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Things to Do in Canberra: Where to Eat, Drink, Stay & Play

Our capital is having a moment. Planning a weekend in the city? These are our top picks of things to do in Canberra.

Surrounded by rugged mountains and national parks, Canberra is a cool city-meets-country destination. If you haven’t road-tripped to Canberra since school excursion days, it’s time to hop in the car.

The national capital is more than politics and power players, boasting the perfect mix of foodie delights, world class art galleries, culture, history and natural wonders.

If you're on the hunt for tips to make your Canberra trip worth it, you're in the right spot! Whether you're travelling with your mates or looking for fun things to do in Canberra with your kids, here's your ultimate guide for an action-packed weekend.

Things To Do in Canberra: Eat

Mocan & Green Grout

Mocan & Green Grout

Lush greenery welcomes you to Mocan & Green Grout, a corner cafe in Canberra that oozes personality with its stylish, yet down-to-earth, retro-chic look. 

The menu changes all the time, but you’ll always be treated to inventive, ethically-minded dishes. And locals are kept well-fuelled all day long with Fairtrade coffee.

1/19 Marcus Clarke Street, Canberra City

The Cupping Room

The Cupping Room

A concept cafe in Canberra boasting stylish interiors and brewing incredible boutique coffee, The Cupping Room is kind of a big deal.

Run by Australia’s first World Barista Champion, it’s safe to say this specialty coffee house knows its stuff. Serving ONA coffee, house-made soda and delectable brunch classics, it is a must-try for any Canberra visitor.

1/1-13 University Avenue, Canberra City

Local Press Cafe

Local Press Cafe

A cafe and whole foods store rolled into one, Local Press’s rustic interiors go hand-in-hand with their ethos of crafting dishes made with meat and proteins that are free-range, pasture-fed, and chemical and hormone-free.

Using locally sourced produce wherever possible, they make everything in-house. The food is healthy, seriously flavoursome and packed with wholesome goodness - the perfect fuel for exploring all the best things to do in Canberra.

35 Eastlake Parade, Kingston



Pilot isn’t just a place to grab dinner; tucked away in Ainslie’s shopping village in Canberra’s north, the venue is the place to go if you want stellar service, unique and utterly delicious dishes, and a vibrant atmosphere.

The menu changes daily, but you can always guarantee it’ll be delicious.

1 Wakefield Gardens, Ainslie

Rebel Rebel

Rebel Rebel

This day-to-night venue in Acton is a great place to stop if you’re exploring the central city (known by locals as Civic).

Order a few share plates and a glass of vino, and soak up the buzzing atmosphere inside Rebel Rebel’s industrial chic interior. Alternatively, let the team do the hard work for you and order the Chef’s Selection menu – you won’t regret it.

23 Marcus Clarke Street, Acton

Things To Do in Canberra: Drink

High Jinks

High Jinks

Hidden in a basement through a discreet doorway, this chic den raises the bar scene stakes. With its classic yet modern style, everything about High Jinks oozes cool – from the mini Chesterfields to the crisp cocktails.

Keep an eye out for their cocktail classes, where you'll learn to make your favourite gin cocktail or take their recommendation of a signature Ambleside serve.

Basement 2/15 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra City

Hippo Co.

Hippo Co.

A dimly lit lounge bar with taxidermy décor, Hippo Co’s love affair with whiskey and cocktails is what makes it a popular nightlife destination.

Hosting masterclasses, tastings and live music throughout the week, this Garema Place watering hole comes alive on the weekends – so much so that you need to get in early to avoid the queues.

1/17 Garema Place, Canberra City

Bar Rochford

Bar Rochford

Bar Rochford is found at the top of the Melbourne Building, an architectural icon in Canberra’s city centre. It’s a great spot to watch the world go by below – and to enjoy some truly excellent food and drink.

The wine menu is huge with unique drops, making it a fine place to go if you consider yourself a wine aficionado. 

1st/65 London Circuit, Canberra City 

Paranormal Wines

Paranormal Wines

If you find yourself in the inner north suburb of Campbell and are looking for a place to drink, head to local favourite Paranormal Wines.

Here, you can try some incredibly special wines that you may not find anywhere else. If you’ve got room in your luggage for a few boozy souvenirs, make sure to grab some bottles to take away.

G27/6 Provan Street, Campbell

Things To Do in Canberra: Play

Mount Majura

Winery Hopping

Swill, sip and repeat at some of Canberra’s premier wineries. Take a 45 minute drive to Brindabella Hills Winery, where you can enjoy house wines over lunch at the restaurant.

A little closer to town, Mount Majura Vineyard has made a name for itself with its boutique wines, relaxed tastings and beautiful views. 

Capital Region Farmers Market

Take the Market Trail

Foodies and thrifty shoppers will have a fine time in Canberra with the city’s plethora of weekend markets. On Saturday mornings, Capital Region Farmers Market in Mitchell is the place to go for everything from fruit and veg to meat, condiments and baked goods – almost all of which come from less than 300km away.

On Sundays, Kingston’s Old Bus Depot Market offers arts, crafts, clothing and fresh produce.

National Museum of Australia

Check Out the Sights

Any trip to Canberra must involve some sightseeing and landmark-hopping.

From the science-laden Questacon to the poignant Australian War Memorial, your weekend getaway will turn into a learning expedition. A visit to the National Dinosaur Museum is one of the best things to do in Canberra with kids, while the museums in Canberra will have everyone intrigued.

For some local history and nature, head to the National Arboretum to see the 250 hectares of beautiful rare, endangered and native trees standing in commemoration of the Christmas 2001 and 2003 bushfires.

National Zoo and Aquarium

Get Amongst Nature

From dense wetlands to a hike atop Mount Ainslie, you can spend a whole day exploring Canberra’s natural wonders. The Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve is amazing for wildlife watching. As you move along the marked walking trails, you might spot a platypus, possum, wombat, echidna, emu or kangaroo. 

Enjoy a picnic lunch or a rainforest boardwalk at the Australian National Botanic Gardens, or discover the meticulously crafted miniature steam train at the stunning Cockington Green Gardens.

Make sure to check out the National Zoo & Aquarium while you are in town. Small in size, you can conquer it in half a day. It’s home to exotic animals like lions, tigers, giraffes and penguins, and offers hands-on experiences for animal lovers.

National Gallery of Australia

Explore the Arts and Culture Scene

No trip to Canberra would be complete without a visit to some of the national and local galleries and museums.

For big-name artists and artworks (including the famed Blue Poles by Jackson Pollock) and a great Indigenous collection, head to the National Gallery of Australia.

To learn about Australia’s cultural history, guided tours through the National Film and Sound Archive and the National Library of Australia are your best bet.

Things To Do in Canberra: Stay

Hotel Realm

Hotel Realm has become a local favourite for those seeking a five-star stay in the heart of Canberra's Parliamentary Triangle. With 158 rooms featuring a houndstooth patterned carpet and minimalist design, it strikes a balance between sophistication and comfort.

The contemporary ambience extends to Louis Dining, where you can indulge in South of France-inspired dishes. You'll also find yourself within walking distance of Capital Hill and the National Portrait Gallery.

18 National Circuit, Barton, Canberra

Ovolo Nishi

Funky and sustainable, Ovolo Nishi marries beautiful design and functionality to create the ultimate home away from home. Bringing the outside in, the stunning wooden atrium is a sight to behold.

Above are the lush rooms, while downstairs you will find popular eatery Monster Bar & Kitchen and upscale cinema Palace Electric, meaning you will never have to leave the hotel, but if you do - nearby Lake Burley Griffin is perfect for an afternoon stroll.

New Acton Precinct, 25 Edinburgh Ave, Canberra City

East Hotel

With a bunch of cool, contemporary rooms and suites, East Hotel is a good place to lay your hat. One of Kingston’s top spots to stay, you will truly feel like you are living like a local.

If you decide to stay in, you won’t be disappointed. From Italian restaurant Agostini’s and Joe’s Bar to wine bar, Muse, you are guaranteed an awesome night in.

69 Canberra Avenue, Kingston

Hotel Kurrajong Canberra

Hotel Kurrajong is Canberra's very own time capsule; since its doors swung open in 1926, this place has witnessed it all. Formerly a residence of public servants, today, its art deco elegance and inviting ambience offer a unique experience for travellers.

As you wander through corridors steeped in history, a visual feast of wooden screens, elegant details decorated with artworks and historical memorabilia unfolds.

The rooms, named after former prime ministers, have been updated to seamlessly blend historic charm with contemporary comfort. Centrally located, it's a mere 10-minute stroll to both the National Gallery of Australia and Parliament Houses.

8 National Circuit, Barton, Canberra

Jamala Wildlife Lodge

You don’t need to travel far for a safari experience. In Canberra, the Jamala Wildlife Lodge is connected to the National Zoo & Aquarium.

You’ll meet some of the most incredible and endangered species on earth and find out how you can help their survival. Back at your treehouse, the resort’s resident giraffe, Humbekhali, might pop his head in for a visit!

National Zoo & Aquarium, 999 Lady Denman Drive, Canberra City

Saved this guide of all the best things to do in Canberra and looking for more ACT inspo? Here are our guides to Canberra’s best restaurants, and the best clothing stores around town.

Our Sitchu editors work hard to deliver you the best products, events and venues that we hope you will love, each one is selected independently. Sitchu may receive an affiliate commission when you follow some links.

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