Illustration by Julia Rothman
Today’s city guide comes from Adelaide local Alicia Parsons. When she’s not feeding her paper addiction at her stationery business Akimbo, Alicia can be found sharing pretty and practical ideas for home and life on her blog Atypical Type A.
Adelaide may be smaller than the bigger cities in the eastern states, but Alicia shows us the amazing food and wine, vibrant cultural scene and eclectic shopping that this small but amazing Australian city has to offer. Thanks, Alicia, for this wonderful guide! — Stephanie
CLICK HERE for the full guide after the jump!
Hello, Spongers! A huge thanks to Grace and the team for allowing me the opportunity to share a taste of what I love about my home town of Adelaide, South Australia.
South Australia is known as the country’s Festival State for good reason. Adelaide plays host to some of the best arts festivals, including the biennial Adelaide Festival of Arts and annual Adelaide Fringe Festival. These two festivals coincide with several other major events in the city, leading the season to be dubbed ëMad Marchí by locals. It is a fantastic time to visit (if you can find accommodations), but there is plenty to do all year.
Here is my perfect long weekend in Adelaide:
Start the day with an award-winning breakfast at etc. Despite the extensive menu, I can never get past Adelaide’s best eggs benedict.
6 East Terrace, Adelaide
From there, you’re just around the corner from Adelaide’s premier retail precinct. Rundle Street is home to designer brands as well as independent boutiques. Take a slight detour to Ebenezer Place for innovative local fashion up-and-comers.
279 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Fun and funky gifts and jewellery.
257 Rundle Street, Adelaide
An eclectic mix of Marimekko prints, contemporary accessories, religious relics and Middle Eastern homewares.
Two 8 Four Rundle
284 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Guilt-free vintage shopping at this not-for-profit Red Cross Concept Store.
231 Rundle Street, Adelaide
A kaleidoscope of handbags, purses and luggage.
Mary Martin Bookshop
249 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Adelaide’s oldest bookseller, independent and proud for 65 years.
Miss Gladys Sym Choon
235A Rundle Street, Adelaide
An Adelaide fashion institution since it was opened in 1928 by the state’s first female business owner.
Shop 1, 4-10 Ebenezer Place, Adelaide
Specialist in punk fashion.
Clubhouse Lane Boutique
13 Frome Street, Adelaide
Vintage and edgy new fashion for men and women.
Urban Cow Studio
11 Frome Street, Adelaide
A celebration of all things handmade and local. Take a good look at their signature range of ceramics.
The extension of Rundle Street is Rundle Mall. It’s mostly department and chain stores, but there are a few gems. Oh, and you’ll see proof that Adelaide has balls.
134 Rundle Mall, Adelaide
Fun, colourful stationery.
132 Rundle Mall, Adelaide
It’s like Smiggle’s big sister.
33 Twin Street, Adelaide
Head slightly off the beaten path for new and vintage fashion.
Shop T23, City Cross Arcade, Adelaide
A treasure trove of eclectic homewares and pretty trinkets. Stockist of iconic Bison ceramics.
Head to one of these great coffee shops for a caffeine break:
261 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Find out the local goss with a newspaper under the funky lights.
283 Rundle Street, Adelaide
If you need some serious indulgence with your coffee.
218 Rundle Street, Adelaide
112A Rundle Mall, Adelaide
An Adelaide icon.
At the end of Rundle Mall, hop on a free bus or tram to the Adelaide Central Market, where you’ll find an amazing array of fresh local produce. There are too many fantastic stalls to mention by name, but wander around enjoying the sights and smells and you’ll find some bread, cheese and antipasto for lunch.
Adelaide Central Market
Gouger Street, Adelaide
Adelaide was a planned city with a grid layout surrounded by a ring of parklands. Inside the Southern Parklands, you’ll find the underrated Himeji Japanese Gardens. This secluded oasis is the perfect place for your romantic picnic with the yummies you picked up at the market. It’s surprisingly quiet, but on weekends, you’re likely to spot a wedding party having their photos taken.
Adelaide Himeji Garden
Corner South Terrace and Glen Osmond Road, Adelaide
Once the seedy side of town, the West End is now the heart of Adelaide’s thriving arts scene. A recent initiative has offered vacant shops on Hindley Street to artists and fashion designers for free as temporary shopfronts to kick-start local creative businesses. For more established wares, don’t miss the Jam Factory, which hosts an ever-changing collection of amazing arts and crafts for exhibition and sale.
19 Morphett Street, Adelaide
If you’re after a more traditional cultural experience, take a stroll down North Terrace, Adelaide’s historic boulevard. I have a soft spot for the Mortlock Wing of the state library, having recently married there, but the classic architecture and world-class exhibitions at the art gallery and museum are also worth checking out. If you have time, pay a visit to Wang Wang and Funi, the only pandas in the southern hemisphere.
State Library of South Australia
Corner North Terrace and Kintore Avenue, Adelaide
Art Gallery of South Australia
North Terrace, Adelaide
South Australian Museum
North Terrace, Adelaide
North Terrace, Adelaide
Frome Road, Adelaide
Continue along North Terrace and you’ll discover the striking exterior of the Wine Centre. It’s a great way to learn about, sample and buy the amazing wines that South Australia has to offer if you don’t have time to venture out to the Barossa Valley or McLaren Vale wine regions.
National Wine Centre
Corner of Botanic and Hackney Roads
We locals are spoilt for choice when it comes to dining options. If you’re in the mood for cheap and cheerful Asian, take your pick along Gouger Street.
1 Jolleys Lane, Adelaide
Enjoy a special meal with views of the city lights reflecting on the river.
Corner Morphett and Gouger Streets, Adelaide
Share some tapas and sangria.
The Benjamin on Franklin
233 Franklin Street, Adelaide
Upmarket pub fare in the quaint courtyard or old-world dining rooms under the stunning crystal installation.
Kick on into the night at one of these bars:
21 King William Street, Adelaide
Eastern-style tea room in the imposing marble surrounds of a former bank foyer.
118 Hindley Street, Adelaide
A charming French-bistro-meets-apothecary wine bar.
Sangria y Pintxos Bar
Corner Morphett and Gouger Streets, Adelaide
Who knew there were so many different types of sangria?
Corner North and East Terrace, Adelaide
Relax with a brew under the lantern-lit verandah of a historic building.
128 Rundle Mall, Adelaide
Watch the world go by from the first floor balcony, or park yourself on a Bentwood chair under the art deco windows.
Pick up a free city bike and ride along the Linear Park Trail east from the city.
Linear Park Trail
Scenic pedestrian and bike route from Henley Beach through the city to northeastern suburbs.
Magill Road is not the most popular shopping area, but the antique stores, art galleries and cool homewares stores make it my favourite.
Louis Bond and My Friend Louis
133 Magill Road, Stepney
A modern baroque collection of art and homewares, plus an adjacent cafe.
Places & Spaces
129 Magill Road, Stepney
Contemporary gifts and homewares.
0402 948 961
145 Magill Road, Stepney
The good kind of shabby chic.
147 Magill Road, Stepney
Local artisan jewellery, objects and art, and home to retro-inspired Umbrella Prints.
166 Magill Road, Norwood
Award-winning artisan-made furniture inspired by Danish design and Eastern techniques.
Danish Vintage Modern
148 Magill Road, Norwood
Just as the name suggests: all the mid-century furniture you can handle.
Rock ëní Rustic
187A Magill Road, Maylands
Eclectic range of retro, rustic and industrial furniture and collectibles.
205 Magill Road, Maylands
In addition to the bona fide antiques, you’ll find a huge array of vintage toys, books and collectibles.
Give the retail therapy a break and get inspired.
139 Magill Road, Stepney
Contemporary and Aboriginal art.
After all that cycling, it must be time for a refreshing brew at the Tap Inn in the neighbouring suburb of Kent Town. Once you’ve had your beer in the old-world bar or the multilevel atrium beer garden, check out the mass tap installation or have a round at the indoor driving range.
The Tap Inn
76 Rundle Street, Kent Town
Head to Sparrow, Adelaide’s most stylish restaurant, for dinner. There are mains on the menu, but it’s really all about the tapas. Can’t decide? Ask the chefs to send out their favourites and they’ll be happy to oblige.
Sparrow Kitchen & Bar
10 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide
Inventive seasonal menu in trendy but unpretentious surrounds.
On the off chance that you’ve managed to resist the desserts or sweet tapas at Sparrow, cruise to Elephant Walk for your after-dinner sweets.
76 Melbourne Street, North Adelaide
Cosy coffee lounge with tempting desserts and thrift-store-chic decor.
Let’s head west today to two lesser-known areas that are full of hidden gems if you like your coffee organic and your fashion vintage.
First up, we have the historic suburb of Croydon where Queen Street and its extension, Elizabeth Street, are small but worth the visit. Catch the train from the city along the Outer Harbour Line and hop off at the Croydon Station.
What relaxing Sunday morning is complete without a hearty breakfast? Chill on one of the mismatching chairs under the mural at Queen Street Cafe, or take advantage of the Book Swap while tucking into an amazing bacon and egg Turkish roll at a vintage Formica table at The Croydon Store.
Queen Street Cafe
12 Elizabeth Street, Croydon
The Croydon Store
0421 354 419
15a Elizabeth Street, Croydon
Let Them Eat
(08) 8340 8872
18 Elizabeth Street, Croydon
Vegetarian cafe and takeaway. The leek and gruyere tart comes highly recommended.
With bellies full, it’s time to hit the shops!
One Small Room
6 Elizabeth Street, Croydon
An appealing mix of mid-century furniture, contemporary finds and signature range of Sprout Design.
5 Elizabeth Street, Croydon
Vintage and trend fashion.
Hype & Seek
3 Elizabeth Street, Croydon
Vintage clothing, furniture and homewares.
Hop back on the train and continue to the Glanville stop, where you’ll find the beachfront suburb of Semaphore. Less popular than Glenelg, but with its pristine sand and wide, grassed foreshore, it’s hard to see why.
To take full advantage of the view, dine at the Flying Knife on their signature dish: a seafood claypot. Or if you’re after a more low-key lunch, try Sarah’s Sister’s for a vego meal in the courtyard overlooking the neighbouring Semaphore Road Garden Shop.
The Flying Knife
6 Semaphore Road, Semaphore
Sarah’s Sister’s Sustainable Cafe
117 Semaphore Road, Semaphore
42 Semaphore Road, Semaphore
Asian and contemporary gifts and accessories.
91 Semaphore Road, Semaphore
Country-style homewares, jewellery and toys.
95 Semaphore Road, Semaphore
Huge selection of vintage fashion.
Once you’re all shopped out, have a game of giant chess.
Corner Semaphore Road and Jagoe Street, Semaphore
Bookings at Sandy’s Sea Change Cafe (8242 4278). (It’s also an internet cafe if you’re overdue for an email home.)
International visitors: you have to get fish and chips on the beach at least once while you are in Australia!
Soto’s Fish & Chips
23 Semaphore Road, Semaphore
Fast food with friendly service.
Take 2 Ice Creamery
2/14 Semaphore Road, Semaphore
Choose from over 30 flavours, or warm up with pancakes or waffles.
You know what? This has inspired me to take a few weekends out over the summer and be a tourist in my own city. I hope to see you here!