By Dimitar Raykov
Situated on a plain between the hills and the ocean, Adelaide is rapidly becoming one of the most popular tourist destinations in Australia. As the capital of South Australia, Adelaide is a great gateway to art, history, outdoor adventures – and it’s undoubtedly among the best cuisine and wine regions in Australia!
Check out our top recommendations for must-see places and things to do in Adelaide and South Australia.
NOT JUST A CITY OF CHURCHES, BUT A CITY OF BEACHES
Adelaide was historically known as the new world’s haven for religious freedom. The inner city’s architecture is a storybook of Australia’s colonial past. Known as the “City of Churches,” the historical heritage that makes up the astounding architecture of Adelaide is similar to many English and European cities built in the 19th century.
Of course, Adelaide is not just about history and churches. You should definitely not miss out on opportunities to explore Adelaide’s famed white sand beaches. You can ride there on one of Adelaide’s historic trams and explore the renowned beachside suburb of Glenelg for a perfect beach day
If you check out Henley Beach, you can take a rest and try the delicious cuisine at the nearby restaurants around Henley Square. Reasonably close to both Glenelg and Henley Beach is West Beach, a perfect location for family walks and swimming. Fishing fans can wet a line at the jetties of the suburban beaches, from north to south—Grange, Semaphore, Brighton and Port Noarlunga beaches.
INDULGE IN SOUTH AUSTRALIAN WINE AND CUISINE
One of the things Adelaide is ultimately known for is its close proximity to the most prominent wine regions in Australia: The Barossa Valley and Clare Valley to the north, the McLaren Vale and Langhorne Creek to the south and the Adelaide Hills to the east. This makes Adelaide the country’s best destination for travellers indulging in wine tastings. Between all of these regions, you’ve got easy access to over two hundred cellar doors.
Between Adelaide’s location close to Australia’s most famed wine and food-growing regions and the unique multicultural atmosphere that stems from the city’s long history of immigration from Greece, Italy, China and India, Adelaide’s markets have a rich and lively atmosphere. Among the many goods for sale at producers’ stalls, you can buy exotic fruits and vegetables, or pick up a wide selection of gourmet delights for a picnic at Glenelg Beach, The Botanic Garden or Belair Park.
All around Adelaide’s main streets there are award-winning restaurants, hotels and shopping districts. Adelaide’s new precincts, such as Leigh St. and Peel St., are filled with unique cafes, small bars and restaurants. The booming bar scene also makes the South Australian capital a great place to be for a glass of wine, a strong ale or tapas-style dinner.
If it’s a cold beer you’re looking for, Adelaide has amazing pubs to check out. Don’t forget to sip your cold one in the proper Schooner and take the time to tour Cooper’s Brewery. Founded by Thomas Cooper in 1862, it is the only remaining large family-owned brewery in Australia. Cooper’s is well-known around the world for their bottle-conditioned ales. All proceeds from the brewery tour go to charity.
WHERE TO GO WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN
Adelaide may not be recognized around the world as a party city, but if you head to the downtown area after sunset, you’ll unlikely to be disappointed. The club scene in Adelaide is rapidly growing, and is hosting some of the hottest international names in music with increasing frequency, in addition to the wide range of local DJs.
For nightlife in Adelaide, the first place that comes to mind is undoubtedly HQ, formerly known as the Heaven. With four main areas all paying various styles of music, this place is huge, standing on its own corner in the city. Despite the locals’ opinions, HQ will lift your spirits with its dozens of bars, fluorescent lights and Wednesday night ’90s dance parties. And sure, you might get the feeling that some locals would rather not hang out there at this particular night – unless they’re really, really drunk.
Discreetly nestled in a side alley in Adelaide’s west end, Electric Circus remains one of Australia’s leading nightclubs for fresh club music in recent years. With three levels, Electric Circus will spin your head with electro, trance and dance music, although the venue is open only Thursday to Saturday.
One of the most unpretentious clubs, Zhivago is a basement club open late every night. Its walls are decorated with street art, creating a nice underground atmosphere and there’s a huge bar offering all of your favorite drinks. Zhivago draws a very mixed crowd, with DJs playing both old hits and the latest selection of club music.
MAD MARCH AND MORE: ADELAIDE HAS A FULL FESTIVAL CALENDAR
To establish itself as the lifestyle capital of Australia, Adelaide has a rich and lively festival program all year round. The most famous events take place in “Mad March”: Adelaide Fringe, WOMADelaide, Adelaide Festival, Adelaide Cup Races and Clipsal 500.
During the summer months, visitors should head down to the famous Adelaide Oval for a cricket or football match. The Oval is famed as one of the most picturesque cricket grounds and hosts international matches all summer. The ground was also recently redeveloped for AUD $610 million to host Australian Football League matches during the winter season.
Adelaide also hosts the Tour Down Under, the biggest cycling race in the southern hemisphere, as well as the first stage of the UCI World Tour.
Don’t miss out on the food, drink, beaches and events; book your flights to South Australia and visit some amazing venues and events in Adelaide, Australia’s art, history and lifestyle capital. Get in touch to tell me about your most favorite places around Australia, I’ll be glad to hear your stories.
What do you think is truly unique about Adelaide? We’d love to hear what we missed in the comments.
About the author: Dimitar Raykov is a freelance writer, music reviewer and a food blogger.