A cosmopolitan city in the truest sense, Adelaide is really your laid-back weekend vacation in the waiting. The streets of this very urbane city are really a unique experience; most central district avenues are lined with artsy galleries and heritage museums that house unique exhibits from both local and international artists, while waterfront neighborhoods are characterised by bustling beaches, historic colonial buildings and a rejuvenated industrial space. Up north, a burgeoning gourmet industry will draw you in with its wide range of local and Asian culinary delights.
In short, if you're looking for a perfect urban city which has equal measure of character and charm, Adelaide is the right place for you. The city bounds have only expanded over the years, but an efficient public transport system makes every corner of the city accessible. Choosing your ideal neighborhood to stay in, then becomes quite a task. But we're giving you a headstart on that. Here, we have listed some of the best neighbourhoods of Adelaide and what they might have in store for you traveller!
Adelaide City Centre
The city centre of Adelaide, centred around the major thoroughfare of North Terrace is a microcosm of the city as a whole. Busy as it is, the City Centre has all the things that make Adelaide great including some of the finest art museums exhibition halls, major venues of the Adelaide Festival and even the National Wine Centre. You are bound to come across one impressive establishment after the other, but the likes of South Australian Museum, the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute, the Art Gallery of South Australia and MOD. should definitely be on the top of to-do lists. At the eastern end of the North Terrace is the vast Adelaide Botanical Garden and Zoo, which makes for a nice family outing.
The avenue runs parallel to the riverfront, which itself is home to the aforementioned festival venues including the iconic Adelaide Festival Center. The entertainment options become more varied as you move into the smaller alleys of the neighborhood, with market streets and plazas (such as the Victoria Square and Rundle Market) housing everything ranging from indie boutiques to top international brands, burger joints to fine dining restaurants, and of course several of the city's beloved art galleries and live performance venues, all of which are run by local artists. The city centre is bound by green spaces on three sides, so you are always within touching distance of a quaint park or garden.
As the central business district of the city, Adelaide City Centre has an endless list of hotel and homestay options to choose from. It is also easy to access through all means of public transport. The central streets are great for walls that'll also help you get to know the neighborhood better. Also, a boat ride or guided cruise across the Torrens is one of the best ways to get to know the city better.
The upscale neighborhood of North Adelaide is the preferred choice for families, owing to its quaint setting. The vast neighborhood is cut off from the bustling by the River Torrens on the south and Denise Norton Park on the north, giving it it's very own city within a city vibe. Other than the affluent residential districts, North Adelaide features some of the cities' most significant landmarks including the St. Peter's Cathedral and the Brougham Place Uniting Church. It only helps that the setting for most of these historic monuments are almost as impressive as their majestic Victorian-era facades. A sightseeing tour in North Adelaide then can just as easily turn into a family picnic or a lazy outdoorsy day that gets your mind off other things.
That's not to say that there aren't dedicated venues for that sort of activity. The Montefiore Hill, a lush mountain park that is also the venue Light's Vision Monument also doubles as one the best viewing points in the city. You get sweeping views of the cityscape in the north and the waterfront as well as the Adelaide Oval in the south. The Bragg Park and the Leferve are the neighborhood's other expansive green spaces that are just as great for your family outings. The city centre is crowded with restaurants and the most frequented pubs in all of Adelaide; the O'Connell Street in itself has more number of must-visit joints than you can manage in one trip. The North Adelaide Village, also on O'Connell Street is known for its designer stores and home-grown brands.
North Adelaide lies on the northern bank of River Torrens and is connected to the city centre by the historic City Bridge and the Montefiore Road. Hotels are in plenty, but might be pricier than the ones in some other parts of the city.
And for all the talk about the cultural capital of the city, Adelaide is after all a bayside city. And there are fewer better places to enjoy a beach vacation in the vicinity than the southern suburb of Glenelg. The eponymous beach, for one, is simply perfect for a relaxing weekend right next to the ocean. The soft sand makes it great for volleyball games or long strolls, while you can always hit waters on the hit days. Rental sunbeds and umbrellas are available for your lazy days. The beachfront is also lined with cafes and seafood shacks that serve a wide range of snacks and drinks. The area gets especially busy during the evening as the warm lighting of these outdoor establishments draw huge crowds looking for the seren sunset viewing.
The Beachouse, a popular water park with a separate arcade and an open air cafe is only stone's throw from the beach area. Head over to the Moseley Square down the road for ice cream parlors and burger joints, as well as fireworks late into the evening! It is the central landmark of the neighborhood and a great place to start your tour of Glenelg from; the Jetty road, home to many steakhouses and top restaurants, the local heritage museum of Bay Discovery Centre and the marina are all in walking distance from Moseley. The lush Colley and Wigley Reserves and the Glenelg pier are the places that you would want to be at during sunset, if you're away from the beach or can't find a spot at one of the waterfront cafés.
Although a little farther out from most central districts of Adelaide, Glenelg is one of the most easily accessible parts of the city. That's because of the tram service connecting the neighborhood to the city centre; the transit can be availed at the Stop 17 Moseley Square. Glenelg is also home to some of the best luxury hotels in Adelaide, but you might just find a nice waterfront hotel in the more affordable brange as well.
Another great waterfront district to base yourself in is Port Adelaide, a northern former industrial neighborhood. A major hub for transport and business during its early days, the neighborhood was characterized by industrial spaces and market streets lined with pubs crowded by sailors and travellers. The cityscape grew to accommodate the increasing footfalls to South Australia and the town became home to majestic colonial buildings that today stand as repurposed mixed-use spaces with a good mix of the traditional pubs and trendy bars. The Hart's Mill complex is a great example of the same; the open air market space centred around a giant industrial warehouse is home to a bustling plaza, waterfront cafe, a children playground and much more. It also hosts the weekly Wild at Hart flea market and open air move screenings!
Every nook and cranny of Port Adelaide had a surprising amount of character and history breathing through it will not take you long to realise than once you're actually there. Start your tour from the iconic Port Adelaide Workers Memorial, and find your way around the street where you will find all sorts of establishments ranging from restaurants and art galleries that will all somehow reflect on the larger historic vibe. Even the museums in the neighborhood trace the History of Adelaide as an industrial town, with some of the most popular being the Maritime History and Railway Museum and the South Australian Aviation Museum. You will also find some of the most beautiful restored colonial buildings in the vicinity of McLaren Wharf, which also has a number of vintage stores and souvenir shops.
Port Adelaide is about 14 kilometres from the city centre, but is well connected via public transport. The Outer Harbor railway line of the Adelaide Metro runs between the neighborhood and the city inner suburbs. Several hostels and waterfront apartment complexes offer inexpensive accomodation in this part of the city.
The once largely residential quarters of the northern neighborhood of Prospect have developed quite an alternative appeal in recent years. A slew of casual diners, burger joints and artsy cafes have come up in the neighborhood, making it one of the go-to districts of the city for food lovers from across town. The younger crowds in particular crowd the imaginatively decorated hideaway cafes and dessert bars that dominante the central throughout of Prospect Road. The presence of several Asian eateries, serving a good mix of Middle Eastern, South Asian and Vietnamese cuisine adds an eclectic flair to the neighborhood's burgeoning gourmet industry.
The Prospect Road is also lined with a number of art galleries and stores selling works by local artists; the Venom Gallery and KAB101 Lane are among the must visits. The streets and alleys in the vicinity also feature outdoor exhibits, vibrant graffiti and street art, so make sure you take park your cars and bikes and go for a walk during your time in the neighborhood. Several green spaces also for the central streets and offer a quick respite from the urban landscape; the Barker Gardens and St. Helen's Park are the perfect venues for evening strolls and family outings respectively.
The neighborhood is adjacent to North Adelaide and is fairly easy to access, with Prospect Road running across the border connecting the two. Prospect is also serviceable through public transit lines of the Adelaide Metro. Hotel accommodations are moderately priced, and you can also look for a nice homestay or bed and breakfast in the neighborhood.
For the last neighborhood on the list, we go back to the cosmopolitan core of the city. The western district of Norwood is all things Adelaide; a stylishly envisioned cityscape with great art galleries and performance halls enliven the atmosphere of this otherwise residential district. When in Norwood, definitely pay a visit to the Odeon Theatre for its live shows, Australia Ballet performance and premium collection of wines. Also impressive is the Hugo Michell Gallery, an exhibition hall known for its modern and abstract art and also doubles up as a store for these exhibits.
The central road of Parade is home to many former burger joints, the kind that have become the most popular choice of eateries for a majority of the local population. If you're looking to socialise with the university crowds and Gen Z population of the city, one of these joins is a good place to start. Similar groups also throng the antique book stores and indie fashion boutiques that have sprung up in recent years. Add a significant migrant population to the already diverse university crowds and you have in Norwood, one of the most eclectic parts of the town. The same eclecticism also reflects in the gastronomy, as exquisite asian restaurants have become just as popular as the burger joints and local pubs.
The neighborhood is just on the outskirts of the city centre making it fairly easy to access. Finding a hotel should not be too difficult in Norwood; in fact, some of the best luxury hotels are in the vicinity of the Parade and Osmond Terrace, a road marking the Eastern end of the neighborhood.
That's all from our side, traveller. Take your pick and get packing for your trip to this cosmopolitan capital!