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 1,000 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.
Fortitude Valley & Emporium
Grungy, alternative fashion blends with high-end Australian and international brands in ‘the Valley’, as it’s affectionately called by locals. The luxury retail and dining precinct at Emporium includes stores such as Italian shoe specialist Aya Maria, bespoke eyewear store Eye Candy Emporium and fashion houses Tengdahl and Toscani, while the streets and laneways of the Valley contain Akira, Babushka Ballerina, Dragonberry and Nana Judy, among others.
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. The eco-driven Collective Markets at South Bank pop up on Friday nights and continue all weekend under the sun and stars. Fashion, jewellery, gifts, accessories, leather goods, toys, furniture and vintage pieces can be found within the many stalls winding around Stanley Street Plaza, with a backdrop of the Brisbane River and Wheel of Brisbane to add to the ambience.
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 on Saturdays, and in Davies Park, West End, every Saturday.
Queen Street Mall & City Centre
This central city pedestrian mall is home to a mix of local, national and international labels and flagship stores. Queen Street Mall is the gateway to the shopping complexes including the Myer Centre, Wintergarden, Brisbane and Tattersall’s Arcades, a smattering of popular retail franchises including Zara, Uniqlo, H&M and Forever21, and the high-end Queens Plaza featuring Tiffany & Co, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and David Jones.
This cultural and lifestyle Fortitude Valley hub scatters high-street fashion stores among trendy cafes, bars, Palace Cinemas and restaurants. Find Sass & Bide, Lorna Jane, Camilla, Calexico, Nudie Jeans and Samantha Ogilvie alongside lifestyle and design names such as Bang & Olufsen, St Barts and Molten Store, as well as a range of jewellers, handbags, art and designer furniture.
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 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.
Boundary Street, West End
With an urban and edgy vibe, Boundary Street in Brisbane’s West End caters to those seeking alternative clothing or vintage pieces rather than mainstream brands. West End has an eclectic mix of cultures, restaurants, bars and architecture, along with lively music and brunch scenes; plan to spend a morning winding in and out of coffee houses and small boutiques.
Vintage dresses, antique and retro furniture, jewellery, home wares and ornaments can be found in Woolloongabba. Known for the ‘Gabba’ stadium and its eclectic brunch-oriented cafes, this inner-city suburb is also the home of Woolloongabba Antique Centre – a vast, airconditioned warehouse that houses various antique and vintage stalls, as well as a 1950s-style milk bar that sells coffee and treats. Nearby, you’ll also find Urban Antiques, Absolutely Fabulous, Harringtons and Michael Allen Antiques.
Those seeking vintage fashion, antiques and elegant homewares should head to this leafy, inner-city suburb. Along a two-kilometre stretch of Given Terrace, you’ll find The Little Black Dress Shop, Petrol Boutique, Sacha Drake and Boudoir Chic for clothing; Red Works, Olive Home, The Happiness Place and Green Tangerine for jewellery, gifts, art, homewares and accessories; and niche boutiques including Louenhide, which offers quality bags, accessories and fashion pieces, and du Monde – a store featuring French-inspired lighting, table linen and homewares, and an interior design service.
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.