Adelaide is the charming and fascinating capital city of South Australia. With a beautiful riverside location, easy access to beaches, a laid-back lifestyle, and plenty of intriguing culture, Adelaide is definitely one of Australia’s best cities to visit. As you’d expect from any large city, there’s plenty of fun things to do in Adelaide, along with lots of sightseeing Adelaide options, tours, attractions, and much more. So if you’re wondering what to do in Adelaide, read on for our mega-post of fun things to do around Adelaide!
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Adelaide Central Business District (CBD)
The downtown area of Adelaide, usually referred to as the CBD or Central Business District, has plenty of attractions to suit all budgets and tastes.
1. Adelaide Oval
The magnificent Adelaide Oval is one of Australia’s great sporting venues. Hosting a variety of sports and other events, the Oval has a beautiful riverside location and is easy to access from the CBD. The atmosphere is always electric, so catching a game is highly recommended. Sports fans will love the Stadium Tour, including behind-the-scenes areas and the Bradman Collection. And thrill-seekers should head for the Rooftop Experience, an epic two-hour walk atop the grandstands, with spectacular views of the ground, the River Torrens, and the city.
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2. Adelaide Central Markets
Located in central Adelaide, right near Victoria Square, Adelaide Central Markets ranks among the country’s best food markets. One of the best Adelaide tourist attractions, with over 150 years of history and more than 70 vendors, the Markets is a great place to grab a huge range of fresh food – meat, seafood, smallgoods, fruit and vegetables, along with excellent cafes and restaurants. Just outside the market you’ll find Adelaide’s Chinatown district, with tasty foods from all across Asia. To get the most out of Adelaide Central Markets, consider doing a breakfast tour or lunch tour, taking advantage of local knowledge.
3. Adelaide Gaol
The historic Adelaide Gaol is one of the more unusual Adelaide attractions. Constructed in the 1840s, the Gaol operated right through until 1988. With fascinating colonial architecture, lurid history, and frequent ghost sightings, touring Adelaide Gaol is definitely one of the best places to see in Adelaide. To get the most out of a visit, it’s strongly recommended to take a tour and enjoy the stories of days gone by.
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Guided Adelaide City Tours - Include:
There’s so many great places to visit in Adelaide, that picking out the best places to visit in Adelaide can be quite difficult. For a comfortable trip around the highlights, taking a guided coach tour is a great option. A typical guided tour will visit some of Adelaide’s most impressive landmarks, including:
4. South Australian Museum
The South Australian Museum is dedicated mostly to natural history, and is one of Australia’s most visited museums. It holds the world’s largest collection of Aboriginal Australian artefacts, and an impressive array of objects from Ancient Egypt, Australia’s polar exploration, and Pacific culture among many others.
5. Art Gallery of South Australia
The Art Gallery of South Australia is Australia’s second-largest art gallery, with a collection of around 47,000 pieces. Inside, you’ll find works by renowned Australian artists like Sidney Nolan, Russell Drysdale, Arthur Streeton, and Margaret Preston, shown alongside well known international artists like Goya, Rodin, and van Dyck. There’s also well-regarded collections of indigenous, Asian, and Islamic art too.
6. State Library of South Australia
Located in a grand collection of buildings along North Terrace, the State Library of South Australia is the state’s official public document repository. With a huge collection of historic materials like books, magazines, pamphlets, journals and more, it’s a great spot to explore and soak in the rich history of South Australia.
7. St Peter’s Cathedral
Adelaide is unofficially known as the “City of Churches”, and St Peter’s Cathedral is one of the most impressive in the city. Built in the late 19th century and modelled roughly on Notre-Dame de Paris, St Peter’s is one of Adelaide’s iconic Anglican churches. Services are run daily, and interior tours are also available.
8. Leafy North Adelaide
Sometimes there’s no better way to understand a city than to visit its peaceful suburbs. Quiet and leafy North Adelaide is one of the nicest areas of the whole city, with lots of green space and small historic buildings. Head north across the Torrens, past the Oval and St Peters, and just start exploring – it’s difficult to go wrong!
9. Haigh’s Chocolates (factory tour)
South Australia is home to many of Australia’s most beloved products, and one of the best is Haigh’s Chocolates. An independent family-run company that’s been producing chocolate in Adelaide for over 100 years, Haigh’s is considered one of Australia’s best chocolatiers. Their factory in central Adelaide is well worth a visit, with tours and tastings available. And of course, there’s a well-stocked gift shop!
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Self-Guided Adelaide City Tours - Include:
Joining a tour isn’t for everyone, but there’s still something to be said for having a local guide. However, a self-guided walk with audio commentary delivered via a smartphone app offers the best of both worlds. This self-guided walking tour of central Adelaide covers bustling:
10. Victoria Square (Tarntanyangga)
The grid plan of central Adelaide has six separate public squares. The largest square, centrally located in the CBD, is Victoria Square or Tarntanyangga. Still the city’s largest and most important meeting place, the square has statues, fountains, and green spaces. And for the geographically curious, it’s also home to South Australia’s original survey mark – everything in the state was planned in relation to this point!
11. St Francis Xavier Cathedral
Another of Adelaide’s great churches, the imposing St Francis Xavier Cathedral stands adjacent to Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga. A Roman Catholic cathedral, construction commenced in the 1850s, but wasn’t fully completed until 1996! It’s regarded as an excellent example of Neo-Gothic architecture, and is one of central Adelaide’s most beautiful buildings.
12. Adelaide Festival Centre
Adelaide is one of Australia’s great performing arts hubs, and the Adelaide Festival Centre is at the heart of that. A large complex right on the riverbank, the Centre is home to several theatres, playhouses, exhibition spaces, bars, and restaurants. With everything from opera to theatre, music to comedy, and plenty in between, the Festival Centre is a great spot to discover Adelaide’s incredible performance culture.
13. Rundle Mall
Rundle Mall is the CBD’s main shopping district. A wide pedestrian mall that runs for several city blocks, Rundle Mall is home to shops of all kinds. You’ll find large department stores, luxury boutiques, bargain stores, cafes, restaurants, pubs, and much more. There’s some fantastic public art on display, and it’s also the perfect location to relax and watch the world pass by.
14. Migration Museum
Almost 30% of South Australians were born overseas, and nearly 50% have at least one parent born outside Australia, making migration a key part of the Australian experience. The Migration Museum aims to showcase the stories and experiences of those who made the long journey Down Under; from those seeking fortunes in the 19th century, to those escaping conflict in the 21st century.
15. Parliament House
One of the grandest buildings in Adelaide, Parliament House (technically “New Parliament House”) is located on the northern edge of the CBD. With an impressive columned facade built from granite and marble, the House was constructed in stages between 1874 and 1939. As the legislative centre of South Australia, it’s a fascinating place to visit and watch democracy in action.
The tour also covers previously-mentioned highlights like the Central Market, South Australian Museum, and St Peter’s Cathedral.
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16. Riverbank Precinct
Central Adelaide sits directly on the Torrens River, surrounded by parklands, bike and walking paths, and some of the city’s most important buildings.
17. Adelaide Zoo
The impressive Adelaide Zoo, with a huge assortment of Australian and international animals (including the only giant pandas in Australia!) is located directly on the riverbank, and one of the top Adelaide attractions.
18. Adelaide Botanic Garden
Right next door is the beautiful Adelaide Botanic Garden, featuring a range of plants, flowers, and gardens. The nearby Bicentennial Conservatory with its enormous greenhouse and collection of tropical plants is worth a look too.
19. River Cruising
For a relaxing afternoon, consider taking a River Torrens Sightseeing Cruise, which also features the Adelaide Gaol, Adelaide Oval, and Adelaide Festival Centre too.
You’ve also got the option of smaller scale river cruises, like a High Tea Cruise on Popeye, renting one of the small BBQ boats known as BBQ Buoys and cruising around yourself, or doing a Kayaking Experience. And of course, the ever-popular Segway Guided Tour runs up and down the Riverbank Precinct, showing all of the highlights with none of the walking.
20. Ayers House
Built in the 1870s, Ayers House is a gorgeous colonial Victorian mansion located right in the heart of Adelaide. One of the city’s premier events spaces, it’s a great spot to relax with high tea, Christmas drinks, or a cheeky cocktail.
21. Adelaide Himeji Garden
Lovers of Japanese gardens will be enchanted with Adelaide Himeji Garden, a tranquil and refreshing oasis on the southern fringe of the Adelaide CBD. Featuring all the traditional elements of Japanese gardens, Adelaide Himeji Garden is definitely one of the best things to see in Adelaide.
22. National Wine Centre of Australia
The National Wine Centre of Australia is definitely one of the top Adelaide must see attractions. Located in the north-east of the CBD, just near the Botanic Gardens, the National Wine Centre is an exhibition centre that showcases Australian (and particularly South Australian) wine. Featuring tasting rooms, winemaking displays, and information about different wine varieties, the Wine Centre is a must do in Adelaide for any vino lover.
MOD (short for Museum of Discovery), is one of the more unusual attractions in Adelaide. Part of the University of South Australia, MOD is a museum about the future of science and technology, squarely aimed at young adults (aged roughly 15-25). With lots of interactivity, a continuously revolving door of exhibits, and no entry fees, MOD is definitely one of the best things to do in Adelaide for free.
24. TreeClimb Adelaide
Located in the Parklands just south of the CBD, TreeClimb Adelaide is an exciting adventure experience that’s great for the whole family. With a series of rope courses running between treetop platforms, connected with rope nets, swinging bridges, and zip-lines, TreeClimb Adelaide offers a great way to get fit and connect with nature. There’s separate courses for adults and kids, and of course a full safety briefing is included.
25. Escape Rooms
Escape Rooms have recently exploded in popularity, and can be a great way to exercise your brain in a new and interesting way. With 60 minutes to escape from a locked room by solving a series of puzzles, doing an escape room is fun for both families and friend groups alike. So if you’d like to try one of the most fun activities in Adelaide, consider checking out this Escape Room experience!
26. Tunnel Tours
The Old Adelaide Treasury building is one of the city’s finest historic sites, steeped in history and fascinating stories. Underneath the building is a labyrinth of once-secret tunnels, connecting various parts of the building and allowing both goods and people to move around undisturbed. Exploring old buildings and tunnels is always fascinating, so this Old Treasury & Tunnel Tour definitely ranks among the best activities to do in Adelaide.
27. Street Art Experience
Like most big cities, Adelaide has a vibrant street art scene. With everything from large murals to smaller spray pieces, exploring the city’s street art provides a unique perspective on life and culture. A guided tour is recommended to easily find the coolest spots, and this 90-minute Pedicab (some cycling you around) Tour is one of the best. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the city’s thriving art.
28. Gouger Street Restaurant Precinct
Australians are well known as serious foodies, and Adelaide is home to some of the country’s top restaurants. There are several great restaurant precincts in Adelaide, and Gouger Street is among the best. Centred on Chinatown, Gouger Street naturally features many styles of Asian cuisine, including Thai, Vietnamese, Malay, Indian, and many regional flavours types of Chinese too. But it’s not just Asian food! Gouger Street also dishes up Italian, Argentinian, French, and American, to name just a few. There’s also several bars and clubs in the area if you’re looking to make a night of it!
29. Rundle Street Restaurant Precinct
Another of Adelaide’s excellent restaurant areas is Rundle Street East, right near Rundle Mall in the CBD. In the short span of a few blocks you’ll find restaurants from all over the world, serving delicious food and inspiring drinks. Whether you’re craving a burger, a mezze platter, vegan goodies, Korean fried chicken, some Afghan curry, or just a flat white, exploring Rundle Street’s endless food varieties is recommended as one of the best fun places to go in Adelaide.
Along The Coast
One of Adelaide’s greatest features is the seemingly endless strip of beaches running along the city’s western edge. With spectacular sunsets, inviting water, cool cafes and suburbs, the coastline is one of the best places to go in Adelaide.
Technically on the Fleurieu Peninsula, the southern beaches of Adelaide are some of the best city beaches in Australia. I mean I am a little bit bias but I stand by my call. Even though they are on the Fleurieu they are essentially still suburbs of Adelaide so still being included here.
30. Drive on Moana Beach
Vehicle access is allowed on Moana Beach between 5:30am and 12 midnight. There is no better way than spending a hot summers day on the beach with all the creature comforts you need by having your car with you. Please note there is a charge to drive your car onto the beach.
31. Snorkel at Port Noarlunga
A lovely reef is located at the end of the Port Noarlunga jetty making snorkelling or scuba diving easily accessible. Home to more than 200 species of marine plants and animals and over 50 species of fish this reef is a must see. If you are a beginner I suggest staying on the beach side of the reef, where it is more protected.
32. Check Out The Hallett Cove Conservation Park
With evidence of an Australian ice age some 280 million years ago the Hallett Cove Conservation Park is a must see. The outstanding glacial pavements along the cliff tops are known to be the best record of Permian glaciation in Australia. The walks and views from this park are also a must see.
Heading Further South? Things To Do On The Fleurieu Peninsula - COMING SOON
Glenelg, Brighton & Seacliff
Glenelg is probably the best known spot along Adelaide’s coast. Within easy reach of the city, there’s plenty of things to do in Glenelg.
33. Catch The Tram or Cycle
Catch the famous Glenelg Tram from the CBD, or do a Glenelg Bike Tour from the city and enjoy the suburbs of Adelaide making your way to Glenelg.
34. Do A Cruise
The sunsets along Adelaide’s coasts are absolutely epic, so a Sunset Catamaran Cruise from Glenelg is a great way to finish off a day. Whereas for nature lovers, wild dolphins are a common sight off the beaches, so a Dolphin Watching Cruise is a must do.
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35. The Beachhouse
If you’ve got a younger crowd with you, don’t miss Beachouse on the foreshore at Glenelg. It’s a family amusement park, with classic favourites like bumper cars, water slides, mini golf, and arcade games, and it’s among the top Glenelg attractions.
36. Jetty Road Glenelg
While you’re at Glenelg, be sure to stroll down Jetty Road, checking out the excellent shops and restaurants that line the street. There’s a mouth-watering array of cuisines and styles, with a range of choices for all budgets. Once sated, pop into one of the many boutique clothing stores before browsing the art galleries.
37. Jetty Road Brighton
A couple of suburbs south from Glenelg is where you’ll find Brighton, and another Jetty Road. Packed full of cafes, Jetty Road in Brighton is the perfect spot for grabbing a morning cuppa with a pastry, and watching the world wake up.
38. Coastal Walk
If you’re feeling more active, doing the picturesque Seacliff to Glenelg coastal walk is one of the cool things to do in Adelaide. Roughly six kilometres in length, the coastal walk runs through beaches, dunes, parks, bush and headlands, and along the way you’ll see plenty of sculptures, information signs, Aboriginal cultural sites and Brighton Jetty. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon, and is best finished off with a celebratory drink (or several!) in Glenelg.
West Beach & Henley Beach
West Beach is located along Adelaide’s coast, just north of Glenelg. It’s a chilled-out beach suburb, with plenty of sand, sun, and good times. Whereas Henley Beach is further north full or great cafes and restaurants.
39. Mega Adventure
The main highlight here is Mega Adventure, a large climbing and aerial adventure complex located just off the beach. With rope platforms, swings, high wires, suspended ladders and more, it’s an adrenaline-packed way to spend the afternoon.
40. Jetski Adventure
And the thrills continue out on the water, with West Beach Jetski Adventure. If you’ve never ridden a jet ski before, there’s no better place to check it out!
41. Henley Square
Henley Square is a precinct filled with restaurants that overlook the water and jetty. There is also an epic water feature that kids love to splash about in. Whether a restaurant tickles your fancy or fish and chips on the beach (or grass) Henley Square is a great place to relax.
At the northern end of Adelaide’s coast is where you’ll find Port Adelaide, a pleasant former industrial area that has plenty of entertaining things to do.
42. Port River Cruise
It’s a great place for getting out on the water, and there’s no better way to do that than a Port River Cruise. Spend a relaxing couple of hours on an impressive tall ship, cruising up and down the river.
43. Dolphin Kayaking Tour
Or for something a bit smaller in scale, a Dolphin Kayaking Tour gives you the chance to get up close and personal with inquisitive river dolphins.
On dry land, two of the best things to do in Port Adelaide are the Maritime Museum, with its impressive displays of local shipping history, and the National Railway Museum, featuring over 100 displays of locomotives and carriages.
Just across the Port Adelaide river is where you’ll find Semaphore, another of Adelaide’s great beach communities.
45. Semaphore Beach
There’s plenty of things to do along the Semphore Foreshore. Like hitting the waterslides, exploring the historic jetty, relaxing on the sand, playing mini-golf, or riding the vintage carousel or ferris wheel.
But to really get your adrenaline going, how about a 15,000 foot Skydive over Semaphore Beach? With one of the world’s most spectacular backdrops, skydiving just got even better!
Finally, at the far northern end of Adelaide’s coastline is North Haven, home to the city’s fishing fleet. There’s a public boat ramp if you’ve got your own beautiful boat.
47. Fishing Charter
While keen anglers looking to drop a line should book a half day fishing charter. With all of the necessary gear provided, you’ll be taken about 15 kilometres offshore and guided through the process of catching tasty local fish like flathead, snapper, and King George whiting.
South Of The City
Adelaide’s southern suburbs are a fascinating mixture of leafy areas, rolling hills, and quiet suburbia. There’s plenty of interesting things to discover in this part of Adelaide.
48. Belair National Park
In the south-eastern corner is the suburb of Belair, nestled at the foot of the Mount Lofty Ranges. Here you’ll find Belair National Park, an undisturbed patch of green space on the edge of the city. Highlights here include the Valley Loop Walk, and the Waterfall Hike which covers the park’s waterfalls and beautiful forested areas.
49. Windy Point Lookout
On Belair Road, about 15 minutes from the city there is a parking spot known as Windy Point (due to the lovely Windy Point restaurant, also located there). On a clear day you can you can see as far as Port Adelaide, probably further, with also fantastic views over the city and the ocean. At night the city light up the sky and it really is a beautiful spot to take in the city of Adelaide.
50. Wittunga Botanic Gardens
Found in the suburb of Blackwood, the 13-hectare Wittunga Botanic Garden is a beautiful little spot in the heart of suburbia. You will find extensive water-wise plants from Australia and South Africa, an extensive collection of plants from Kangaroo Island and the Fleurieu Peninsula and a butterfly garden among other things.
The Marion area (actually Oaklands Park), but known fondly to locals as Marion has a lot of great things to do.
51. Westfield Marion Shopping Centre
You’ll find plenty of things to do in Marion at Adelaide’s largest shopping mall, Westfield Marion. Packed with shops, restaurants and cafes, it’s the perfect place to shop till you drop.
52. SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre
Nearby is the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre, a large modern swimming and fitness complex with multiple pools and gyms. With an olympic sized swimming pool, multiple other deep and shallow pools, there is something for everyone. Not to mention the diving boards, steam rooms, sauna, gym, creche and even a cafe. It has everything you need.
53. X Golf
Or if you’d rather work on your swing, consider checking out some Indoor Golf (X-Golf). You get all the fun of working on your swing, but without the hassle of flies and sunburn!
Heading Further South? Things To Do On The Fleurieu Peninsula - COMING SOON
East Of The City
Adelaide is bordered to the east by the imposing Mount Lofty Ranges, with the rolling green hills visible from most parts of the city.
54. Waterfall Gully
One of Adelaide’s top attractions is Waterfall Gully, home to the Waterfall Gully Hike. This is a challenging 2.5 hour, 4.5 kilometre trail that runs from Waterfall Gully, up to the summit of Mount Lofty. It features spectacular views, awesome nature, and incredible waterfalls, and is one of Adelaide’s most beloved and popular walks.
55. The Parade
With your exercise done and dusted, head to the inner east suburb of Norwood and its buzzing main street, The Parade. This long shopping street is home to excellent restaurants, chic fashion stores, boutique business, trendy bars, lively pubs, and some of Adelaide’s coolest cafes. There’s a genuine vibe to the area, and easily tops the list of cool places in Adelaide.
Heading Further East? Things To Do In The Adelaide Hills COMING SOON
North Of The City
Adelaide’s northern suburbs are one of the fastest growing areas of the city, which makes sense once you discover all of the fascinating things to do in the area.
56. Latitude Air
One of the best family activities in Adelaide is Latitude Air, a large indoor trampoline area in Greenacres. With over 100 connected trampolines, and areas for parkour, dodgeball and basketball, kids of all ages will have a great time.
57. Mainline Drive-In
Elsewhere, enjoy a nostalgic trip back in time and see a show at the Mainline Drive-In cinema in Gepps Cross. One of the few remaining drive-in cinemas in Australia, and the only one left in South Australia, watching a big screen without leaving the car is still a real thrill, especially for younger ones raised in the Netflix and iPads era.
58. Westfield Tea Tree Plaza Shopping Centre
And of course, if you’re still in need of a bit of retail therapy, one of the best shopping areas in Adelaide is Westfield Tea Tree Plaza (or TTP as the locals call it). You’ll find Tea Tree Plaza in Modbury, in the city’s north-east. It’s home to nearly 250 stores, including large department stores, small boutiques, restaurants, cafes, and plenty of services too.
West Of The City
Finally, there’s Adelaide’s western suburbs – the narrow but interesting area between the CBD and the beachfront districts.
Located at Marleston in the inner west, you’ll find Bounce Inc, an indoor trampoline park for kids and adults alike. With hundreds of interconnected trampolines and other activities, Bounce Inc is definitely among Adelaide’s best family-friendly activities.
60. AFL Max
Nearby, on the edge of Adelaide Airport, is AFL Max – a unique blend of sports clinic and adventure park. Focused around learning and developing the skills of AFL, Australia’s national football code, AFL Max also includes trampoline areas, inflatable obstacle courses, video games, and much more. If you’re looking for interesting things to do, AFL Max is up there as a top Adelaide attraction.
IceArena is the city’s largest ice skating facility, located in Thebarton just north-west of the CBD. There’s plenty of family-friendly stuff to do here, from free skating, to lessons, and ice hockey games.
62. Harbour Town
Outlet shopping has boomed in popularity over recent years, as people search for designer brands at budget prices. Adelaide’s best outlet shops are all located in the Harbour Town shopping precinct, at the edge of Adelaide’s airport. The outlets here sell everything from menswear, womenswear, sports equipment, homewares, outdoor gear, and plenty more. If you’re looking to pick up a bargain or two in Adelaide, it’s hard to beat Harbour Town.
Well there you have it. A HUGE list of things to do in Adelaide. If you can’t find something that interests you there I am not sure where you can. In saying that if we have missed somewhere that you love please reach out and let us know. We would love to include it. You can contact us at [email protected]