20 things to do in Brisbane under $20

Worked out your weekly bills to find you’ve got a spare lobster* swimming around? Put that 20 to good use with these budget-friendly, cheap Brisbane activities that’ll set you back nearly exactly that much. From cuddling cats to stuffing down wings – you won’t miss a dollar.

*Aussie slang for $20 note (we know, it’s a bit of a stretch)

1. Movies, coke, popcorn

The obvious go-to when you’re low on cash but want to be entertained for a few hours. Don’t get ripped-off, head to a Cineplex  cinema and go all out with popcorn and a drink and a ticket all for just under $20. Cinebuzz members at Event Cinemas  can grab tickets for $7 all day everyday, and $8 Student Mondays for non-members are also on offer. Combine that with a choc top, there'll be change left over.

2. 10-pin bowling at Strike

Embrace your competitive side with a few mates at Strike  in Wintergarden. It’s $15 a head and you get to wear super snazzy bowling shoes.

3. Roma Street picnic

Roma Street Parkland

Brisbane’s Roma Street Parkland is glorious year-round and there’s no better time to lap up the sunshine and bright colours, accompanied with $20 worth of cheese, crackers and whatever the hell else you feel like eating. The sky’s the limit.  

4. Parmy like it’s $19.99

For the love of puns, reserve every Tuesday for parmy night at Brisbane Brewing Co. While $20 for a parmy doesn’t sound like a super special occasion, the generous sides keeps the crowds coming back for more. It’ll be the best 20 you spend all week.

5. Wine tasting and food at Sirromet

Sirromet

Got a mate with a car? Get chummy and round up a tribe for a trip to Sirromet. The cellar door sips will set you back $5 each so you’ll have enough cash left over between you for a cheese plate or pizza at the Tuscan Terrace restaurant to enjoy while listening to live music on Saturday and Sunday. 

6. Putt putt at Victoria Park

The safer option to golf, and only $10 each for a game for students on Wednesdays. Book in for a round of mini golf at Bowen Hills’ Victoria Park for a few hours’ entertainment.  

7. Free exhibitions and $20 worth of treats

Spend an hour wandering through the Museum of Brisbane, QAGOMA, Queensland Museum or the UQ Art Museum - they're all free entry. Alternatively, if you want to check out the incredible exhibitions happening at the moment, student prices sit around $15. If you want to keep your coin for other purposes, $20 will buy you plenty of ice-cream from Gelatissimo in the Queen Street Mall, at least five pieces of fresh sushi from Miki, or $20 worth of choc from Noosa Chocolate Factory on Adelaide St or … you get the picture.  

8. Get your om on

Stretch Yoga

De-stress after your day at uni or get in the zone for a slow weekend with a cheapish yoga class. The student price and mat hire come in just under $20 at most studios.  

9. Cocktail and wings at Canvas

Canvas, Woollongabba

That’s right folks, on Sunday afternoon from 3pm at Canvas Woolloongabba you can get a classic cocktail for $10, $6 craft beers and a bucket of chicken wings, also for $10. You do the math.  

10. Skate up a storm at IceWorld

Hot outside? Sounds about right. Escape to the indoor ice rinks at Acacia Ridge or Boondall for a sneaky summertime skate on ice. It’s $17 per person and $1 for skate hire. If you're a bit of a cheap skate (get it?!), it's just $11 on Tuesday nights to take to the ice to work on your triple axel.

11. Tuck in at Eat Street Northshore

Eat Street Markets

Eat Street Northshore  is a haven for anyone that loves food. So, for anyone. Parking is free, or the Northshore Hamilton Ferry terminal is close by, and entry is $2.50. How much you spend once inside is completely up to you. Honey puffs, doughnut cones, churros, paella... are you feeling hungry?

12. Sun, sand and swim at Straddie

Cylinder Beach, North Stradbroke Island

Pack your own lunch and get a round ticket on the walk-on ferry to North Stradbroke Island for the day for $12. You’ll be overwhelmed with things to do here, check out Visit Brisbane’s list to plan your day.

13. Work on your Instagram feed

Nozomi street art
Image: @nozomiyamazaki

Learn a little more about the street art scattered throughout Brisbane, all while working on your Instagram feed. This should get you started.

14. Other activities at bars

Club Sosay

Visit Brisbane has compiled an epic list of all the fun things to do at bars. Take advantage of the free fun offered up and spend your pennies on one cocktail or two drinks or one drink and some food. We’ll let you decide.

15. Fly high at Bounce

Relive your childhood trampoline memories at Bounce Tingalpa. A student session is $11.70 for one hour which, let's face it, is more than enough to wear out anyone in their twenties.

16. Friday knockoff at Powerhouse

Very free and very funny is the Friday knockoff session at Brisbane Powerhouse. The 60-minute session of improvised comedy kicks off at 6pm where you can order yourself $20 worth of food and drinks from the Watt Bar next door.  

17. Get up close with koalas

South of Brisbane, the Daisy Hill Koala Centre is home to a number of education koalas on display who can’t be released back into the wild. Entry is free, so you can keep your $20 for a well-deserved lunch after a short walk through the Daisy Conservation Park.

18. Cat Cuddle Café

Cat lovers die and go to kitty heaven at Red Hill’s Cat Cuddle Café. Just as it sounds, it’s a cafe where you can cuddle cats and drink coffee. Entry is $12 - and you have to book in advance.

19. Flowers and food at Jan Powers Farmers Markets

Jan Power Farmers' Markets at The Brisbane Powerhouse

Wander through the markets in the city on Wednesday or at Powerhouse on Saturday to enjoy fresh food, flowers, juices and everything sweet. We suggest you get your hands on some sweet 'n' salty popcorn or an I Heart Brownies brownie for good measure.

20. Op shopping in the burbs

Familiarise yourself with the ultimate guide to Brisbane on a budget and make your way around your local op shops. You can easily piece together an outfit or two out of your allocated budget.

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