With a name like Fortitude Valley, you might think that it’s another one of Australia’s wildlife reserves or forest parks (perhaps with an inaudible groan too, as the writer of this piece is wont to do after running out of adjectives to describe yet another endangered plant or animal species, but I digress).
Known more simply as “The Valley,” Fortitude Valley is a suburb located in the immediate Northeast of Brisbane’s Central Business District. Don’t let its suburban nature fool you; Fortitude Valley is something of a mini-Las Vegas, so to speak. The abundance of bars, nightclubs, and yes, adult entertainment venues in this place have made it one of Brisbane’s premier nightlife hubs in the previous years.
Not a big fan of staying up all night to paint the town red? Worry not, for The Valley still has quite a few treats in store for those of us whose idea of a great night-out is running a Netflix marathon in bed:
1. Do a few laps at the Valley Pool.
Those of you who like to keep fit will love the 50m lap pool. As it’s well-maintained (they even heat it up during the winter), both recreational and serious swimmers are sure to find an oasis from all the hustle and bustle of the city here.
The Valley Pool is such a popular destination that there’s a good chance you could run into an Olympian while running laps.
2. Catch a show at the Judy.
The Judith Wright Centre is home to various entertainment showcases like circuses, cabarets, and even performance art exhibits. Best of all, they feature only originals, so you’re sure to have a unique viewing experience here.
3. Have a delicious brunch at any of The Valley’s Top 12.
Despite its emphasis on nightlife, Fortitude Valley has no shortage of eateries serving up a kick-ass breakfast. From a Peter Pan-themed cafe that serves vegan waffles to a weekend-only spot on St. James St. famed for their rosewater rice pudding and Baghdad eggs fried in cumin with flatbread, you’ll always have a different brunch spot in Fortitude Valley for each day of the week.
4. Go shopping on St. James St.
Speaking of St. James St., this leafy, picturesque strip is lined with local boutiques, flagship brands, and Brisbane designer items.
You can even check out this shopping trail here to figure out where to proceed for a day of much-needed retail therapy.
5. Rub elbows (and other body parts besides) with party animals at the Zoo.
Live musical gigs at the Zoo, especially in the summer, can unleash anyone’s inner party animal.
Drop by here if you need a break from all the non-human wildlife you’ve been visiting throughout your Australian vacation.
6. Try a free yoga class at Lululemon.
If you need to work up an appetite before your fancy Sunday brunch at St. James St., proceed to Lululemon at 7 or 8:30 am. They provide everything you’ll be needing, so all you need to bring is an open mind and a willingness to greet the morning sun in a whole new way.
7. Indulge in a donut from Doughnut Time.
Sure, Krispy Kreme’s glazed donuts are good, but Doughnut Time’s flavors bring these golden puffs of baked goodness to a whole new level. Made fresh daily, their salted caramel and popcorn, lemon cheesecake, and rainbow Nerds-topped donuts are a revelation for anyone with a sweet tooth.
8. Browse the Valley Market.
What tourist destination is complete without a weekend market? Fortitude Valley’s version is located between the Brunswick and Chinatown strip malls. Here, you will find talented local designers, amateur cooks dishing out yummy hipster fare, and of course, some live musical performers.
9. Marvel at Tym Guitars’ selection of, well, guitars.
Tym Guitars is a guitar collector’s heaven. They’ve got a great range of vintage, secondhand guitars and effects pedals, along with some pretty nifty handcrafted guitars, basses, and amplifiers. Don’t forget to check out their epic record collection too, should you manage to pay them a visit.
10. Bite into a humongous ice cream sandwich from Mister Fitz.
Australian summers are notoriously sizzling, and the most delicious way to beat the heat is to wrap your mouth around one of Mister Fitz’s ice cream sandwiches. Imagine scoops of creamy homemade ice cream amidst two house-baked cookies and then rolled in Fruit Loops or malted pretzel crumbs. Who wouldn’t want one of these babies after that mental image, eh?
So, if you’ve had your fill of the usual nature reserves and parks that abound in Australia, it’s always good to swing by Fortitude Valley. And thanks to the list of wholesome activities above, you can even bring your family along with you to join in the fun.