Where to Stay in Brisbane First Time: 7 Best Areas

The best areas to stay in Brisbane for first-timers are Brisbane CBD, South Bank, Fortitude Valley, Kangaroo Point, Petrie Terrace, New Farm, and West End. These are popular and safe neighborhoods for tourists that offer a wide variety of attractions and amenities. In this guide, I will help you to decide where to stay in Brisbane for family, couple, for a weekend, and best places to stay in each neighborhood.

Brisbane is the capital of the sunshine state of Queensland. Situated around world-class beaches and national parks, it’s a magnificent city to visit. Brisbane is known for its proximity to the Gold Coast, Noosa, Fraser Island, Byron Bay and many other top-rated tourist destinations on the east coast of Australia. 

As a sub-tropical climate, the city is perfect for visiting on a year-round basis. With Brisbane’s beautiful hot summers and mild sunny winters, there is no ideal time to visit. The best places to stay depends on precisely what your interests and requirements are, and Brisbane has something to offer for everyone.

Central Business District (CBD) is the best place to stay in Brisbane for tourist, especially for first-timers because it has a super central location and wide range of accommodation options. If you stay here, you will be located right in the middle of action, within walking distance to famous attractions, as well as restaurants, bars, and shops.

Apart from the CBD, one of my favorite spots is in the South Bank. I think this provides some of the most incredible views of Brisbane’s skyline. South Bank is also best area in Brisbane for families because it is one of the safest neighborhood in Brisbane with plenty of kid-friendly activites and lovely dining venue along the river.

But if you’re travelling to drink and experiencing the nightlife, then you may opt to stay somewhere like Fortitude Valley which is where the best nightlife is. If you prefer to visit quieter places, then you would choose places like New Farm or the West End. These spots have relaxed vibes but still not too far from the best attractions.

💖 Best Area for first-timers:Brisbane CBD
💎 Best luxury hotel:Stamford Plaza Brisbane
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Royal On The Park
💰 Best budget hotel:Brisbane City YHA

7 Best Areas to Stay in Brisbane for tourists

1. Brisbane CBD, best area to stay in Brisbane for first-timers

best area to Stay in Brisbane Australia: CBD
Brisbane CBD

Brisbane CBD is the best area to stay in Brisbane for first time tourist because it is the heart and the transport pub of the city. You can easily travel around with its well-connected public transport system. The central business district will aslo locate you next to most of Brisbane’s best attractions.

There are plenty of things to do and see in the city center from museums, shopping center, gardens, theatres. Brisbane River offers incredible views of the Brisbane skyline.

You can start explore the CBD from Queen Street Mall which is home to the main bus terminal and close to the central train station. Very convient for transportation! With over than 600 shops, many cafes and restaurants, cinema complexes, the Treasury Casino, Queen Street Mall is haven for shoppers.

A short walk from Queen Street Mall, you will find Brisbane’s City Hall and King George Square. The square hosts numeros of events and festivals throughout the year. You can climb up to the top of its clock tower and enjoy stunning views of the city.

Head to the riverside, you will see the Eagle Street Pier with beautiful riverfront views. This is location of Sunday weekend markets, and the ferry terminal of City Hoppers and City Cats.

The riverwalk promenade is great place to have pleasure stroll and cycling! You can easily across from one side of the river to the other with many pedestrian bridges and bridges with pedestrian paths.

Located between Ann and Adelaide streets stands the Anzac Square. It is named in honour of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps who served the Second Boer War, World War I and II, the Vietnam War. There is also gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance which is the location of a Dawn Service on the 25 of April.

Brisbane City Botanic Gardens at Gardens Point is also a must-see. Its Riverstage is a popular location for concerts and events.

You also have green space like Roma Street Parkland, the world’s largest subtropical garden in a city centre. Great places for families and kids spend a fun day out!

If you want to learn the history culture of Brisbane, head to Museum of Brisbane (formerly Brisbane City Gallery) on Ann Street.

The Customs House is one of Brisbane’s heritage listen icons, operated by the University of Queensland. Behind the Corinthian columns, you will find exquisite boardrooms, a ballroom, and a licensed restaurant with views of Story Bridge.

Other interesting cultural attractions are the Old Government House which is one of Brisbanes heritage buildings, Old Windmill, State Parliament House, and the Albert Street Literary Walk.

You can the City Centre Heritage Trail starting off at the Regent Theatre, with the 26 stops along the way include the Brisbane Arcade and St Stephen’s Chapel.

The Brisbane central business district has every type of accommodation that you could want, with everything from luxury 5 star, to backpacker hostels and mid-range hotels. It’s an all-around perfect spot. You can consider staying in Spring Hill if you looking for somewhere to stay with easy access to Greater Brisbane and close to Brisbane’s CBD.

Stay in Brisbane CBD if you want to be in the centre, you like to be around the attractions, you enjoy shopping at Edward street, Queen Street Mall, you want the best public transport, you don’t mind busy areas.

Best Places to Stay in Brisbane CBD:

luxury ($$$): Stamford Plaza Brisbane This riverfront accommodation offers views of the iconic Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point cliffs, on the banks of the Brisbane River, which is just a few steps from Botanical Gardens, and Brisbane’s prestigious dining and shopping precinct.

mid-range ($$): Royal On The Park Located opposite the City Botanic Gardens, within an easy stroll to shopping at Queen Street Mall, theCentral Business District, South Bank Parklands, Queensland Performing Arts Complex (QPAC), Queensland Treasury, and Queensland University of Technology.

budget ($): Brisbane City YHA Located within walking distance from Roma Street Transit Centre, South Brisbane Station, and Suncorp Stadium. The tour desk can book a range of activities including Moreton or Stradbroke Island tours, tickets to Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, Australia Zoo and the XXXX Ale House as well as tours up the East Coast.


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2. South Bank, where to stay in Brisbane with family

Southbank brisbane
Southbank Brisbane

South Bank along with Brisbane CBD is best place to stay in Brisbane for family. They are both safe neighborhood with wide range of tourist attractions and amenities, as well as well-connected public transport. But it’s better to stay in South Bank than in CBD if you travel as a family with kids because it has many wonderful play areas, kid-friendly activities, and lots of lovely restaurants along the river.

Located on the southern banks of the Brisbane River, The South Bank is a 17 hectares of South Bank Parklands, eateries, and hundreds of events all year round. It is home to some of Brisbane’s most notorious travel attractions.

A popular tourist attraction in the South Bank is the Brisbane Wheel; it offers impressive views of the city from the comfort of an air-conditioned gondola.

One of my favorite places in Brisbane is the Streets Beach Swimming Pool, and there is nothing better than swimming here in the summer. It is a man-made beach with a sparkling lagoon, white, sandy beaches and sub-tropical plants.

Other places for swimming and water activities in South Bank are the Boat Pool and Aquativity. They both have lifeguards, so you will be safe!

Foodie will want to visit the Little Stanley Street with more than 30 cafes, bars and restaurants providing a wide range of cuisines. Its sister street, Grey Street, home to home to the South Bank Cineplex, also has plenty of places to eat.

The South Bank Cultural Precinct is full of cultural landmarks including the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art; Queensland Performance Arts Centre; State Library of Queensland; Queensland Museum and Sciencentre.

There are also many charming picnic spots with BBQ facilities and children playground to enjoy, the most popular spots are River Quay Green, Riverside Green and Picnic Island Green.

If you like walking and cycling, there are many scenic routes to explore. You will see the Arbour, Rainforest walk, Clem Jones Promenade from QPAC to the Maritime Museum, The Goodwill Bridge connects South Bank to the city’s Botanic Gardens, and The Victoria Bridge.

If you want to do some shopping, you can visit the South Bank Collective Markets to find a unique gift, and the Young Designers Market for fashion and jewellery.

You can easily explore South Bank by foot, Green Cabs, cruises and the CityHopper, Brisbane’s free ferry service. South Bank has two train stations: South Bank and South Brisbane Stations on Grey Street, South Bank.

South Bank is home to a vast array of mid to high-end hotels, and there are some decent budget hotel deals too. It’s an all-rounder for a visitor, well located, excellent accommodation options and great views.

Stay in South Bank / South Brisbane if you want a central location; you are traveling with family; you are couples; you want to be near the attractions, you like outdoor activities, you don’t mind not being central to nightlife.

Best places to stay in Brisbane in South Bank:

luxury ($$$): Emporium Hotel South Bank This 5-star hotel is 400m from South Bank Parkland, close to Brisbane Exhibition Centre, City Botanical Gardens, Riverstage, Wheel of Brisbane, and Boggo Road Gaol.

mid-range ($$): Arise Ivy and Eve This apartment offers an outdoor, infinity swimming pool, spa centre and a fitness room; Also within walking distance from Sky Needle, The Queensland Art Gallery, Queensland Museum.

budget ($): River Plaza Apartments Offers a year-round outdoor pool and views of the pool; Close to South Bank Parklands, City Botanical Gardens, the Brisbane Convention Centre, and Gabba Brisbane Cricket Ground.

3. Fortitude Valley, where to stay in Brisbane for nightlife

Situated North-East of Brisbane CBD, Fortitude Valley, known as They Valley by locals, is a fantastic spot to stay in if you want an alternative scene with excellent bars and trendy shopping districts. 

A popular tourist destination in Fortitude Valley is Brisbane’s bustling Chinatown. Brisbane has a large Chinese population, and Fortitude Valley is home to a fantastic Chinatown.

Fortitude Valley is home to Brisbane’s nightlife scene, and it isn’t short of excellent bars such as the Elixir Rooftop on Ann Street. 

If you are looking for your brunch and dinners, make your way to the Valley’s main street of Brunswick Street, James Street, Wickham Street, Alfred Street, and Constance Street.

Valley is mecca for shopaholics with the James Street full of boutiques. James Street Market is a must-visit. There are also shops along laneways such as Bakery Lane, California Lane, or Winn Lane.

Famous for its live music scene, The Zoo, Rics Bar, Stepinn, and Fortitude Music Hall are some of the most popular music venues in the Valley.

Fortitude Valley has all different types of accommodation, from luxury hotels to backpacker hostels. There are some excellent budget hotel deals available in this area.

Stay in Fortitude Valley if you want to stay in central of Brisbane nightlife; you like live music.

Best places to stay in Brisbane in Fortitude Valley:

Art Series – The Fantauzzo This is a 5-star hotel that offers a restaurant, outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre and bar. Close proximity to Brisbane Showgrounds, New Farm Riverwalk, Story Bridge, Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, The Zoo, St John’s Anglican Cathedral, and Eagle Street Pier.

Ovolo The Valley Brisbane Set in the heart of Fortitude Valley, and is surrounded by shopping, restaurants and bars; It is just minutes from Brisbane’s city centre and chic Valley nightlife. Fortitude Valley Station and Bowen Hills Station are less than 1km away.

FV by Peppers Situated in the heart of one of Brisbane’s most vibrant and cosmopolitan entertainment precincts, near RNA Showground, Treasury Casino, Story Bridge, and Queen Street Mall.


4. Kangaroo Point, stunning river views

Kangaroo Point, stunning river views
Kangaroo Point Brisbane

Kangaroo Point is home to Brisbane’s sporting scene. The Gabba is here and is an iconic symbol of Aussie sport, and a focal point of the city’s love for cricket and AFL. 

Kangaroo Point is home to some of Brisbane’s most iconic landmarks such as Kangaroo Point Cliffs on the east bank of the river, Brisbane’s Story Bridge, and Yungaba House.

Another great attraction is the Eagles Nest bar, which offers fantastic views of the city and is a perfect place to have a cold beer or white wine during summer.

I recommend you try rock climbing in Kangaroo point as well. You can also climb to the Story Bridge, which was built in 1940 and towering 80 metres above the river.

There are plenty of outdoor activites such as walking, cycling, picnic, kayaking or paddle-boarding on Brisbane River at Riverlife Adventure Centre. The Caption Burke Park under Story Bridge, is a popular spot for barbecues.

Kangaroo point has some superb mid to luxury accommodation options that offer utterly fantastic room views over the city.

Stay in Kangaroo Point if you love to watch sport, you want some great river walks, you like great bars, you don’t mind not being in the CBD., you don’t mind being away from some attractions.

Best Hotels in Brisbane Kangaroo Point

The Point Brisbane Hotel Set at Kangaroo Point with views of Brisbane River and the city, with an easy distance from Brisbane Cricket Ground-The Gabba, the local City Hopper terminal, South Bank Parklands, Dockside Marina, Riverlife Adventure Centre, Gardens Point Boat Harbour, and Fortitude Valley.

Central Dockside Apartment Hotel Features spacious, self-catering apartments in Kangaroo Point, with views of the Brisbane River and the city skyline. Brisbane CBD is minutes away by ferry or taxi.


🎬 Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in Brisbane or continue reading:

5. Petrie Terrace, where to stay in Brisbane on a budget

Petrie Terrace is west of Spring Hill, is a superb spot if you’re looking to get away from the CBD. This area of Brisbane is known for Caxton street which is Brisbane’s oldest nightlife destination. 

Petrie Terrace is home to the Suncorp Stadium which hosts international rugby and football matches. Suncorp Stadium is a great spot to watch some high-quality sport. You can visit some of the local parks such as Roma Street Park.

You can also check out the Palace Barracks Cinemas, Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall, Brewski, the StreetSide Bar, Pamela’s Pantry, The Caxton Hotel, Fritzenberger, and Scout Café.

Petrie Terrace has various superb options for a budget traveller with many great hostels, but it has many mid to high-end luxury hotels.

Stay in Petrie Terrace if you love to watch sport, you enjoy outdoor space, you want great bars and restaurants, you don’t mind not being central, you don’t mind being away from the main attractions.

Best places to stay near Petrie Terrace:

6. New Farm, a quiet relaxing area to stay in Brisbane

If you’re looking for a quieter, more relaxed spot to visit in Brisbane, then you should head to New Farm. A leafy and peaceful suburb, New Farm is the perfect place to relax.

Situated on the river, New Farm Park is the ideal spot to sit and have a picnic. A relaxing place by the river, this is the perfect spot to escape the city. Visitors will also enjoy the numerous quality cafes and restaurants in the area.

You also have a New Farm riverfront walkway, New Farm Powerhouse, New Farm Confectionery, and Little Italy.

It’s possible to find fantastic budget deals in New Farm. Due to the location, you can find much smaller hotels that are cheaper than other parts of the city. 

Stay in New Farm if you want a relaxed spot, you like quiet places, you want to enjoy great parks, you don’t mind not being central, you don’t mind not being next to the attractions.

Best Places to Stay in Brisbane New Farm

7. West End, a quiet area in Brisbane

The West End of Brisbane is perfect for a relaxing spot to stay. It’s a quiet but charming place that’s west of the CBD. One of the best parts is the Davies Park Market, you can visit an open-air market selling heaps of local produce and delicious foods.

There are some great parks in the West End that offer tremendous views. A great spot is the Orleigh and Musgrave parks with open green space to relax. 

Other places to check out in this area including Davies Park Market, Boundary Street, Lychee Loung, Archive Beer Boutique and Bistro, and The End.

The West End does have a wide range of budget hotel options. It’s a trendy place with young travellers and has budget accommodation to match. 

Stay in West End if you like quieter places., you want relaxing parks, you like budget options, you don’t mind being outside the CBD, you don’t mind being away from the best attractions, you like live music.

What is the best area to stay in Brisbane?

Brisbane CBD is the best area to stay in Brisbane because it is the most convenient location and it offers the widest range of accommodation options that suit all budget travelers. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action, within walking distance to tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, and shops.

Where to stay in Brisbane with a family?

Brisbane is the perfect family-friendly destination to explore. Brisbane CBD and South Bank are best places to stay in Brisbane for family because it offers an incredible selection of family activities for all ages.

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Overall, Brisbane CBD is the best area to stay in Brisbane for tourist due to its prime location. If you book a hotel here, you will be located within walking distance to some of the best attractions, shopping, dining, and nightlife in the city. The CBD also offers the widest choices in accommodation, so you will be easy to choose one hotel that suits your budget.

Brisbane is an underrated city in Australia, many tourists will avoid it, and many travellers will skip it on their East Coast tour. However, Brisbane has some great attractions and is extremely close to stunning spots like the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. There are a variety of options for accommodation in Brisbane, but they are all pretty central, and it just depends on what you prefer. I’m sure you’ll find the best place to suit you and have an awesome trip. 

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