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Why Brisbane? Unpacking The New York Times’ Choice for 2024

Home to hip riverside haunts and verdant parkland views, Queensland’s capital has long been a favourite among in-the-know Aussie holidaymakers. Now, the city has entered the international spotlight by snagging #39 on the New York Times’ 52 Places to Go in 2024.

As the only Australian city on the list (Tasmania came in at #29), the accolade gives Brisbane a competitive edge over long-standing rivals like Sydney and Melbourne. With the city gearing up for the 2032 Olympics, this latest recognition will provide a welcome boost to Brisbane’s burgeoning tourism brand.   

Here’s why Brissie won the award and what this means for the future of the River City.   

A burgeoning hospitality scene

The hospo industry is a major player in Brisbane’s newfound “top place to go” status. From Fortitude Valley to Albion, the city’s dazzling dining districts buzz with a buffet of venues.  

One honourable mention is Agnes, a high-end restaurant and rooftop bar serving tasty flame-grilled treats. The NY Times article also raves about Vertigo, a newcomer set in the Brisbane Powerhouse development. Diners strap into safety harnesses and devour a gourmet meal while dangling four storeys aboveground—we hope you aren’t afraid of heights.

Food and beverage venues aside, the NY Times recognised Brisbane for its stellar hotel industry. Leading the charge is the Calile Hotel, an Instragrammable retro-chic boutique famed for its elegant tree-lined pool.

the calile hotel helped brisbane win the new york times award

Large-scale investments

Enormous urban developments have also played a role in Brisbane’s meteoric rise as a global tourism hub.

The talk of the town right now is the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane district, which is undergoing a $3.6 billion overhaul. The re-development, part of which opens this year, includes a 250-metre-long Sky Deck flanked by river-facing restaurants and bars. Four new accommodations will start hosting guests soon, including the monumental Star Grand hotel-casino.

Brisbane Powerhouse, a 1920-era power station repurposed as a cultural hub, got a mention for its ongoing commitment to culture and the arts.  

Impressive accolades

While Brisbane’s inclusion came as a shock to some, it wasn’t all that surprising to those in the know. After all, the city has scored many prestigious accolades from big-name publications in recent years.

The Frommers travel guide hailed Brisbane as a dazzling destination and a top place to visit in 2024. Time Magazine gave the River City similar recognition, ranking it among its top 50 destinations to explore in 2023. In the hospitality sector, Gourmet Traveller declared Agnes its 2023 Restaurant of the Year, while the Calile Hotel scored a #12 ranking in the World’s 50 Best Hotels awards.

As Brisbabe’s Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner puts it: “Our time has come. The world is recognising that Brisbane keeps getting better and this latest accolade from The New York Times is further proof.”

Gearing up for the Olympics

Brisbane captured the world’s attention upon being nominated to host the 2032 Olympics in 2021. Since then, the city has seen a flurry of development as part of a 10-year facelift in the lead-up to the games.

Experts believe the investments will be entirely worthwhile. According to KPMG, the 2032 Olympics will create 91,000 jobs and deliver $8.1 billion in economic benefits to Queensland.

Discover why Brisbane won the NY Times award with Kiff & Culture

Keen to see why Brisbane has become such a sought-after tourism destination?

Let Kiff & Culture take you on a gastronomy journey of the city. From restaurant-hopping to river yachting and wine-blending tours, we’ll show you the best of Brisbane in style.

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