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Brisbane Powerhouse

Grab lunch, enjoy a drink, have dinner, or see a show or exhibit at one of Brisbane’s most iconic arts venues, with a scenic riverfront terrace.

The Brisbane Powerhouse is one of Queensland’s best-loved arts hubs. It has a reputation for showing independent films, staging alternative plays and hosting a wide range of festivals and musical acts. Come here to enjoy a movie, burlesque performances, comedy festivals, jazz concerts, photography exhibitions and jam sessions. Even if you can’t find something to suit your taste, it’s well worth visiting for the atmosphere, architecture and river views.

The stone building was the city’s primary electricity plant from the late 1920s until 1971, when it was abandoned and fell into disrepair. For the next two decades the Powerhouse became a gathering place for underground artists and squatters. Plans to demolish the building fell through and the city council decided to convert it to an arts center.

It opened as such in 2000, with most of the original brickwork and some of the installations intact; some of the graffiti remains on the walls. Today the grand building is home to two restaurants with bars and terraces, several theaters, an open stage with viewing galleries, an exhibition basement and conference rooms.

Book tickets for a gig or enjoy one of the free walk-in programs. If you are visiting to admire the building, be sure to take the elevator up to check out the architecture and graffiti. Visit the Watt bar and restaurant downstairs or Alto upstairs for a coffee, gourmet meal or refreshing cocktail. There are excellent views of the river and it’s nice to see the arty crowd mingle with joggers and dog walkers who stop here for refreshments.

The Brisbane Powerhouse is in the suburb of New Farm, about 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) from downtown. The nicest, but also slowest, way to get there is by ferry. Some buses also stop near the park. There is free parking, but spaces fill up quickly when events are on.

Visitors are welcome to walk in and enjoy the regular free performances during the weekends and rotating exhibitions; however, you have to pay for the more high-profile performances. Check the Powerhouse website for details.


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