Insiders' guide to Adelaide, South Australia

With Adelaide gearing up for a 'mad March' of festivals, we ask locals for their favourite places to eat, drink and hang out

Even when Adelaide is at its best, during the annual Adelaide Festival in March, it's standard for every comedian performing at a fringe event to make a wisecrack about the place. Adelaide doesn't have a reputation for being the most exciting city in Australia, so you can only be pleasantly surprised by what the "big small town" has to offer: immaculately kept parkland encircling the city centre; impressive restaurants, with local produce and wine on offer everywhere; and a vibrant scene of young creatives making the best of their home town, nicknamed Radelaide.

But what is so rad about Adelaide? We asked locals for their tips.

See a band at the Thebarton

David Sefton, director, the Adelaide Festival
For me it's a joy that I've ended up living in Adelaide. I spend a lot of time at the Thebarton, or the Thebbie as it's known locally. Pretty much every big band touring will stop here – recently it's had Portishead, Nick Cave, and the Pixies. This autumn will see Iggy and the Stooges, Birdy and The Kooks. It's a top-quality place to see bands.
112 Henley Beach Road,

View Insiders' guide to Adelaide in a larger map

The art of Hans Heysen

Max Anderson, editor, Adelaide Hills magazine
Hans Heysen (1877-1968) is arguably Australia's most famous artist, yet very few people visit his home, The Cedars, in the Adelaide Hills. I never tire of stepping into the stone studio, and seeing his work up close always takes my breath away. The studio and the residence make for an amazing window into the pastoral idyll established by Prussian émigrés in 1836. It's a quintessentially South Australian experience – gentle, beautiful and revealing a side to the nation far from beaches and barbecues.
• Heysen Road, Hahndorf,, open daily except Mondays 10am-4om, adults $10, students $5, under-14s free

Coffee Branch

coffee branch
Coffee Branch, Adelaide, Australia. Photograph: PR

Jane Howard, culture journalist
Coffee Branch serves the best coffee in Adelaide (on ice, if you need it in summer) and, if you get there early enough in the morning, beautiful pastries. The baristas always say hello and, on some days, it can seem like everyone there knows everyone else, the hole in the wall cafe bringing everyone that bit closer together.
32 Leigh Street,, open Mon-Fri 7am-5pm

Picnic in the Himeji garden

Chanelle Leslie, photographer
Hire one of the free city bikes (, pick up a picnic from our famous Central Market ( and cycle to the little-known Adelaide-Himeji Japanese garden on South Terrace. It is a gorgeous, fenced-in space with water features, and just far enough from the city to be a quiet escape. With freshly baked bread from the market's Dough stall, some cheese from Say Cheese and a made-to-order juice from Zedz, it's a charming way to spend a couple of hours in the city.
• Himeji garden, South Terrace ( open daily 8am-5.30pm, free

Local wine at Udaberri

Rob Dean, owner of food truck Burger Theory (
Udaberri is a wine and pintxos bar that opened last year in Leigh Street, in the city's west end. It's always packed and always awesome, and its success is contributing to legislation that will see more small bars open up in the city.
11-13 Leigh Street,, Tues-Fri 4pm till late, Sat 6pm till late

Taste wine at Eastend Cellars

Michael Hoffman, project manager
If you go to a winery they will obviously just try to sell you their wines. At Eastend Cellars they sample everything they sell, which is over 2,000 varieties, and choose their stock on taste alone. They have bottles from all over the world but are particularly passionate about the local vineyards.
• 22-26 Vardon Avenue,, open daily (hours vary)

East Terrace for brunch

Jolleys Boathouse on the Torrens river in Adelaide.
Jolleys Boathouse on the Torrens river in Adelaide. Photograph: Alamy Photograph: Alamy

Professor Suzanne Miller, director of the South Australian Museum
My daughter and I have a tradition whereby each weekend we go out for eggs benedict and freshly squeezed orange juice. There are some lovely cafes on East Terrace, particularly the Continental at number 6 (open daily 7am-4pm,, a New York-style deli, and the more upmarket Jolleys Boathouse (1 Jolleys Lane, open Mon-Sun from noon, by the river. And Rundle Street is fantastic for alfresco dining.

Dine at press*

Debbie Duong, food blogger (
One of my favourite places for a fantastic and casual dinner is press*. Book to guarantee a spot upstairs. The menu changes frequently but I recommend the steaks, notably ribeye to share, and the chilli crab pasta.
40 Waymouth St, +61 8 8211 8048,, open Mon-Sat noon till late

Catch a film at The Trak

Michael David Johns, restaurant manager
The Trak is an Adelaide institution, on the edge of Toorak Gardens, an affluent suburb, and shows out-there films to a diverse crowd: you'll see a guy with a ponytail and thongs (flip-flops) queuing next to a woman in a suit.
375 Greenhill Road,

Flights were provided by Emirates (, which flies from six UK airports (Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow) to Adelaide via Dubai from £736 return. For information see, and


Sarah Phillips

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Essential Adelaide guide: day trips

Adelaide prides itself on being a '20-minute city', where you can get to the beach, hills or vineyards in that time. Whether you're visiting for this month's Adelaide festival, or planning a holiday, Sarah Phillips selects her 10 top day trips out of the city

Sarah Phillips

07, Mar, 2013 @10:41 AM

Article image
Essential Adelaide guide: top sites and festival attractions

On the eve of the Adelaide festival, the 'Edinburgh of Australia', Sarah Phillips recommends the essential sites and events to catch, in the second of three guides to the city

Sarah Phillips

28, Feb, 2013 @7:00 AM

Article image
Tuning up for the Adelaide festival – the Edinburgh of Australia

David Sefton, Adelaide's new artistic director, was hired to overhaul its programming. And he started by reuniting one of his favourite bands: industrial stalwarts Severed Heads. Interview by Alison Rourke

Alison Rourke

24, Feb, 2013 @7:30 PM

Article image
Ashes fans' guide: hidden Adelaide

The second Ashes Test is under way in Adelaide - we've found some gems in the city to keep you entertained in between sessions

Robert Bevan

03, Dec, 2010 @10:47 AM

Article image
On safari in South Australia's outback, 'swagon' style

On a safari with a difference in South Australia – taking in the Aussie big five – Nigel Summerley finds comfort and a view of the stars from his bed in a converted farm wagon

Nigel Summerley

21, Jun, 2013 @8:00 PM

Article image
A new way to hop around Australia's Kangaroo Island
There’s no need to lug a tent and stove around the South Australian island’s Wilderness Trail. It’s now possible to stay in a new, comfy lodge each night

Phoebe Smith

14, Dec, 2018 @6:30 AM

Article image
Coober Pedy: a gem of a place in South Australia
The opal mining town of Coober Pedy isn’t the first place you’d think of visiting in South Australia, but with its endless desert views and sense of freedom it’s the perfect antidote to modern-day life for DBC Pierre

DBC Pierre

18, Dec, 2015 @9:00 PM

Article image
Top 10 hotels in and around Adelaide

To mark the 2014 Adelaide Festival, we have rounded up the best places to stay without breaking the bank, from a cottage B&B amid the wineries to a hostel near Glenelg beach

Robina Barton

06, Mar, 2014 @1:00 AM

Article image
Insiders' guide to Australia

All eyes may be on the Ashes right now, but there's so much more to explore in Australia. Our experts pick highlights of the five host cities, plus cultural, wineland and wildlife experiences elsewhere

Rachel Dixon

27, Nov, 2010 @12:06 AM

Article image
Move over Sydney and Melbourne, Hobart’s time has come
With one of the coolest festivals in Australia kicking off next week, backed by a world-class gallery, plus chic new hotels and restaurants, the Tasmanian capital of Hobart is flourishing

James Stewart

10, Jan, 2015 @7:00 AM