If you have just 48 hours to spend on your holiday, where would you like to spend it?
You can’t explore all of Brisbane even if you stay there for a month. If you need to pick a Brisbane area to have fun and be entertained, Fortitude Valley is the place for you.
It is a suburb of contradiction – unrefined yet cultured. It is a place where class and elegance meet grungy and offbeat, and modern buildings are nestled harmoniously among heritage-listed buildings.
Affectionately called The Valley by locals, this inner Brisbane suburb is an entertainment hub – from shopping to bars and live music.
Duration: 48 hours
Distance: 2 km from the CBD
How to get around: walking or car
Closest major city: Brisbane
Cost of Activities: Free to $$$$
What to expect
Browse shops and boutiques in fashionable James Street and Anne Street
Eat at quirky eateries
Discover secret bars
Enjoy the live music performances
Stay at a cosy accommodation
Browse the markets
Where to stay
Do you know where to stay yet in The Valley?
There are many types of accommodation to choose from – from boutiques hotels like the high-end Emporium Hotel Brisbane to budget accommodation like the award-winning Bunk Backpackers.
If you are looking for alternative accommodation, try holiday rentals managed by Air-rive. Run by super hosts who will make sure your stay is comfortable and stress-free, the properties are ideally located and offers amenities to make your stay feel as close to home as possible.
Fortitude Valley is fast becoming a popular travel destination in Brisbane, boasting a wide array of shopping, dining and cultural experiences.
Here are the things you can do while in Fortitude Valley to make the most of this bustling precinct in two days:
Day 1 – Dine and shop
Start your day with a cup of coffee and to-die-for breakfast at any of the many cafes in the neighbourhood.
There is Harvey’s, a breakfast institution located in the famed shopping area of James Street serving sumptuous breakfast fare such as omelette and pancakes. If you prefer fancy but inexpensive brekky, drop by 321 Water Street. Treat yourself to salmon French toast, or corn and zucchini fritters with mashed avocado and truffle omelette, all under $16. King Arthur is a gem hidden on a side street off James St. If you are feeling adventurous, try this two-level café that likes to test culinary boundaries with fares such as fried borlotti beans and chilli scramble.
Two hundred meters from Arthur Street you will arrive at Brunswick Street, the site of the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts where you can satisfy your creative side with performances and art gallery installations.
Combine shopping and dining while exploring The Valley’s much-talked laneway scene. These laneways are hidden by busy main roads, but it shouldn’t stop you from discovering what great secrets are hidden in Brisbane’s laneway culture. In between browsing the shops, you can check out one or two of the many craft-coffee joints and superb local food haunts.
At Winn Lane, just off Ann Street, a leisurely stroll will take you to a lot of creative and fun things that are worth finding. Sample tasty fries, out-of-this-word shakes and one of Brisbane’s best burgers at the much-loved Ben’s Burgers. When you are ready to take a break from your laneway tour, take a seat and a sip of coffee at No. 5 Café.
The tucked away laneways is home to a lively, creative community of local artisans, fashion designers and hair stylists. For classic guitars and other music accessories, visit Tyms Guitars. Step into a world of fashion through several boutiques selling everything from affordable yet trendy pieces, to vintage apparel to formal and bridal gowns. For male outfits and accessories, head to The Outpost. The laneway has expanded its offerings to also include jewellery, art and candles.
No need to get of the laneway – just continue onto Bakery Lane. Aside from shopping, the laneway also boasts some of the popular eateries around the Valley. All kinds of delicious foods are available here. For organic, vegetarian meals go to the “Peter Pan” inspired eatery Lost Boys Cafe. If you’re craving tasty Korean dishes, visit Nom Nom. Want to try a fusion of European and Middle Eastern fare, then try the APO.
You can stay late into the night in the laneway to chill and have a few drinks. Some of the top hot spots in all of the Valley is in Bakery Lane. Sample traditional and bespoke cocktails at Laruche, or listen live jazz at the Bowery cocktail bar. An adjunct to the Lost Boys Café is the Tree House, specializing in organic and natural beer, cider, wine and cocktails.
Recharge your batteries with a good breakfast and a delicious cup of coffee. There are so many places to get a good cup, including Campos, a local favourite, or Reverends, where the coffee is great and so is the food.
If you are interested in graffiti, you’re in for a wonderful surprise, you just have to know where to look. Or check out Brisbane Greeters, which offers personalized tours. You can ask for a street tour and learn straight from a local the stories and people behind each graffiti.
You can also experience a little slice of Asian heaven in The Valley’s Chinatown. Check out King of Kings for the best yum cha in town, as well as tasty steamed pork spare ribs and steamed prawn dumplings.
There is more shopping to experience, this time for fashionable and designer clothes. James Street, the precinct’s major shopping hub, a tree-lined street dotted by a mix of over 130 specialty shops ranging from food hall and homewares, to boutiques and national flagship stores. This strip is home to some of Brisbane’s designers, like Gail Sorronda, as well as national boutique brands like Calexico and Camargue.
If you are still up for more, check out the Emporium precinct, a little haven for great dining and a few stores such as Tengdahl, Alla Moda and Nat-Sui.
On your last night, enjoy the live music scene that Fortitude Valley is famed for. No matter your taste in music, there is one available for you – from major local and international music acts at the art deco refinery of The Tivoli theatre to garage bands at The Foundry. If you like jazz or soulful blues, book a seat at the cosy Browery. If you want to be surprised and don’t care to dress up, head up to The Zoo, which has established a cult following among locals.
Fortitude Valley is the site of many events and festivals. You might just be there to catch the Valley Fiesta, the Valley’s flagship festival and typically features live music, theatre, food, workshops, performances and visual arts, or International Jazz Festival is a five-day event hosted by Jazz Queensland and generally happens during the first week of June.
If your limited on time, our 48-hour guide might just help you make the most of your time in Fortitude Valley.