The Best Shopping in Brisbane
From funky fashion and markets in the Valley, to the urban sophistication of the Emporium precinct, Hamilton Portside, New Farm and Paddington, and the mainstream and upmarket retail of the CBD, Brisbane will satisfy any retail cravings – and that’s not including the mega shopping malls of suburbs such as Chermside, Indooroopilly, Carindale and Mt Gravatt.
The CBD retail heart beats around the pedestrianised Queen Street Mall, one of Australia’s most popular with more than 26 million visitors each year. Shoppers can take in 700 stores along with more than 1000 events staged there each year, including live music on weekends. There is even more retail in neighbouring Adelaide Street, the Elizabeth Street arcade with its various boutiques, and Edward Street which is gaining a reputation for its high-end brands such as Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
Our top picks
Between Adelaide & Queen Streets
This gorgeous, heritage-listed arcade was built in 1923 and links two of the CBD’s key shopping precincts. With its terrazzo floors, stained glass, balustrades and wood panelling, it is worth visiting just for a step into the architectural time machine. That said, it is also home to more than 50 mostly independent specialist retailers offering antique and designer jewellery, hats and accessories, gifts and couture. There are cafes on each level.
1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley
A relatively recent addition to the Brisbane scene and part of the huge redevelopment to the north of the inner city, Emporium is a luxury retail, dining and residential precinct representing the modern face of the Valley on the fringe of the CBD.
Among others, you will find boutiques owned by high-end Brisbane favourites such as Maryon’s (designer shoes and accessories), Alla Moda fabrics and Eye Candy (bespoke eyewear), alongside McKinney's Jewellers and Mexican luxury brand Cuadra, as well as great restaurants, cafes and the Emporium Hotel.
Shop like a local
The best markets attract locals and visitors alike and you will find the busiest market action on weekends on both sides of the river. The Valley markets in the mall connecting Wickham and Ann streets are the place for more bohemian arts, crafts and second-hand books while the South Bank markets across the river in the parklands boast a mix that includes fashion, homewares and jewellery.
If you are self-catering, you will find a city alternative to the supermarkets in the glorious produce of the farmers’ market each Wednesday in Brisbane Square at the top of Queen Street Mall, at the Powerhouse adjacent to New Farm Park every second and fourth Saturday, and in Davies Park, West End, every Saturday.
Queen Street Mall
Queen Street Mall houses the upmarket shopping destination QueensPlaza, home to David Jones, Louis Vuitton, Nespresso and more; the fashionable and specialist Wintergarden, which also houses a modern bowling alley and several sit-down restaurants; and the city stalwart the Myer Centre, home to the Myer department store and five levels of shopping.
Fashion is king in Queen Street, with international brand Forever 21 opening its first Australian store in the Mall, following the arrival of UK mega fashion retailer, Topshop just off the mall in 2014. There's plenty of new projects in the works too, with both H&M and Uniqlo set to make an appearance in the mall.
Department stores and some major retailers are open until 7pm weekdays, with the exception of extended trading until 9pm on Friday evenings. Most Queen Street Mall retailers close at 5.30pm on Saturdays and 6pm on Sundays with the exception of Woolworths and Coles, which trade until 9pm weeknights, 7pm on Saturday and 6pm on Sunday.
James Street impresses the fashionistas and foodies alike. Home to leaders in the fashion field, Blonde Venus, Easton Pearson, Camargue, Gail Sorronda Sass & Bide and many speciality stores, including two bespoke eyewear stores, selection of custom jewellers, Pottery Barn and West Elm.
Shop, dine, see an arthouse film, attend a cooking class, get a beauty treatment, or, if it’s Sunday morning, pop into Lululemon Athletica for a free yoga class. Most retailers are open from 9am to 5pm daily.
Indooroopilly Shopping Centre
The newly refurbished Indooroopilly Shopping Centre boasts Australia’s first Armani Collezioni boutique, along with a host of other coveted fashion and department stores. The centre is also home to a celebrated gourmet food precinct with a host of new restaurants, bars and eateries.
From high tea at Passiontree Velvet to a take-home treat from chocolatier Koko Black, to delicious fashion from the likes of H&M, Carla Zampatti, Country Road, Glassons, Scanlan Theodore and Sheike, a day at Indooroopilly Shopping Centre is truly a day of indulgence.
West End offers an eclectic mix of unique fashion stores, bookshops and speciality stores, including one of Brisbane’s longest running shoe stores, Shays Shoes, which has been sole-serving the good people of Brisbane since 1901.
On Friday evenings from 4pm-10pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9am-3pm, check out the Boundary Street Markets – an edgy industrial site that has been converted to a bar and market space, attracting the best food trucks and stallholders in town.
Head further afield towards the river on a Saturday morning and you’ll find the lively Davies Park Markets. A great place not only for quality fruit and vegetables, but plenty of clothing, jewellery and homewares too. While you’re there, tuck into some great market food for breakfast or lunch.
Woolloongabba Antiques Centre
This vibrant, retro-themed warehouse includes 60-plus stalls, an on-site vintage cafe, and enough antiques and treats to excite the nostalgia in all of us. From fine china, collectibles, and the kitschiest of curiosities, to clothing, records, prints, paintings, homewares, games, and a vast collection of Australiana, it's the perfect place to pick up something unique. It's open every day, 9am ro 5pm.
The main artery that pumps through Paddington, Latrobe Terrace (and, lower down, Given Terrace) charms with unique homewares stores, designer boutiques, second-hand stores, quirky speciality shops and even an antiques barn. The Paddington Antiques Centre is set in a regal old theatre, with endless vintage fashions and knick-knacks to peruse, and a cafe inside serving up old-school milkshakes.
Stop off for a coffee at one of the many fine cafes to aid your retail therapy, or dine at some of the much-loved establishments like Middle Eastern-inspired Shouk, the Rogue Rennard, or even a sneaky treat from Donut Boyz. Picking up some bling from long-time Brisbane retailer Thousand Island Dressing is a must!
Westfield – Garden City, Chermside & Carindale
Continuing the trend of offering shoppers more and more, Westfield Garden City has sharpened up its look with a make-over and new dining precinct to boot (including an Asian-inspired laneway lined with eateries). Shopping with a lifestyle focus, shop 'til you drop then enjoy a cocktail outdoors in the sun.
The Northside crowd flocks to Chermside for its fashion fix. With hundreds of fashion, homewares and appliance stores housed until one roof. On the Southside, Carindale offers shoppers all the big brands you can expect from Westfield, in a relaxed setting with casual dining options.