Heading to the Queensland capital and not sure about the best areas to stay in Brisbane? Below is a rundown of some of the most popular spots along with the pros and cons of each choice. We hope it helps you decide!

How to choose where to stay in Brisbane

The capital of Queensland, Brisbane is a city that is often skipped by visitors taking a trip around Australia. We believe you should definitely include a few days here in your itinerary to truly soak up authentic Australian life! It may not have the big sights of Sydney or the bustling streets of Melbourne, but it is the perfect spot to kick back, relax, and enjoy a couple of beers under the flaming Aussie sun.

Brisbane is also a major gateway to Queensland, welcoming visitors from across the world. Known for its multicultural atmosphere, each neighbourhood has something unique to offer. These are some of our favourite places to stay in Brisbane.

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South Bank

Just across the river from the CBD, and right next to the West End, Brisbane’s South Bank is a great catch-all destination for getting a taste of everything the city has to offer. With an eclectic dining and nightlife scene, South Bank has an ultra-modern sheen that attracts more and more visitors each year.

Southbank Beach Queensland
Southbank Beach is a big drawcard

Why should you stay in South Bank?

The restaurants in South Bank draw inspiration from across the world, making them some of the best in Australia! This is also where you’ll find some of the more established cultural venues, including the Modern Art Gallery and Performing Arts Centre.

What should you consider?

South Bank is an excellent neighbourhood for visitors wanting a taste of the city, so we can’t really fault it. If anything, it can get quite pricey – but if you’re willing to splurge a little, it’s totally worth it.

Our Recommendations for where to stay in Southbank

Brisbane River walk from NewFarm
Southbank Boardwalk

West End

Located right next to South Bank, West End is a residential neighbourhood that bursts into life in the evenings. The nightlife here is a bit more laid-back than in more central areas, and during the day, there is a burgeoning creative scene waiting to be explored.

Why should you stay in West End?

West End is known for its artsy atmosphere and laid-back cafés during the day. In the evenings, it pulses with a mix of dive bars and sleek nightclubs. This is one of the most youthful neighbourhoods in the city.

What should you consider?

Despite the multicultural history and young crowd, it still has a suburban feel during the day. If you want 24/7 excitement, West End might be a bit too sleepy for you.

Our Recommendations In West End

Fortitude Valley

Just north of the CBD, Fortitude Valley is a major shopping destination in Brisbane – especially for those looking for alternative vendors and local boutiques. It’s also home to Chinatown, which boasts some delicious restaurants and the most budget-friendly accommodation in Brisbane.

Looking out over James Street in Fortitude Valley from The Calile Hotel with Hellenika restaurant around the pool
Looking out over James Street in Fortitude Valley from The Calile Hotel with Hellenika restaurant around the pool

Why should you stay in Fortitude Valley?

Shopping aside, Fortitude Valley is another fantastic area for nightlife. This is where you’ll discover some of the city’s hottest nightclubs and most exciting DJ sets. There are also some great alternative venues for a more grungy atmosphere.

What should you consider?

Fortitude Valley is certainly an eclectic neighbourhood, but it can feel a little all over the place. Chinatown is budget-friendly, but you’ll need to research your accommodation for some extra peace of mind.

Our recommendations in Fortitude Valley

Related: Check out our thoughts on where to stay when you visit the Great Barrier Reef

Central Business District

Right in the heart of the city, this is easily the best neighbourhood for navigating Brisbane’s main attractions. The largest shopping malls in town are in the Central Business District, as well as some impressive viewpoints of the city.

Why should you stay in the Central Business District?

The Central Business District is the historic starting point of Brisbane, so this is where you’ll discover some great museums and monuments. It’s also packed with fine dining restaurants that serve the city’s business crowd. You can even walk to many of the sites, including the river, from this location which can save on transport and time.

Brisbane CBD City Hall
Brisbane City Hall in the CBD

What should you consider?

As a business neighbourhood, the CBD is easily one of the most expensive parts of the city. Restaurants here can cost three times as much as elsewhere in Brisbane, but you’ll enjoy a range of experiences in return.

Kangaroo Point

Kangaroo Point is on the other side of the Story Bridge from Fortitude Valley and is one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the city. This makes it an excellent destination for live music, with a constantly changing roster of acts performing at the various bars.

Kangaroo Points suburb of Brisbane from the air, Story Bridge
Kangaroo Point

Why should you stay in Kangaroo Point?

Despite the high population, there are plenty of gorgeous green spaces in Kangaroo Point. These come with some of the best city-centre views; taking a walk along the bridge is a must-do for getting the ultimate Instagram shot! The Storey Bridge Hotel is a great spot for a drink

What should you consider?

It can take some time to get from Kangaroo Point to the Central Business District and South Bank; if you want to hit all the main attractions, it can be quite inconvenient. Kangaroo Point is definitely more for the live-like-a-local crowd.

Our Recommendations In Kangaroo Point

New Farm

New Farm isn’t included in many guide books, but it is undoubtedly a firm favourite with locals in Brisbane. This is the perfect spot in the city for enjoying some outdoor activities, such as hiking and cycling around the vast green spaces.

The Powerhouse from New Farm Park
The Powerhouse from New Farm Park

Why should you stay in New Farm?

New Farm Park is the real crowning jewel of this neighbourhood, with plenty of picnic and barbecue spots and gorgeous views of the city centre. It’s also home to The Powerhouse, Brisbane’s premier entertainment venue, great upmarket shopping destinations, and fabulous restaurants.

What should you consider?

New Farm is known as an upmarket destination, so it’s definitely a little bit on the pricey side. It is also further from the city centre than other neighbourhoods mentioned in this guide.

Our Recommendations In New Farm


Just north of New Farm, Newstead generally attracts a younger crowd, making it an excellent choice for young couples heading to the city! Packed with craft breweries, innovative restaurants, and laid-back cafes, this is as close as Brisbane gets to a hipster neighbourhood.

Why should you stay in Newstead?

Newstead truly epitomises the laid-back attitude Australians are known for. If you have just arrived in the country, this is the perfect spot to chill out for a few days to get over the jetlag.

What should you consider?

Newstead is the furthest destination from the city centre in this guide, so if you want to hit the main attractions, it might not be the best spot. While there are some good live music venues, the nightlife is generally more relaxed – not ideal if you want to party the night away.

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