The Brisbane arts scene is firmly embedded in its culture, with internationally renowned permanent displays and world-class travelling exhibitions showcased in the vibrant river city. There’s always something to see, from the many destinations located at the Queensland Cultural Centre in Southbank, to street art dotted around the city.
Here are some of the best Brisbane arts and culture offerings to check out.
Year Round Culture
Located in two buildings a short walk away, the Queensland Art Gallery and the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art both offer spectacular installations and travelling exhibitions. The striking architecture and beautiful location are the perfect backdrop to the impressive collections of art that feature internationally acclaimed collections from Australia, Asia, and the Pacific. Entry is free, although some travelling shows and exhibits will incur an additional cost.
One of Australia’s leading performing arts centres is located in the heart of the Queensland Cultural Centre. QPAC showcases some of the best in performing arts, from Australia and around the world. Home to the state’s leading companies including the Queensland Theatre Company, Queensland Ballet, Queensland Symphony Orchestra and Opera Queensland, there’s something for everyone. Internationally acclaimed actors, dancers, comedians, musicians, artists, and companies visit for incredible performances that will have you coming back for more. Visit the QPAC website for more information on upcoming events.
Celebrating natural history, cultural heritage, science, and innovation, the Queensland Museum hosts permanent and temporary displays and exhibitions. There’s plenty to see and do, especially the impressive Wild State permanent exhibition showcasing hundreds of Queensland animals, the Discovery Centre offering educational play for children, and the excellent prehistoric section with plenty of fossils from around Queensland. The museum also hosts school holiday activities, and other public programs. Connected to the museum is the Sciencentre, a place for children to be entertained and fascinated by a range of science-based interactive displays. Entry to the museum is free, but special exhibits and the Sciencentre have an entry fee.
It’s one of Australia’s best outdoor concert destinations, and it has played host to plenty of local and international talent. Located in the City Botanic Gardens, the Riverstage hosts festivals, dance performances, community events, concerts, and more in beautiful surrounds. Some notable upcoming visitors to the Riverstage include Amy Shark, Six60, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Lorde. To find out what events are being hosted at this iconic venue, check out the Riverstage website for more information.
European Masterpieces at GOMA | 12 JUN 2021 – 17 OCT 2021
This year, Brisbane art lovers will have the privilege of viewing some of art’s greatest treasures, all the way from The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The European Masterpieces exhibit will feature work by some of the great European masters, such as Caravaggio, Van Gogh, and Rembrandt. With works spanning 500 years and many different styles of artistic expression, the exhibition at GOMA will be one to remember. Tickets are available from the GOMA website.
Brisbane Comedy Festival | 16 JUL 2021 – 08 AUG 2021
Held in three fantastic locations around Brisbane – the Brisbane Powerhouse, the Fortitude Music Hall, and the Tivoli – the Brisbane Comedy Festival promises side-splitting laughs and more comedians than you can shake a stick at. With over 50 different acts booked in over the course of the festival, make this year one to look back on and laugh. There is plenty of local talent and well-known international names, all participating in three weeks of laughter and hilarity.
Brisbane Festival | 3 SEP 2021 – 25 SEP 2021
The month of September is a special time to be in Brisbane, with the city celebrating art, music, and community at its annual Brisbane Festival. The month is jam-packed with entertainers, dance, music, and art, with each day hosting a new and exciting event. There are both free and paid experiences throughout the festival period, in a number of locations across the Brisbane region. The festivities end with a bang, with the Brisbane Riverfire fireworks lighting up the sky in a night of wonder and excitement.
International film festival | 21 OCT – 31 OCT 2021
See something new and exciting this October at the Brisbane International Film Festival. An annual event organised by Screen Queensland, the festival showcases works by local artists, as well as filmmakers across the globe. In addition to the screenings, there are seminars, Q&A sessions, awards ceremonies, and opening and closing night celebrations across multiple local venues. It’s an exciting time for both up-and-coming and established filmmakers, as well as for the viewers and festival attendees!
Getting Around in Brisbane City
Airtrain will get you quickly and comfortably from the airport to Brisbane City in 20 minutes. You can disembark at your chosen city station – Airtrain runs express from the airport, but stops at Fortitude Valley, Central, Roma Street, and South Brisbane stations.
Brisbane is a beautiful city for walking, and many fantastic destinations are within an easy stroll along attractive walkways. To get to your destination faster or to see more of the sights, Brisbane is connected by an extensive bus network and the river is crisscrossed by the CityCat ferries.
All Brisbane public transport uses a smart card for travel, or you can purchase a paper ticket. Short term visitors should check out the go seeQ card, which allows you unlimited travel for 3 or 5 consecutive days on buses, trains, ferries, and trams. It also includes 2 Airtrain journeys to/from the Brisbane Airport. For longer stays, travel like the locals with a go card – just touch on at your station of departure and touch off when you arrive at your destination.
Celebrating Brisbane Arts & Culture
If you’re planning to visit Brisbane and join in on the fun, Airtrain’s secure and reliable services mean you can get to where you need to go on time and in comfort. With so many events happening, and so much to see and do, Brisbane is a fantastic destination year-round for people looking to immerse themselves in arts and culture.