Top 10 things to do in Adelaide
Dine at some of the best restaurants in the country, sprawl out on sandy beaches minutes from the city and soak in the chic boutique city vibes. Here's our guide to the top 10 things to do in Adelaide including where to eat and drink, what to see and must-do experiences.
1. ADELAIDE CENTRAL MARKETS
Adelaide Central Market
For a quintessential Adelaide experience, step into a thriving hub of food and culture at the Adelaide Central Market. A favourite spot with the locals, here, countless authentic eateries offer a gastronomic gateway to Asia, while produce from all over South Australia including fruits, vegetables, cheeses, small goods, chocolate, honey and bread pack stalls manned by local producers. Grab breakfast, then embark on a guided tour, taking you through the market’s rich history, much-loved characters and tastes from all corners of the globe.
Moseley Beach Club, Glenelg
With so many exceptional beaches so close to the city centre, Adelaide's sand and surf are virtually inescapable. Chuck on your bathers and jump on a tram just 20 minutes to Adelaide’s favourite city beach, Glenelg. Walk along the foreshore and grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants dotting Jetty Road, take a twilight cruise, swim with dolphins then kick your shoes off and pull up a seat at the bar without even taking your toes out the sand. Or head to Henley Beach to soak up the sun at the water’s edge or over dinner and drinks as the sun sets beyond the horizon. Surrounded by a range of high-end seafood restaurants and centering around a bustling grassed square, Henley is a must-visit whether you’re after a quality dinner, a quality swim, or a bit of both. For more spots to sprawl out on the sand and soak up the sun, check out our guide to the best beaches near Adelaide and where to find the best beach bars.
3. DAY TRIPS
The Lane Vineyard, Adelaide Hills
With more than 200 cellar doors on its doorstep, Adelaide is the wine capital of Australia and the best news is, it’s all so accessible. Head 20 minutes down the road to the magical Adelaide Hills, and unearth world-class restaurants, award-winning wineries and incredible local food producers tucked in leafy hamlets await. While away an afternoon nestled among rolling green hills sampling a local drop at one of the region's many wineries including Bird In Hand, Mount Lofty Ranges Vineyard or The Lane Vineyard. For the ultimate blend of sea and vines, venture 45 minutes from the city to world-famous McLaren Vale where prime wine country borders spectacular coastal vistas. Explore more than 70 cellar doors, sipping your way around award-winning wineries like d'Arenberg Cube, Down The Rabbit Hole and Maxwell Wines or dine on farm-fresh, sustainable produce. Or head to the Barossa and drink the official world’s best wine and be back in the afternoon in time for an early dinner in the city. The world-renowned wines of Clare Valley are just a stone’s throw away, too.
Our city streets are literally teeming with award-winning restaurants dishing up unique, mouth-watering flavours. Pull up a seat in a chic North African diner in the middle of Adelaide where Johannesburg-born chef Duncan Welgemoed dishes up a bold taste of Africa from chicken skin sandwiches, to woodfired cauliflower and fermented flatbreads at Africola. A fiery authentic yakitori fest? Reserve a table at Leigh Street institution Shōbōsho where smoky flavours are complemented with raw, cured, pickled and fermented dishes and are best served with a side of sashimi, noodles, yakitori, dumplings and bao. Even the humble pizza is elevated in Adelaide. At Madre, seawater from the oceans of Puglia, Tipo 00 flour sourced straight from Italy and a little bit of science are the secrets behind Adelaide’s best traditional Napoli-style pizza. And speaking of Italian, you won’t find better pasta than that rolled at Nido by Masterchef’s Laura Sharrad. Taste test your way around the city's best places to eat and drink on a gastronomic safari with our guide to Adelaide's best restaurants, impress your herbivore friends with the best vegan restaurants in Adelaide or satisfy your sweet tooth at one of the best dessert bars.
5. BAR HOPPING
Bar Peripheral, Adelaide
In Adelaide, streets lined with quirky, speakeasy bars run through the city like a lifeblood for thirsty revellers. You’ll find boutiques tucked under the streets, swanky watering holes perched above the city skyline, laneways packed with cocktail lounges and unique bars hidden behind unassuming walls, Adelaide's bar scene is booming. Sip your way around the laneways of Leigh St, Peel St and Gilbert Place or drink in the boozy goodness of Adelaide's east end. Our top spots for a tipple or two include Paloma Bar and Pantry, Leigh St Wine Room, Maybe Mae, Udaberri, BRKLYN or Bar Peripheral. For more bar inspiration, check out our guide to the best hidden bars in Adelaide.
6. PENFOLDS MAGILL ESTATE
Penfolds Magill Estate, Adelaide
When you mention great Australian wine, Penfolds always comes to the tip of the tongue. Just 15 minutes away from the CBD in Adelaide’s beautiful foothills, you can sip and savour their best drops then indulge in a fine-dining feast at Penfolds Magill Estate. With breathtaking views over the historic Penfolds vineyards and Adelaide city, the multi award-winning restaurant is one of our favourite spots to settle in for a decadent dinner with head chef Scott Huggins taking inspiration from seasonal produce and Penfold’s wine in his fine-dining restaurant menu. For casual dining, Magill Estate Kitchen is the perfect spot for a long lunch. Magill Estate is the birthplace of Australia's most prized wine, Penfolds Grange, so you’re guaranteed a great drop to compliment your feast. Afterwards, explore a labyrinth of underground tunnels and bluestone cellars, and learn about the iconic vineyard’s rich wine-making history dating back to 1844.
7. ADELAIDE OVAL
Roofclimb Adelaide Oval
Arguably the best sports stadium in Australia, nothing compares to the thrill of watching a game at Adelaide Oval. And the excitement doesn’t end when the siren sounds. After the game, reach new heights on the Roof Climb Adelaide Oval at night. One of Australia’s most iconic stadiums, clamber over billowing rooftops and historic grandstands by sunset on a spectacular twilight tour. Snag the bests seats in the house and see the sunset from the best vantage point in Adelaide. Or keep your feet firmly planted on the ground and learn more about this iconic stadium on a behind-the-scenes tour. Go behind closed doors as you are told captivating stories, shown hidden secrets and relive celebrated moments. Stand inside the historic century-old scoreboard, explore the museum and enjoy a birds-eye view of the impressive Adelaide city landscape.
8. ADELAIDE ZOO
Tucked in the heart of Adelaide lies a lush oasis home to exotic animals from all corners of the globe as well as Australia’s most iconic species. With more than 2,500 animals and 250 different species to discover including the only pair of Giant Pandas in the Southern Hemisphere, Wang Wang and Fu Ni, Adelaide Zoo is one of the best family-friendly things to do in Adelaide. Hand feed giraffes, feel the wind from the wings of Blue and Gold Macaws on your face as they fly overhead, watch the pandas at bath time and learn about your favourite animals from the passionate keepers. You can feel good about your visit too; the zoo is a conservation charity, with your ticket helping their important work to protect species. The second oldest zoo in Australia, opening in 1883, Adelaide Zoo It’s If you’ve got time, Monarto Safari Park, is just a 50 drive away and here you can watch lions, cheetahs and zebras roam over a 1,500 hectare open-range sanctuary.
9. ART GALLERIES AND MUSEUMS
Art Gallery of South Australia
Go gallery hopping along Adelaide’s cultural boulevard, North Terrace, home to a myriad of unique and impressive art galleries and museums. Kick-off at the Art Gallery of South Australia, housing one of Australia’s best art collections and exhibitions. Then, head next door to the South Australian Museum, renowned for its world-class natural history and cultural collections. If you need a second dose of art, the University of South Australia’s Samstag Museum of Art displays works from South Australian artists from the 1970s onwards as well as an impressive collection of Aboriginal bark paintings. Or head across the road and step into the future at the University of South Australia’s MOD, an innovative science and technology museum with quirky, ever changing exhibitions displayed over two floors.
10. ADELAIDE BOTANIC GARDENS
Adelaide Botanic Garden
Step off the city streets and into a veritable garden of Eden home to blooming rose gardens, tropical sanctuaries, rambling yet manicured gardens and lush lawns perfect for picnicking. Adelaide Botanic Garden spans 50 hectares, featuring stunning architecture, majestic avenues of ancient trees and, of course, the famous wisteria arbour. Explore the garden then stop for lunch at the multi-award-winning Botanic Gardens Restaurant, where you’ll dine on produce sourced from the surrounding gardens, under a heritage rotunda, overlooking ponds and lush greenery. Thirsty? Next door, you’ll find the National Wine Centre of Australia, home to more than 120 wines.
CHECK INTO ADELAIDE’S BEST HOTELS
Looking for somewhere to settle in during your Adelaide adventure? Check out our guide to the best hotels in Adelaide from 5-star luxury to budget-stays and start planning.
3 Days in Adelaide
Adelaide is bursting with culture, flavours, events and entertainment. Taste your way through world-famous wine regions just minutes away from the city, soak up the sun at picture-perfect city beaches and spend the night exploring a thriving restaurant and bar scene before retreating to one of Adelaide's best hotels. Here's our guide to exploring Adelaide.
WHERE TO STAY
MAYFAIR HOTEL, ADELAIDE
Just 15 minutes drive from Adelaide Airport lies The Mayfair, Adelaide's premier five-star boutique hotel. Located in the heart of the city in a heritage-listed building, and on the doorstep of Adelaide’s small bars scene, The Mayfair is listed as one of the top hotels in Australia and New Zealand by Condé Nast Traveller and took home the award for Best Bed in Australia at the Gourmet Traveller 2018 Australian Hotel Awards. The Mayfair offers luxury accommodation and contemporary dining, as well as the stunning Hennessy Rooftop Bar. Little extras to make your stay memorable include luxury skincare products, rain showers and a premium complimentary minibar.
EOS AT SKY CITY, ADELAIDE
Live it up in the lap of luxury at the brand new 5-star Eos at Skycity. Perched over the River Torrens with sweeping views beyond the city limits, EOS is perfectly positioned for city exploration. Stroll to Rundle Mall, the Botanic Gardens, Festival Centre, the Art Gallery, Adelaide Oval and Adelaide Central Markets, or explore laneways packed with bars and restaurants. That’s if you can tear yourself away from EOS. With a day spa, rooftop bar and restaurant, luxury suites and tailored services including an on-call cocktail mixologist, hair and makeup artist and personal trainer, EOS has your every need covered.
Another recent addition to the Adelaide hotel scene, Pullman is the perfect retreat after a day of exploring. Kick back in your room and soak in views across the city, hills and beyond. Afterwards, dine in at the Salt Restaurant and Bar which focuses on using fresh seasonal and local produce, or stroll down to Adelaide’s East End small bar scene for a glass of local wine. Just a minute’s walk from the Pullman is Rundle St, home to some of the best restaurants in Adelaide including Africola and Golden Boy.
For more city stays, check out our guide to the best hotels in Adelaide.
WHERE TO EAT
One of the hottest tables in town, Africola is best enjoyed when shared. Let the spices of Northern Africa unleash your adventurous spirit to try something wonderfully unfamiliar. Opt for the sumptuous four course chef’s selection or fill your table with plates like golden dahl, sprouted lentils, fried cauliflower, sardine with harissa, falafel and marinated eggplant. With chef Duncan Welgeoed’s raving fans and great value, Africola is one of the best restaurants in Adelaide so make sure you book ahead.
GOLDEN BOY, ADELAIDE
Bountiful plates packed with flavour await at Golden Boy. An energetic atmosphere, authentic but polished Thai menu and impressive cocktail list make Golden Boy a popular dinner haunt for locals. Feast on favourites including wok-tossed mussels with Thai basil, chilli jam and lime, mushroom stir-fry with sawtooth coriander paste, garlic stem and green chilli and eight-hour beef cheeks with tangerine jus pickled ginger. Make sure to try the roti with pandan custard for dessert. Hungry? Order the Tuk Tuk banquet and sample Golden Boy’s best dishes - the food won’t stop coming until you’re full. Post-dinner head downstairs to the plush basement bar for a nightcap.
Sea water from the oceans of Puglia, Tipo 00 flour sourced straight from Italy and a little bit of science are the secrets behind Adelaide’s best traditional Napoli-style pizza. The result? A light, airy and down-right delicious pizza base that has rightly earned Madre a place on our list of Adelaide’s best restaurants. It’s little wonder the pizza is so good, Madre is from the same team behind McLaren Vale’s Pizzateca and head pizzaiolo Ettore Bertonati has a PhD in chemistry. Madre's menu features eight minimally topped but flavour-packed pizzas, calzone and a huge range of sides and salads, and the extensive Italian wine selection is equally exciting. Vegan Mozzarella is available too, for your herbivore friends. Can’t decide? Leave it up to the chefs and sample the best bits of the menu with the shared degustation.
For more dining inspiration, check out our guide to the best restaurants in Adelaide.
WHAT TO DO
With small speak-easy style bars tucked under the streets, swanky watering holes perched above the city skyline, laneways packed with cocktail lounges and quirky bars hidden behind unassuming walls, Adelaide's bar scene is booming. Sip your way around the laneways of Leigh St, Peel St and Gilbert Place or drink in the boozy goodness of Adelaide's east end. Our top spots for a tipple or two include Paloma Bar and Pantry, Leigh St Wine Room, Maybe Mae, Udaberri, BRKLYN or Bar Peripheral. For more bar inspiration, check out our guide to the best hidden bars in Adelaide.
ADELAIDE CENTRAL MARKETS
For a quintessential Adelaide experience, step out of your hotel and into a thriving hub of food and culture at the Adelaide Central Market. Here, countless authentic eateries offer a gastronomic gateway to Asia, while produce from all over South Australia including fruits, vegetables, cheeses, small goods, chocolate, honey and bread pack stalls manned by local producers. Grab breakfast, then embark on a guided tour, taking you through the market’s rich history, much-loved characters and tastes from all corners of the globe.
ROOF CLIMB ADELAIDE OVAL
Reach new heights on the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb at night. One of Australia’s most iconic stadiums, clamber over billowing rooftops and historic grandstands by sunset on a spectacular twilight tour. Snag the bests seats in the house and see the sunset from the best vantage point in Adelaide.
Continue your Adelaide exploration with an environmentally friendly tour with EcoCaddy. Jump on board one of their hybrid-electric rickshaws and get pedalled to any destination within the CBD, or let them show you around on a city highlights, street art or history tour.
Find more things to do in Adelaide here.
WHAT TO SEE
South Australian skies put on a show come sundown when collages of blazing red, yellow and orange paint the sky in a sunset spectacular best appreciated beachside. And with so many incredible west-facing beaches in Adelaide, you’ll have front row seats on the sand to a fiery show-stopper as the sun slips behind the ocean. Jump on a tram just 20 minutes to Adelaide’s favourite city beach, Glenelg. Walk along the foreshore and grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants dotting Jetty Road before kicking your shoes off and pulling up a seat at the bar without even taking your toes out of the sand. Other spots to settle in seaside as the sunsets include Brighton, Henley Beach, Semaphore, Port Noarlunga and Grange.
ADELAIDE BOTANIC GARDENS
Spend a day exploring South Australia’s inner-city oasis, the Adelaide Botanic Garden. The sprawling Botanic Garden spans 50 hectares, featuring stunning architecture, majestic avenues and, of course, the famous wisteria arbour. Stop for lunch at the multi-award-winning, where you’ll dine on produce sourced from the surrounding gardens, under a heritage rotunda, overlooking ponds and lush greenery. Next door, you’ll find the National Wine Centre of Australia, home to more than 120 wines, and Adelaide Zoo.
CONTINUE ON TO THE ADELAIDE HILLS
Venture just a little further and within minutes of the city arrive in the picture-book perfect Adelaide Hills. Start planning with our three-day Adelaide Hills itinerary.
The ultimate Clare Valley itinerary
WELCOME TO THE CLARE VALLEY
Delight in some of the world’s best riesling offers as you cycle through picturesque valleys, awe at the magenta veins that run through the earth at Lake Bumbunga before treating yourself to a little more luxury with a stay at a character cottage. Sound like your kind of weekender? Located less than two hours from the Adelaide CBD, the Clare Valley is South Australia’s hidden gem. From postcard perfect scenery to a tantalising tasting journey, the Clare Valley is an unforgettable – yet incredibly accessible – South Australian destination.
WHAT TO DO
CYCLE THE CLARE VALLEY RIESLING TRAIL
Spanning the 35 kilometres between Clare and Auburn, and about two hours drive from Adelaide, cyclists consider the Riesling Trail to be one of the best bike trails near Adelaide. No bicycle? No problem. Bike hire is available at a variety of locations along the trail. And while balancing wine bottles on a bicycle isn’t recommended, cellar door purchases can be shipped to your accommodation in the Clare Valley or to your home. You’ll need a minimum of two and a half hours to cycle the Riesling Trail, but factor in extra time to truly enjoy this stretch of countryside and cellar door hospitality along the way. You can see bike hire options here.
Ready to pump those legs? Read our in-depth, stop-by-stop guide for visitors hoping to cycle the Riesling Trail.
INTERACTIVE WINEMAKING AT KNAPPSTEIN WINES
Ready to roll your sleeves up for the perfect drop? This hands on experience will see all of your senses engaged as you work with the cellar door team, learning how to blend wine. You will come to truly understand why winemaking is an art form - as you get creative with your very own signature red blend. The 45-minute master class, held inside the original Enterprise Brewing building that dates back to 1878, also includes a full tasting of the winery's previously blended offerings and a welcome glass of riesling.
WHERE TO EAT
Mix avant-garde cuisine with rustic charm at Terroir Auburn, just a 20-minute drive from the town of Clare. The team at Terroir Auburn pride themselves on sourcing as much local produce as humanly possible, with a strong focus on seasonality and a weekly changing menu.
Enjoy a taste of spring dining while taking in the sweeping landscape views from the terrace of a historic settler's cottage. Skillogalee Restaurant & Cellar Door overlook lush gardens and offer an à la carte menu focusing on prime local produce that you can pair with some of the best riesling in all of Australia.
The Olive Bus is a curious and unassuming dining haunt that packs a punch. Enveloped by picture-perfect vineyards and namesake olive groves, this restaurant is built around a converted retro bus, with vintage outdoor furniture and earthy tones making it the perfect backdrop for your next Instagram story. Doubling as both a licensed café and cellar door, you can enjoy the afternoon sun over a selection of fresh and seasonal lunch creations. Those on a tighter schedule can simply stop in for a coffee and admire the view. If you happen to find yourself in the valley on Friday night, you can hop on the bus and enjoy pizza night and live music events – be warned though, bookings are highly recommended due to popularity.
The Clare Valley is home to some of the oldest wineries and cellar doors in the state - the oldest being Sevenhill Cellars, which was established in 1851 by Jesuit priests. They planted the first grape vines in order to make sacramental wine. Sevenhill’s wine and history - including a tour of their underground cellars and crypt - make it a favourite with locals.
GOOD CATHOLIC GIRL
Winemaker Julie Barry struck out from the family business to establish this noteworthy drinking destination with a historical twist. Julie spent years studying the art of winemaking while working for her parents' famous company - Jim Barry Wines - before stepping out on her own in the wake of her father's death. The name, while seemingly pointing to her godly drop, is actually a nod to her grandmother Dorothy Douglas Wilson. Julie calls her a quintessential "good Catholic girl" who has a heartbreaking link to World War I. Julie established Good Catholic Girl Wines using the cuttings from her father's famous Armagh shiraz vineyard, with her first release timing divinely - the grapes picked on the day Pope John Paul 11 died. Just like church, Good Catholic Girl has certain days for worship - welcoming visitors to the cellar door in Sevenhill on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
If you are looking for a taste of something different while exploring the Clare Valley, then you can't go past this quirky cellar door. The little sister to Shut The Gate Wines, the team launched this rustic and retro cellar in 2021 to showcase a range of punchy liqueurs and small batch fortified wines. A new discovery for the younger generation and a nostalgic sensual journey for those older at heart - Mr Nobody is Mr out of the ordinary.
WHAT TO SEE
One hour and 40 minute drive from Adelaide, Lake Bumbunga is the perfect first stop on your Clare Valley experience. Located in Lochiel, the lake has beckoned Instagram savvy holidaymakers and fashion designers alike to its shores – thanks to its famous kaleidoscope of colours. The lake is known to change colour from pink, to white, to blue, depending on the salinity of the water throughout the year. Stop the car, snap some shots, then hit the road for the Clare Valley.
The historic town of Mintaro's crowning glory is Martindale Hall. A short 20 minute drive from Clare, the hall is one of the prettiest country mansions in Australia, presenting as a miniature version of Britain’s Chatsworth House.
Clare Valley has a small but thriving arts and culture scene – with many artists flocking to the region to be inspired by the undulating hills and ever-changing natural environment. Studio Meadows encapsulates this inspiration – housing the works of award-winning artist Christopher Meadows. Wander the gallery and admire his representational and traditional pieces that are informed by the world – and the landscape – around him, including the vines just outside his gallery door. Complete your visit with a stop off at Stone Bridge Wines, which is a stone’s throw away (literally!).
WHERE TO STAY
BUKIRK GLAMPING CLARE VALLEY
Get in touch with your surroundings by renting one of the five luxury belle tents on offer at Bukirk Glamping. Each tent is kitted out with a combination of queen, king and twin single beds for those that want to reconnect with the earth – without actually having to sleep on it. For those that fear the midnight dash to the nearest bush when nature calls, each tent has a private en-suite to upscale the camping experience. If glamping still has too much camping involved, you can opt for one of their rustic tiny houses, or ‘fancy coops,’ that come equipped with a kitchen, TV and dining area, but retain a natural feel thanks to the exposed beams, corrugated iron cladding and western cedar weatherboards.
BED IN A SHED
Need we say more? It’s all in the name. This curious and quirky respite nestled in the heart of the Clare Valley wine region offers travellers all the modern conveniences of a hotel – but packaged up with four walls of corrugated iron. Who would have thought you could have a sound night’s sleep on a posturepedic Bed in a Shed? The best part about this shed-chic property is the view – you can sip your morning coffee while overlooking the neatly rowed vineyards on your front doorstep.
Trestrail Cottage is the perfect blend of untouched nature, creature comforts and a splash of wine. The cosy settler's style cottage is tucked away on 100 acres of private bushland and just a stone's throw from the world famous vines of the Clare Valley. Check in and spend your days bush walking, wine tasting and dining before retreating to the open wood fire with a glass of riesling.
Find more Clare Valley accommodation options and start planning your weekend getaway.
FOR THOSE WHO WANT A LITTLE MORE….
Love South Australia's food and wine? Continue your culinary and vino journey and learn why Adelaide has serious cred as a foodie city, including the best restaurants and wineries in South Australia.
BOOK YOUR FLIGHT
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