Amid the cafés and restaurants in Adelaide’s CBD you’ll find some of the state’s oldest libraries, art galleries, and buildings; interspersed with retail shops, markets, and a rambling 125-acre botanic garden.
The CBD is a place where you can shop, dine, relax, and rejuvenate yourself, any day of the week.
Rundle Street is the place for your shopping needs and is home to higher-end labels to get you looking stylish, whatever your taste.
When you’ve had your fill of shopping, head to Ebenezer Place and start your foray into the East End’s other strong point – eating. Italian café Nano has some of the best breakfast and pasta options in the city, while Exchange Specialty Coffee, predictably, has especially good coffee.
Lovers of New Orleans style cuisine and/ or craft beer should head to NOLA, which serves up piping hot gumbo as well as quality local drinks. Just around the corner you’ll find excellent wood-fired pizza at EST, and no-one serves beer better and cheaper than The Exeter.
If you’re after some inner-city calm, the Conservation Council of South Australia has established The Joinery, a community hub in the heart of the city that focusses on the environment, sustainability, and community. For a café that ticks all the right boxes, check out The Depot Collective, serving up ethically-sourced food and coffee at a great price to boot.
Visit the South Australian Museum to see permanent exhibitions that focus on the State’s Indigenous culture, and next door you’ll find the Art Gallery of South Australia, filled with collections of domestic and international masterpieces. More art can be found at multi-arts centre Tandanya, which showcases the work of Indigenous artists.
For those who prefer their culture in a natural setting, a visit to the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide is the equivalent of a lesson in native and introduced botany.
In the south you’ll find the Central Market and Chinatown. Gouger Street is the perfect place to meet friends for Saturday morning Yum Cha, or for a walk through the Central Market where you can pick up some inexpensive fruit and vegetables.
Adelaide City Library, located at the heart of Rundle Mall, is open seven days a week. It features a number of multi-purpose rooms and studios and has a number of clubs you can join where you can make friends, learn, and have fun at the same time. There’s also free Wi-Fi for members and visitors.
If you want to learn more about South Australia, head to the State Library. The largest public reference library in South Australia, its collection focuses on information about the State and its history and culture.
For those of you seeking to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, the CBD is bordered by parks and ovals, where you can ride a bike, go for a run, or join a sports club. Cycling fans should check out the Victoria Park Criterium Track, a 1.4km circuit which is designed to accommodate all cyclists, from beginners to racers. Adelaide City Council provides free bicycles to help you explore the city, and even includes a free helmet and lock.
FREE & FRUGAL
The big cultural institutions – the State Library of SA, SA Museum, Art Gallery, and Botanic Gardens – all offer free entry to at least part of their exhibits, so can get your art and culture fix on a budget.
For a cheap night out, the Palace Nova Cinemas shows films at a discounted ticket price of $10 every Monday (or $7.50 if you go during the day). FB’s Fancy Burgers has the best burgers in town from $10, while Zen House offers good, cheap vegetarian food, and Dumplings R Us will get you a warm meal for under $10.
In the West End you can enjoy some culture for free at the Samstag Museum of Art, which is part of UniSA’s City West campus and is open Tuesday through Saturday.
If you’re wandering past the Central Market near closing time, you’d be well advised to take a detour into the market where you’ll find several stall holders selling produce cheaply to avoid throwing it out.