Top 10 things to do in Adelaide

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Adelaide is a city known for its rolling, vineyard-dotted hills that spill into the sea. It’s a cultural melting pot with a strong arts scene and a dynamic foodie culture, where growers and producers, winemakers and chefs, creatives and consumers are all closely connected. Supporting local is king; connection is everything.

Adelaide is a city known for sunny weather, where winter temperatures average 16 degrees, and scorching 40 degree summer heat waves can stretch on for days. It’s a city of pink-skied sunsets, rugged coastline and insanely beautiful beaches. Sometimes dubbed the “20 minute city”, Adelaide is also very livable – where everything is in close proximity.

top 10 things to do in adelaide

Mostly, Adelaide is a city in the midst of a renaissance. Change is a happenin’, and the world is taking notice.

Here are ten things you must do when you visit.


1. Stroll the River Torrens + Festival Centre Precinct

In the heart of Adelaide city stretches The River Torrens ; Adelaide’s most significant river. Here you’ll find meandering pathways for walking, running or cycling, picnic-ready grassy knolls and alfresco dining eateries dotted along the way. Elder Park is home to the Adelaide Festival Centre, Convention Centre, railway station and casino. Heavily in the throws of a significant redevelopment, this area is quickly becoming the epicentre of the city.

top 10 things to do in adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

2. Check out the iconic Adelaide Oval

Just across the river sits the newly refurbished Adelaide Oval. A stadium for cricket, football, concerts, and other sports, visit here for your sport or entertainment fix. To get a behind the scenes glimpse into the inner workings of the oval, book a spot on an Adelaide Oval Tour (from Monday to Saturday).

Adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

3. Wander North Terrace

What true north is to a compass, North Terrace is to Adelaide. The cultural hub of Adelaide city, North Terrace is home to the Art Gallery, State Library, Museum, Adelaide University, war memorials, the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and Parliament House. Lesser known but freely accessible to the public, check out Mortlock Library, a wing of the State Library – you’ll arrive and feel you’ve stepped straight into Hogwarts. Immerse yourself in this sanctuary of hushed calm and escape the world for a few hours.

top 10 things to do in adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

4. Eat (lots) at the Adelaide Central Market

My personal happy place, The Adelaide Central Market is an undercover food mecca and well-loved South Australian institution. 80 produce stalls are housed inside – with some of the best and freshest produce you’ll find the world over. Go here for crates of locally grown vegetables and fruits, meats and seafoods, piping hot breads and amazing coffee. With around 8 million visitors a year, it’s without a doubt a favourite landmark.

The best finds inside? Brunching at Big Table, takeaway coffee from Lucia’s, chocolate from Haigh’s, visit Goodies and Grains for wholefoods and amazing juices, and Let Them Eat for the pre-prepared vegetarian fare. And just in case you’re still hungry – Chinatown is right next door.

top 10 things to do in adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

5. Eat lots (generally)

While the whole of South Australia is unquestionably foodie, head to Adelaide’s East End, and the Leigh Street/Peel Street Precinct for the best restaurants on offer. From high-end dining to cheap street eats, you’ll find it all in these precincts all win. Some go-to options include Sean’s Kitchen, Peel St, Africola, Golden Boy and Orana. (WoW’s top 10 restaurant picks for Adelaide… coming soon!)

top 10 things to do in adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

6. Wander the weekend markets.

If you’re a fan of artisan markets, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Adelaide. Adelaide boasts weekend markets, week day markets, twilight markets, farmers markets, vintage markets, Christmas markets and everything markets. Be sure to check out Gilles Street Market (1st and 3rd Sundays), Wayville Farmers Market (every Sunday), The Market Shed on Holland (Sundays) and the Flinders Street Market (Saturdays and Sundays). Further afield, the Stirling Market, Victor Harbor Market and Willunga Farmers Market are all stellar.

top 10 things to do in adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

7. Visit Ebenezer Place, in Adelaide’s East End

Ebenezer Place is a quaint laneway full of independently owned boutiques, bustling cafes and some of Adelaide’s best wine cellars and food. Be sure to buy locally made, exquisitely curated wares from Council of Objects, get coffee at Exchange Cafe or SAD, and pick up flowers from Justine at East End Flower Market just across the way. Top off the visit with some wine at Mother Vine.

top 10 things to do in adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

8. Drink coffee (everywhere)

I’ve said it before – Adelaide takes coffee seriously. Adelaide is home to an abundance of indie cool hangouts, hole-in-the-wall pop-ups and places that feel more like your living room than cafe space. Check out the WoW coffee guide to Adelaide to discover the best places.

top 10 things to do in adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

9. Venture to the Adelaide Hills

A short drive up the freeway from Adelaide’s CBD will lead you to the picturesque Adelaide Hills. First stop? The Mount Lofty Botanic garden. Overlooking the Piccadilly Valley, this exquisite pocket of nature offers a labyrinth of walking trails, beautiful plant life and magnificent scenery. Get happily lost in one of the seven valleys and breathe the fresh air.

There are more than 60 wineries dotted throughout this world-famous wine region, so visiting cellar doors and cheese caves is also a must. Be sure to also stop off at historic Hahndorf, Australia’s oldest German settlement – and for a side of strawberry picking at Beerenberg Farm.

top 10 things to do in adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

10. Take a dip in the sea

Last but certainly not least, South Australian beaches and coastline are beautiful beyond description. Stretching from North Haven to Sellicks Beach, each beach has its own unique vibe and appeal. Historic Glenelg and the Jetty Road and Holdfast Shore precinct can be reached directly via tram from the city. Seek out Henley Beach, Grange and West Beach nearby for sand dunes, historic jetties and nature’s playground of pastel sunrises and golden sunsets.

top 10 things to do in adelaide top 10 things to do in adelaide

Over to you! What do you love most in Adelaide? In greater South Australia?

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    September 19, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    wow ! have to visit soon ! looks lovely !

  • How to Spend a Weekend in Adelaide - Sonia Styling
    August 21, 2015 at 5:31 am

    […] top 10 things to do in Adelaide in this post on World of Wanderlust by Emma Kate […]

    Hilary Way
    August 19, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Beautiful article and beautiful photos of a great city. On my top 10 are also the dolphins, beautiful palm tress, parrots and pelicans… all can be seen everyday here in Adelaide.

    August 14, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Adelaide has a more relaxed vibe than Melbourne, we are smaller and cosier, and I believe friendlier. Everything is in close proximity. The night life is cool and quirky, but you have to talk to locals about where to go. A lot of the best clubs are hidden down alley ways. There are less people and the pace is slower. Our beaches are glorious. Our national parks ( Belair) to die for, and don’t forget to walk mount Lofty! Our wine regions are the best in the world, The Barossa Valley and Mclaren Vale, you need to drive around these areas to appreciate. Melbourne is the shopping capital of Oz, but Adelaide is known for its food and wine, arts, and natural wonders. The Adelaide Hills Stirling and Hahndorf are leafy tranquil hidden gems, with whole food cafe’s and unique shops. Adelaide will leave you relaxed and mindful, it will teach you to slow down and appreciate your surroundings 🙂

    gill vann
    August 14, 2015 at 9:37 am

    I love how you can meander through the hills. many car clubs do their tours through the Adelaide Hills, for good reason, it’s adorable, with little villages dotted every 15km or so, each with your standard pub + fodder, but often also with a delightful cafe or artisan craft shop. Ånwyn’s post is spot on: things are hard to find here, you do have to look harder. Marketing is not their strong point in SA, hopefully that will change.

    August 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    the 11th thing could be to gather your friends and book a Des’s Minibus to drive you around doing the top 10 things around Adelaide. Give us a call on 8400 1600 and ask us what we can do for you.

    August 7, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    Love this post! Adelaide is my home town and I think you got it spot on.

    The door is at Bird in Hand winery located in Woodside. The wineries in South Australia, particularly in the Adelaide hill are beautiful!

    Isobella Mitanovski
    August 3, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Love this write up!! Where abouts in the hills is that gorgeous white door located? Thanks xx

    C's Confetti
    August 1, 2015 at 8:47 am

    Your photos are breathtaking! Adelaide is now on my list of places to visit one day.

    Di from Max The Unicorn
    July 31, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Great list! On our last city StayCation we did most of these, including walk along the River Torrens, visit the Central Markets, Adelaide Oval and Ebenezer Place. Oh and we certainly ate a lot, too!

    EmilyAnne (Eat All Over The World)
    July 30, 2015 at 4:15 pm

    I went to Adeliade a couple of weeks ago. It was the best little town. I loved all the small eating places, and the wonderful winery tours, and of course the Heigh’s chocolate! Will be going back for sure!

    elisa beth
    July 30, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    We lived in Adelaide for 8 years when are children were younger. St Kilda playground was the best park for children to have fun and parents to relax while watching. There is also an educational boardwalk next to it.

    July 30, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I think comparisons to Melbourne don’t really hold up to scrutiny – Adelaide is its own beast. It’s a bit like saying Paris is like Rome, because they both have lots of places to eat, terrible traffic and a strong history of art.
    Adelaide – or as I affectionately think of it, Oddelaide – is a city of hidden surprises. Locals tend to assume everyone knows what is here, and we take the quality of our art, music scene, beautiful buildings, countryside, food, night life etc, for granted. We know it’s excellent, we’re just a bit surprised that anyone would make a fuss like actually promoting it. It means that Adelaide can be a tricky place to visit – you need to go looking, things won’t be handed to you on a plate.
    Having said that, if you can make a friend in Adelaide, they will fall over themselves to show you everything they love about the place, and will introduce you to everyone they know who will do the same. We work by word of mouth here – which can be the easiest introduction or the hardest, depending on the connections you make.

    Adelaide Haynes
    July 27, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Great list! I was lucky enough to go to Adelaide quite a lot as a child (and yes, my name is Adelaide which was always quite funny) and I always thought it was beautiful!
    I used to live right in the middle of South Australia in the middle of nowhere (a tiny place called Leigh Creek) and I just love the diversity of South Australia.
    Your pictures are gorgeous and it’s making me want to go back there!

    July 27, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I like how food centric it sounds. I’ll have to keep that in mind.


    Paula Espíndola
    July 27, 2015 at 10:19 am

    Great post! You should come to Chile, we have amazing places in here too.
    I am exploring my country and southamerica en mi website!

    You can follow me on facebook and adventure with me

    July 26, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    Thank you for this gorgeous write up about my home town! I have been to 45 countries but always feel happy to call Adelaide home. It is especially exciting to watch it “grow up” in the last few years – for those looking for nightlife, there are so many brilliant small bars now. Peel Street has about 5 or 6 great spots.

    Malena Permentier
    July 25, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    This looks so pretty! I lived in Australia for 2.5 years but unfortunately never visited Adelaide 🙁

    X Malena

    July 25, 2015 at 7:27 pm

    Don’t forget Adelaide in Mad March – Fringe, Car racing, WOMAD, and weather so warm it’s a perfect time to visit our beautiful nudist beach at Maslins – like being on a Greek Island.

    July 25, 2015 at 6:26 pm

    Adelaide is a smaller, more compact and less hectic version of Melbourne in some ways. Places near to Adelaide that are a must see are the Barossa or McLaren Vale wine regions (North and South of the city respectively). McLaren Vale in particular you can mix a visit to the beach, along a spectacular coastline with no comparison anywhere close to Melbourne, and also a world class wine region within 40 minutes of the CBD. Cleland wildlife park allows you to feed and get close to native animals, and Adelaide Zoo is the only Zoo in Australia with Giant Pandas. Make your trip in late Feb to early March and you get to experience the 2nd largest Fringe festival in the world, and the world class Adelaide Festival. In Jan it is the Tour Down Under if you enjoy competitive cycling. Melbourne has none of these.

    Eunice Musuamba
    July 25, 2015 at 7:01 am

    It looks lovely! The lifestyle seems really pleasant there. Can you write something about how to save money in australia?

    Alix | Bisous des Caribous
    July 25, 2015 at 12:54 am

    Beautiful photos and a great list. My favourite tips (which I tend to apply to most trips) are the eat lots and drink coffee. 🙂


    Saakshi Kumar
    July 24, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    You got me when you said pink-skied sunsets.
    Definitely on my list. 🙂

    July 24, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    Adelaide is gorgeous. I moved here from
    Sydney 8 years ago and I fall in love daily with it’s food, pink skies and amazing wines! I’m here to stay and I love your article, such a great mix of places to visit, see and be seen!

    Karen Farber
    July 24, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    This place looks gorgeous!!

    Deepti @ Endless Postcards
    July 24, 2015 at 1:15 pm

    BEAUTIFUL. I’ve been to Australia, but only to Sydney. I’m excited to visit again and see more of what Australia has to offer — and these photos are lovely! The sky looks absolutely stunning

    July 24, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    I’m still working out whether I can fit Adelaide into my travel plans in Australia this year, but this list seriously inspires me to make it work! The culture sounds vaguely Melbourne-esque as far as food, markets and coffee go. Besides its amazing beaches, what else really distinguishes Adelaide from Melbourne?

    July 24, 2015 at 10:07 am

    What a great post. I would love to visit some day!

    July 24, 2015 at 9:35 am

    This has been on my list of places to visit and you’re making it jump up closer to the top with this post! So lovely!

    July 24, 2015 at 8:58 am

    It seems to be a really wonderful city!
    I hope to visit it one day soon!