Free things to do in Brisbane

Cultural Centre - visit GOMA, the SLQ, the Edge, Museum and QAQ

Hello! I want to tell you about great ways to find free events in Brisbane – whether you like movies, meeting new people, hanging with old friends, music, moving your body, staying still, or learning something new. Here’s some ways to get out of the house, keep yourself amused and do it for free.

Maybe your diet’s been limited to instant noodles since March, or you want your uni debt paid off before turning 40.

Free events in Brisbane, for when your wallet is as empty as this.

Cutting into optional expenses is one way to keep to your budget. But if you know where to look, that may not be necessary. Importantly, it helps to be organised – find and decide on activities in advance, because some only run once, or at fixed times. It’s disappointing when I find the perfect event then realise, it finished yesterday.


Green Jam at QPAC – 5.30pm onwards, last Friday of the month

On the Melbourne St lawn on the last Friday of every month, Green Jam, which features a variety of styles of music including (hey!) Griffith Conservatorium students. Grab one of the seats, or a bit of lawn, for an evening of music. This will only get better as the weather heats up.

Green Jam at Qpac

Sundays on the Green at Southbank – 2-5pm every Sunday

Find a spot on the lawn, listen to the music, watch the river flow by…


I reckon seeing a movie in cinemas is a totally different experience to watching one on a TV or laptop. The Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) at Southbank has two theatres. They run film series, usually based around a theme (e.g. fairytales), or a particular director, such as Ingmar Bergman’s work. Movies are chosen because they represent an important moment in cinema history, so it’s unlikely you’ll see a new release. But, I’ve seen some great movies I had never heard of.

Please note, not all movies are free. Check the description of the movie, or the series in GOMA Cinema What’s On, it should say whether it’s ticketed or free.

State Library Events

The State Library of Queensland (SLQ) offers a huge range of resources and activities.  Many of these are only available to members, which requires Queensland residency. Sign up at How to Join.

The State Library of Queensland building

SLQ offers talks, music performances, film screenings, courses on coding, tours of the library and exhibitions.

Check their event calendar for live events.

The Edge

Located off the main SLQ building, the Edge is a space for people to create, buy cheap (but good) coffee, use laser cutters, sewing machines, recording equipment, learn how to use 3D printers, design software, or how to blog. The Edge runs meetups for people with similar creative interests, or you can attend a workshop to learn how to use their equipment. Find out what’s on at the Edge for events or the equipment available through their resources page.

Create stuff for free at the Edge

Exercise/dance classes

Fancy learning some Pilates? Or hot hula hoops? Brisbane City Council offers classes all over Brisbane. These include pilates, boxfit, zumba, and fitness challenges. Make sure you press the ‘free’ button underneath the search bar, before pressing search on the Brisbane City Council What’s On calendar (many of the listed events are free, but some have a cost, so just double-check). The Council has a great array of events beyond exercising – author talks, craft sessions, English conversation classes, the list goes on.


Southbank Park Run – 7am every Saturday

Every Saturday at 7am, join others, or bring a group of friends for a 5km trip around Southbank. It’s timed, so you can sprint, or take your sweet time and walk.

Getting there

Most of these places are reachable by public transport (whether bus, train, or CityCat). This will cost you something, but make sure you grab a GO card to get the cheapest transport to your destination. Use the Translink website for timetables and travel info.

Before you set out to enjoy one of the many free events listed here, just check the event website for times and places. Some places are closed on public holidays, others are open. It just depends on the place.

The trick to finding free events is knowing where to look. Visiting billboards and notice boards at Griffith and public libraries often unearths interesting ones. Follow Southbank on Facebook, and become a council, or state library member. Also, if you know someone who seems to get around, check with them. I ask a friend of mine who has a spidey-sense for free stuff to do in Brisbane.

Queensland gallery gift shop

Do not exit through the gift shop

Happy socialising!

– Elspeth

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