This is where all the action is, in many respects. The CBD in Adelaide is a wide and neatly laid-out area, hemmed in on all sides by greenery in the Adelaide Park Lands, and home to many of the city’s cultural attractions. For foodies, this is where you will find Adelaide Central Market, an absolute must to visit in the morning for all sorts of amazing produce, some to take back to your apartment – if that’s your style of accommodation – to cook up later, and some to devour on the spot. This is probably Australia’s best market, and you have to have it on your itinerary.
Plenty of Adelaide’s best bars and restaurants can also be found in the sprawling CBD area. We’re talking the likes of Allegra Dining Room, a stunning Euro-style eatery, Africola, a now-famous modern diner with eclectic influences, Madre for Italian perfection, and Fino Vino, the city iteration of the well-known Barossa restaurant.
There’s more to enjoy here, of course. The Art Gallery of South Australia, on the CBD’s northern fringe, regularly hosts exhibitions of some of the world’s most famous artworks. The Adelaide Botanic Garden is a peaceful haven, well worth taking some time to stroll around. The South Australian Museum has a range of exhibits showing Australia’s natural heritage. And Rundle Mall is a family-friendly classic.
The CBD is also home to some of Adelaide’s best hotels, which is all the more reason to make your base here. The new five-star Sofitel oozes French sophistication, while Eos by SkyCity is a similarly lux property. The Pullman Adelaide, meanwhile, blends affordability with comfort and class.
Though technically you could say this neighbourhood is part of the Adelaide City Centre, given it is within that large CBD square surrounded by parkland, it’s worth thinking of the West End as its own distinct destination, mostly because once you set foot here, you won’t want to leave. Lonely Planet named the West End one of Australia’s coolest neighbourhoods not so long ago, and it’s easy to see why: this is the heart of Adelaide’s drinking and dining scene, with narrow streets filled with bars and restaurants, not to mention a host of arts and cultural attractions.
To begin with: your accommodation. There are some great hotels in the West End, from the Sofitel – previously covered in our CBD section – to the Mayfair Hotel, a grand five-star property in a revamped, classic old building, to the Stamford Plaza, another highly rated hotel.
Each of those will give you prime access to Leigh St and Peel St, parallel alleyways that feel more like Melbourne than Adelaide, pedestrian thoroughfares lined on each side with places to while an evening away. We’re talking Peel St the restaurant, one of South Australia’s finest; Leigh Street Wine Room, a classy Euro-style eatery with an amazing drinks list; Bread & Bone, serving laidback dude food that’s eternally popular; and Kafana Kitchen, known for its modern take on Serbian cuisine.
Explore the West End during daylight hours and you will find natural beauty and the chance to exercise in Gladys Elphick Park, as well as cultural joy at the Samstag Museum of Art and the JamFactory, a craft and design space. There’s usually live music to catch later in the day, too, at Nexus Arts, Lion Arts Factory, and Jive.