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The Rainy Day Guide to Brisbane

Where to find pubs with fireplaces and board games, indoor classes to try and nice dry galleries to shelter in.
By Aobh O'Brien-Moody
August 26, 2018

The Rainy Day Guide to Brisbane

Where to find pubs with fireplaces and board games, indoor classes to try and nice dry galleries to shelter in.
By Aobh O'Brien-Moody
August 26, 2018

Brisbane is best known for its glorious sunny days and blue skies, so when it rains, we're often caught off-guard. This shouldn't be an excuse to hide in bed under your doona all day, however. Our city is teeming with wet weather-friendly activities, so don't let a bit of drizzle keep you from making the most of Brisbane. Here are some ideas to keep you entertained and sufficiently dry before you consider hiding under your doona forever — binge-watching Netflix not included.

The Scratch


At the first sign of threatening weather, gather your best group of drinking buddies and head straight for your local watering hole. Nab a cosy corner, order a few rounds and stay put until the skies clear. Quality booze, food and friends are really all you need, but to take your rainy day pub game up a notch, choose somewhere with board games or a fireplace. Our favourites include The Scratch, the revamped Southside (formerly Southside Tea Room), At Sixes and SevensThe Gresham, Barbara and bar-slash-arcade Netherworld. Endless hours of rain-less fun are guaranteed.

Gallery of Modern Art — Patricia Piccinini. Australia VIC.  b.1965. Pneutopia 2018, Ripstop nylon, shed, air, Courtesy the artist, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; and Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco.


A rainy day is the perfect opportunity to finally catch that exhibition you've been meaning to see. Escape the elements and step into a haven of vibrant and colourful artworks that will surely take your mind off the wild weather. Some of our go-to inner Brisbane galleries include Artisan, Maud Creative, Milani Gallery, Cut Thumb Laundry, Jugglers Art Space and Jan Murphy Gallery — and the inner-city double that is the Gallery of Modern Art and the Queensland Art Gallery, of course. Spend all day browsing the talent and leave with some newfound inspiration to pick up a paintbrush.

Elizabeth Picture Theatre


Is there anything better on a rainy day than snuggling up to watch a movie, popcorn in one hand and a glass of wine in the other? The next time it starts to drizzle, swap Netflix for a new release at one of Brisbane's best cinemas — whether a new flick is on the agenda, or a retro one. The art deco stylings and warm atmosphere of New Farm Cinemas make it the perfect place to while away a rainy afternoon, beginning with a drink before enjoying an movie on the big screen, and the CBD-located Elizabeth Picture Palace from the same folks is worth a visit too. The Lumen Room is another option for those wanting something other than the multiplex experience, while The Blue Room's cosy surroundings make big films feel boutique. If the rain falls on a Tuesday, you'll be able to snag cheap movie tickets at Dendy Cinemas and Cineplex, as well as the major operators. Or, where the big brands are involved, check out Coorparoo's still-new Dendy and Newmarket's new Readings.

Piggy Back Cafe


One of the best places to be on a rainy day is in a window seat at a cosy cafe, where you can watch the rain from a safe, dry distance. Add a cup of steaming coffee (or a glass of wine), a hearty meal and a good book, and you're all set for a delightful day indoors. With Brisbane's cafe scene constantly expanding, there's no shortage of options to choose from. Key requirements include lots of natural lighting, a chilled-out soundtrack and friendly staff. If they're also serving all-day breakfast, you know you've found a winner. And if the vibe is just right, like at Morning AfterShady Palms, Little Clive and Piggy Back Cafe, there's nothing better for a drizzly day.

The Dome Spa Retreat


Treating yourself every now and then is essential for your health, so use the next rainy day as an excuse to sneak off to the spa for a little dose of zen. Relax and rejuvenate with a facial and massage, or even rope your significant other in for a couple's treatment. Brisbanites looking for spa experiences can pick from Dome Spa Retreat in the CBD, Holistic Health in New Farm, Eden in Paddington, Sakura in Teneriffe and Endota at various locations — and that's just for starters. Nothing is more luxurious than spending the day wrapped up in a robe, with cucumbers on eyes to complete the experience, of course. For more, check out our full guide to the city's extraordinary spa spots to fill the wet, miserable hours.

Single Asian Female - La Boite


There's a certain element of romance to the theatre, which always seems to heighten on a drizzly night. The next time it's forecast to rain, book tickets to a show and you'll see what we mean. Whether you prefer the classics or are a fan of more contemporary productions, there's bound to be a theatre in Brisbane with shows suited to your tastes. Our favourites include Queensland Theatre, La Boite, Brisbane Arts Theatre and whatever's playing at Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane Powerhouse and the Judith Wright Centre of Contemporary Arts, but they're not the only places worth checking out. Check out Concrete Playground's events guide for what's on this week.

Sky Zone.


Don't let the rain put a dampener on your spirit. Take a break from your busy week of adulting and let your inner kid run wild for a day with some of the best kidult activities in Brisbane. Surely you can't resist a friendly game of laser tag or a visit to Timezone that will inevitably stir up some nostalgia (yep, Timezone still exists). If you're in need of exercise but can't face the gym, Sky Zone is your go-to for a decidedly more thrilling workout that happens to involve trampolines, dodgeball and obstacle courses — and they've got a batshit insane climbing wall. Want more? Here's our full guide to well-and-truly forgetting to act your age.


If you've been meaning to pick up a new skill for a while, a dreary day is your chance to make it happen. Finally learn how to cook something other than two-minute noodles at one of Brisbane's cooking schools, which include Newstead's revamped Golden Pig, James St Cooking School or Mondo Organics. Alternatively, Brisbane is home to various art classes that will get your creative juices flowing. Try pottery at Mudlarks Studio, painting with a drink in hand at not one, but two Cork & Chroma spots or photography at Take Better Photos. To revamp your exercise routine, get stretchy at Stretch Yoga or perfect your party dance moves at The Pole Gym. Your rainy day activity may even breed a lifelong hobby.

Top image: At Sixes and Sevens.

Published on August 26, 2018 by Aobh O'Brien-Moody

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