What is there to do when the sun goes down in Cairns? What does Cairns nightlife have to offer for tourists both young and single or the family members on that hard saved holiday of a lifetime? Is there any entertainment, stylish bars for older more mature guests, nightclubs for the backpackers to mingle with the locals, intimate clubs, wine bars, culture splash, live music venues, are there places to take the whole family for a night of fun and a great meal? Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and YES Cairns has it all!
Cairns is peppered with some awesome entertainment venues and we'd like to give you a broad perspective of what's available in certain locations which will allow you to have a bit of fun when you get here! Please note these are only half of them!
If you are not out for a wild night of drinking and socialising and you would like to experience some local culture and outdoor night time adventures with a dinner then “Click the Tours Tab” below and read about the night time tours and activities you and your partner, your conference groups, your family and even backpackers can see and do... great shows like Tjapakui By Night, Flames of the Forest, Paronella Park by night, The Hummer Outback Adventure, Jungle Adventures Guided Night walks and much more for you to enjoy and experience on a balmy tropical evening in Cairns.
The Cairns nightlife-nightclub district is only small and most places are all within a 4 square city block radius. So rest assured ladies who venture out for the evening in heels, your feet won't be killing you by the time you get to your desired socialising destination and this means more time where it matters… on the dance floor busting your moves!
Where should we start? Backpackers-Young at Heart
Let's go Cairns Pubs and drinking holes that turn into the night owl hot spots, also what we like to call the Backpacker Circuit. Along Spence St from Sheridan we have an Irish Pub with pool tables, great restaurant attached and a blue light palm tree lined beer garden! Live music is also a draw card as well as the 2 huge outdoor screens for all you sporting enthusiasts.
Following Spence to Lake St you'll find a couple of real funky venues. Some are little more sophisticated than the others, which offer some great entertainment in the way of theme nights. Sit on the balcony or outdoors here with your mates, drinks in hand, nibbles on the table and enjoy the tunes pumping from the speakers. Jump up onto the dance floor if you've got your disco shoes on, real fun place for bumping and grooving!
From here, head up Lake St to the Mall section for a couple of pints in this Irish Pub (aahhh us Aussies have a sporting competition drive to rival European football fans and players, a humour and easy going nature which only the Canadians seem to come close to, and…. A "drink you under the table" culture that can only be compared to the Irish!) The tabled outdoor area is great to kick back at and observe the passers-by. Oh, bar dancing competitions are a favourite here too, Coyote Ugly style- don't worry ladies, you won't be disappointed: fellas are included!
And in the opposite corner for the night we have one of the backpacker's party central. With theme and event nights that will hit you with a range of emotions from a grooving good time to totally excitable to possibly even making some of you blush.
About a block south west from here (nearly completing the circle) and you will be at the second party central for backpackers and locals. Quite a huge venue, so if you're travelling with a few in your group then this place has a scene to suit you all- as long as you like it loud!
If you are a true creature of the night or just feeling like a party animal for 1 night only, then rather than turning into a pumpkin once the hands of the clock get past that midnight strike, these last mentioned locations are where your needs will be satisfied!
A couple of 'Please notes' about this Backpacker Circuit:
- The big red double decker party bus does frequent this area, providing patrons with extra entertainment for the night! If you do start to feel outnumbered by the "I'm here for a good time, not a long time" crowd, you know what they say: "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!"
- Keep in mind while all these venues definitely cater to all ages in the afternoons and early evenings, it seems that as the time gets later, the patrons seem to get younger
So what about the 30+ who want to hit the town? Well we know just the places, this time we'll start at the northern end of The Cairns Esplanade, corner of Aplin St for a bit of Salsa upstairs on Saturday nights to get your spirit moving. Beginners are most welcome and really do have a ball on the dance floor! If you are a little shy though, you can always just sit back with a glass of wine and enjoy those sexy South American moves done by the circle of intermediate local learners and professionals who teach in the area. Good times definitely to be had by all!
If you're a bit of a rocker and love your live bands venture along Shields St almost to Sheridan to find a tiny venue loved by the locals, supporting local acts. There is something different going on here every night, including offering those who'd like to give it a shot at showing off their talents on Open Mic Nights. It is dark and narrow, definitely portraying a bluesy bar atmosphere to a tee, however perspective opens up with these mirror lined walls. Here you will be singing along, tapping your feet and bopping your head to the classics and latest tunes for sure.
Cairns Reef Casino Fun Entertainment & Live Bands
Lucky last in this category is the good old Cairns Reef Casino Vertigo's put on some fantastic shows like Eagles Cover Bands, stunning costumed Kylie productions and other popular performances that leave you with a 'wow' for the evening! This is a place for the more mature audiences that like to have a few nice cocktails and mingle with both the locals and tourists on a Friday or Saturday night. It can get crowded so if you wish to reserve a table for your drinks we suggest you get there early after you have enjoyed a lovely dinner at one the waterfront restaurants.
Waterfront Bars – Restaurants- Music Venues
For those who like a little more sophistication, you MUST meander on down to the waterfront bars, beautifully placed by the mighty yacht and cruiser lined Cairns Marlin Marina. Usually home to the 25+ with that chic edge and taste for fine (but very reasonably priced) dining. Dress goes from funky, smart casual for that luncheon or sunset drinks to trendy elegant flair through the evening with a drinks menu to match! The few places around here have been created as fun and relaxing retreats to unwind and appreciate the gorgeous sparkling harbour side with a cocktail or 2. The most recent addition to this territory the Salt House has provided Cairns with a refreshing enhancement of class and style, coupled with an enviable location, you will be able to sit and allow that elating sense of freedom absorb you.
Cultural Performances-National International Performers
Yes, it sounds like we are wrapping up however we haven't forgot those who can't go without their culture fix for too long- Theatre performances! Cairns has some extremely talented artists, performers, producers and choreographers who come together to deliver musicals, dramas and comedies. They liberate themselves in the popular, arty Jute Theatre.
Our little country town Civic Theatre is even home to some of the great show toppers such as the legendary Joe Cocker and the totally contrasted, brilliant and graceful Royal Ballet performances and the Cairns Convention & Exhibition Centre accommodates the big international acts and bands that grace us with their presence in Cairns each year.
Now you’re aware that Cairns not only has amazing and abundant natural resources to show off to the world but also has the eclectic offerings to compliment any mood and fulfil your evening desires to top off that unforgettable day! Once the whisper of Cairns entertainment is in your ear, you'll find live music to make your toes tap, DJ's slapping down tracks for you to show us 'what you got', sultry sounds in bars that make your body groove and sway, and venues with all the ambience that will have you savouring life as it should be. However like in any tropical destination, please do be careful don't have too much fun, or you just may never leave!
Cairns Dinner Cruise & Sunday Lunch Cruises
- Departs From: Cairns, Marlin Marina A Finger
Get spoilt on arrival with a complimentary glass of sparkling, wine, beer or soft drink of your preference. The cocktail bar is open from the moment you step on board this luxury boat and you will have a great choice between different alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The dinner cruise adventure departs around 6:30pm and throughout the evening you will cruise the Cairns harbour, sailing past historical sites and places of interest, see the hustle and bustle of the busy land based restaurants on the waterfront in this beautiful Far North Queensland port city and watch the day disappear. The setting night sky replaces the sun with a stunning sunset over the mountains and then the stars and moon align to light our way up river and the city lights up to mark the beginning of a night on the town for others. Kick back and relax with a cocktail to take in the harbour views in good company for the next two and half hours on your Cairns sunset dinner cruise. Fully air-conditioned she has two levels an exterior outdoor deck and air-conditioned interior so book you and your loved one or your family and friends on our next Cairns sunset dinner cruise on any Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening.
Cairns Aboriginal Cultural Park by Night | Night Fire
- Departs From: Cairns, Port Douglas, Cairns Beaches
7:00pm - 10:000pm
Brand New Show! Tjapukai by Night is a powerful and personal spiritual Aboriginal experience that will leave you with a deep and lasting memory and open your heart to the beauty, secrets and power of Australia’s ancient indigenous cultures. Immerse yourself in the sounds and sights of the mystical dance performances of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. Enjoy the tastes of Tropical North Queensland with the delicious hot and cold buffet dinner featuring local produce. A wonderful night of feasting, dance, education and lot's of entertainment and fun for all ages and races. Make sure you pre-book your tickets for this brand new show and interactive display.
Magical Night Time Dinner In Rainforest
- Departs From: Cairns, Palm Cove and Cairns Beaches
Aboriginal Cultural Experience: 7:30pm to 10:30pm (excluding transfer time)
Rainforest Dining Experience: 7:30pm to 10:00pm (excluding transfer time)
Ignite your senses as you walk along a flame lit trail beneath the canopy of the oldest rainforest in the world. With courtesy transfers, feel the wonder of this legendary place and explore the mysteries of time, culture and cuisine in the spellbinding candlelit drama that is the enchanted forest.