Adelaide, the capital of South Australia (SA), is a city that combines sophistication with a rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re a history buff, a culture enthusiast, or a food lover, Adelaide has something to offer everyone.
From its iconic churches and stunning architecture to its vibrant food scene and boutique shopping, this city is a treasure trove of experiences.
In this article, we’ll explore the best things to do in Adelaide, giving you a taste of what this enchanting city has to offer.
Indulge in the Vibrant Atmosphere of Adelaide Central Market
Adelaide Central Market is a food lover’s paradise and a vibrant hub for culinary delights. With 80 stalls under one roof, it is one of Australia’s largest fresh produce markets.
You can find a wide range of products, including fruits, vegetables, gourmet cheeses, pastries, sweets, and charcuterie. The market also hosts live music every Friday and various events throughout the year, making it a lively and enjoyable experience.
By shopping at the market, you are not only supporting local growers and artisans but also making an environmentally friendly choice.
Explore Rundle Mall for Shopping and Architecture
Rundle Mall, Adelaide’s main shopping street, is a must-visit destination for retail therapy and stunning architecture. Established in 1837, it holds the distinction of being Australia’s first pedestrian-only mall.
Here, you can find a wide range of major Australian and international retailers, boutique stores, and a network of arcades connected to the mall.
As you stroll along the mall, take in the beautiful 19th-century buildings and iconic sculptures, such as the giant cockroach statue and the adorable bronze pigs rooting around a rubbish bin.
Relax and Unwind in Glenelg, Adelaide’s Seaside Resort
Glenelg, a charming seaside resort, offers a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Located in suburban Adelaide, it is easily accessible from the city center or the airport.
The highlight of Glenelg is its beautiful beach and foreshore, where you can soak up the sun or take a stroll along the jetty.
Jetty Road, the main retail district, is home to a variety of shops and the entertaining Beachouse theme park. As you explore the town, you’ll also come across numerous heritage buildings that reflect Glenelg’s rich history. Don’t miss the opportunity to ride the Glenelg Tram, the only tram line still in operation in Adelaide.
Step Back in Time at Carrick Hill
Carrick Hill, a stunning historic property located at the foot of the Adelaide Hills, offers a glimpse into the past. Designed in an English style and completed in 1939, Carrick Hill is remarkably well-preserved, including its entire grounds and most of its original contents.
The property, bequeathed to the state of SA by its owners, the Haywards, houses an impressive collection of artworks, showcasing the talents of local and international artists.
With its 40-hectare grounds, including native bushland and formal gardens, Carrick Hill is a haven for art and nature enthusiasts.
Find Serenity at Himeji Garden
Himeji Garden, a peaceful oasis just outside the city center, offers a slice of tranquility inspired by Japanese design. This beautiful garden, gifted by Adelaide’s sister city, Himeji in Japan, features two Japanese styles: senzui, a lake and mountain garden, and kare senzui, a dry garden.
As you wander through the garden, you’ll encounter a zen rock garden, a serene lake, the Okunoin lantern, and a shishi-odoshi, a traditional feature in Japanese gardens.
Whether you’re looking for a picnic spot, a place to meditate, or an opportunity to spot birds, Himeji Garden provides a serene escape from the bustling city.
Immerse Yourself in Nature at Cleland Conservation Park
Just a 20-minute drive from Adelaide’s city center, Cleland Conservation Park invites you to explore the wonders of Australian nature. The park encompasses the beautiful Mt Lofty, offering panoramic views of the city, and is home to the popular Cleland Wildlife Park.
Here, you can get up close to emus, koalas, and other native Australian animals. The park’s Waterfall Gully Reserve, with its enchanting waterfall, adds to the natural beauty of the conservation area.
With its diverse flora and fauna, Cleland Conservation Park provides an opportunity to experience Australian natural environments near the city.
Immerse Yourself in the Beauty of Adelaide Botanic Garden
Adelaide Botanic Garden, spanning 51 hectares, is a haven for nature lovers and a treat for the senses. Established in 1857, the garden draws inspiration from the Royal Gardens at Kew, England, and Versailles, France.
As you explore the garden, you’ll encounter stunning structures like the Palm House, a Victorian glasshouse, and the Bicentennial Conservatory, the largest single-span conservatory in the Southern Hemisphere.
Don’t miss the National Rose Trial Garden, where international breeds of roses are tested for their suitability in Australia. With its diverse flora and beautiful landscapes, the garden is a true delight for visitors.
Discover Adelaide’s Heritage on a Walking Tour
Adelaide is renowned for its heritage architecture and fascinating history, earning its reputation as a “city of great buildings.” Embark on a guided heritage walking tour to delve into the stories behind these stunning sites.
Alternatively, explore the city at your own pace with the help of self-guided tours available on the Adelaide City Council website.
This allows you to appreciate the seamless blend of old and new as you wander through the city center, visiting iconic heritage buildings voted as the most popular by the people of Adelaide.
Immerse Yourself in Aboriginal Art and Culture at Tandanya
Located just a short walk from the North Terrace cultural precinct, Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute is a must-visit for those interested in Aboriginal art and culture.
As Australia’s oldest Aboriginal-owned and managed multi-arts center, Tandanya showcases fascinating art and cultural exhibitions. The institute also hosts various artistic events and a school holiday program, offering a comprehensive experience for visitors.
Australian Aboriginal art showcases its beauty and symbolism, offering insight into its significance and popularity.
Expand Your Knowledge at the North Terrace Cultural Precinct
The North Terrace cultural precinct is a hub of art, history, and knowledge in Adelaide. It is home to the Art Gallery of SA, the SA Museum, the State Library of SA, and the University of Adelaide. Spend a day exploring this area, and you’ll be rewarded with a wealth of experiences.
Marvel at the heritage buildings, both old and new, and capture the perfect photo. Delve into the fascinating collections of the State Library, including the “South Australiana” and “Children’s Literature Research” collections.
Explore the SA Museum, which houses the world’s largest Aboriginal Australian collection, along with a captivating opalized fossil collection. Finally, visit the Art Gallery of SA to admire its impressive Australian and international artworks.
Embrace Nature at Cobbler Creek Recreation Park
Cobbler Creek Recreation Park, located in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Spanning 256 hectares, this park conserves beautiful woodland and grassland habitats. It offers 17 kilometers of shared-use trails, perfect for mountain biking or leisurely walks.
The park is known for its diverse flora and fauna, with a particular emphasis on birdlife, including some threatened species.
Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply seeking solace in nature, Cobbler Creek Recreation Park is a delightful escape from the urban landscape.
Step Aboard the National Railway Museum
For train enthusiasts, a visit to the National Railway Museum is an absolute must. As Australia’s largest railway museum, it houses over 100 exhibits, including a 457mm gauge railway within the museum complex.
The museum’s educational and interactive displays offer a fascinating insight into the history of Australian rail. Don’t miss the model railway depicting Adelaide and its surrounding regions.
Consider combining your transportation visit with a trip to the nearby Maritime Museum and Aviation Museum.
Discover Adelaide’s Scenic River Torrens
Adelaide’s iconic River Torrens offers a range of tour options, allowing you to experience its beauty and charm. Choose a Venetian-style gondola boat tour, or take a more adventurous approach with kayaking, canoeing, or paddle boating.
If you prefer a leisurely cruise, sit back and relax while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
Along the way, you’ll pass by notable sights such as the Elder Park Rotunda, the illuminated footbridge, and the Adelaide Zoo. The historic Popeye cruise is a popular choice, providing a unique perspective of the river and its surroundings.
Get Creative at the Jam Factory
The Jam Factory is an interactive arts and crafts center that showcases a wide variety of studios, galleries, and shops. Here, you can learn about glass-making, pottery, metal design, and more through workshops and demonstrations.
The Jam Factory nurtures artistic talent and provides a platform for local creatives to showcase their work. Explore the center, meet talented artists, and take home unique artisanal objects that reflect the creativity of Adelaide’s artistic community.
Savor the Wine Experience at the National Wine Centre
Situated near the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, the National Wine Centre is an educational and immersive experience for wine lovers.
This institute, affiliated with the University of Adelaide, offers wine classes, events, and wine dinners.
There is an interactive wine discovery journey at the center, as well as a bar with Australia’s largest wine tasting room, where you can sample 120 different wines.
Delve into the world of winemaking and wine appreciation while expanding your knowledge and discovering new favorites.
Adelaide, with its rich cultural heritage and diverse attractions, offers a multitude of experiences for visitors. From shopping in Rundle Mall to exploring the beauty of the Adelaide Botanic Garden, this vibrant city has something to offer everyone.
Immerse yourself in history with heritage walking tours or expand your knowledge at cultural precincts. Embrace nature in the nearby parks and gardens, and indulge in the culinary delights of Adelaide Central Market. With its unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty, Adelaide is a city that will captivate your heart and leave you with lasting memories.
So, pack your bags and get ready to experience the best things to do in Adelaide.
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