There is a reason that Adelaide – the capital of South Australia – continues to grow in popularity, particularly as a weekend travel destination.
Credit: South Australia Tourism
More and more travellers are flocking to Adelaide for the world-famous wine regions, glistening beaches, the up-and-coming bar and dining scene, and charming surrounding suburbs that feel more like charming old towns.
The best part of Adelaide? Everything is within easy reach. Unlike larger capital cities Melbourne and Sydney, where traffic and sprawling streets mean you could be travelling for hours, Adelaide is small and simple to navigate. The city is compact, the beach is 20 minutes away, and the airport is in between them. It’s only 45-60 minutes to wine country.
It’s little wonder people are adding Adelaide to their travel list. It’s perfect for a weekend escape with your partner, family, or friends, and you can see it all in a short amount of time.
Things to do and see in Adelaide
The most famous sporting ground in Adelaide hosting footy, cricket and concerts, this ground is also home to the Oval Hotel. For an unforgettable experience, take part in a roof climb, and view Adelaide from an incredible vantage point.
National Wine Centre of Australia
South Australia is home to award winning wineries, so it’s no surprise that the National Wine Centre is located here. Learn about the wine making process, taste wines in the Wined Bar, and explore the vineyard that surrounds the centre – right in the centre of Adelaide.
St Francis Xavier Cathedral
Adelaide is also known as the City of Churches; so, it should come as no surprise to see a church on this list. St Francis Xavier is a gothic style cathedral and has a beautiful interior and exterior to see.
The Malls Balls
Find this popular meeting spot in Rundle Mall and admire the impressively large and modern artwork. The artwork by Bert Fluglemen is officially named The Spheres, but locals quickly gave it their own name.
South Australian Museum
General admission is free to the 5 floors of this natural history museum. Take your time making your way through and learn about the fascinating history and evolution of humans, animals, and the earth.
Art Gallery of South Australia
Only minutes from the South Australian Museum, the art gallery is home to an exquisite collection of almost 50,000 artworks.
Adelaide Botanic Gardens
These public gardens are the perfect place for an afternoon picnic, a morning walk with a coffee or even for a birthday party in the sunshine. The gardens are maintained year-round and boast beautiful florals and structures. The Bicentennial Conservatory is an impressive glasshouse.
Stop in and see the animal enclosures just north of the city centre at the Adelaide Zoo. See the giant panda, baboons, penguins, tigers and more. Great fun for the whole family.
Adelaide and its people love a festival. Events run throughout the year, so be sure to check in with what’s on when you visit the city.
Adelaide Fringe Festival
A massive arts festival running from February to March each year. This is one of the best events of the year, drawing hundreds of thousands of patrons to enjoy summer days and nights as they browse stalls, enjoy the food trucks and pop-ups, and watch shows and exhibits.
Winter evenings come alive with incredible light installations. Walk through the open-air exhibit and add a bit of colour to the dreary winter nights.
Adelaide Film Festival
2 weeks of spotlight on Australian films, as well as screenings of international creations.
Overlapping with Adelaide Fringe, the Adelaide Festival showcases some of the most innovative work from Australian creatives.
Shopping in Adelaide
The most well-known area in Adelaide, Rundle Mall is a pedestrian only shopping street and precinct. There are over 700 retail outlets to shop, artworks to see, and a handful of dining options to stop and refuel as you shop the day away.
A premium shopping centre offering a carefully curated selection of lifestyle and fashion stores, less than 10 minutes from the CBD. The only Zara in Adelaide is in Burnside.
Adelaide Central Market
A favourite for locals and visitors, the Adelaide Central Market is open Tuesday through Saturday. Vendors sell the finest and freshest produce. Find everything from meat, dairy products, seasonings, health foods, fruit and vegetables, baked goods, nuts, and flowers.
Where to eat and drink in Adelaide
An Italian themed menu, in a funky fit out inspired by New York. This restaurant is often on the top of the list for foodies visiting Adelaide.
Thai cuisine served on the outskirts of the CBD.
As the name suggests, enjoy African inspired dishes, in a lively and vibrant space.
A rustic bar inspired restaurant with Japanese grill cuisine.
Bread and Bone
Found on the bustling Peel St, Bread and Bone is a contemporary and industrial spot, serving American style cuisine. Think hot dogs, burgers, and great cocktails.
Leigh Street Wine Room
Wine bars are becoming a popular option for a relaxed drink at the end of the day. Leigh Street Wine Room is the perfect place to taste some of Adelaide’s best local wines in a chic setting.
On Peel St, Paloma is a relaxed bar, with great drinks and a delicious food menu with a range of nibbles and bigger eats.
Bank Street Social
An edgy underground bar with craft beer and pizza bar. Best of both worlds.
Pair your wine tastings with small Mediterranean dishes in a modern, open space.
Inspired by the charm and personality of New Orleans, NOLA is fast becoming one of Adelaide’s best night spots.
Adelaide Surrounding Suburbs and Hidden Gems
The charming, tree-lined streets of Stirling feel a world away from the city. Stop for a coffee in a cosy café and chat with friendly locals, or shop at the boutique stores.
This unique town still firmly holds onto the European heritage. German-inspired stores, restaurants and museums are a popular attraction and Hahndorf is a favourite stop on the way to wineries.
The beachside suburb of Glenelg is trendy, lively, and particularly exceptional in the summer. Perfect for families, couples or solo travellers, the beautiful beach is serviced by eateries, bars, and stores close by. You can jump on a tram to make your way into the city from Glenelg.
Another buzzing beachside suburb. Henley is a paradise of turquoise waters, white sand, and relaxed restaurants and laidback locals.
In the eastern suburbs, Norwood Parade is a busy street of stores, restaurants, and the ever-popular coffee/brunch hot spot – Argo on the Parade.
The waterfront city is 20 minutes from the city. It no longer functions as a port, but instead boasts diverse culture, amazing museums, and phenomenal food outlets.
King William Road
Technically running through a few suburbs in the city’s immediate south, King William Road is a paved main road lined with stores, restaurants, pubs and lifestyle and beauty stores.
Day Trips from Adelaide
One of Australia’s most prominent wine regions, the Barossa Valley is home to famous wineries Jacob’s Creek and Penfolds.
World-class wineries and rolling lush vineyards await in McLaren Vale. Enjoy tastings at one of the many wineries.
Drive 2 hours to Cape Jervis and take the ferry across to Kangaroo Island. A paradise for wildlife and the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Kangaroo Island is rugged, scenic, and mostly uninhabited.
McLaren Vale is part of the peninsula, but there is more to discover here. Visit charming Victor Harbour or stroll along the stunning beaches.
Not a driving day trip – that will take about 8 hours – but a quick flight gets you from Adelaide to Port Lincoln in an hour. Port Lincoln has spectacular seafood and is known for shark diving – enter the water in a cage and watch as great white sharks swim around you.
Where to stay in Adelaide
As with any major city, there is accommodation to suit any budget and style in Adelaide. Hostels, self-contained apartments, or luxury hotels. Whatever your preference, there is something that will work for you.
- BIG4 West Beach Parks
- Adelaide Central YHA
- The Hotel Metropolitan
- Adelaide Riviera Hotel
- The Terrace Hotel Adelaide
- Eos by SkyCity
- Mayfair Hotel
- Hilton Adelaide
- Pullman Adelaide
How to get around Adelaide
Driving in Adelaide is straight forward and stress-free, thanks to the lack of heavy traffic most days. The streets are well signed and easy to navigate. Having a car will allow you to reach other regions of Adelaide beyond the CBD.
For those without a car, or not wanting to hire one, there are options to get around.
Adelaide is great to explore on foot. Get your step count in as you walk to all the key attractions in the city centre.
Free bus and tram services are available in the central business district. A tram can take you from the city directly to Glenelg on the beach. Trains will get you from the CBD to outer regions like Port Adelaide and Semaphore.
Uber and DiDi both operate in Adelaide and have regular wait times and prices.
Plenty of taxi’s are available in the city and at the airport.
Given the proximity to wineries, there are many tour companies that provide day trips to McLaren Vale and Barossa Valley. Take the hassle out of needing to drive and get out and enjoy your day sipping wine.
Getting to and from Adelaide Airport
The JetExpress bus takes passengers to and from the airport, stopping at multiple hotels throughout the city.
Things You Need to Know About Adelaide
Tipping is uncommon in Australia and is not customary. You are welcome to tip exceptional service if you see fit.
000 for emergency calls.
Country calling code
+61 for Australian numbers
Australia drives on the left-hand side, and drivers are on the right side of the car. If you aren’t familiar with this, be sure to practice on quiet roads first to get used to the opposite feeling. The speed limit in the CBD is 30-40km per hour due to the high pedestrian activity.
Adelaide has some of the most comfortable and consistent weather, particularly from October through to March. The good news is you can visit any time of the year, and there will be something to do. Wineries during the colder winter months are appealing – there is something about staying warm indoors, sipping on delicate red wines as the rain falls outside.
As in any city – brings the locals out of their homes and into the streets. Bars and restaurants are overflowing on weekends. The days can peak at over 40 degrees at times, fortunately everywhere has air-conditioning. The beaches are packed with sun-loving locals and travellers. The Moseley Beach Club in Glenelg is the best place to enjoy a perfect summer’s day.
Adelaide has a low crime rate, however as with visiting any large city you should always exercise caution – particularly at night and in bars and clubs.