Things to do in Adelaide

Things to do in  Adelaide

The new wine country

Adelaide, the laid-back capital of South Australia, is a world away from the urban powerhouses of Melbourne and Sydney. The only one of Australia’s state capitals to be founded by free settlers, Adelaide retains its independent spirit to this day, and it feels more like an oversized village than the country’s fifth most populated city. With its Victorian architecture, picturesque waterfront, burgeoning art scene, and myriad other things to do, Adelaide is a city-break destination in its own right—but for many travelers it's also home base for day trips to the vineyards of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale, Murray River, Kangaroo Island, and Fleurieu Peninsula.

Top 15 attractions in Adelaide

Kangaroo Island

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With its unmistakably Aussie name, it’s little surprise that Kangaroo Island is one of the best places to spot native Australian wildlife. Australia's third-largest island, this unspoiled haven is a trove of natural wonders, from red rock cliffs to sandy beaches, sweeping dunes, and wild bushlands.More

Wirra Wirra Vineyards

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In the world of wine, the Adelaide region is known for producing some of Australia’s best vintages. Such is the case at Wirra Wirra Vineyards, where talented winemakers have mastered the craft since 1894, enticing visitors from around the globe to sip on the fruits of their labor. One of South Australia's most iconic wineries, Wirra Wirra Vineyards is known for quirky, eccentric environment and affable, fun-loving staff, as well as for its fine Shiraz wines and array of reds and whites.Take a part in a Wirra Wirra wines master class to learn the technique behind the award-winning wines of the world-renowned McClaren Vale region, and to explore the vineyard, tour the winery, and sample some of Wirra Wirra winery's best. To get in the celebratory spirit without imbibing, visitors can ring the winery's nearly one-ton church bell, the Angelus Bell, which is used during special occasions and also completely at random.More

Adelaide Oval

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One of the world’s most scenic arenas, the Adelaide Oval dates back to 1871. Best known for cricket, the defining sport of British colonies, it also hosts concerts, rugby, Australian rules football, and more. Besides a cafe, fine dining restaurant, and corporate events spaces, it offers a museum devoted to cricket legend Donald Bradman.More

Mt. Lofty

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Despite its name, Mt. Lofty is far from lofty, standing just 2,385 feet (727 meters) high in the Mt. Lofty Ranges, part of the Adelaide Hills. The summit offers views across Adelaide and the ocean, with a café, an information center and shop, and hiking trail access. Mt. Lofty Botanic Garden and Cleland Wildlife Park are on its slopes.More

North Terrace

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Grand 19th-century architecture laid out on a classically elegant street plan fringed with green parkland makes Adelaide perhaps Australia’s most beautiful city center—and North Terrace is at the heart of it. From galleries and museums to the state parliament, state library, and Adelaide University, the landmarks are all here.More

Adelaide Zoo

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Adelaide Zoo is home to almost 2,500 animals, with around 250 different species from all around the world. Along with Aussie favorites like kangaroos, koalas, and Tasmanian devils, the zoo is famous for its pair of Giant Pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, the only animals of their kind in Australia.More

Hahndorf

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Tucked away in the Adelaide Hills, the tree-lined lanes and historic taverns of Hahndorf have a distinctly Bavarian feel; so much so that the village has dubbed itself “Australia’s oldest German town.” Founded by German settlers in the early 19th century, Hahndorf displays its heritage in its culture, architecture, and cuisine.More

Adelaide Botanic Garden

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Covering more than 124 acres (50 hectares) between the North Terrace and Botanic Park, the Adelaide Botanic Garden are among the city’s most stunning green spaces. With tree-lined walkways, water lily and lotus ponds, and flower gardens blooming with roses and dahlias, this is an idyllic place for a walking tour.More

Mengler Hill Lookout

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Mengler Hill Lookout is a popular stop during Barossa Valley wine tasting excursions, providing a scenic panorama of the famed valley below. Mengler Hill Lookout was named for one of the area's early wine growers, and since 1988 has the added attraction of large granite and marble sculptures at the adjacent Barossa Sculpture Park.More

Adelaide Gaol

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One of the oldest buildings in South Australia, Adelaide Gaol is remarkable for its architecture, its history, and—allegedly—its ghosts. During its years of operation, 1841–1988, the jail housed over 300,000 prisoners, 45 of whom were executed on-site. Today it offers an interactive exhibition, a range of food options, and a shop.More

National Wine Centre of Australia

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The National Wine Centre of Australia introduces visitors to Australian wine, with a focus on South Australia. The outer shell of the building resembles wine barrels. Inside, visitors can take a wine discovery journey or an educational class, or indulge in food, a wealth of tastings, and one of the southern hemisphere’s best cellars.More

St. Peter's Cathedral, Adelaide

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Occasionally overshadowed by neighboring Adelaide Oval, the Gothic Revival spires of St. Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide are an architectural landmark. The leading place of worship for the city’s Anglican community, it was built between 1869 and 1911 from local sandstone. English craftsmen contributed much of the stained glass.More

Victoria Square

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Central Adelaide’s most important square, Victoria Square is known to the Kaurna people as “tarntanyangga” (red kangaroo dreaming). A special-events space and popular lunch spot for local workers, it’s home to statues, lawns, gum trees, and the 1960s Three Rivers Fountain. Nearby landmarks include St. Francis Xavier Cathedral.More

Adelaide Central Market

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With a history dating back more than 150 years, Adelaide Central Market has long been at the center of Adelaide’s foodie scene. It remains one of Australia’s largest covered food markets, with about 80 stalls stacked with fresh, seasonal produce.More

Rundle Mall

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Adelaide’s shopping epicenter—Rundle Mall—is home to over 700 retail stores and four department stores, plus food, sculptures, and, often, street performers. The original Rundle Street was an Adelaide shopping favorite as far back as the 1870s and Rundle Mall’s Victorian arcades preserve its historic charm.More

Top activities in Adelaide

Kangaroo Island in a Day Tour from Adelaide
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Barossa Valley Full-Day Tour
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Barossa Valley Full-Day Tour

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Barossa Valley Cellar Door Small Group Tour
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Barossa Valley Inc Maggie Beers & Hahndorf (German Village)
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Dolphin Sanctuary Kayak Tour Adelaide
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Adelaide City Highlights with Hahndorf and Mt. Lofty
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Barossa Valley Food and Wine Tour

Barossa Valley Food and Wine Tour

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Adelaide Oval Stadium Tour

Adelaide Oval Stadium Tour

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RoofClimb Adelaide Oval Experience
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All about Adelaide

When to visit

Adelaide’s flagship event is The Adelaide Fringe, which helps summer wind down with four weeks of festivities from mid-February through March. The fun continues through fall, with the Adelaide Festival and WOMADelaide in March and Tasting Australia in early May all pulling in big crowds. March, April and May are also the ideal time for wine tasting amid the vineyards as the grape harvest gives way to colorful fall foliage and sunshine through the Adelaide Hills.

Getting around

Downtown Adelaide is easily explored on foot, but you can also hop on the free CityConnector buses (99A and 99C), which loop around the central attractions. Taxis can be pricey, so opt for public transport if you need to head further afield—a metroCARD Visitor Pass offers unlimited travel on the city’s trains, trams, and buses. Renting a car or joining a tour is the most convenient option for visiting the vineyards of Barossa and McLaren Vale.

Traveler tips

By Adelaide Botanic Gardens, the National Wine Centre is where you can sip and savor more than 120 Australian wines—it’s the next best thing for wine lovers who can’t make it out to the vineyards. Foodies looking to escape the crowds of the Central Market will find an eclectic range of world cuisines on offer along Gouger and Rundle streets.

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People Also Ask

What is Adelaide famous for?

The South Australian capital is known for its diverse foodie scene, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and its annual international arts festival—the Adelaide Festival. The city is also surrounded by renowned wine regions, including the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, and McLaren Vale, and wine tasting tours are hugely popular.

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How do I spend a day in Adelaide?

Enjoy a walking tour of the atmospheric laneways, browse the shops at Rundle Mall, and dive into Adelaide’s foodie scene at the Central Market. After lunch, visit the Art Gallery of South Australia, enjoy wine tasting at a local winery, then soak up the nightlife in the West End.

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Where should I stay in Adelaide?

Adelaide’s Central Business District is the most popular place to stay for visitors, with a range of budget to luxury accommodation within walking distance of all the sights. Alternatively, stay by the beach in Glenelg, West Beach, or Semaphore, or near the wineries of the Adelaide Hills, Barossa Valley, or McLaren Vale.

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What is the most popular attraction in Adelaide?

Adelaide’s most popular event is the Adelaide Festival and Adelaide Fringe Festival, which draws huge crowds to the city each March. Other popular attractions include Adelaide Central Market, Adelaide Botanic Garden, and the Art Gallery of South Australia, as well as the nearby wine regions of Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale.

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What can you do in Adelaide for free?

Many of Adelaide’s museums offer free admission, including the South Australian Museum, Migration Museum, and Art Gallery of South Australia. You can also admire the city’s street art, stroll around Adelaide Botanic Gardens and the Central Market, hit the beach, or enjoy a walk in the Adelaide Hills.

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What activities are popular in Adelaide?

Adelaide lies between the countryside and the coast, so it’s easy to spend a day at the beach, enjoy a coastal walk or bike ride, or join a wine tasting tour in the Barossa Valley or Adelaide Hills. There are also sightseeing cruises on the Torrens River and dolphin-watching cruises from Glenelg.

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Frequently Asked Questions
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