Have you heard about Open House? The annual flinging wide of doors on public and private buildings has been around for a few years now. It’s a great opportunity to not only see what’s behind the facade of many of a city’s buildings, but a chance to discover hidden gems and insider secrets! After all, who doesn’t love the thrill of nosing about where you’re usually not allowed?
Brisbane Open House Buildings
There are many buildings and homes being made available for public viewing this weekend in Brisbane. Some are public, and can be visited easily any time. However some are private and Brisbane Open House is your only opportunity once a year to have a nose about. There’s a variety of different types of buildings and homes too – some are historic, some iconic, others examples of unique architecture or environmental design.
The Open House website groups buildings by theme, making it easy to plan your weekend. Last year I decided to visit historical CBD buildings and designed myself a little walking tour.
Peeking behind the curtain
My first stop was the Treasury Hotel. Did you know it was the old Land’s Department and Premier’s office? We got to see the cabinet room, Premier’s rooms and best of all, the SECRET STAIRCASE. I love stuff like that!
From there I walked to one of the oldest buildings in Brisbane, the Commissariat Store. Nice views of the river through the barred windows!
Next I wandered down to Parliament House, where I was guided through long hallways and up and down stairs, peeking into rooms where big decisions are made.
My favourite building in the city was next – Customs House. I’d actually never been inside, so being able to freely gawp at the big dome from the dining room was a treat. The place has an amazing history too! Ask about the “loos with a view” if you go!
Lastly I walked up to the MacArthur Museum. After a ride up a tiny elevator in an otherwise unassuming high rise, I discovered a slice of Brisbane’s WWII history. Did you know years of Allied war effort were directed from the general’s office there? There are some great displays and historical info too. Not many people know about this museum, but I highly recommend it!
Tips for enjoying your day out
What do we always say about setting foot outside of your door in Australia? Hat, sunscreen, water! Comfortable shoes are also a must if you’re visiting lots of buildings.
Plan ahead. It’s a good idea of having an idea of where you’re going and in what order. If you’re going exploring in the suburbs, know where you’re going and be prepared to look for street parking.
Some buildings can only take a certain number of visitors, so you have to book ahead. These sites are always popular but check out the website to see if there are any places left on the limited visitor buildings.
Be a tourist in your own city
Open House is a very popular event, so be prepared for crowds at the most popular sites, like the GPO. The event is also staffed by wonderful and knowledgeable volunteers, so be sure to heed their advice (there may be some places no photography is allowed, for example) and listen to their excellent stories about the places you visit.
Being able to see behind the doors of many of Brisbane’s iconic buildings is a fun way to spend the day, and will definitely make you feel a little like a tourist. But if you’ve passed a building a hundred times and always wondered what’s inside… here’s your chance to find out!
Are you going to Brisbane Open House this weekend? Have you been in any other cities?