28 Apr 2022
Outback roads

Immerse yourself in our boutique capital without hurting your hip pocket.

Full of lively culture, nature, and art, there’s so much to do in Adelaide without spending a cent. It's no surprise Adelaide was found to be Australia's most livable city in 2021 with a vibrant blend of old world architecture, new age art galleries and leafy green parks. Whether you are a budget-minded traveller looking for a couple of activities to beef out your stop over in Adelaide, or a local looking for an inexpensive way to rediscover your own city - there are plenty of free ways to acquaint yourself with all that this boutique capital has to offer. We've taken the leg work - and the budget - out of it with this quick list of our favourite experiences that don’t cost a dime.

1. The Art Gallery of South Australia

The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

The 19th and 20th century buildings in the heart of the city’s cultural precinct are home to  the Art Gallery of South Australia (AGSA). One of the largest art museum collections in Australia, this is a must see in Adelaide. Home to the annual exhibition Tarnanthi, which sheds new light on contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art, AGSA also combines international touring installations like Yayoi Kusama with world-renowned, year round exhibitions. Entry to the AGSA is free and once you've had your dose of artistic exploration, take some time to stroll down North Terrace and just look up. We promise you won't be disappointed by the aesthetic angles of the stunning architecture, framed by the leafy green trees that line this city artery.  

2. Adelaide Central Markets

Central Markets, Adelaide
Central Markets, Adelaide

The Adelaide Central Markets are not just a must see attraction, but a quintessential Adelaide experience. With a bustling crowd and colourful stalls that showcase the truly cosmopolitan nature of the city, this thriving multicultural hub is a homage to all things local provenance. Pull up a seat at Adelaide institution Lucia's and watch the daily life of this city pass you by - locals shuffling from stall to stall collecting home grown groceries, stallholders neatly arranging artisan creations and the scent of aromatic spices in the air.  Guided tours are on offer, taking people through the market’s rich history, much-loved characters and tastes from all corners of the globe. Don’t just take our word for it - try it! Taste Algerian couscous, Malaysian laksa, or patatas bravas at one of the food stalls - or sample a tasty treat from local producers hailing from all over South Australia. At the Central Markets, you’ll taste why Adelaide is the gourmet capital.

3. Adelaide Botanic Garden

Botanic Garden, Adelaide
Botanic Garden, Adelaide

The Adelaide Botanic Garden is South Australia’s inner city oasis. The historic garden, opened in 1857, features some of Australia's finest plant collections across 50 hectares - right in the heart of the CBD. Keep your wallet in your pocket and pack a picnic and rug for a lunch in nature, or splurge with a booking at the  multi-award-winning Botanic Gardens Restaurant, one of the best in the city, or a casual meal at one of the cafés nestled amid the trees. Botany nerds and garden lovers alike will be thrilled at the range of environments. The Bicentennial Conservatory is the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest glasshouse and hosts a steamy rain forest; the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion is an incredible education on the sex life of plants and entering the Victorian Palm House will transport you back in time. The best part? it is open every single day of the week - so you will never get caught out with nothing to do.

4. MOD

MOD, Adelaide
MOD, Adelaide

MOD is Australia’s boldest interactive public science and creativity space. The University of South Australia’s futuristic museum of discovery, the MOD boasts a program of dynamic exhibitions that unite science, technology and inspiration. Featuring seven purpose-built gallery areas over two floors, MOD features Australia’s first 'Science on a Sphere', a room-sized display that shows planetary data on a sphere surrounded by touchscreens. Curated by futurist Dr. Kristin Alford, cutting-edge science research is showcased by designers who develop immersive encounters. Ignite your passion for wonder with a free pass to wander through MOD. You know what they say, learning is free and it only leaves you richer. 

5. Glenelg

Glenelg, Adelaide
Glenelg, Adelaide

When considering places to visit in Adelaide for free, our city beach Glenelg is a no-brainer. One of Adelaide’s biggest beaches, it’s a simple 20-minute tram ride from the heart of Adelaide. A perfect sun-bathing spot, you could also cast a line off the jetty, sail around the bay at sunset, or even swim with wild dolphins. And it’s not just the sand and surf that makes Glenelg a fantastic place to visit. A range of restaurants - from seafood, Thai, Japanese, Indonesian and more - are dotted along Jetty Road. Come summer, Glenelg is home to Australia’s only official bar on the beach, Moseley Beach Club, adding a little European twist to your beach day. 

Discover more of our boutique capital...

Planning a trip to Adelaide? Pocket these tips and weave them into our ultimate Adelaide itinerary, that covers off where to stay, eat, drink, what to see and do. 

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