Things to do in Adelaide

Visitors to Australia often neglect Adelaide in favour of the bigger Eastern cities. The capital of South Australia is a city of around 1.3 million people and is located on the south coast of Australia, about half way across the country.

It is renowned for it’s food and wine, with three wine regions only an hour from the city centre. It is also the gateway to the outback and to stunning Kangaroo Island.

Lonely Planet voted South Australia as one of the world’s top 10 regions to visit in 2017, and in 2021 Adelaide is the world’s third Most Liveable City. Adelaide is also one of the ten great wine capitals of the world – it really is starting to come into it’s own.

Street art is flourishing, laneway bars are popping up all over the place and the place is starting to buzz. Here are a few ideas for things to do in Adelaide.

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Adelaide Free Walking Tour

Walking tour Adelaide

One of my favourite things to do when I arrive in a new city is a free walking tour. These are usually run by young, enthusiastic guides who will spend a couple of hours telling you a little about the history of the city, important or popular attractions, local tips and recommendations and answer any questions you may have. The tour of Adelaide city is no exception.

This is also the perfect opportunity to get recommendations for restaurants and nightlife, hear about local events, and see some of the quirky areas that may not feature on other tours.

While the tours are free, the guides rely on tips, so don’t forget to leave a little something at the end. Also on offer are food tours to taste some of our local favourites and tours in Mandarin can also be arranged. Visit Flamboyance Tours to see to details.

Note: Free walking tours have been cancelled during Covid, but the same tour is offered for a small payment so that numbers can be regulated.

Adelaide Central Markets

Adelaide Central Markets are fully undercover fresh produce markets located in the CBD between Gouger and Grote Streets. They have stalls of local and other gourmet foods.

There are places to eat and get coffee, and  so this is a perfect place to wander for an hour or two taking in the sights and smells. Tastings are on offer and every stall will tempt you. I have yet to walk through there without taking home more than I planned.

The markets are open from Tuesday to Saturday, with live music on Friday evenings to add to the atmosphere. There are also cooking demonstrations and the popular “Producer in Residence” stall shows of different local businesses from week to week.

Want to learn more about the Adelaide Central Markets? There are many different tours offered, from short visits to chef’s tours. Click here to see the array of tours and the latest prices.

Adelaide Gaol Ghost Tour

The Old Adelaide Gaol contains one of the oldest buildings still standing in the city, and it is said to be the most haunted site in South Australia, so this is the tour to hear some creepy stories and spot some ghosts.

As the only state in Australia not to have convicts, the South Australian penal history is slightly different, and this is the perfect opportunity to learn about it. Click here to see prices and details of the Adelaide Gaol Ghost Tours

Adelaide Oval

Adelaide Oval is one of the most picturesque cricket grounds in the world. About three years ago the oval was completely redeveloped, doubling the capacity and turning it into not only a beautiful venue, but also one of the best in the world to watch cricket or Australian Rules football (AFL).

It is also used occasionally for other football codes as well as big-name concerts. In the past Rolling Stones, Guns ‘n Roses and Adele have all played on the oval.

Before arriving in Adelaide be sure to look up if there is an event on at Adelaide Oval and get along and enjoy. If you are lucky you will see one of Adelaide’s spectacular sunsets as the sun sinks down behind the western stands.

It is also possible to do a tour of the oval, or do a roof climb to see the playing surface from a whole new angle. Click here to see prices for the Stadium tour or the Adelaide Oval roofclimb.

Haigh’s Chocolate Factory

Haigh’s Chocolate is one of South Australia’s most iconic brands. The company is now over 100 years old and produces some of the most delicious chocolate around.

The flagship store is located in the same place it has been since the company began, in the distinctive Beehive Corner building on the corner of Rundle Mall and King William Street. To tour the factory though, you will need to make your way just outside the city centre in Parkside.

The tours are free and include some chocolate tastings and tea and coffee afterwards. There is also a factory outlet on-site to purchase all the chocolates, and you may even be able to pick up some cheaper imperfect products that won’t be going to the retail stores.

For more details and to book the free tour click here.

Note: there are many day tours that include a visit to the Haighs Chocolate Factory. If you prefer to combine a visit with other attractions to allieviant the need for transport, click here to see some options.

Glenelg

Get out of the CBD and head down to the coastal suburb of Glenelg. With pristine beaches, this is the perfect place to visit in the early evening to watch the sun sink into the ocean.

Catch the tram from the city and it will drop you off at the end of Jetty Road, within metres of the beach.

Spend some time wandering up and down the street and then browse through the shops. Grab a coffee or a snack in one of the many cafes along the strip, or as the sun goes down head to one of the beachfront venues to watch the colours.

If you have kids with you, the popular Beachouse is a great entertainment area with waterslides, dodgem cars, mini golf and much more. Also on the beachfront is arguably the best free playground for kids in Adelaide.

Visit the State Library of South Australia.

Libraries have evolved a lot over the last few decades, and the State Library of South Australia is no exception. With the recent addition of a glass entry area, the library is now a great location for many travelling exhibits that come to Adelaide, so it’s worth calling past as you walk down North Terrace to see what is on.

One of the library’s permanent collections is the Bradman Collection. Sir Donald Bradman is arguably the best batsman the game of cricket has ever seen. He is revered in the sport, and in South Australia, for the person he was after his playing years were done.

During his lifetime he began donating some of his personal memorabilia to the State Library, starting with small items like scrapbooks, but towards the end of his life he donated much bigger, more personal and valuable items.

Some of the items have been moved to the new cricket museum at Adelaide Oval, but most items still remain here at the library.

While visiting ensure you have a look at the Mortlock Wing. This part of the library was the original library building opened in 1884. The building is very traditional, all dark timber, wrought iron and that lovely musty book smell.

The ground floor now houses many small displays, showcasing South Australian life, ranging from sports, to childhood, to arts and architecture.

If you want to learn a little more about the library, free tours are run each weekday. Have a look at the website to see if there is a time and tour to suit you.

Hire a BBQ Boat

Looking for a unique picnic lunch idea? Why not hire a BBQ boat and spend an hour or two floating around the Torrens River while cooking and eating a delicious meal. Boats are available for up to ten people, so you can bring a group, or select a smaller, more initmate boat for a completely private romantic meal. Click here to see more details and prices.

Adelaide Zoo

Adelaide Zoo is an easy walk north of the CBD along Frome Road. It is home to more than 2500 animals, including the only pandas in Australia. It is a leafy location and perfect to visit with a picnic lunch to enjoy while sitting on the central lawns.

During the day there are many animal displays and talks, including feeding the lions and panda talks. There are also extra activities that can be booked in advance such as Meet the Keeper, Animal Encounters and Behind the Scenes experiences. There can also be extra displays, usually during the Australian school holidays.

Click here for ticket prices and behind the scenes experiences.

Adelaide Museums and Art Gallery

Next door to each other on North Terrace are both the South Australian Museum and Art Gallery. Both are free to enter and are a good way to while away a couple of hours. Both also hold special exhibitions from time to time so check out their websites.

Just around the corner on Kintore Avenue is the Migration Museum which has displays based around immigration and the settlement of South Australia. Again, entry is free.

Further to the west along North Terrace is the MOD museum, opened only recently in May 2018. Describing itself as a “future-focused museum” it has lots of interactive, immersive displays that challenge perceptions. Entry to this museum is also free.

Click here to see more Adelaide museums that are worth visiting.

Gouger Street/Rundle Street

There are two busy restaurant strips in Adelaide, Rundle Street and Gouger Street. In either of these you will find many choices for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There is not only a wide variety of food, there is also food ranging from takeaway to grab a quick bite on the go, to fine dining restaurants.

A walk down either of these should provide you with something to satisfy the hunger pangs.

Visit the Pigs in Rundle Mall

Adelaide’s premier shopping mall is right in the centre of the city. Not only are there shops to suit anyone, there are many restaurants and cafes for a bite to eat or to grab a barista coffee.

There are often buskers and other forms of entertainment in the Mall too. During your visit be sure to check out the controversial pig statues and the local meeting place, the Malls Balls.

Adelaide Day Trips

Adelaide is right in the middle of many different wine regions. It is almost essential to do at least one of the many available wine tours while you are here. The three most popular regions are the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.

If you prefer a more organised day tour, click here to read my post on the Best Adelaide Day Tours

I have also previously written about things to do in Hahndorf and Victor Harbor, both towns that can be easily visited on a day trip from Adelaide.

Looking for more tickets or tours? Click through one of the options below to search further.

 

 

Transfers from Adelaide Airport into the City Centre

On arriving into Adelaide by plane, there is no long commute from the airport here.

  • It’s a short 10-15 minute taxi or Uber ride into the city centre from right outside the doors.
  • If you prefer a shuttle straight to the door of your hotel they are available for $10AUD per person and run approximately every half an hour. You will find the desk straight in front of you as you come down the escalators from a domestic flight into the baggage hall. From international arrivals, turn left and walk a few metres towards the domestic baggage hall and the desk is on your right.
  • If you would like to organise a private transfer in advance, click here to see the latest options and prices.

For more on how to get to the city centre from Adelaide Airport, click here.

Adelaide Accommodation

Looking for somewhere to stay? Adelaide has a wide range of accomodation from five star hotels such as the Hilton, the Intercontinental and the Mayfair Hotel, mid range favourites such as Holiday Inn Express, Ibis and Quest, and budget options like Adelaide Backpackers & Travellers Inn, and Adelaide Central YHA.

Looking for more unique accommodation options? Take a look at this list

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44 thoughts on “Things to do in Adelaide”

  1. I have always wanted to go to Australia! It’s on my bucket list. If I do end up going someday, I’ll have to stop at some of these places!

  2. I’d love to go to Australia one day, it looks like you could spend a whole trip in Adelaide alone! I’ll have to keep this list in mind for when I finally book a trip

  3. Visiting any city in Australia would be a dream come true (on my bucket list) to connect with relatives I’ve never met in person. Stopping by Adelaide certainly would be a great experience, looks like a great place.

  4. I’ve never been to Australia but I’m hoping to visit one day! The beach view looks relaxing. If I have the chance to go here someday, I’ll definitely add this on my bucket list.

    • Thanks Criselle. Yes our beaches are amazing. They are so diverse though, so different all around the country.

  5. I would love to go to Australia one day. It sounds like there is a lot of to do in Adelaide so I will add this to my list of places to visit whenever I get to go to Australia.

  6. I have always wanted to travel to Austrailia. I just totally hate to fly and if my map is right it takes about 24 hours. But your post may have given the push I needed:)

    • Thanks Andrea! Oh I hear you about those flights! Unless heading to Asia, and sometimes even then, it’s at least 24 hours to get anywhere! No quick weekend visits to another country for us!

    • Adelaide is the fifth largest city in Australia and one of only eight state capitals, but you are not alone in not hearing about it.

      I am with you on being selective with visiting only “good” zoos. Our zoos in Australia are first class. In South Australia we have a second zoo just outside Adelaide called Monarto Zoo, and it’s free range. So no cages, the animals room free in big paddocks. You don’t walk around once you get there, but rather have a bus tour, a bit like going on safari.

  7. you ate right, i rarely read blog about Adelaide and its such a shame coz its a beautiful city! Thanks for sharing these tips 🙂

    • Glad to help Krysti. Let me know if you need any more info, I will help if I can. The only issue may be that I am leaving in April for twelve months so won’t be here later in the year, but I have lived here pretty much all of my life so I can point you in the right direction from wherever I am ?

  8. I love this kind of posts! Makes me want to travel so bad! I have never visited Australia but now I know a place I want to go for sure.

  9. Awww – my mum used to live in Addie, so it’s lovely to see it again. I remember going to a Polar Expedition exhibit at the museum, and walking through an ice cold portal to get to it – very refreshing on a hot summer day. It’s truly a beautiful city, with a gorgeous coast and plenty to explore in the Hills and the Barossa Valley. Although I have to say I think my mum’s favourite place was the Oval!

    • Thanks Bernie, glad you enjoyed reading! Adelaide oval is pretty special, so I see why it would be your mum’s favourite.

  10. Ooh this all sounds awesome. I mean you can’t go wrong when there is good food and wine to try!!

    I especially like your tips about walking tours and food tours! I’d love to do both!!

    • Thanks Josy! Yes, walking tours are one of my favourite things to do anywhere. I am always recommending them, and it was so great to do one in my home town!

  11. Wow, what a cool place! I love the market and the liveliness of the city, it seems like there is always something going on… the Night Safari food tour sounds awesome. And Glenelg looks like my kind of place! I have to get over to the other side of the globe!!

    • Thank you! The best time to visit is late February/early March when we have our Fringe Festival and so many other events going on. The weather is still hot, but hopefully not stupidly hot and everyone gets out and about. It’s a great atmosphere. (Hmmm… might have to add something about that into the post!)

  12. I must confess to being one of those people who visited Australia but didn’t make it to Adelaide. I would love to get there one day though – it’s definitely on the itinerary, and this is a super helpful post for when I do!

    • Thanks Jill. You are not alone! Only 5% of visitors to Australia come to Adelaide, which is kinda crazy. I was surprised that during our travels many people haven’t even heard of it. I’m sure you will enjoy it when you get here.

  13. This post made me homesick! I did my exchange student year in Adelaide in 1998 and revisited Adelaide when I did my working holiday visa. My host family still holds a very special place in my heart. I lived in Blackwood but also further down to the Adelaide Hills. It’s true. SA has so much to offer: K.I (Kangaroo Island for short), Hahndorf (gotta love this village), all the wine regions… I did a tour in Barossa with my Mum. Pure awesomeness! Way to go Radelaide!

    • So glad to hear you liked Adelaide! Nearly everyone who gets here does, it’s just that not so many people know about it. Thank you for helping me to share the news 🙂

  14. I’m DYING to go here but its just so costly from Europe. Plus its great to see you have added walking tours to this post, I feel they are the best way to learn a city and often some locals too!

    • Hahaha, I hear you about those flights! I go to Europe at least once a year. I guess we are just used to the fact that we are so far away and that’s what we have to pay to visit Europe, or even North & South America and Africa.

  15. I love a good foodie city – Adelaide woukd suit me down to the ground! Glenelg sounds lovely too, will have to make sure I visit when I get to Australia!

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