post Five Favourite Brisbane Suburbs, there are definitely some suburbs to rival its hipster Aussie counterparts. Paddington is all cute cafes and op-shops (thrift stores) galore. West End is definitely a mini-Melbourne, with cafes and restaurants to discover literally around every corner. It is also the place Lonely Planet must be referring to when they mention an abundance of live music and band venues. This niche just over the bridge from the CBD is where you go for music.
And just next door is Southbank, which is a beautiful place to go to relax and unwind, AND eat amazing food. Ahmet’s is the best Turkish I have ever eaten. In Australia. It is also home to QPAC (Queensland Performing Arts Centre) and the Queensland Art Gallery – complete with giant pears floating on water.
I think people underestimate Brisbane. But maybe that’s a good thing. Everyone loves an underdog right? So please, if you do one thing for me, don’t cross it off that list just yet. Take a day to wander through these suburbs and soak up the hipster culture Lonely Planet describes. You may be pleasantly surprised. And when you are I will be here to say I told you so.