Adelaide's best tourist attractions
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 the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb and 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. Planning on spending the night? Here are the best hotels in Adelaide, or for something a little more affordable, Adelaide's best cheap hotels.
The 9 best things to do in Adelaide
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. RECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Adelaide. Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. Find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.
The best hotels in Adelaide
What makes a great hotel? In coming up with this list of the best hotels in Adelaide we considered a mix of factors. Good location? Comfy beds? A sweet as rooftop pool? Within convenient distance to the best things to do? Maybe it's a combo of the three. Luckily Adelaide's practically swimming in great hotels. Whether you're a visitor wanting to stay bang in the centre of town, or a local in search of a cheeky staycation under an hour from the city. From the reliable and affordable to the truly luxurious, these are our picks. We've based our selection on an alchemical mix of value for money, a focus on service and access to amenities. Take a peek of the best hotels in Adelaide below.
Adelaide's favourite local bookshops and newsagencies
We’ve all had that moment when we’ve forgotten to pick up a birthday card for our dear aunt (sorry, Janice), or when we’ve run out of reading material for the tram. Luckily, there’s the humble newsagency and bookshop to turn to when you're in a pinch.
The ultimate guide to Adelaide
Forget Sydney and Melbourne and take a trip down south to Adelaide instead. The capital city of the state of South Australia is bustling with life and there’s plenty to see, do and eat when you visit.
How to have the perfect weekend escape in Adelaide
It might have earned the nickname ‘City of Churches’, but Adelaide is seriously hip these days, home to some of the most exciting restaurants, wine-makers, providores and cultural festivals. In 2017, the city was proclaimed fifth most ‘liveable’ city in the world – for the sixth year in a row – by The Economist. Short of moving there, we’d suggest a holiday. Find more short getaways from Melbourne, plus a how to spend a weekend in Rutherglen, Canberra or Hobart.
How to have the perfect weekend escape in Adelaide
It might have earned the nickname ‘City of Churches’, but Adelaide is seriously hip these days, home to some of the most exciting restaurants, wine-makers, providores and cultural festivals. In 2017, the city was proclaimed fifth most ‘liveable’ city in the world – for the sixth year in a row – by The Economist. Short of moving there, we’d suggest a holiday. Find more short getaways from Sydney, plus a how to spend a weekend in the Whitsundays, Port Douglas or Narooma.
The best cheap hotels in Adelaide
These cheap hotels in Adelaide have plenty of the bells and whistles expected from Adelaide's best hotels, but with half the price tag. Whether you're in town for a wine weekend around the Barossa or here for a longer jaunt exploring the city's best attractions, there's plenty of places to rest your head. Take your pick of schmick art hotels and cosy home-away-from-home apartments below.
Listings and reviews (23)
West Beach Adventure
Formerly Mega Adventure Park, West Beach Adventure is a amazing 26-metre tall playground in West Beach with more than 70 aerial obstacles in its SkyChallenge, including suspension bridges, swings, scramble nets, and vertical climbs specifically designed for you to get your Spider-man on. Real risk takers can take a leap of faith from the 18-metre tall Mega Jump free-fall simulator, as well as testing their gladiator skills in the sky. Those with less of a daredevil streak can enjoy the views from the tamer Skywalk.
Adelaide Oval Roof Climb
If you're looking for a true VIP experience at the footy or cricket then forget those fancy corporate boxes you're probably not getting invited to anyway – the most exclusive seats at Adelaide Oval are 50m above the field, on the roof. Strap on a safety harness and make the breathtaking climb to the top of the now iconic stadium, where you can take in stunning panoramic views of the city, from the Hills to the coast ($109 for day climbs, $119 for twilight, $124 for night climbs). For a bit extra, get the ‘Game On!’ or ‘Match Day’ packages (from $235), where you can get a bird's eye view of every kick, mark and tackle of a live footy match, or every sixer and wicket of a cricket match, from the world's only rooftop stadium seats.
One of Adelaide's favourite family attractions, the Zoo is home to Australia's only giant pandas – Fu Ni and Wang Wang – which, let's face it, is more than enough reason to visit. (Take our word for it, they're seriously cute). But if ogling cuddly, bamboo-eating mammals is a little too tame for you, then check out the ‘animal experiences’ on offer such as hand-feeding the Sumatran tigers and African lions, giving Brutus the Hippo his daily mouth check, or having breakfast with a Sun Bear. Our pick is the Wild Nights package ($380 for two), in which you and a mate (geddit?) can spend a night glamping on site in a comfortable tent before waking up to breakfast with the Zoo's super cute red pandas and a guided tour of Fu Ni and Wang Wang's exhibit.
Just an hour's drive north of Adelaide is one of the world's top culinary destinations - the Barossa Valley, bursting with internationally renowned wineries and restaurants and boasting stunning vineyard-studded landscapes in every direction. Surrounded by lavender and vines, the Louise is the accommodation to match; Travel + Leisure named it in the top 100 hotels in the world for 2017, one of only two Australian properties to make the list. Step inside your private suite and it's not hard to see why: the 15 rooms at this elegant stone lodge feature king beds with luxury linens, walk-in robes, marbled ensuite bathrooms with two-person spa baths, gas log fireplaces and private terraces with their own outdoor rain showers, while the top tier suites even have their own private water feature and sun lounges. Time Out tip: Definitely book a table at the Louise's award winning Appellation restaurant, but don't just settle for the regular wine list. For the ultimate culinary experience, staff can arrange a private wine blending session with a local winemaker, and have the chef prepare a dinner to match your new creation.
Mount Lofty House
Every weekend scores of eager Adelaide locals head to the base of Mt Lofty to attempt the heart-pumping 2km hike to the summit. But an easier way to get an enviable Instagram selfie is to check yourself into historic Mt Lofty House, just 20 minutes from the city, where the breathtaking views from your luxuriously appointed suite will have your followers green with envy without you even breaking a sweat. Set amongst 22 acres of immaculately manicured gardens, this 1852 heritage-listed manor house offers a range of modern rooms and suites with king beds and fantastic views across the Piccadilly Valley, an outdoor swimming pool, billiards room, tennis court and day spa set in the home's original 19th century stables. For a more intimate stay, four free standing self-contained cottages offer total privacy for a perfect Hills retreat. Time Out tip: Don't miss a chance to dine at Hardy's Verandah, opened in 2017 it’s one of Adelaide's best restaurants with one of the best views.
The Adelaide Hills are all about good food, wine and tranquility amongst the trees - the third often discovered after indulging in the first two - and you'll find all three at this working winery set in some of the most stunning vineyards in South Australia. Located an hour out of the city in the tiny village of Macclesfield, surrounded by rolling, gum-studded countryside, Longview offers 12 elegant self-contained suites overlooking the winery's 22-year-old Pinot Noir vines, each with kitchenette and outside deck. More deluxe is the stylishly renovated historic homestead, which can be rented as a three bedroom residence sleeping up to 12, or split into two separate “apartments”. Time Out tip: Don't be in a rush to leave your weekend getaway – stick around and enjoy Longview's famous Sunday tapas lunch. Tuck into share platters overloaded with house smoked meats, cheese with riesling jam and wood fired bread, and, of course, wine.
Wander along the edge of the River Torrens in Adelaide's constantly-being-revamped Riverbank precinct and you might spy something strange: a fleet of round, floating vessels with smoke emanating from the middle, manned by people waving tongs. Are they boats? Are they barbecues? Actually they're both, and they're the best idea ever. Yes, the BBQ Buoys (see what they did there?) boats combine the tranquillity of floating along the river with the joy of a sausage sizzle, with each circular boat kitted out with a gas grill in the centre. The boats range from couple sized right up to a ten seater, with hourly rentals starting at $69. BYO food and drink, or choose from a range of local beers, wines and ciders and pre-made ‘grazer platters’ of South Australian meats and other goodies – and yes, vegetarians are looked after too.
If you've ever eaten breakfast at a fancy hotel or on a Qantas flight you've probably eaten Beerenberg. A South Australian institution, the family-owned company has been making delicious jams at its Adelaide Hills strawberry farm since 1970, and distributing them in cute miniature jars all over the world since the 1980s. Although the brand now makes 75 different preserves its strawberry jam remains the most famous, made fresh from the fruit picked from the farm's strawberry plants in Hahndorf, 30 minutes out of Adelaide (Beerenberg actually means “berry hill” in German). Every year from November to April you can grab a punnet and wander the farm yourself, picking your own fresh berries to take home for just $4 per person and $9.95 per kilo. There's no better way to spend a sunny day than wandering Beerenberg's picturesque strawberry patch, hunting down the perfect luscious berries to eat later.
This unique marine experience lets you swim with Southern Bluefin tuna – dubbed ‘the Ferraris of the ocean’ – in a specially designed in-sea aquarium on Granite Island, an hour south of Adelaide. Departing from the busy tourist hub of Victor Harbor, a quick catamaran ride delivers you to the aquarium where you're fitted out with a wetsuit, mask, booties and gloves before diving into the clear, clean waters of Encounter Bay to experience tuna up to 2.5 metres long whooshing past your body with impressive speed. Those who prefer to stay dry can feed the tuna from the surface, or view the sights from the glass-sided underwater viewing area.
Located in the heart of the CBD on busy Hindley Street in Adelaide's west end, this five-storey apartment hotel was once home to Miller Anderson, one of the city's finest department stores. The 1920s heritage-listed building was converted in 2006 and now features 61 one, two and three bedroom apartments perfect for longer city stays – all have fully equipped kitchens featuring Blanco stainless steel appliances and full sized fridges, as well as free unlimited Wi-Fi and Foxtel, while some of the top-tier apartments also featuring in-room laundry facilities and second bathrooms. Hindley Street is where Adelaide comes to party: for wining, dining and small bar hopping, these apartments are your perfect base. The décor – a modern take on 1970s retro – might play havoc with your hangover though: think bright orange and jade green accents and funky patterned carpet and throw cushions. Time Out tip: Get a taste of France with the ‘Bienvenue’ package, which for $159 includes two nights accommodation, plus parking, and a $40 food and drink voucher for hip west end cocktail bar La Buvette, just steps from the front door. C'est bien!
Franklin Central Apartments
These spacious one, two and three bedroom apartments tucked away on a quiet side street in the centre of Adelaide's CBD make a great base for families, or those seeking a longer city stay. The apartments are comfortable and unfussy, with modern styling and unique touches that make the place feel more like a hotel – like the complimentary toiletries by Australian designer Peter Morrissey. All feature queen beds, full kitchens and in-room laundry facilities, as well as free Wi-Fi and on-site parking. The best part is the location – a short walk from the Adelaide Central Market and Gouger Street dining precinct and the small bars and eateries of Peel and Leigh Street, and just a block from the tram which runs through the city and southwestern suburbs to Glenelg beach. Time Out tip: Yes, you have a kitchen in your apartment, but trust us, you'll want to have brunch at least once at Crack Kitchen, just a few steps around the corner on Franklin Street. The gingerbread pikelets are the stuff of dreams.
Get up close with the dolphins in the cool waters off Glenelg Beach, just 20 minutes from the CBD. Temptation Sailing's 17m catamaran was the first vessel in South Australia to be granted a licence for dolphin swims; as a result the thousand or so common and bottlenose dolphins in the area now actually come to it and are always eager to play. The company even offers a money back guarantee if they don't show up. Cruises last about 3.5 hours, with swimmers potentially getting over an hour of dolphin interaction for $120 or $130 (Dec-Jan). Those who don't want to dip their fins can stay on the boat and watch the action for $68 ($78 Dec-Jan).