Moseley Beach Club, Glenelg Beach, Adelaide, South Australia © Tourism Australia
Adelaide suburb guide
Beaches, laneway bars, sandstone architecture and street art: in Adelaide’s happening neighbourhoods, there’s something to discover around every corner.
By Ute Junker and Carly Spek
Small in size but big in personality, the pretty city of Adelaide sits snugly between some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches, top wine regions and memorable nature experiences. The city itself is packed with delights, from a lively laneway scene offering some of Australia’s best restaurants to waterfront suburbs with beaches, boutiques and gorgeous heritage buildings.
Where: City centre, East End, West End, North Adelaide
Despite the elegant sandstone architecture in Adelaide’s central precincts, this vibrant area is not as formal as it seems. Discover pocket-sized bars tucked underground or up amid the rooftops of the West End, strike up conversations with friendly locals while strolling through the riverfront parklands of North Adelaide, or dine at some of Australia’s best restaurants in the city centre and the East End.
Central Adelaide's food scene is a tapestry of drool-worthy cheap eats and elegant restaurants. Bring your appetite when you visit the Adelaide Central Market, the largest covered market in the Southern Hemisphere offering treats like Haigh’s Chocolates. Leigh and Peel Streets in the West End are lined with bars to explore; try Maybe Mae, hidden away behind an unmarked timber wall, or tuck into a soft-shell crab burger at Bread & Bone.
Quirky stores, award-winning galleries and incredible wine regions - there's activities aplenty in South Australia's capital. Drop in to the National Wine Centre of Australia to try some of Australia’s most celebrated wines. At the South Australian Museum on North Terrace, check out the world’s largest collection of Australian Aboriginal artefacts, or head to JamFactory to meet some of Adelaide’s most talented artisans, ceramicists and glass sculptors.
A stay in Central Adelaide is guaranteed to deliver the city's delights at your doorstep, whether you prefer a swanky hotel or something more simple . In the West End, The Franklin Hotel, a converted pub with just seven rooms, is a stylish central sleeping option. A few blocks north, the luxury boutique Mayfair Hotel has a fantastic rooftop bar, while nearby The Playford mixes luxury with old-world charm.
By the water
Where: Glenelg Beach, Henley Beach, Port Adelaide
Adelaide's waterside suburbs have an infectious beach holiday feel that differs from the buzz of the city. You'll find locals and travellers alike swimming, picnicing, kayaking and dolphin-spotting in the popular waterside suburbs of Glenelg Beach, Henley Beach and Port Adelaide. There's also plenty of fun to be had on dry land, from lively community markets and scenic coastal walks, to inviting heritage pubs and striking street art.
It’s an Adelaide ritual: hopping aboard the (free) 40-minute tram from the city centre to Glenelg to unwind on the long sandy beach. Kick back with a cocktail at the elegant Moseley Beach Club or feast on fresh oysters at Oyster Bar. The sculpture-studded Coast Park Path connects Glenelg to Henley Beach, where you'll find al fresco eateries like the retro-chic SeaSalt. Delve into smoked eel croquettes as you take in the view.
There's loads to see beyond the action of the shoreline in Adelaide's waterside suburbs. Browse the arts, crafts and fashion on offer at Glenelg's Henley Square Market (on the last Sunday of the month). Wander intriguing galleries found in Port Adelaide, including Cult & Harper and Jackalope Studio Gallery, but you can also get your art fix simply by walking the streets – this area is home to Adelaide’s best street art.
Adelaide's waterside suburbs are the only place to stay if you like the idea of breakfast by the beach, days spent on the sand and sunset coastal walks. Watch the gentle waves and seaside fun from your balcony at the beachfront Oaks Glenelg Plaza Pier Suites, or from an ocean-facing room at Port Adelaide's historic Largs Pier Hotel, complete with laid back bars and a restaurant serving classic pub feeds with a view.