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Unlike many other cities around the world, Brisbane’s inner city can be a bit of a dead zone, particularly evenings and on weekends. This is because in Brisbane, we’re all about the ‘burbs. If you’re a tourist in Brisbane, bypass the inner city (well, most of it) and head straight for some of our inner suburbs for less mod-sky scrapers and more coffee, shopping and some youthful and creative vibes.
Set up on a hill just a little north of Brisbane, this beautiful leafy suburb is filled with old worker’s cottages and stunning character homes. Paddington’s main hubs are Latrobe and Given Terrace. It’s essentially just one long road with countless food and shopping options. This is the suburb you want to be visiting for vintage and pre-loved goods. You can’t miss the Paddington Antique Centre, but keep strolling and you’ll find a bomb of once loved and new gems. Paddington is all about independent boutiques, vintage and a decent breakfast, with some leftover hippy options for those that require an alternative.
If you’re a coffee lover, then this is the area for you. It can be a bit hard to tell sometimes where Teneriffe stops and New Farm starts, but this whole pocket is bustling with options to make your weekend stand out.
Start by having an exhilarating spin class at Inspire Cycle. Pick up some delicious treats from Botanica or Nodo (incredible gluten free donuts), and head to New Farm Park by the river for a lazy afternoon under the trees. James Street has many options for a relaxed afternoon of shopping and a long lunch or dinner.
It doesn’t feel so long ago that West End had a bad reputation. While it has been gentrified over the last couple of decades, it hasn’t lost its extremely rustic charm. West End feels a little bit grungy, shall we say ‘less polished’ and is definitely worth a visit. You’ll find many Uni students, artists and original Brisbane hippies living in this pocket of inner west Brisbane. Some must-visits are Avid Reader for lovers of books, and iconic cafe The Three Monkeys.
Bulimba is full of beautiful renovated Queenslander style homes and has the feel and charm of a bayside village, even though it’s just outside the city. This sweet suburb is home to old cinemas, art galleries, bookshops and cafes to boot. Head to Oxford Street for dining (try the pizza at Sugo Mi) or shopping for some weekend buzz.
These two country towns are 30-40 minutes drive north-west of Brisbane’s CBD, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped right into the middle of the country. Lush, green rolling hills all around, picturesque rock pools and some quirky cafes, Samford is centred around a quaint village, but with easy access to the luxuries of the city. For a unique country cafe experience, try the long established Elm Haus at Mount Glorious and The Flying Nun at Samford.