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Adelaide. A progressive city designed for life. Located on the lands of the Kaurna people, the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Adelaide Plains. Be surprised by the enriching connections you make here and enjoy the proximity to arts, culture, and nature. Discover why Adelaide is one of six UNESCO Creative Cities in Australia, and how it places sustainability at its heart. And make sure to explore further. Pair the rich arts and heritage offerings of the regions with their equally distinct food and wine. South Australia, after all, is for those who want a little bit more.CityGuide ADL: What's On In Adelaide
The APY Gallery in Adelaide is a platform for emerging Indigenous artists from the APY Art Centre Collective to connect with a wide audience outside of their remote communities, gain professional development opportunities and build a network within the art industry supporting them to pursue successful careers in the arts.
Experience the vibrancy and diversity of contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through Tandanya’s exciting program of visual and performing arts, workshops, artist/curator talks, forums, cultural presentations and film screenings.
Drawing inspiration from the meaning of Tarnanthi, you are invited to come forth and appreciate the artistic works of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in this annual celebration. Tarnanthi alternates between a statewide festival and a focus exhibition featuring an array of talks, tours, performances and workshops, all of which aims to amplify the voices of Australian First Nations artists.
Leading with respect, inclusivity and integrity, Ku Arts advocates and supports South Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and art centres. Their vision is to cultivate a vibrant and collaborative culture for future generations because strong arts & strong culture make for strong communities; ‘Arts Kunpu, Tjukurpa kunpu, Waltja Tjuta Kunpu.’
The Migration Museum is a social history museum that deals with the complex immigration and settlement history of South Australia, and maintains both permanent and rotating collections of work. As it is just a short walk away from Rundle Mall, Adelaide’s prime shopping district, come in to enjoy the guided tours or bring the kids for the ever popular ‘detective trail’.
Sitting at the intersection of art, science and design, forward-leaning MOD. is full of interactive exhibits that present startling and sometimes uncomfortable visions of the future. Seven purpose built galleries house rotating exhibitions and make use of unique displays including a two metre sphere capable of modelling weather patterns and other events in real time across the globe.
High in the Adelaide Hills, the National Motor Museum’s outstanding collection of automobilia stretches back to the very dawn of the motor age. Antiques and unique one off vehicles sit alongside classic designs that rolled off the production lines around the world (including Holden’s Elizabeth plant), while displays explain how the evolution of auto design and Australia’s social history are irrevocably intertwined.
SA Museum is one of the most visited museums in Australia and holds collections of national and international significance. It is a leader in remote and regional community engagement, and in Australian Aboriginal heritage and scientific research. Marking its 165th anniversary in 2021, SAM, as it is affectionately called, is older than the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Natural History Museum in London. And get this… the Museum houses over four million specimens and material cultural items!
In the picturesque regional landscapes amongst the beaches, hills or humble towns, you will be welcomed by the local communities who invite you to discover their unique art galleries. On your journey, you can find new and historic artworks that can be seen at galleries including the Balaklava Courthouse Gallery, Barossa Regional Art Gallery, Kapunda Community Gallery & the Murray Bridge Regional Art Gallery among many others. The Regional Art Galleries Association of South Australia conveniently brings together all this information to one place — enjoy the gallery hopping!
The rich sonic history of this UNESCO City of Music is literally inscribed into the city’s architecture with a series of laneways named after iconic local musicians. Wander down each of them, then explore the state’s musical history through the unique memorabilia and stories collected at the SA Music Hall of Fame.
As the oldest and one of Australia’s leading tertiary music schools, the Elder Conservatorium, also known as “The Con” at Adelaide University, develops and presents the finest music to South Australia. The historic Elder Hall with its Casavant Freres organ sits alongside the cultural institutions of North Terrace, acting as the main stage for Conservatorium Concerts including the university’s annual Concert Series.
The distinguished Adelaide Symphony Orchestra is a beloved and world-class orchestra that presents original, classic and Australian premiers of work, delighting over 100,000 audience members every season. As South Australia’s largest performing arts organisation you can experience their diverse, and colourful programs at formal concert halls, community events and at special regional performances.
Most nights you can find the next generation of musical legends playing at a variety of venues including The Exeter, Grace Emily, Jive, Lion Arts Factory or the fiercely independent Wheatsheaf Hotel. Larger acts play at The Gov or the gorgeous art deco Thebarton Theatre that has hosted everybody from Blondie to Nirvana.
On a picturesque farm hidden deep in the Adelaide Hills, Ukaria Cultural Centre marries superb acoustics with incredible views out over the surrounding region. Purpose-built for chamber music and just 40km from the Adelaide CBD, this magnificent 220 – seat concert hall hosts a range of classical and contemporary performances and is surrounded by beds of aromatic herbs and a sculpture garden, all of which was founded by the South Australian skincare label Jurlique.
Adelaide Festival Centre, Australia’s first multi-purpose arts centre and the home of South Australia’s performing arts, was built in the 1970s. The Festival Theatre opened in June 1973 with the rest of the centre following soon afterwards.
State Theatre Company SA is the flagship theatre company of South Australia. It commissions, performs and tours theatrical productions of new and existing, classic and contemporary, Australian and international work. From a rich legacy of visionary theatre makers and landmark theatrical productions, we strive to make, present and promote phenomenal, transformative, and inclusive theatre that enriches South Australian and Australian culture.
Adelaide’s oldest continually operating venue, Her Majesty’s Theatre has been returned to it’s full glory by a recent renovation that combines modern equipment with gorgeous art nouveau design elements. Regular performances once again grace the stage that since 1913 has hosted legends including Ian McKellen, Lauren Bacall, James Earl Jones and Maggie Smith.
For over 50 years Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) has been inspiring audiences with their sophisticated and imaginative performances, touring nationally and globally with their award-winning shows. As Australia’s pre-eminent contemporary dance company, ADT has established itself to be an industry leader in Australia, pushing the boundaries by incorporating mixed media in their shows.
Adelaide has a proud tradition of radically innovative performance, and the status quo is still being challenged by independent theatre collectives around the town. Thought provoking new works and commissions are central to the work of Vitalstatistix, Rumpus, Holden Street Theatres and Theatre Republic.
The Art Gallery of South Australia has one of the largest art museum collections in Australia, comprising almost 45,000 works of art spanning 2000 years. Their collection includes paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings, photographs and videos, textiles and clothing, ceramics, glass, metalwork, jewellery and furniture. AGSA hosts ongoing programs, special exhibitions, the Ramsey Art Prize, the Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, and Tarnathi Festival. It also includes the William Morris Gallery, which includes the largest collection of Morris & Co. items outside Britain.
Samstag Museum presents an exhibitions program of contemporary visual art as well as art of the past that has relevance for us today. The program is intended to be of broad interest and educational value to a wide public community. Bold, creative and responsive to developments in the contemporary visual arts, Samstag is known nationally for its outstanding artistic programming.
The Jam Factory’s onsite studios house artists skilled in ceramics, jewellery, glass-blowing and furniture making. Free guided tours allow visitors to see the artists at work, and the onsite store adjoins a gallery space with curated exhibitions highlighting leaders in contemporary craft and design. A secondary site in Seppeltsfield (Barossa Valley) sits on a working winery and houses a knife maker, milliner, ceramicist, leatherworker and jeweller.
Hans Heysen, one of Australia’s greatest artists, lived in the Cedars with his wife Sallie and family of eight children since 1912. Your visit to the Cedars may include touring both Hans Heysen’s studio – Australia’s oldest artist’s studio able to be viewed – and Nora Heysen’s studio, as well as the Heysen family home. Some 200 original works of art can be seen in changing displays in the studios and the house. Spend time in the charming garden that changes with the seasons, or wander along the Artist’s Walk and discover some of Heysen’s favoured painting sites. Picnic at the property or head to the picturesque town of Hahndorf for a bite to eat.
Adelaide Film Festival, German Film Festival, Vegan Film Festival. Met Opera, Art on Screen, Opera and Ballet, Music on Screen. Palace Nova Cinemas is the centrepiece of film in Adelaide. Catch a movie in one of its two locations, Prospect or Adelaide’s East End, and then enjoy one of the many bars and restaurants nearby.
Located at the artistic West End of the city, you can immerse yourself in the stories that emerge from the silver screen at Mercury Cinema, the home of independent film. Mercury Cinema is more than a movie theatre complex as they work to promote excellence in South Australia’s growing screen industry by supporting and providing members with exclusive educational and career opportunities.
Many Adelaide locations have served as film sets and it’s simple to create a walking tour that takes in the creepy North Adelaide house featured in The Babadook and the Adelaide Botanic Garden where parts of the Academy Award-winning Shine were filmed. Further afield, spectacular landscapes around the state have provided a backdrop for Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome, Rabbit Proof Fence and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. What’s more, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Breaker Morant both visited the Clare Valley to capture locations on opposite sides of the globe from the same time. While Picnic at Hanging Rock used Martindale Hall near Mintaro to great effect to capture the dying years of Victorian Australia, Breaker Morant used its sweeping hills to stand in for the South African bush during the same era.
Wander through Adelaide’s suburbs and you’ll discover several art deco temples to the silver screen. It doesn’t take much imagination to revive that era when you’re ascending the grand staircase at North Adelaide’s Piccadilly, listening to the wurlitzer organ introduce a feature at Goodwood’s Capri or sitting in the balcony at Kensington Park’s elegant 1925 Regal Theatre.
With 50 square metres (and 14 million pixels) of high definition LED screens lining the walls, The Lab is a unique performance space for visual art, music and theatre. Digital artists use the screens as a canvas to create immersive works and the curated schedule leans towards innovative, experimental works.
A multidisciplinary creative hub in the middle of the CBD, The Mill includes a gallery with public events and exhibitions as well as a thriving community of resident artists. Visit the studios and you’ll find makers handcrafting an astonishing array of goods, from hats, shoes, fashion and hi-vis clothing to ceramics, furniture and musical instruments.
Nexus Arts is a contemporary arts organisation fostering local talent and leading the industry to become as inclusive and culturally diverse as South Australian society. While they support artists through development programs and residencies, you can join in on the celebration of intercultural artistic practice by experiencing one of their many concerts, exhibitions and events.
ART House Urban Renewal, or ‘Arthur’ for short, is a multi-storey gallery, bar and live music venue located inside the reclaimed avante-garde furniture store of 66 Currie St. Originating as a festival venue in 2019 Arthur Art Bar has now evolved into a bustling, innovative space for the people of the creative industries with your entry supporting local artists and musicians.
One of Adelaide’s newest museums, the Centre of Democracy is a home for the people and ideas that have shaped democracy in South Australia. Archives display important historical artefacts recording the state’s rich history of leading social reform alongside interactive digital exhibits including a Speakers’ Corner where visitors can share their own thoughts.
More than 50 kilometres of printed material line the shelves of the State Library of South Australia, from a 13th century Italian songbook to a world-leading collection of wine literature and every newspaper, book and magazine published in the state. Take one of the six self-guided walking tours through rarely seen sides of the state’s history or simply browse the permanent exhibitions in the gorgeous French Renaissance Mortlock Wing.
You can discover emerging entertainers and artists by joining local audiences at pop up events that appear in all corners of this festival city. Be inspired by the poets sharing their work at Spoken Word SA’s various poetry slams. Be entertained at Adelaide Comedy’s weekly live comedy shows or at their open mic Thursdays. Be delighted by talented performers at the monthly musical theatre open mic night ‘Broadway Sessions’.
Start with the classics and cult favourites sharing shelf space with the latest releases at iconic Imprints, then lose yourself in a the eclectic collection of pristine first editions and well loved second-hand tomes at nearby O’Connell’s Bookshop or head to Gamma Rays Comics, which was Adelaide’s first store dedicated entirely to comics when it first opened in 1984. And don’t forget Dillons in Norwood, South Australia’s largest independent family owned bookshop.
Discover the majesty of South Australia’s wild spaces captured in Colin Thiele’s classic young adult novels Storm Boy and Blue Fin, follow Jimmy Barnes’ early years in the rough northern suburb of Elizabeth as recounted in Working Class Boy or see a sleepier side of the city in Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee’s Slow Man. And while in town, check out the writing workshops offered by the state’s peak body for literature, Writers SA.
Specialising in carefully and lovingly selected ‘Beautiful Books’ the Matilda Bookshop has welcomed literature lovers to the charming town of Stirling since 1982. The store is community-driven, often hosting author events, book launches and book clubs whilst also supplying books for many local schools, kindergartens and a number of community libraries.
Through groves of fruit trees, parkland, and quaint ponds, this creative walk through Carrick Hill’s property uses classic children’s tales to spark the child’s imagination, as the natural world is explored. Also discover the Art Gallery, Museum of Gardening, exhibitions, and schools holiday program.
Adelaide is home to several world class theatre companies specialising in works for children and young adults. Patch, Windmill and Slingsby all create immersive, engaging and challenging theatre for children of various ages. Their productions have toured the world and been seen by audiences numbering in the millions, but all still regularly perform in Adelaide.
The eight-metre domed ceiling of The Planetarium is perfect if you want to really lie back while you enjoy a movie. Discover the secrets of the universe through projections that depict 5000 celestial bodies and learn about how different cultures have interpreted the night skies, or choose from a range of spectacular space-themed films.
With over 700 trails around the South Australia, whether you are looking for a short walk around one of the many green and cosy neighbourhoods or a longer bushwalk adventure through a national park, some of the best nature trails in Australia are at your fingertips.
From spectacular multi-storey murals to discreetly hidden stencils you’ll need help locating, Adelaide’s public spaces are filled with a vibrant array of street art. The Adelaide Street Art Trail is a great excuse to wander through the city’s lanes and back alleys, creating your own art tour of the city.
Birthed in the optimistic years following WWII, modernism aimed to create a brighter future through architecture and over four decades left an indelible imprint on Adelaide. See how glass-fronted office buildings, light-bathed churches and innovative private houses helped shape the city on one of Modernist Adelaide’s regular walking tours.
Adelaide’s centre was designed by South Australia’s first surveyor-general to take the form of a grid laid out around five major squares and surrounded by abundant green parklands. Colonel William Light’s forward thinking design remains largely in place more than a century and a half later, and is commemorated at the statue called Light’s Vision that overlooks the modern city from Montefiore Hill in North Adelaide. And if you’re a good view is what you’re after, don’t forget to visit the Mount Lofty Summit for a 180-degree panorama of the city and nearby regions.
Generations of home cooks and renowned chefs alike have roamed the aisles of the Adelaide Central Market since it first opened over 150 years ago. Listen to buskers competing with vendors hawking their wares, breathe in the aroma of freshly ground spices and glistening seafood and marvel at the dazzling array of foods on offer at the 70 stalls selling fresh produce from around the state and cuisines from across the globe.
But don’t stop there! Go and meet gardeners who grow your vegetables along with farmers raising chickens and cows, artisan cheesemakers and bakers presiding over cabinets of exquisite pies and pastries at one of the many farmers’ markets around Adelaide. The largest and most convenient market is the Sunday Morning Adelaide Farmers’ Market, while there are regional markets in Willunga, the Barossa and the Adelaide Hills for those seeking further adventure.
Enjoy an incredible variety of Asian cuisines in Adelaide’s Chinatown. This multicultural food district offers Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and Indian food experiences. Head over to Moonta Street for Star Dumplings or Gouger Street for Little NNQ, Star of Siam, and Ying Chow.
Take a meandering drive into the Adelaide Hills and take a class at the Sticky Rice Cooking School. With a range of courses to choose from and cuisine ranging from Thailand, India, and Vietnam, Sticky Rice will teach you about the cultural context behind the dishes. A fun way to escape the city and see a bit more of SA’s landscape.
Aptly described as an “oasis of awesome”, the East End has something for everyone. From the small bar offerings of East End Wine Cellars, Nola, and Mothervine to the fine dining experience of Africola, Soi 38, or Golden Boy. The neighbourhood is also full of vintage and designer boutiques, or if preferred, local labels and street markets also abound.
Ringed by three gorgeous wine regions, Adelaide’s oenophiles are spoiled for choice. Undisputedly, some of the best wine in the world comes from the regions surrounding Adelaide. McLaren Vale boasts favourites from the likes of d’Arenberg Cube, SC Pannell, or Coriole. Likewise, the Barossa offers many itineraries that will have you immersed in its exciting wine and food experiences. And the Clare Valley will delight with its cellar doors, such as Sevenhill, Pauletts, Jeanneret, or Mr Mick. Also make sure to check out the local distilleries and breweries while you’re out and about.
If you don’t have time to visit the regions yourself, learn about vibrant Adelaide Hills natural wines, bold Barossa shiraz and zippy Mediterranean varietals that thrive in McLaren Vale at the National Wine Centre, where there are displays on viticulture, a tasting room with 120 wines and a small onsite vineyard.
Put on your walking shoes, pack your camera and get ready to explore! Whether you’re out for a leisurely stroll or a more vigorous trek, there’s always something new to discover at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. Meander along the multitude of paths that sprawl across 97 hectares – with a surprise awaiting you around every corner. Immerse yourself in the spectacular colour, rich aromas and amazing diversity.
The Adelaide Park Lands cover 7,600,000 square metres of natural and green space, and there is a lot to experience at every step. The Adelaide Himeji Gardens is a traditional styled Japanese garden, a gift from Adelaide’s sister city, Himeji in 1982. The Adelaide Oval on Tarntanya Wama is host to international sporting and cultural events, accessible playspaces provide the youngest with fun activities, while the BMX tracks ensure thrill – seekers can also enjoy some adventure.
A 51-hectare public garden at the north-east corner of the Adelaide city centre, in the Adelaide Park Lands, the Botanic Gardens are a haven against the backdrop of a bustling city. Enjoy the diverse and blooming oasis, Santos Museum of Economic Botany, Waterlily Pavilion, Palm House, and so many more nooks and crannies. And once you’re done perambulating, indulge in the delicious food and wine offering at the iconic Botanic Gardens Restaurant.
Is there any place in the world as magnificent as Adelaide during festival season? Some animating spirit takes over and the city is packed with thousands of people getting their minds turned inside out by art.
The Guardian, 2016
The state has filled its calendar with a number of arts and culture-focused events that are sure to draw us over to South Australia’s capital.
Vogue Australia, 2021