Adelaide: A City Buzzing with Culture & Class

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Don’t miss South Australia’s laid-back cultural capital, with its famous festivals, large collection of aboriginal artefacts and variety of museums. Here are our top cultural picks in the region.

Adelaide – A Top Ten City

It was a bit of a surprise to learn that Adelaide is one of the top ten cities on earth, according to Lonely Planet’s 2014 list, but dig a little deeper and it’s clear why. Culturally, it’s a great mixture of street art, a chilled-out café scene, fabulous galleries and famous festivals.

Mad March – Festival Season

When you plan your trip, don’t forget that Adelaide is known as the ‘festival city’ with a year-round calendar of events and cultural goings-on. Time a visit in spring and you’ll find it so busy that locals refer to ‘Mad March’.

WOMADelaide, held from 6 to 9 March 2015 in the Botanic Park, is where you can catch musicians from Australia and around the globe, as well as ‘taste the world’ with Adelaide resident Rosa Matto. It has its very own Speakers’ Corner too.

Anyone can put on a show at the Adelaide Fringe, an ‘open access’ arts festival that really turns the city into a carnival. It’s on from 13 February to 15 March and you can try out burlesque, go to see a comedy about space or even hear a detective sing, or choose from 900 other events.

The Adelaide Festival runs from 27 Feb to 15 March, encompassing theatre, film, music, dance, visual arts and a ‘writers’ week’. Venues across the city will hosting some of the greatest talent Australia has to offer, such as the Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. See the full programme of events at adelaidefestival.com.

Galleries and Museums

Adelaide has the largest collection of Aboriginal artefacts in the world, housed within the South Australian Museum. There’s a staggering 36,000 items in its collection, including art works from Europe, North America and Asia. There are fossils, paintings, installations, photographic displays and sculptures.

You can do a great walking tour of the galleries, and south of the city lies the opulent Carrick Hill estate and gallery, featuring paintings, sculptures, antiques and drawings spanning nearly 500 years.

Mixed in with all of this are the city’s ‘free walls’: a great display of street art, and there’s also the hip West End arts precinct where the Jam Factory exhibits glass, ceramics and furniture made by local talent.

Cultural Highs

Take a stroll along the North Terrace, Adelaide’s cultural precinct – home to the state’s Art Gallery, museums, Parliament House and the National Wine Centre of Australia.

Head to buzzing Adelaide between December and March to enjoy its peak festival season – there’s something for everyone here, including WOMADelaide, the Adelaide Festival, cycling race SANTOS Tour Down Under and motor-racing event Clipsal 500.

The Adelaide Fringe, held in February and March each year, is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Think the Edinburgh Fringe with sun, wine and gourmet food.

Visit the South Australia Museum to see the largest and most comprehensive collection of Australian Aboriginal ethnographic material in the world – over 3,000 items across two floors.

Go to the Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute to see indigenous art in the Kaurna Gallery.

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