Looking for the best things to do in Adelaide? South Australia’s bustling capital city has much to offer both tourists and locals alike. Whether you’re visiting for a quick weekend away or an extended stay, we’ve rounded up all our favourite activities. From amazing places to eat and drink, to family-friendly strawberry picking, via a quick stop at the zoo. Before stepping out in the city, be sure to check out our selection of the best things to do in Adelaide.
Best Things To Do In Adelaide
1. North Terrace
A handsome tree-lined boulevard graced by historic and cultural treasures, North Terrace is a great place to kick off a city tour. Parliament House, at the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace, is perhaps the most imposing building in Adelaide with its monumental colonnade. Just down the street, cheek by cheek, the State Library of South Australia, the South Australian Museum, and the Art Gallery of South Australia offer a triple dose of art and culture and are three of the city’s top attractions.
Bordering these, the main campus of the University of Adelaide hosts the Mitchell Building, one of the city’s finest examples of Gothic Revival style. Other North Terrace treasures include the Migration Museum, Ayer’s Historic House, and the Adelaide Botanic Garden, a green thumb’s dream.
2. Adelaide Central Market
Central Market touts itself as “Adelaide’s food hub”, with good reason: at 80 stalls under one roof, it’s one of Australia’s largest fresh produce markets, with a wide range of products on offer: as well as an excellent range of fruit and vegetable shops to choose from, there’s also delicious patisseries and cafes, gourmet cheeses, sweets, and a popular, delicious charcuterie.
There’s also live music every Friday, and various events throughout the year, such as cooking classes, edible-gift making, school holiday workshops for the kids, and even a vegan fest! Since most of the produce is local, shopping at the market is supporting SA growers and artisans, and it’s an environmentally friendly choice as well.
3. Botanic Garden
This 51-hectare botanic garden was first opened in 1857, with its design having been influenced by the Royal Gardens at Kew, England and Versailles, France.
Some of the structures in the garden date back to the 19th Century, such as the Palm house (a Victorian glasshouse). The National Rose Trial garden is a lovely spot: the first garden of its type in Australia, it is used to trial various international breeds of roses to establish their suitability for growing in Australia.
A panel of 10 rosarians (yep, that’s a word!) judge the roses over two growing seasons, with the results being announced at the end of the period, and the winning roses being given an award.
The bicentennial conservatory is also noteworthy as the largest single span conservatory in the Southern Hemisphere, and the home of at-risk or endangered plants from northern Australia, Indonesia, PNG, and the South Pacific.
4. Art Gallery of South Australia
In the heart of Adelaide’s cultural precinct, the Art Gallery of South Australia exhibits one of Australia’s finest art collections. The elegant, colonnaded Victorian building, established in 1881, sets the tone for the eminent works within its walls. The collection crosses all mediums, from sculpture, paintings, textiles, metalwork, and photographs to ceramics, jewelry, and furniture.
The Australian collection spans the colonial days to the present, including indigenous and Torres Strait Islander art. European works highlight pieces from the Renaissance to the present day, and Asian exhibits include Australia’s only dedicated Islamic gallery. Important North American pieces are also on display, as well as some evocative avant-garde sculptures.
5. Adelaide Oval
Stadiums aren’t always a top attraction in a capital city, but Aussies love their sports, and this venue is an important part of the city’s history. Sitting in the center of Adelaide’s attractive Riverbank Precinct, the stadium was established in 1871 and hosted its first test cricket match in 1884. Since its founding, the stadium has played host to more than 16 different sports, including AFL, archery, cycling, hockey, lacrosse, and tennis, as well as music concerts and major events.
A multi-million-dollar renovation completed in 2014 revitalized the venue, but it still features the old heritage-listed scoreboard and century-old Moreton Bay fig trees. If you have time, try to buy tickets for a sporting match or event here. Cricket fans should make a beeline for the Bradman Museum to see memorabilia on the life of Australia’s most famous cricketer.