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Things to Do in Adelaide: 14 Reasons to Visit SA's Capital

From dining at world-class wineries and restaurants to exploring pristine beaches, these are the best things to do in Adelaide on your next getaway.

Luma Restaurant and Bar

Adelaide, the once underrated small city, is now the talk of the town. Recently named Australia’s coolest city by The Wall Street Journal, Adelaide has become a destination for gastronomes and those looking for a more tranquil, nature-filled escape than the country’s big cities.

Playing host to some of the most culturally diverse events in Australia, world-renowned wineries, beautiful beaches and award-winning bars and restaurants, Adelaide should be on any Aussie’s “must-visit” list.

Rounding up the best things to do in Adelaide, we are here to tell you why your next visit to Australia's festival capital could be your best yet. 

Luma Restaurant and Bar

Have a Drink at the World's Best Bar of 2023

Which, when you have a look at the list of fine nominees, is no easy feat! Tucked inside one of Adelaide's favourite boutique hotels - The Playford MGallery - sits Luma Restaurant and Bar, a stunning Art Nouveau-style all-day venue.

Luma recently received the top honour at the prestigious and internationally recognised Restaurant and Bar Design Awards.

Storming ahead of venues from the USA, Middle East, China and Europe, Luma stood out thanks to its unique light design and impeccable food and drink offering - so we believe it's worth stopping for a drink (or two).

120 North Terrace, Adelaide

Adelaide Central Market

Stroll Through a Weekend Market

With a community that loves to support local, markets are an integral part of Adelaide's DNA, with Adelaide CBD, suburbs and the Adelaide Hills holding regular market days.

Stalls are filled with artisanal goods, local produce, homewares, gifts and clothing, and strolling through the aisles of offerings is one of our favourite things to do in Adelaide.

The Adelaide Farmer's Market at the Showgrounds is an open-air weekly market with a selection of baked goods, produce, dairy and flowers and the Stirling Market in the Adelaide Hills is held once a month with a wide variety of stalls. The Adelaide Central Market is open and buzzing six days a week, with just about anything you could need.

Granite Island (Image credit: Trent John Martin Via South Australia Tourism Commission)

Set Off on an Epic Day Trip 

You could spend an entire month doing day trips from Adelaide and still have so much ground to cover. South Australia is home to breathtaking scenery, making it the perfect place to hire a car and venture out on a day trip.

Whether you want to hike through the Mount Lofty Ranges, sip on wine in the Adelaide Hills, spend the day beach-hopping or explore a National Park, the variety of day trips Adelaide has on offer is unparalleled. 

Adelaide Zoo

Visit Adelaide Zoo and Gorge Wildlife Park

Have an animal lover in your clan? They’ll love a trip to the Adelaide Zoo or Gorge Wildlife Park. The Adelaide Zoo is conveniently located on the city fringe and is home to animals from across the globe, including African lions, Giant pandas, giraffes and meerkats.

There are animal encounters for the kids brave enough to get up close and have a go at feeding a giraffe or having a cheeky meerkat climbing along their shoulders.

A little further east, the kids can cuddle a koala and hold reptiles in the privately owned animal sanctuary at Gorge Wildlife Park. 

Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens

Picnic in Adelaide's Beautiful Parks and Gardens

Pack a book and an enviable spread and head to one of Adelaide's best picnic spots for a relaxing day outdoors. Autumn is the best time to do it with the beautiful scenery of the changing leaves, slowly falling from the trees and scattering across the ground.

Our top picks for picnic spots in Adelaide include the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, Belair National Park, on the grassy banks along the River Torrens and Himeji Garden.

Alpha Box and Dice

Sip & Swill Your Way Through World-class Wine Regions

With 4 regions to choose from, and some of the best wineries only 45 minutes away, no guide of things to do in Adelaide is complete without mentioning the amazing wineries.

Between the world-famous Barossa Valley and its award-winning darker reds, the Rieslings of Clare Valley, smooth Grenache in McLaren Vale and delicious drops of all kinds from boutique wineries in the Adelaide Hills – there is something for every palate.  

You can enjoy a relaxed day of cellar door hopping at McLaren Vale favourites Chalk Hill and Alpha Box and Dice, or splurge on a degustation at the likes of Hardy’s Verandah Restaurant or Fino at Seppeltsfield in the Barossa Valley.

For a deep dive into South Australian wine without the drive, the National Wine Centre hosts tastings, tours and experiences daily. 

Adelaide Oval

Sport is Bigger and Better in Adelaide

While Melbourne is well known as the sporting capital of Australia, recent additions to Adelaide's sporting fixtures have been drawing in the sporty crowd.

With regular rounds of AFL and cricket at the Adelaide Oval, races at Morphettville, cycling events around town, LIV Golf, the VAILO Adelaide 500 and AFL's Gather Round, there is always a match or race to see. 

Vivonne Beach, Kangaroo Island

Take a Trip to Lonely Planet’s #2 Region in the World 

Yes, you read that right! Lonely Planet has recently placed Kangaroo Island as a top regional travel destination, and we couldn’t agree more.

Off the coast of SA, Kangaroo Island is a rugged escape filled with stunning scenery and serenity. From the large population of kangaroos, famed attractions like Seal Bay and Flinders Chase National Park, plus impeccably clear waters everywhere you look – this is island life at its best.  

Some of the state's most exquisite accommodations are on the island, like One KI, Stowaway, and Southern Ocean Lodge – the latter once again standing tall and as beautiful as ever after it was burnt down in the 2020 bushfires.  

Hallett Cove Boardwalk

Stay Active with Endless Hiking Trails 

You don’t have to wander too far from the city for a nature-bound adventure. Adelaide is surrounded by reserves and national parks overflowing with native bushland and wildlife, all begging to be explored.

Set out on foot to walk a network of hiking trails that lead you to impressive lookouts and take in views of Adelaide's gorges and coastlines. 

Lace-up your boots and get your steps in - we love the Mount Lofty Summit, Hallett Cove Coastal Walk, a stroll through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens and a long beach walk from Henley Beach to Glenelg.  

The Moseley Beach Club

Visit The Moseley Beach Club for a Taste of Europe

Adelaide's pristine beaches often fly under the radar, but, the Eyre, Yorke, and Fleurieu Peninsula boast some of Australia's most breathtaking shores - a day trip to any of them is easily one of the best things to do in Adelaide. 

For those short on time, The Moseley Beach Club offers a unique experience right on the sand during the summer months – the only one of its kind. Sip on a spritz, savour a bowl of chips, groove to DJ sets, and make a splash in the shimmering waters of Glenelg Beach steps away. 

Adelaide Fringe

See Why Adelaide is Called 'The Festival State'

From theatre to music, stage shows and film, Adelaide loves the arts, hosting an energetic ensemble of festivals that light up the city throughout the year. 

In winter, the city lights up with the installations and immersive experience of Illuminate, and come November, you’re invited to discover a taste of Europe and indulge in culinary delights straight out of Italy at the Adelaide Italian Festival.

Then there’s everyone's favourite event of the year– the world-renowned Adelaide Fringe. The lineup of shows, spectacular art and activations that draw crowds from around Australia never disappoints. The Fringe festivities kick off in February each year, and we highly recommend getting a glimpse of the annual event that takes over the city. 

Image Credit: South Australian Museum @joeyjoenes, and Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Discover Something New without Breaking the Bank

Ticking off the best things to do in Adelaide doesn't need to cost a fortune. Home to museums, galleries and award-winning tours, you can spend a little to gain a lot.

Take an Aboriginal cultural tour with the delightful Haydyn Bromley and his team through Bookabee Australia, or join walking tours through the Adelaide Botanic Gardens that reframe the way you look at plant life and learn more about Aboriginal bush foods and plant uses.

Venture inside the South Australian Museum, while away an afternoon at the State Library of South Australia, or visit the Art Gallery of South Australia to get your art fix.

Osteria Oggi

Dine in the Restaurant Scene Rivalling the Bigger Capital Cities

The food tastes better in Adelaide. There, we said it. And don’t even get us started on the wine! Known for its abundance of fresh and tasty produce, everything from a simple spaghetti with chilli at Osteria Oggi to roast pumpkin yellow curry at Kiin and avocado on sourdough at Bloom makes an impact.

Spring and summer are the perfect seasons to enjoy alfresco dining and sensational views with a glass of South Australian Shiraz from Maxwell Wines and make your way through the city’s seriously elevated culinary offering.

Adelaide’s restaurants don’t just deliver dishes that sing with flavour, they serve stylish interiors, too. Honouring the city’s architectural history while introducing design elements from its Mediterranean migrants, Adelaide’s best restaurants are decked in natural, earthy tones, cool curves, soft greenery, and elegant limestone.

Hotel Indigo

Stay in a Centrally Located Designer Hotel

Sure, adventuring is fun when you’re on holiday, but sometimes, you want to do nothing, and have a beautiful and comfortable temporary home to put your feet up at the end of the day.

Luckily, Adelaide’s coolest hotels have got you covered.

Hotel Indigo, which boasts Adelaide’s most Instagrammable interiors, has a breezy rooftop bar perfect for a drink in the sun, two on-site restaurants and an infinity pool with a phenomenal view of Adelaide. It's next door to the Adelaide Central Market and an easy stroll from Rundle Mall. What more could you ask for?

Here for a game at Adelaide Oval? The unique address of Oval Hotel places you within minutes of the vibrant city centre, all while putting you within reach of the tranquillity of the surrounding parklands.

Ready to book your next getaway and explore the endless fun things to do in Adelaide? Virgin Australia operates domestic routes from Adelaide. With far cheaper (and quicker) flights than a trip to Europe, enjoy more spending money to wine and dine your way through the city.

If you love our guide to the best things to do in Adelaide on a holiday, check out our guides to the best wineries in the Barossa Valley and our favourite CBD wine bars.

Our Sitchu editors work hard to deliver you the best products, events and venues that we hope you will love, each one is selected independently. Sitchu may receive an affiliate commission when you follow some links.

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