How to Find Shopping Spots in Brisbane

Brisbane has come a long way since its beginnings when it was first regarded as a ‘big country town’ — a vibrant centre for those seeking new experiences and creative inspiration, the city has developed a multitude of urban spaces and boutique retail spots to cater to the demands of the most sophisticated shopper.

Heritage branch staff, Brisbane Arcade, balcony level (2016), CC BY 3.0

1. Take a stroll through the Central Business District

Walk around Brisbane’s central business district to explore some of the city’s biggest shopping malls. Surrounded by glimmering office buildings, cafés and Brisbane city hotels, such as the imposing Oaks Casino Towers, for example, are glamorous mega malls like Queen Street Mall. A colourful and vibrant pedestrian mall, covering over 430,000 sq ft of retail space and several major shopping centres, Queen Street is popular among locals and tourists alike, and offers an unparalleled combination of leading international and local brands, and flagship stores. Over 700 retail stores are located here; some opening out onto the streets and others tucked away in gorgeous heritage arcades. Must see spots include the glitzy Queens Plaza and Tattersall’s Arcade, to name a few. While the mall certainly has plenty to offer, retail wise, it also serves as the heart of the city — this is where the locals meet up with friends and family to enjoy a day of entertainment, with over 1000 events taking place throughout the mall annually.

2. Dazzling bling as far as the eye can see

Located near the Queen Street Mall, the historic Brisbane Arcade is one of the oldest shopping malls in Brisbane — complete with Terazzo floors and detailed panelling, it reflects the sophistication of its high-end stores. The arcade, built in 1923, has a good selection of designers stores spread over two levels, plus a basement level, and this is where you will find an array of designer jewellery stores, fashion designers, and antique stores. Famous jewellery stores located here include Robert White Jewellers, Brisbane Jewellers Workshop, Charlie Rufus Jeweller, John Stone Designers Jeweller, and many more. There are around 50 specialist stores, the majority of them Australian brands like House of Dower, The Model Shoppe, Maiocchi, and Il Mare shoes.

3. Hit the streets in search of urban chic

Fortitude Valley is where style meet grunge — and there’s no better place to experience that than James St. Shoppers are spoilt for choice as new stores open are constantly popping up, mixed in with an eclectic collection some of Brisbane’s best eateries. The wide choice of trendy fashion and homeware retailers that line the street has earned it a reputation as one of the city’s most fashionable strips. The James Street Market is a great place to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables, while movie buffs can take a break from shopping and get their movie fix at the Palace Centro Cinemas. As the sun sets and a cool breezeblows through the street, you’ll find locals gathering to enjoy a glass of white, and sumptuous at one of the chic cafes that line the street.

4. Embrace the outdoors at Bulimba

Bulimba is a sprawling shopping precinct, lined with quiet streets, tall trees and open green spaces perfect for relaxing. At the centre of this precinct is Oxford Street, where you will find an assortment of speciality stores, cafes, and fashion boutiques, all leading down to a serene riverside setting, with ferries passing to and fro. A walk down Oxford Street will take you past bustling breakfast bars, designer boutiques, nick-knack shops filled with little treasures, as well as the Balmoral Cineplex cinema, where you can sit back and watch a movie for under $10.