Best Places to Visit in Adelaide
Elegant and culturally rich, Adelaide lies on Australia’s rugged south coast and at the foot of the Lofty Ranges. European settlers built this neat South Australian capital with its carefully designed layout around the Parry River in Torrance/Calavera, creating a pleasant sense of order while at the same time boasting a relaxed Ambience.
Exploring Adelaide can be beneficial for all types of travelers. The city’s wide boulevards can look refreshing, and Adelaide’s rich heritage funded by mining and agriculture is still proudly displayed. Spectacular private mansions and large public buildings stand out in modern high-rise buildings. Museums, galleries, gardens and gourmet restaurants are some of the city’s best gems, and culture lovers can indulge in opera, symphonies and thriving live music.
Nature has never been this far from Adelaide. The idyllic scenery and sparkling beaches that surround the city and are just a short drive from the CBD provide a picturesque playground for outdoor residents and lucky tourists alike. Explore some of the best places to visit in this vibrant state capital with our list of the top attractions and things to do in Adelaide.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Adelaide and make your trip enjoyable.
15 Best Places to Visit in Adelaide
Here are the top 15 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Adelaide:
1. North Terrace
A tree-lined boulevard with many historical and cultural treasures, North Terrace is a great place to start your city tour. Exploring all the attractions here is one of the top things to do in the Adelaide CBD (Central Business District).
Located at the intersection of King William Street and North Terrace, the Houses of Parliament, with its massive rows of columns, is arguably Adelaide’s most imposing building. Just down the street, the State Library of South Australia, the Museum of South Australia and the Art Gallery of South Australia offers a trio of arts and culture and are three of the city’s top tourist attractions.
Adjacent to these is the main campus of the University of Adelaide, home to the Mitchell Building, one of the city’s best examples of the Gothic Revival style.
Other treasures on North Terrace include the Immigration Museum; The Historic House of Ayr; and Adelaide Botanical Gardens, Green Thumb’s Dream.
2. Botanical Gardens
Pass through the wrought iron gate at the eastern end of Beitai and enter a wonderland of botanical treasures. Established in 1855, Adelaide Botanical Gardens features educational themed plantings including medicinal plants, Mediterranean gardens, native Australian species, and wetlands designed to eventually isolate enough water to irrigate the entire site.
Santos Museum of Economic Botany provides insight into the vital role plants play in everyday life through a series of permanent collections. Other garden favorites include Palm House; a two-century-old conservatory with lowland rainforest plants; night blooming Amazonian water lilies; and Australia’s oldest fig tree path in Moreton Bay. Kids will love the Little Sprouts Kitchen Garden, which features fruit and vegetables, compost, and a worm farm.
Exploring these beautiful gardens is one of the best free things to do in Adelaide.
Ready to take care of more gardens? Lofty Hill Botanical Gardens is also worth a visit for its impressive collection of cool-climate plants and traditional rose gardens. If you’re looking for some peace in the central business district, head to Himeji Garden. This manicured Japanese Zen garden is an oasis, with lily ponds, cleverly placed stepping stones, and the soothing sound of dripping water.
Address: North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia
Official website: https://www.botanicgardens.sa.gov.au/visit/adelaide-botanic-garden
3. Art Gallery of South Australia
Located in the heart of Adelaide’s cultural district, the Art Gallery of South Australia showcases one of Australia’s finest collections of art. Built in 1881, this elegant columned Victorian building sets the tone for the exquisite works within its walls.
The collection spans 2000 years and covers all mediums, from sculpture, painting, textiles, metalwork and photography to ceramics, jewelry and furniture.
The Australian collection spans from colonial times to the present and includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. European works highlight works from the Renaissance to the present, and Asian exhibits include Australia’s only private Islamic gallery. Important North American artifacts and some evocative avant-garde sculptures are also on display.
Address: North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia
Official website: http://www.artgallery.sa.gov.au/agsa/home
4. Adelaide Oval
Stadiums aren’t always the capital’s top attraction, but Australians love their sport and stadiums are an important part of the city’s history.
Located in the heart of Adelaide’s stunning riverfront district, the stadium was built in 1871 and hosted the first Test cricket match in 1884. Since its inception, the stadium has hosted more than 16 different sports, including AFL, archery, cycling, hockey, hockey and tennis, as well as concerts and major events.
A multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2014 refurbished the venue, but still preserves the heritage-listed old scoreboard and centuries-old Moreton Bay fig tree.
If you have time, try buying tickets for sports games or events here. Cricket fans should head straight to the Bradman Museum for memorabilia about the life of Australia’s most famous cricketer.
The best way to appreciate this iconic place is to sign up for the Adelaide Oval tour. On this 90-minute guided tour, you’ll go behind the scenes, learn about the stadium’s key features, and learn fascinating stories about its history. If you are looking for unique events for sports fans in Adelaide, this should be your first choice.
Official website: https://www.adelaideoval.com.au/
5. South Australian State Library
The State Library of South Australia surprises first-time visitors with its dramatic juxtaposition of old and new. The contemporary Spence Wing has clean lines and a glass-fronted entrance, modern amenities and free Wi-Fi.
From here, ask for directions to the original library, located in the adjacent 1884 French Renaissance building known as the Mortlock Wing. Entering this great ancient space is like stepping back in time. Multi-level galleries call for heights, with elaborate wrought-iron railings and stairs to reach the leather-bound books neatly supported on wooden shelves. Highlighting this return to the old library is the flow of natural light through the glass dome of the roof.
The Mortlock Wing is also worth a visit as it houses a private collection of South Australian history. Here you can learn about the Kaurna people, the traditional guardians of the country. Be sure to look for the Kaurna Greeting Stone at the entrance to the Spence Wing and other artworks outside.
Address: North Terrace and Kintor Avenue, Adelaide
Official website: http://www.slsa.sa.gov.au/site/page.cfm
6. Adelaide Central Market
Located on the south side of Grote Street, just steps west of Victoria Square, Adelaide Central Market is one of the oldest covered markets in the world. Founded in 1870, these colorful markets are a favorite of shoppers. Come here for everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and baked goods to cheeses and mouthwatering multicultural favourites.
After browsing the produce stalls, grab a bite to eat at one of the many cafes in the area or Asian restaurants near Chinatown, and don’t forget to bring your own shopping bag or cart.
The market is open from Tuesday to Saturday. But to get the best price, try to come here on a Saturday afternoon when some suppliers have dropped their prices significantly to transport their products.
Location: Between Gouger and Grote Street, Adelaide, South Australia
Official website: http://www.adelaidecentralmarket.com.au/
On the sheltered and surf-free St Vincent Bay, the seaside village of Glenelg is a popular escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. To get here, most visitors choose to take the 25-minute journey on Adelaide’s only surviving tram, which departs from Victoria Square in the city centre.
In addition to its beach appeal and numerous tourist attractions, Glenelg has a fascinating history. The first free settlers landed here from HMS Buffalo in Halfast Bay, making it the oldest European settlement on mainland South Australia.
Sidewalk cafes, boutique hotels, and lively summer entertainment create a resort atmosphere. Looking for family-friendly Adelaide attractions? Kids can get an adrenaline rush at The Beachouse, an amusement park filled with toys like a giant waterslide, bumper boats and a Ferris wheel.
Those who want a quieter visit can sunbathe on the beach or fish from the pier. Sailing and swimming with dolphins are other popular activities in Glenelg.
8. Adelaide Zoo
Adelaide Zoo is adjacent to the Adelaide Botanical Gardens to the northwest and is loved for its educational focus and fascinating collection of animals. It was founded in the late 19th century.
The giant panda is the star here and is suitable for all ages. Other popular residents include orangutans, koalas, meerkats, lemurs, and colorful feathered friends in the aviary. Also be sure to stop by the Envirodome, an interactive visitor center with vertical gardens and terrariums.
Enhance your visit by signing up for an interactive animal experience. Choose between lion or tiger encounters; mingle with meerkats, lemurs or red pandas; be face to face with giraffes and more.
Looking for things to do with young children in Adelaide? They’ll love the petting zoo, where they can cuddle, kiss, and feed kangaroos, quokkas, and wallabies, along with a group of furry farm friends.
Visiting this place is one of Adelaide’s most popular family activities and is just a 10-minute walk from Adelaide’s Central Business District.
Address: Frome Road, Adelaide, South Australia
Official website: http://www.adelaidezoo.com.au/
9. Feed the kangaroos at Cleland Wildlife Park
Cleland Wildlife Park takes care of a group of cute and adorable Australian animals in their natural habitat. You won’t find many bullets here. Instead, kangaroos, kangaroos, kangaroos and emus roam freely in the vast area where you can roam, feed and enjoy close encounters among them.
Photographers will have the opportunity to capture great shots, and interactive breeder presentations will provide interesting details about the animals and their habitats. For an additional fee, you can hug a koala and take home a souvenir photo.
Located on the northwest slope of Mount Lofty, Cleland Zoo is less than 20 minutes’ drive from the city center. This is one of the most popular things to do in Adelaide Hills.
Address: 365 Mount Lofty Summit Road, Crafers, South Australia
Official website: https://www.clelandwildlifepark.sa.gov.au/
10. See a show at the Adelaide Festival Center
Just 5 minutes walk from North Terrace and Rundle Mall, Adelaide Festival Center excites locals and visitors alike with its vibrant cultural calendar. Australia’s first multi purpose arts venue, the white tent-like roof structure is a unique landmark along the Torrens/Karrawirra Parri River.
In addition to the large 2,000-seat festival theater, the venue includes several smaller theatres, ballrooms, light-filled galleries, and an amphitheater for concerts and recitals.
The center hosts the prestigious Adelaide Arts Festival, also known as the Adelaide Arts Festival, which hosts theatre, opera, ballet, exhibitions, lectures and recitals by writers. Those who don’t have time for the event can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the locker room and performance area.
Ample parking and easy transport links add to the appeal of this versatile venue.
Address: King William Street, Adelaide, South Australia
Official website: http://www.adelaidefestivalcentre.com.au/
11. Ayers History Museum
Ayers House is one of the finest examples of Regency architecture in Australia. Originally built in 1846, the humble home was owned by Henry Ayers, who was Prime Minister of South Australia for many years from 1855 to 1878. Ayers transformed it into an elegant 40-room mansion with a large new restaurant and ballroom.
It is now owned by the South Australian National Trust and is a popular venue for events, but you can visit the house on a guided tour. During the tour, you will learn great information about the social history of the period and the life and work of Sir Henry Ayers.
The interior is known for its decorative painted finishes on the interior walls and ceiling. On display is a fine collection of period decorative arts, furniture, silverware, and art as well as changing exhibits.
Address: 288 North Terrace, Adelaide, South Australia
Official website: http://www.ayershousemuseum.org.au/
12. People-Watch in Victoria Square
In the city centre, at the intersection of Grote Street and Wakefield Street, King William Street leads into the renovated Victoria Square, also known by its Aboriginal name Tarndanyangga. With beautifully appointed gardens, this event venue is a popular hangout and a great place to hang out and watch the world go by.
The children shrieked with joy as they entered and exited the fountain. Workers come here for picnics and many events and festivals are held here throughout the year.
Several beautiful 19th-century buildings are overshadowed by a modern high-rise block that includes the Adelaide Hilton. To the south is the imposing District Court (1851) and the Neoclassical High Court (1868) with Doric columns.
On the east side of Victoria Square, adjacent to City Hall, the Treasury Building and St. Francis Xavier Cathedral (1856-1926). Other features of the square include a statue of Queen Victoria and a fascinating fountain by John Dowie, whose figures represent South Australia’s three main rivers: Murray, Torrance and Onkaparinga.
Victoria Square is also home to the popular Adelaide Central Market, and the city’s only standing tram runs from the square to the seaside suburb of Glenelg. North of Victoria Square, the busy pedestrian-only Rundle mall lies east of King William Street and is lined with department stores, boutiques and arcades.
13. Port Adelaide
Port Adelaide is a popular tourist destination with its museums, restaurants and well-preserved historic buildings. You’ll find it about 14 kilometers northwest of the city centre.
Much of the town is a National Heritage Site, and many magnificent 19th-century buildings testify to the city’s early prosperity as a thriving port. Major sights include the 1879 Customs House and the Courthouse.
Looking for something to do with your family? Popular attractions include dolphin watching cruises and a number of interesting transportation-themed museums, including the National Railroad Museum; the South Australian Aviation Museum; and the South Australian Maritime Museum, where you can browse interesting exhibits about the area’s maritime history.
Seafood lovers head to Fisherman’s Wharf market on Sundays to buy freshly caught fish straight from the boat.
14. Fleurieu Peninsula
Less than an hour south of Adelaide’s city centre, the Fleurieu Peninsula is one of Adelaide’s most popular day-trip destinations. Rolling hills, farms, gorgeous surf beaches and fine dining attract foodies and city visitors looking for a slower pace.
Victor Harbor is one of the largest and most popular towns on this rugged peninsula. From here you can take a seasonal whale watching cruise or fishing boat, surf a giant wave off the South Shore, paddle off a windy beach, or take a horse-drawn tram to Granite Island and its dwindling habitat for little penguins.
Goolwa on the Murray River is another popular peninsula town, as are the inner towns of Strathalbyn and Compass Mountain.
In the beautiful Adelaide Hills, about 20 minutes from the city centre, Hahndorf is the oldest surviving German settlement in Australia. It was founded in 1839 by German Protestants from East Prussia. Tree-lined streets, half-timbered houses, and pointed Lutheran churches lend the city a rustic European charm, and the many farms and German restaurants will delight foodies.
A good place to start your tour is the former 1857 schoolhouse that houses the visitor center and Hahndorf College, an art gallery featuring local artists.
Hahndorf is best known for one of its talented residents, Sir Hans Heysen (1877-1968), a German-born landscape painter who came to Australia in 1883 and later settled in the suburbs of Hahndorf. An Alpine-style house was built. Today, you can take a guided tour of his home and studio, Cedars, and wander through the colorful gardens to admire some of his paintings.
Spend a relaxing day wandering around this quaint village, picking fruit at the surrounding farms, browsing the craft shops and galleries, and dining at the excellent restaurants.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Adelaide. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Adelaide, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.