Adelaide combines exceptional food and wine, world-class events and immersive wildlife experiences.
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 tops 10 things to do in Adelaide including where to eat and drink, what to see and must-do experiences.
1. Adelaide Central Markets
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 breads 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.
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
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 Alpha Box and Dice 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, 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. 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
In Adelaide, streets lined with quirky, speakeasy bars run through the city like a lifeblood for thirsty revellers. You’ll find boutique 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 Pink Moon Saloon, 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
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
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 sun set 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 giraffe, 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
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
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.