You can find out about festivals, concerts, and events, and book tickets through Ticketek (tel. 13 28 49 in Queensland; www.ticketek.com.au). You can also book in person at Ticketek agencies, the most convenient of which are on Elizabeth Street, outside the Myer Centre, and in the Visitor Information Centre at South Bank Parklands. Or try Ticketmaster (tel. 13 61 00; www.ticketmaster.com.au).
QTIX (tel. 13 62 46 in Australia; www.qtix.com.au) is a booking agent for the performing arts and classical music, including all events at the Queensland Performing Arts Complex (QPAC). There is a A$4.95 transaction fee per booking. You can also book in person at the box office at QPAC between 8:30am and 9pm Monday to Saturday, and at the South Bank Parklands Visitor Information Centre.
The free weekly magazine Brisbane News lists performing arts, jazz, and classical music performances, art exhibitions, rock concerts, and public events. The free weekly TimeOff, published on Wednesday and available in bars and cafes, is a good guide to live music, as is Thursday's Courier- Mail newspaper.
The Performing Arts
Many of Brisbane's performing arts events are at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in the Queensland Cultural Centre. The city also has a lively independent theater scene, with smaller companies making an increasing impact. To find out what's playing and to book tickets, contact QTIX.
Queensland Theatre Company (tel. 07/3010 7600 for information; www.qldtheatreco.com.au), the state theater company, offers eight or nine productions a year, from the classics to new Australian works. It attracts some of the country's best actors and directors. The company performs at three venues: the Playhouse and Cremorne Theatre at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), South Bank; and its home venue, the 228-seat Bille Brown Studio, 78 Montague Rd., South Brisbane. Tickets cost from A$30, if you are under 30, to between A$42 and A$75.
La Boite Theatre (tel. 07/3007 8600; www.laboite.com.au) is a well-established innovative company that performs contemporary Australian plays in the round. La Boite performs in the 400-seat Roundhouse Theater, 6 Musk Ave., Kelvin Grove. Take bus no. 390 from the city to Kelvin Grove Road, and get off at stop 12. Tickets cost A$48 to A$63 (opening nights); previews are A$26. If you are 30 or under, tickets cost A$28.
Brisbane Powerhouse Arts, 119 Lamington St., New Farm (tel. 07/3358 8600; www.brisbanepowerhouse.org), is a venue for innovative (some might say fringe) contemporary works. A former electricity powerhouse, the massive brick factory is now a dynamic art space for exhibitions, contemporary performance, and live art. The building retains its character, an industrial mix of metal, glass, and stark surfaces etched with 20 years of graffiti. It's a short walk from the New Farm ferry terminal along the riverfront through New Farm Park.
The state opera company, Opera Queensland (tel. 07/3735 3030 administration; www.operaqueensland.com.au), performs a lively repertoire of traditional as well as modern works, musicals, and choral concerts. Book tickets through QTIX (tel. 13 62 46; www.qtix.com.au). Most performances take place at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC). Tickets range from A$48 to A$158 or around A$55 at some performances if you're age 30 or younger.
The Queensland Symphony Orchestra (tel. 07/3833 5000 for administration; www.thequeenslandorchestra.com.au) provides classical music lovers with a diverse mix of orchestral and chamber music, with the odd foray into fun material, such as movie themes, pop, and gospel music. It schedules about 30 concerts a year. The orchestra plays at the Concert Hall in the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) and occasional other venues; more intimate works sometimes play at the Conservatorium Theatre, South Bank. Tickets for the Maestro concert series cost A$70 to A$85.
Brisbane's Historic Pubs
Brisbane's attractive historic pubs, many of them recently revitalized, have wide, shady verandas and beer gardens just perfect for whiling away a sunny afternoon or catching a quick meal at night.
The best known is the Breakfast Creek Hotel, 2 Kingsford Smith Dr., Breakfast Creek (tel. 07/3262 5988). Built in 1889, the hotel is a Brisbane institution. For many people, a visit to the city isn't complete without a steak and beer "off the wood" at the Brekky Creek.
Another landmark is the Regatta Hotel, 543 Coronation Dr., Toowong (tel. 07/3871 9595; www.regattahotel.com.au). This heritage hotel with three stories of iron-lace balconies is the perfect spot for a cool drink overlooking the Brisbane River and usually bursts at the seams on weekends.
Not far from the Regatta is the Royal Exchange Hotel, 10 High St., Toowong (tel. 07/3371 2555; www.rehotel.com.au). Known simply as "the RE," it's popular with students, probably because of its proximity to the University of Queensland. It has a great garden bar at the back.
The Story Bridge Hotel, 200 Main St., Kangaroo Point (tel. 07/3391 2266; www.storybridgehotel.com.au), is well known as the venue for some of Brisbane's most unusual events, such as the annual Australia Day (Jan 26) cockroach races. Built in 1886, the pub is also a great place to find live music, and has a wonderful beer garden under the bridge.
In Red Hill, on the city fringe, is the Normanby Hotel, 1 Musgrave Rd. (tel. 07/3831 3353; www.thenormanby.com.au), built in 1872 and recently stylishly revamped. Features are the giant Moreton Bay fig tree in the beer garden and the biggest outdoor TV screen in town.
Another of the city's oldest pubs is the Plough Inn (tel. 07/3844 7777; www.ploughinn.com.au), at South Bank Parklands, which has stood its ground through major changes in the neighborhood since 1885. There's even a ghost, they say . ..
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.