Courful and creative, loud and lively, the Gold Coast arts and culture scene is exploding with new talent, vibrant venues and a supportive environment for the arts. When it comes to music, design, fashion, performing arts, sculpture and more, our homegrown talent is turning heads and gaining our city some well deserved cultural clout.
While we’ve got a world-class art gallery and an epic events calendar, you’ll get a good taste of Gold Coast’s unique, coastal culture as you stroll past street art, uncover revamped warehouse spaces, dine at eclectic eateries that double as music venues, delve into our ancient Indigenous culture and mingle with the local creatives at markets. This 48-hour itinerary shines a light on some local favourites so you can take a deep dive and experience the best of Gold Coast arts and culture.
STABLE COFFEE & KITCHEN
Start your day the right way with a quality coffee and breakfast at Stable Coffee & Kitchen, housed in the red brick building in Currumbin called Cornerstone Stores. It’s a much loved cultural space for locals and visitors alike with a welcoming community vibe and a sunny courtyard where you can enjoy your morning meal. Enjoy a spot of retail therapy afterwards browse the tempting selection of boutiques at Cornerstone.
Dust Temple in Currumbin is an old warehouse, newly-refurbished into a creative haven that’s part gallery, part café, part performance space. Peruse the eclectic mix of art on display, grab a coffee and a pastry and nestle down on a comfy couch – often to the soundtrack of live music. Next, head around the corner to Iron & Resin Garage for a spot of lunch. This venue doubles as a meeting place/ retail space/ hang out for motorbike enthusiasts. You’ll see a row of shiny machines lined up outside. Check out the retail store stocked with edgy riding accessories and apparel, then fuel up with a big juicy burger or our perennial fave – a good ol’ toasted sanga.
THE CRAFT PARLOUR – BURLEIGH HEADS
Unleash your inner artist at The Craft Parlour, – the cutest little studio housed in an original brick Gold Coast bungalow, which has been transformed into a creative haven. Get hands on at one of their regular workshops – you can learn all sorts of skills such as ceramics, basket-making, painting, macrame, screen printing and resin art. Book in advance to avoid disappointment – The Craft Parlous is a local favourite for good reason!
19 KAREN ART GALLERY – MERMAID BEACH
Tucked away in the Mermaid Beach industrial estate, 19 Karen Contemporary Artspace was once a warehouse but is now a thriving contemporary art gallery that showcases a number of epic Australian and international artists and exhibitions. While meandering through the space, you’ll peruse some seriously striking pieces – from brightly painted Pop art and Expressionistic pieces, to gnarly street art styles and everything in between. 19 Karen is a Gold Coast gem that’s a must-do for any avid art lover.
An artwork in itself, this multi-coloured landmark can be spotted from many vantage points around the city. HOTA Gallery is the largest Australian gallery outside a capital city – a six-level, world-class, purpose built facility for exhibitions, education and engagement. While the bright exterior of the building has caused a lot of excitement, it’s what’s going inside that has really created a buzz. Immerse yourself in exhibitions from international and Australian artists, and explore new ideas and experiences in visual art, both indoors and outdoors. Sip sunset cocktails at The Exhibionist – the gallery’s gorgeous rooftop bar, where you can enjoy light refreshments and sensational views (specialty cocktails are inspired by major art exhibitions). Or indulge in fine dining at the gallery’s onsite restaurant, Palette.
STAY: THE PINK HOTEL – COOLANGATTA
You can’t miss The Pink Hotel in Coolangatta. This refurbished 1950’s boutique hotel is bright and breezy beachside accom with a touch of rock n’ roll. Each room has been styled to retro perfection with custom neon signs, Smeg fridges and the type of effortlessly cool vibe you wish you could recreate at home. There’s a rooftop bar with 180-degree ocean views, a hidden piano bar for late night tipples and of course, access to one of the Coast’s most bustling suburbs. Eat at Eddie’s Grub House underneath the hotel for unbeatable burgers and most likely some live, loud music.
THE VILLAGE MARKETS – BURLEIGH HEADS
Fashion and jewellery from local designers, Moroccan homewares, handcrafted trinkets, health conscious food trucks and the strum of an acoustic guitar as your soundtrack – welcome to this little gem we call The Village Markets. Pick up a fresh brew and acai bowl on your way in and spend the morning moseying through alfresco stalls, chatting with local creatives and soaking in the feel-good Sunday vibes. Once you’ve got a taste for our laid-back coastal lifestyle of today, it’s time to take it back in time – to the Dreamtime to be precise…
JELLURGAL WALKABOUT – BURLEIGH HEADS
A quest into Gold Coast culture isn’t complete without a stopover at Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre. Nestled on the Tally side of the Burleigh Headland, Jellurgal is the place to go to immerse yourself in the Indigenous culture of days gone by. Take the two-hour tour and learn the story of the Yugambeh people, who have lived here for thousands and thousands of years. Follow the guided walk through the ‘Dreaming Mountain’s’ lush bushland, spot culturally significant sights, watch a traditional smoking ceremony, and hear ancient creation stories of The Dreamtime. Once the tour’s wrapped, you’ll be left feeling invigorated, inspired and even more smitten with this magical corner of the Coast.
MO’S DESERT CLUBHOUSE – BURLEIGH HEADS
Mo’s Desert Clubhouse has earned itself a rep for being quite the creative hub, with its chilled vibes, top notch tunes and mixed-bag bohemian décor, all sprinkled with hipster charm and hint of cowboy aesthetic. This hangout is home to some cool shindigs, such as live music gigs showcasing upcoming indie artists, art exhibitions, and crafternoon get-togethers. Mo’s also doubles as a co-working space and houses a rehearsal studio where musos can meet up for a jam or creative collaboration. This place is a hotbed for Gold Coast culture.
If you could condense Gold Coast arts and culture into one venue, this would be it. Miami Marketta is vibrant ever-evolving venue which was a trailblazer in Miami’s cultural shift from sleepy beachside suburb to creative hub. A hybrid live music venue, street food market and nightspot, this undercover yet open air creative precinct generates a lovely buzz. The exterior walls are adorned in street art. And the interiors of the many different bars within Marketta are artworks themselves. Sip your drink while you browse boutique retail spaces filled with local designers’ wares. There’s free live music and street food on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights. Touring and international acts also play ticketed events.
DRINKS AND TUNES AT THE CAMBUS WALLACE – MERMAID BEACH
Drop anchor at the nautically themed Cambus Wallace in the hip hood of Nobby Beach, a beloved local bar that puts on an awesome Sunday sesh combining (more) acoustic tunes with moody rum vibes in true sailor style. Get to work on a ‘Walk the Plank Sundays’ charcuterie board and wash it down with an ol’ fashioned whisky or rum from the masterfully curated spirits wall (just wait ‘til you see the lineup). The cocktails here are also rather delish – we’re obsessed with the ‘The Old Man’, ironically dubbed after the 23-year-old captain of the ship the bar is named after. Drink up, me hearties!