May is going to be an exciting month. There’s plenty of art popping up around the city, as well as food festivals and markets, new bars and restaurants to check out and more. So, here are our top recommendations on where to go, what to see, and what to look forward to this month in Brisbane.
1. Check out the original artwork at this massive Banksy exhibition
After its previous global success the event is finally opening to Australian audiences, and it’s pulling out all the stops.
The Art of Banksy: Without Limits will open at Queens Plaza from May 4, bringing with it over 150 pieces that have been sourced and collected from around the world. These include Banksy’s original art, prints on different kinds of materials, photos, sculptures, installations and murals.
2. Walk through a golden door to find this new hidden bar
To reach this new speakeasy-style bar in the Valley, you’ll need to walk through a golden door that swings both ways. The Nixon Room, brought to us by the Essa team, only seats 25 at a time and serves up a variety of cocktails and snacks.
You can find it at 3/181 Robertson St Fortitude Valley.
3. Have a laugh at Brisbane Comedy Festival
This year, Brisbane Comedy Festival takes place from April 28 and continues until May 28. Check out the full program over at the website and make sure you get your tickets before they’re all snapped up.
4. Spoil your mum for Mother’s Day
There are plenty of things happening around Brisbane for Mother’s Day this May 14, among them this unique Zen Garden High Tea experience at Japanese restaurant Izakaya Publico.
The high tea comes complete with an edible Chocolate Cherry Blossom Tree that almost looks too good to eat, as well as a glass of Sparkling Wine on arrival and a chef’s selection of bites including fresh-caught Kingfish, Salmon, and Tuna Sashimi, Pork Gyoza, Tamago Sando, Rice Balls, and Karaage Chicken.
The Zen Garden High Tea is priced at $89 per person and is available on Mother’s Day from 11am – 3pm, followed by every Friday to Sunday after that.
5. Spend an evening at this new neon-lit night market
A new night market has recently popped up in town, lighting up the southside four nights a week. Alien Night Market is a culinary adventure of Asian cuisine, as well as a choice spot for live music, interactive games, and Instagrammable backdrops.
6. Marvel at the Botanica installations
Roaring back to life for its fifth year, Botanica: Contemporary Art Outside will be once again taking over the Brisbane Botanic Gardens with an immersive and awe-inspiring curation of artworks that will light up the night.
From Friday May 12 to Sunday May 21, the Botanic Gardens will be transformed into a wonderland for both children and adults alike, illuminated from 5pm – 10pm daily.
7. Eat your way through Australia’s biggest cheese festival
Say cheese! Australia’s largest cheese festival is coming back this May, taking over Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.
Mould: A Cheese Festival is promising a delightfully mature and smelly line-up, with around 30 cheese producers to discover. Explore textured and earthy flavours, raw milk varieties and more types of delicious homegrown cheese. Mould will take over John Reid Pavilion at Brisbane Showgrounds from May 12 – 14.
8. Take a stroll for animal cruelty at this charity dog walk
Returning to Brisbane after a three-year hiatus, RSPCA’s Million Paws Walk is a charity group dog walk to raise funds for animal cruelty.
Tickets cost $35, with all funds raised going to RSPCA to provide surrendered dogs with shelter. Sounds like a great day out on May 28 for pups and pup parents.
9. Live out your Greek fantasies at Paniyiri
Want to live out your Greek fantasies without a passport? Well, you’re in luck, because Paniyiri Greek Festival is returning to Brisbane over the weekend of May 20 and 21, showcasing the Euro country’s best food, entertainment, music, mythology, and more.
10. Session on a boat at Brisbane’s newest floating venue
Imagine being aboard a three-level floating venue on the Brisbane River, dancing the afternoon away. Well, this is now a reality when OASIS sets sail.
Brisbane’s newest river bar is actually a huge lifestyle and cruising boat with three levels, each providing a different visual and immersive experience for guests.
11. Cheer on your favourite team at the NRL Magic Round
The NRL Magic Round returns to Brisbane for the weekend of May 5 – 7, where 16 teams will battle it out across eight games.
All the action takes place at Suncorp Stadium in Milton.
12. Satisfy your sweet tooth at this souffle pancake pop up
When it comes to authentic Japanese souffle pancakes, Fluffy Japancakes does not disappoint. Their fluffy and seriously Instagrammable creations have appeared at plenty of iconic Brisbane markets such as the city markets, Carseldine, Nundah, and more. So it’s warmly welcome news that the pancake stall has now taken up permanent residency at Eat Street.
13. Get your live music fix at Teneriffe Festival
Brisbane’s biggest street festival is back on Saturday, May 27 with a stellar lineup of Aussie musicians as well as a slew of food stalls and pop up bars.
This year’s music lineup includes Boy & Bear, Odette, GANGgajang, Tijuana Cartel, and more.
14. Dine at one of Brisbane’s prettiest restaurants
Both the food and interiors play their part in the dining experience whole. So we’ve rounded up some of the prettiest restaurants around Brisbane you can book a table at, whether it be for date night, special occasions, or just a new spot to check out with your crew – from pink hued eateries to green rooftop jungles and more.
15. Enter a world of splendour and red velvet at Moulin Rogue! The Musical
In what is definitely one of the most anticipated musical theatre openings for 2023, Moulin Rouge! The Musical is gearing up to make a grand entrance at QPAC in May this year. And you can expect all the drama, fireworks, glitz, glamour and everything in between as this mesmerising transformation of Baz Luhrmann’s original film hits the stage.
17. Find some striking autumn colours near Brisbane
Sure, autumn might be the time we start wearing our warmer gear as temps start to fall. But it’s also without question that one of the best quirks about autumn is the leaves of trees changing colour and falling to the ground.
There’s nothing like taking a stroll and snapping photos of the reds, yellows, and more.
18. Attend the Brisbane Street Art Festival
Returning to its roots in 2023 with its eighth edition, Brisbane Street Art Festival kicks off on Saturday, May 6 and will continue through until Sunday, May 21.
If the program is anything like last year’s, you can expect live murals, workshops, special events, and a few artist talks as well.
19. Experience a Candlelight Concert
These Candlelight concerts invite everyone to relive the greatest works of classical music, from Vivaldi to Mozart to Bach, in an intimate atmosphere. So, calm your mind this May and prepare yourself to experience classical music in a new light with these sensational concerts by candlelight such as tribute evenings to Queen, Adele and Fleetwood Mac and more.
20. Meet some amazing authors at Brisbane Writer’s Festival
From May 10 – 14, the Brisbane Writers Festival will hear stories and see talks from across the literary spectrum. See the website for more info.
21. Hit the most scenic hiking trails near Brisbane
Brisbane is home to some of the most breathtaking hikes in the country, there’s no denying it. Just a short drive from the city, you’ll find national parks galore full of trails and walking tracks that you can tackle: a lot of them boasting spectacular views and nature therapy. So what are you waiting for? Pack the car and get outdoors for leg day on one of these epic hiking spots in and around Brisbane.
See Also: 5 Short Walks In Brisbane
22. Embark on a mystery picnic in New Farm
This self-guided food adventure by Amazingco is the perfect way to explore New Farm’s hidden gems and escape the crowds.
Starting with a picnic basket, have fun solving clues and riddles sent to your smartphone that’ll take you on a journey to collect your special gourmet picnic food. Each clue you solve will lead you closer to your next picnic food pickup and even closer to your final stunning secret picnic spot.
23. Watch this theatre performance about women’s mental health
SHE is a new performance piece coming to Metro Arts from May 3 – 13. Run by Amy Ingram, this 90-minute show explores women’s collective mental wellbeing in a post-me-too, post-pandemic world.
“SHE is a work that reflects the vital conversations that are happening right now, in this very moment,” says Catarina Hebbard, Co-Artistic Director of indelabilityarts.
24. Enjoy free live music on the lawn at Howard Smith Wharves
Every Saturday and Sunday from 3-6pm, the lawn at Howard Smith Wharves is home to free live music. So come down and grab a bite and a bev at one of the many waterfront venues on offer down there.
25. Score some cheap eats for under $15
Sometimes, when eating out, we need to find a place that is wallet-friendly. Though, it’s good to know that Brisbane has plenty of cheap eats, so we’ve curated a list of the best under $15 – including ramen, tacos, burgers, gourmet salads, and more.