It came as no surprise to me that my home town of Adelaide is included in Lonely Planet’s Top Ten Cities to visit in 2014. Adelaide is changing and I can’t remember a time when I have enjoyed living here quite as much as I have in the last couple of years (so much so that I wrote a love note to my city earlier this year).
I assumed Lonely Planet had picked up on Adelaide’s amelioration and this was why we had made the list. Sadly, their recently published list of ‘Top Things to do in Adelaide’ just trots out the same, tired, old touristy things that only serve to merge us into the frame of a hundred other cities and mask what makes this place unique. As my friend Kat commented on Lonely Planet’s article when I posted it on Facebook, “It’s like they came here in 1998 and have just got round to writing the article”.
There is much on the Lonely Planet list I do agree with – things like our Botanic Gardens, The Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, McLaren Vale and the Central Market. But there is so much they have missed. Here are my picks – I’d love to know yours.
Hang out in Peel and Leigh Streets
Great food and small bars – what more could you want? Peel St is hands down my favourite restaurant at the moment and offers a relaxed vibe and amazing, reasonably priced food. Other restaurants nearby include Rigoni’s, Bollywood Indian, Cos and the Corner Bistrot. Start at one of these and then head to one of a number of bars including Clever Little Tailor, Udaberri, the new Bar Bushka or old favourite Casablabla.
Take a self-guided tour of Adelaide’s street art
I did this myself earlier this year and wrote about it for Adelaide City Council’s Already Home project. The walking tour is an easy stroll through Adelaide’s hidden laneways and is a lovely way to discover the CBD. Checkout the Adelaide Street Art Facebook page for new pieces as they go up.
Buy your lunch from a truck
Adelaide has a really strong food truck culture – on any weekday you will usually find one or more parked in the CBD squares (check social media for daily locations) or if you want the full monty, go to one of the Fork in the Road events held regularly in parks around town. My truck picks? Sneaky Pickle, Low & Slow, Archie the Pastizzi Bus and Delectaballs.
Explore the city by bike
It is no coincidence Adelaide hosts Australia’s Tour Down Under as part of the UCI WorldTour. It’s the perfect city for riding in with it’s mostly flat terrain, lots of bike paths and reasonable traffic. If you don’t have a bike of your own, Adelaide City Council provides bikes for free. Linear Park (along the banks of the Torrens) offers an easy, ride to the beach without any traffic hassles.
So you’ll probably need to be on an extended visit but did you know Adelaide has a thriving startup scene? If you’re entrepreneurially inclined check out what’s happening at Majoran Distillery or Hub Adelaide or follow the #startupADL hashtag on twitter and go innovate.
Visit a farmer’s market
Yes you’ll have to battle the hipsters and inner-city types if you want dibs on that organic sour-dough loaf but Adelaide’s farmer’s markets are the best way to sample local produce and spend some time people watching. City markets include Goodwood (Royal Show grounds and an easy tram ride from the city) and Prospect. Outside the metropolitan area try Willunga or Barossa.
Watch a show
Adelaide hosts some amazing events including Womadelaide, Adelaide Festival, The Cabaret Festival, Adelaide Film Festival, as well as the second biggest Fringe Festival in the world (after Edinburgh). There is always something on – get out there.
Eat and then eat some more
Every time I go away I am reminded how good we have it here food wise. I’ve already mentioned Peel and Leigh Street precincts and Adelaide’s food trucks above, but there is so much more. Try the Central Market’s two food courts for amazing, cheap Asian food; Yum Cha on Gouger Street at Ding Hao or Star House; Press and Melt on Waymouth; Parwana for Afghan on Henley Beach Road; Bliss Organic for vegan wonderfulness (to name just a few). Please, whatever you do, do not listen to Lonely Planet and go to Good Life pizza – it is just an overpriced pizza place and far from the best we offer (soooo 1998).
.Spend the day at a beach
We have utterly beautiful beaches. I know because they are the first thing I check in every country I visit. Our beaches are mostly safe, wide, sandy and usually (bizarrely) empty. Spend a day there (even in the rain). Any beach near Adelaide’s metropolitan area will do – they are all great and often come with bonus dolphins and/ or seals. If you have a car try Aldinga, Pt Willunga or Pt Noarlunga for a snorkel on the reef. If you like waves like me, Moana is an easy drive south of the city.
Over to you….
Andrew Coulson suggested to me on Twitter we should crowd source a list from locals. It’s a great idea.
@PaulyGoo got the ball rolling and suggested activities including:
– Hike in Morialta in Winter
– Driving in the Adelaide Hills
– Cycling and tasting the Riesling Trail in the Clare Valley
What else Adelaide? Comment below or tweet me @spokenly and I’ll update your suggestions (with credits) here.
Update – this is what happens when you crowdsource a city guide!
Following a call out on Twitter, the Adelaide community came out in force with a fantastic list of more alternative ways to explore this city. I have captured the complete list on Storify for your reading pleasure. If you are on Twitter follow these tweeps – they are a lovely bunch and will be happy to give you more ideas.
Some final links…
Of course I’m not the only one who loves this city – here’s what other locals say:
- Already Home – Adelaide City Council project that showcases the stories of people who live in the CBD and why they love it
- Dave Walsh’s Weekend Notes – Dave has extensively catalogued Adelaide’s happenings and provides a great blog on things to do which is well worth a look.
- Adelaidetweet – follow them on Twitter @AdelaideTweet or check out their comprehensive list of other Adelaide Bloggers – who knows what you may discover?
- What’s On The List – a great little foodie focussed blog by Joanne Ferguson