Best Things to do in Adelaide

The capital of South Australia, Adelaide is a stunning town that is vibrant and also with a rich cultural heritage. There are plenty of attractions for all kinds of tourists who are visiting their beautiful area. No matter who you are with and what kind of experience you are looking to get, here are some of the best things to do in Adelaide.

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Visit Cleland Conservation Park

If you go on a 20-minute drive from the center of Adelaide, you can find Cleland Conservation Park. This is an absolutely beautiful spot and something that the whole family can enjoy thanks to the cute and fluffy animals. You can see the koalas, emus, and other local animals up close and there are also stunning views from this conservation park. There is a beautiful waterfall also on the grounds too so this is something that you don’t want to miss out on.

Explore Adelaide Central Market

There are so many different types of foods to try in Australia so it makes sense that during your time in Adelaide, you should go to this market because it is known as the main food hub of the country. It is the largest fresh produce market in Australia and it is home to over 80 stalls all under one roof. Some of the food that you can expect to sample and purchase here include meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, cheese, sweets, and more. The market is even more fun than you might think because there are various events throughout the year such as cooking classes and every Friday, there is live music.

Go to Rundle Mall

Rundle Mall
Rundle Mall

The main shopping street in Adelaide is Rundle Mall, it’s often busy and packed with Australian retailers as well as ones from all around the world. The street itself has been around for a long time, 1837 to be exact, and some of the buildings are incredible pieces of architecture that date back to the 19th century. There are some well-known sculptures at Rundle Mall including a giant cockroach, the Spheres, and life-size pigs made out of bronze rummaging through a rubbish bin. With a cool fountain at the entrance too, this mall is much more than just a place to shop and you could get lost here for hours on end.

Admire Adelaide Botanical Garden

The botanical garden opened up way back in 1857 and it is 51-hectare in size. It is a very pretty place to visit and it was inspired by Kew Gardens in England and Versailles in France. There are several different structures to see in the botanical garden including the palm house and the national rose trial garden. This was the first place in Australia that sampled growing different types of roses to see if they were suitable to be grown in the country with its climate. You might want to enjoy the flowers in this place and just watch the world go by for a while.

Visit Glenelg

Located in suburban Adelaide is the seaside resort of Glenelg, which is popular with locals and tourists. It includes the most gorgeous beach which is ideal for relaxing, or perhaps you would prefer to enjoy a boat ride in the water. There is a major retail district in Glenelg, which is called Jetty Road. There are a variety of shops, bars, and restaurants there, in addition to a theme park. If you are more about soaking up the culture and history of the resort, there is a lot for you to enjoy too. The only tram line that operates in Adelaide is the Glenelg tram line and you can take the classic route dated back to 1929 even today. There are some lovely heritage buildings in the area too including the Centenary Memorial, Glenera, Glenelg Town Hall, and Starmont House.

Relax at the Himeji Garden

Himeji in Japan is Adelaide’s sister city and this garden was a gift from them. These gardens truly are something else and they are designed in two unique Japanese styles, senzui and kare senzui, which mean lake, mountain, and dry garden. Different features capture the atmosphere perfectly with a range of features including a koi lake, a zen rock garden, an Okunion lantern, and a shishi-odishi (which is a feature in most Japanese gardens). People from all around the world visit the Himeji Garden during their time in Adelaide and some of the things that are often done there include picnicking, bird watching, and even meditation.

Explore Carrick Hill

At the foot of the Adelaide hills, you can find Carrick Hill, which is a gorgeous property and comes complete with gorgeous surrounding gardens. It has been around since 1939 and it was designed in an English style. The original owners of the grounds were The Haywards and they left it to the state when they died. The property itself is beautiful and has many pieces of art inside, art exhibitions are held here quite regularly. If you just want to explore the grounds, there are an impressive 26 hectares of native bushland and gardens to get lost in.

If you are interested in all things art and culture, why not visit the gallery of South Australia? This is on the North Terrace and it features over 47,000 pieces from all over the world. This includes a cool and one-off collection of aboriginal art that you just have to see for yourself. If you need a break from the artwork, there is a cute little cafe where you can grab something to eat inside the art gallery.

Have Amazing Views from The Adelaide Oval

Right at the riverbank on King William Road is the Adelaide oval, which is one of the grandest sporting grounds in Australia, and in fact, the world. Some major games are hosted here but if you don’t have any tickets for any sporting events or they are just not your thing, you should still visit the Adelaide Oval. You can go on a roof climbing tour which gives you the most amazing view of the city from the best vantage point. This is something you don’t want to miss out on during your time in the city.

Go to Adelaide Zoo

Located right next to the previously mentioned Botanical Garden is Adelaide zoo. If you want to see the different animals or you have kids in tow with you, this is a great place to visit. Interestingly enough, this is the only zoo in Australia that is home to an actual panda pair, and they are adorable. Some other animals that you can expect to see here include sea lions, wolves, hippos, and more. The great thing about this zoo is that the animals get spacious enclosures and have the best treatment possible.

Learn at the South Australian Museum

We all need a little bit of education from time to time and if you are interested in learning about the history and culture of Adelaide, this should be added to your itinerary. You can find this building along the north terrace and there are a ton of different collections that might be of interest to you. This includes a large selection of aboriginal art, a replica of a giant squid bone, and also a bunch of fun interactive features that are also a hit with kids and make learning fun.

Climb the Waterfall Gully

For those who enjoy hiking, have great views, and want to test their adventurous side – this is ideal and earns its place on things to do in Adelaide. Right on the foothills of Mount Lofty (by the Cleland Conservation Park), is the Waterfall Gully. This is home to 7 amazing waterfalls and is a must-see if you enjoy nature photography or just enjoy beautiful locations. This hike can get a little steep at places so just make sure that you bring your walking boots along for this one.

Go on a River Cruise along Port Adelaide

This is a gorgeous little port town in Adelaide and along port creek, there are cool pieces of architecture, heritage buildings, bold street art, and more for you to enjoy. You can enjoy a cruise on the river, and there is even an eerie ship graveyard to check out. Whether you spot dolphins on this cruise or not, it’s still a town that is worth visiting with quaint cobbled streets and lots of nice bars and restaurants.

Visit the Old-time Adelaide Arcade

In Rundle Mall is the Adelaide arcade, it is an eye-catching building it has been around since 1885. It is a historical building in Adelaide and that is because it was the first building in the city to get electric lights. There is a lot more history to this arcade too so if you enjoy visiting cultural landmarks, this is one to add to the bucket list.

Explore Mount Lofty Botanic Garden

Another botanical garden has made the list of things to do in Adelaide and this one is worth a visit. This is located around 20 minutes out of the main city and it is on Mount Lofty in the Adelaide hills. This has most some of the stunning footpaths that you have ever seen and it is around 95 hectares. You can expect to come across a lot of flowers, plants, and wildlife in this Botanic garden. The small lakes make the area even more picturesque and many people like to picnic here.

Have a Wine Tour at Barossa Valley

Australia is well known for its amazing range of wine of course and the Barossa Valley in Adelaide is a well-known region for producing top-notch wine. This location can be found on the northeast side of Adelaide and it is around a 1-hour drive from the city. Whether you are traveling with friends, a partner, or the entire family, there are lots to enjoy in this valley from touring the wine yards, to tasting the wine, and more.

Get a taste of Adelaide Chinatown

If you are a fan of Asian cuisine, you are going to love Chinatown, which is located on the southeast side of Adelaide. This is such a vibrant place with an amazing atmosphere, and that’s even before you sample the local cuisine. There is a range of different restaurants to choose from of all different Asian varieties so you can choose one of those to dine at and it will instantly feel like you are being transported to the country in question!

Visit the Ayers House Museum

This is a breathtaking mansion that is located just outside of the bustling Adelaide center. This is a victorian style building that is the last standing 19th-century grand mansion. The interior is incredible to see with high ceilings, intricate designs, careful carvings, and more. Everything has been so well-preserved that when you go inside, you will feel like you are stepping into years long ago.

Hang out at Henley Beach

You can’t go to Adelaide without kicking back at the beach and this is a fantastic one. It is found 20 minutes from the main Adelaide city and the beachfront is out of this world. Whether you just want to catch some rays, take out a jetty or perhaps go fishing – it’s entirely up to you. Many visitors hail Henley Beach as the best place to sample fish and chips so maybe you want to give them a taste for yourself.

Explore McLaren Vale

Delicious food and exquisite wine? Yes please, just head to McLaren Vale! This location is just 45 minutes south of Adelaide and you have the option of touring the place by bike or vehicle. The wine yards are worth checking out and some more of what you can do involves watching the process of creating the wine, sampling some, and having lunch here. This would be the perfect stop-off during a busy day of sightseeing.

Enjoy the Adelaide Hills

The Adelaide Hills can be found around 40 minutes from the capital and they are worth the journey simply because of how spectacular they look. The views of and from the hills are fantastic and you can enjoy a picnic here or perhaps enjoy one of the close-by trails like Mount Lofty. Adelaide can be so busy at times and sometimes it is nice to get a break by enjoying something much more scenic.

Go to the Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

Right between Kelly Hill Conservation park and Flinders Chase national park, you can find this wildlife sanctuary on Kangaroo Island and it is fantastic. You can experience the native animals of Australia up close, they are super adorable and if you choose to use a tour guide, you can learn more about the goannas, koalas, kangaroos, possums, and more. Why not take things a step further and soak up everything Kangaroo Island has to offer by staying in a beach cabana overnight?

Visit the State Library of South Australia

All cities have a background and Adelaide is no different. If you are interested in exploring the cultural and historical background of the city, this is the place to do it. This library can be found on the north terrace and it is packed full of amazing collections including letters, photographs, diaries, and manuscripts. No matter what subject you are personally interested in, there will be something for you to explore.

Tour Kangaroo Island and Flinders Chase National Park

The Flinders Chae National Park is located on Kangaroo Island, which is around four and a half hours from Adelaide. It is a protected area with lots of amazing sights for you to enjoy. You can find the most amazing rock formations, the ancient admirals arch, and more. You can even spend a night at this national park in one of the cool ocean cabins.

Explore the Migration Museum

The migration museum is all about the history of migration in Australia and to get here, you just need to walk a short way from the north terrace. The country prides itself on being very diverse in terms of culture and there is such an interesting history to that, especially with the aborigines before the dark colonial times. The structure of this building is cool and that is something you can learn about at the museum too.

Check out Adelaide Gaol

This colonial piece of architecture has been standing since the 1840s, and there is no doubt that it is one of the more unique landmarks in Adelaide. This is a place with so much history behind it and even apparent ghost sightings! You can go here yourself but if you want to experience it in all its glory and hear some interesting stories, it is recommended that you book a tour.

Admire St Peter’s Cathedral

Adelaide is known as the city of churches so it makes sense that there are some absolutely beautiful churches in the area. One of which is St Peter’s Cathedral, which was built in the 19th century and modeled around Notre Dame in Paris. There are services run daily if you want to worship and there are also tours inside this cathedral if you want to be left awe-struck by the amazing interior.

Tour Haigh’s Chocolates

Haigh’s is considered to be Adelaide’s best chocolatier and when you taste them for yourself, you will understand why. This is a family-run company that has been creating and providing the best chocolate for over 100 years. The factory itself allows tastings, and tours and there is a packed gift shop so that you can take home some chocolate-themed gifts for your family and friends.

Visit Victoria Square

There are six different public squares in the city and Victoria Square is one of them, it is also known as Tarntanyangga. It is a gorgeous little area and some of the things that you can find here include fountains, statues, and a bunch of green space. This is a great place to relax for a little while after a busy day of sightseeing around Adelaide.

Go to Parliament House

You don’t have to be into politics to visit Parliament House, it looks magnificent and that is reason enough to check it out. It is located on the northern edge of Adelaide center and it was constructed between 1874 and 1939. It is made from marble and granite, with several impressive towering columns to admire.

Explore the National Wine Centre of Australia

Found in the northeast side of Adelaide city center, you can find the National Wine Centre of Australia and wine lovers, if you hadn’t realized from the name, this one is for you! This exhibition center showcases Australian wine (mostly southern Australian). There are winemaking displays, tasting rooms, wine information and so much more for you to enjoy.

Visit the Museum of Discovery

There are several museums throughout Adelaide and this one is based on science and technology. It is mostly aimed at younger people (from young teens to those in their mid-twenties) and it is a great place for them to learn in a fun way. There are lots of exhibits and a ton of interactive features to use too, which makes it more interesting than some other museums.

Go to Treeclimb Adelaide

If you are a thrill-seeker or want to experience some adrenaline-filled adventures by yourself or with your whole family, you could give tree climb Adelaide a try. This is almost like an obstacle course that includes nets, swingings bridges, ziplines, and treetop platforms that you have to navigate to. This is just something that is super fun and is unlike anything else that has been on this list. There is a course for adults and kids at tree climb Adelaide so nobody gets left out.

Tour the Old Adelaide Treasury Building Underground

There is no doubt that the old Adelaide treasury building is one of the most historical sites in the city with so many amazing stories behind it. You can book an old treasury tunnel tour where you will be able to explore the secret tunnels in the best way possible. You will have a guide and learn so many new and interesting things about Adelaide that you never even realized.

Snorkel at Port Noarlunga

There is a gorgeous reef at Port Noarlunga with a beautiful blue sea all around. Snorkeling and scuba diving are very popular in this spot so it’s a must-do activity during your time in Adelaide if that is the kind of thing that you are into. If you have never done this kind of water sport before, where better to give them a go than in Adelaide? Who knows what kind of creatures you could see under the water? But with a crystal clear ocean all around, it’s guaranteed to be something that you never forget.

Visit Hallett Cove Conservation Park

There has been evidence of an Australian ice age over 280 million years ago so, with that in mind, you need to visit Hallett Cove, Conservation Park. The clifftops are incredible and the glacial pavements that are along them are known to be the best record of Permian glaciation in Australia. The views that you will have from the top of this conservation park are incredible so get your walking boots on and get ready to explore!

Go to the Beach House

For lovers of theme parks and families with kids, the beach house in Glenelg should be on your bucket list. This is an amusement park that has a whole bunch of cool rides from water slides, bumper cars, arcade games, and more. Visiting this location could inject some more fun into your trip to Adelaide.

Visit West Beach and have fun at West Beach Adventure

West beach is a stunning beach that is just north of Glenelg. It has beautiful sands, it’s super chilled out and there are also lots of restaurants and bars. Just off the beach is west beach adventure and which is a climbing and aerial adventure complex. For those fun lovers, you can swing on swings, climb ladders, walk the high wire, and much more. This is such an exhilarating experience and of course, it is very safe too.

Go on a Port River Cruise

The port river is calm and serene, and there are many places where you can book a cruise along this very river. If you want to get out on the water but are not adventurous enough for water sports or scuba diving, this is ideal for you and offers many beautiful photo opportunities too. You can enjoy this experience no matter who you are traveling with.

Relax at Windy Point Lookout

Windy point lookout is a very beautiful place to go and it’s pretty romantic too so perhaps you want to visit there with your loved one. It is located just 15 minutes from the city center and essentially it’s just a parking spot. This spot however gives the most amazing views that you can imagine of the city and the ocean. On a clear day, you can see Port Adelaide from up here and it’s something you will not forget in a hurry.

Visit Belair National Park

In the southeastern corner of Adelaide, you can find the region of Belair, which is right at the bottom of Mount Lofty. Here is also Belair national park and it’s a gorgeous location that is worth exploring for yourself. There are different walks here including the Waterfall Hike, the Valley Loop Walk, and more. Any wannabe adventurer could spend hours at this location and perhaps enjoy a picnic in one of the beautiful forested areas.

Go to SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre

For those who want to stay in shape during their time in the city, you’ve got the SA aquatic and leisure centre, This is a large swimming pool and fitness complex with many pools and a variety of different gyms to try out also. If you want to come here more for some rest and relaxation, you can use the sauna, and steam room instead. There is even a creche if you require a break from your little one for a couple of hours!

Explore The Parade

Sometimes all you want to do is shop and for those occasions, this is perfect. The east inner suburb of Norwood has a main street called the parade and it is somewhere to check out. This is a huge shopping street that has a range of shops, boutiques, cafes, trendy bars, and more. There is such a cool vibe to this area so make sure to visit it if you have the time.

Enjoy Latitude Air

This one is for the entire family to enjoy because latitude air is an indoor trampoline area. There are over 100 trampolines and some other activities that kids especially enjoy here including basketball, dodgeball, and parkour. It’s not just reserved for kids however and you might end up having more fun than them.

Visit Harbour Town

Harbour town is a precinct that is at the edge of Adelaide airport and it is full of retail outlets where you can find some incredible bargains of designer items or whatever else you fancy. Whether you are looking for menswear, womenswear, homeware, outdoor gear, and lots more – you are going to find all of that so it’s time to shop until you drop.

Drive down Seppeltsfield Road

Seppeltsfield road is amazing to drive down. Not just because of its scenery however but because there are a massive 19 wineries along the way. These are just starters however because they will lead you to Seppeltsfield Wines which was founded in the 1800s in addition to the wine, there is an amazing restaurant on the site too.

Watch Ballet at the Festival Theatre

The Adelaide Festival Theatre is an amazing building and often hosts amazing ballet productions and it does show other types of productions on occasion too. Whether you are brand new to ballet or an old pro, you should try and get tickets because it is truly an unforgettable experience.

Go to FruChoc Factory

This is a chocolate factory that is found in Adelaide and who doesn’t want to visit a chocolate factory? You can watch chocolate get made, eat some yourself, or buy some at the gift shop. FruChoc is guaranteed to give the entire family an unforgettable experience so don’t forget to take your kids along to this one with you!

Walk the Heysen Trail

There is no doubt that Adelaide is home to some amazing landscapes so you need to take full advantage of that and walk the Heyson trail. The entire trail might be a bit of a stretch however because it is 1200 kilometers! There are 61 trail sections so walking a few of those might be more doable and you are guaranteed to see a whole lot of beauty along the way.

Go to Victor Harbor and Ride a Camel

Victor Harbor is a coastal town that is extremely beautiful and there is a lot to see there including a penguin colony and horse-drawn trams. This place is close to lots of other Adelaide attractions including the previously mentioned Kangaroo Island. One other thing that you might like to do during your time here is ride a camel, which is something that is offered throughout the day.

Sing some Karaoke

There is lots of cool nightlife throughout Adelaide and you are guaranteed to find some spots that are your vibe. If you want something a little more cheesy, however, why not head to the karaoke bars along Gouger Street and sing your heart out of your favorite tunes? You might need a drink or two to get prepared for this one and there is no fear of there being a shortage of that in Adelaide.

Go to Morialta Falls Nature Playground

Just a ten-minute drive from Adelaide is the Morialta conservation park nature playground. This is one for the kids and it is no doubt going to be one of the best playgrounds that you have ever seen. Included is giant slides, waterfall walks, and even BBQs. If you have been doing something that the kids have found “boring” all day, you can cheer them up with this.

Go to Port Lincoln

Port Lincoln has a huge fishing industry and although there are not a lot of other things in this location, it is still worth a visit during your time in Adelaide just to experience the simplicity of it all. This spot is also known for having the best seafood in the world so why not give it a try for yourself?

National War Museum

At the corner of North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, you can find the National War Museum. This commemorates those who died in WWI and is the ideal place for you to go and pay your respects. There is a beautiful sculpture with carvings inside and you can go in and read the names of the Australian fallen soldiers.

Bibliotheca Bar and Book Exchange

This is a cool place to check out, especially if you love booze and books. It looks and feels like an old English library complete with leather couches and dark wooden bookshelves. You can bring in your books to trade, which is super cool and you can also enjoy the array of available drinks.

This is an 80-year-old merry-go-round with beautiful handcrafted wooden horses to ride on. Kids love this location and the carousel is the largest of its kind in Australia. There are lots of other things to do close by too including a playground, waterslide, skate park, bouncy castle, and beach so you can make this a full day out for the family.

Go on Linear Park Trail

This trail is 12km from Adelaide center to the river mouth at Henley Beach. It is a flat and easy trip so is ideal for the entire family to enjoy. Whether you want to ride a bicycle or walk this trail, give it a go and get some exercise during your trip.

National Railway Museum

The national railway museum at Port Adelaide is a great spot for train enthusiasts and it has many different trains from a lot of different eras. This museum is home to over 100 different exhibits and you can ride a small train around the whole museum or take a train to the coast of Semaphore with amazing views along the way.

Gorge Wildlife Park

If you have always wanted to hold a koala in your arms, this is the place to do just that. This is the type of place that the whole family enjoys and there are lots of other native animals to check out too. This wildlife park is vast and the animals here are very happy, which makes it even more special.

Visit Plant 4

For foodies, this is a place that is worth visiting. This is a food market that is just outside the city of Bowden. There are all kinds of food sold here and you can also enjoy some samples. This is quite new but is proving popular, especially with younger people. It has a great atmosphere so make sure to check it out for yourself.

This list of things to do in Adelaide should hopefully give you more than enough ideas of different activities you want to do and sights you want to see during your time in the city. As you can see, there is something for everyone so plan your trip today and get ready for the time of your life in this incredible location.

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