The Art Gallery of South Australia

What to do in Adelaide: unique experiences

Wondering what to do in Adelaide? Find a list of great activities here. Australia's capital of food and wine, art, shopping, bustling bar scene and events.

Spoilt for choice

Adelaide has had a resurgence in the past few years with a vibrant small bar scene reinvigorating the city's laneways. Famous chefs and high-end boutiques have made Adelaide their new home.


It’s full of vibrant cafés and eclectic restaurants as well as a strong events scene that incorporates all manner of tastes – from the Adelaide Fringe to the Santos Tour Down Under. There are always things to do in Adelaide – it just depends on what tickles your fancy!


One of the many great things about Adelaide is its accessibility. One minute you're in a bustling, exciting city, and then in 20 minutes time you can be relaxing in the sun on some of the world's most beautiful beaches. 


Bustling Ebenezer place in Adelaide

Vibrant Ebenezer Place is tucked behind Rundle Street in the heart of Adelaide.


Bustling bar scene
When the liquor licensing laws changed in 2013, the small bar scene said "thank you very much" and exploded – mostly in the small laneway quarter around Leigh St, Peel St and Gilbert Place. Today the precinct is a pocket rocket of inner city personality and boozy goodness. Industrial spaces, quirky facades and inner-city breweries – it's all here in Adelaide. 


I love the nightlife
It's an exciting time to hit the restaurant scene in Adelaide with many high-end, experimental and eclectic offerings opening their doors to eager customers. These include the South African themed Africola, city-fringe fine-dining Magill Estate and Orana, where the degustation menu concentrates on native flavours. Sean Connolly and Jamie Oliver have also opened eateries in Adelaide with a fresh produce focus and strong architectural flair. Your top things to do in Adelaide should certainly include visiting one of these great restaurants.

Suburban flair

Just outside of the city, in the eastern suburbs, you'll find Norwood. Less than three kilometres from the city, it's easy to catch the bus or head through the parklands for a scenic stroll as you make your way to the shopping and cafe strip – The Parade. Norwood is a leading destination for alfresco dining. Indulge your shopping habit with homewares and furniture as well as unique labels and cutting edge hair and beauty. 


Travel ten minutes south of the city and you'll be in Hyde Park. Spend the morning walking along King William Road browsing the stores before stopping off and grabbing a coffee. From boutique fashion labels to French patisseries – this is the place for those of discerning taste.


Beach babe
Most beaches are less than 30 minutes from the city and Adelaide's warm climate means you can enjoy them practically all year round. Head north for some family-friendly beaches with attractions for the kids. Head south if you're more of a surfer and looking for those waves or for those spectacular views framed by steep cliffs. Head to any metropolitan beach in Adelaide and you won't be disappointed.

Catch the tram from Adelaide to historic Glenelg, just 12 kilometres from the city centre. Browse the shops and cafés on Jetty Road and at Holdfast Shores Marina. Mosey through Moseley Square and along the jetty as you overlook the water. Picnic under the pine trees and watch the beach-goers stroll by. Brought the kids? No worries  there's an adventure park called the Beachhouse to keep them occupied for hours. 

Alternatively, head down to Henley Beach. There's a great beachside atmosphere in the square with cafes, pubs and ice-cream shops available to help you through those hot summer days. Its wide sandy beaches and gentle waves are perfect for the kids looking to play a game of beach cricket or collect some shells. 

Family-friendly
Adelaide's laid-back attitude makes it the perfect place to bring the family. With plenty of activities to keep the little ones happy, no doubt parents will be happy too.

From the hundreds of metropolitan beaches to the stunning Botanic Gardens and parks, there's plenty of space for the kids to run around and burn off some of that energy! Does your little one have a keen interest in animals? Take them to Adelaide Zoo. There they can meet Wang Wang and Fu Ni – the South Hemisphere’s only breeding pair of Giant Pandas. Or they can listen to the roars of the tigers and lions, or see if they can reach as tall as the giraffes. If they have an inquisitive mind, head to the South Australian Museum where kids are encouraged to get hands-on and learn about the world around us in an interactive way. 

Adelaide Oval
South Australia’s historic Adelaide Oval has been the site of many historic cricket matches. Legendary Sir Donald Bradman made Adelaide his home and graced the hallowed turf of the oval on many occasions. The sporting great is honoured here with a museum display showcasing his career in a state-of-the-art, purpose built museum. The Bradman Collection lives in the newly-built Riverbank Stand.

Considered one of the most attractive grounds in the world, Adelaide Oval has undergone a significant makeover, with new southern and eastern stands and a pedestrian plaza outside the ground. The oval now seats more than 50,000 spectators and is Adelaide's home of AFL as well as cricket. When you're looking for things to do in Adelaide, a trip to Adelaide Oval is a must. 

The Festival City
If you love being part of an enthralled theatre audience, dancing to international music, laughing at cheeky comedians or being mesmerised by innovative visual arts, then Adelaide is for you. March is the time to come to Adelaide if you want to experience its thriving festival scene. Dubbed Mad March  you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to what to see with thousands of shows and things to do in Adelaide during this time. 

The Adelaide Festival is one of the world's great art festivals. Held annually, it has a diverse, must-see program and the Adelaide Fringe is now so popular, it's the second biggest fringe festival in the world. Encompassing theatre, comedy, dance, circus, spoken word, film and visual arts, the Fringe attracts some of the finest artists from Australia and overseas.

The exciting Adelaide Film Festival is where you'll catch world movie premieres, film forums and more. It's the only Australian festival that both screens and finances films. It even has a best feature award, valued at $25,000. It's the first film festival award of its kind in Australia.

WOMADelaide is four days of dazzling music from around the globe. It’s held in the heart of the city at the Adelaide Botanic Garden. Giant Moreton Bay fig trees provide shady groves for performances, while the lawn provides plenty of room to dance.

During the winter months, the Adelaide Cabaret Festival will warm you up. It offers a dazzling assortment of old world and innovative cabaret acts with respected creative directors over the years including David Campbell, Kate Ceberano and Barry Humphries. 

Alternatively, the Feast Festival is one of the three major gay and lesbian festivals in Australia. Enjoy a program of theatre, cabaret, comedy, film, literature, visual arts and community events. 

Or if music is more your thing, the Australian International Cello Festival is a biennial event and is the only one in the Southern Hemisphere. The best of international and Australian cellists delight audiences throughout the 10-day event.


Find things to see and do in Adelaide below.


From $14
From $22
From $26.5
From $259

Events, festivals and fun things to do in South Australia

Open your eyes, your ears and your mind to the festivals of Adelaide. Eat, drink laugh and live in the fast lane – step out and step into the fun.

Related Articles