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13 Free Things To Do In Adelaide & Places To Visit

Free things to do in Adelaide - Wooden stairs leading to a tranquil beach during a stunning sunset, a perfect free activity.


Are you planning to visit Adelaide’s must-see attractions without breaking the bank? Well, you’re in luck because I’ve compiled the most comprehensive guide to free things to do in Adelaide South Australia in 2024.

After countless hours of exploring every corner of Adelaide, I can confidently say that it’s a budget traveler’s dream destination. This coastal city offers incredible experiences that won’t cost you a cent. Can you believe it?

Free Things to Do in Adelaide South Australia

Before we dive into the details, let me give you a quick glimpse of the top free things to do in Adelaide:

Beach hoppingGlenelg, Henley, Brighton, Port NoarlungaAnytimeSwimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, beach walks
Park and garden explorationAdelaide Botanic Garden, Himeji Garden, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden7:15 am – 5:00 pmDiverse plant collections, serene atmospheres, breathtaking views
Hiking and bikingRiver Torrens Linear Park Trail, Mount Lofty SummitAnytimeScenic routes, city views, nature immersion
Museum visitsSouth Australian Museum, Art Gallery of South Australia, MOD.10:00 am – 5:00 pmAboriginal artifacts, international artworks, interactive science exhibits
Landmark and architecture appreciationVictoria Square, North Terrace, Port AdelaideAnytimeHistoric buildings, cultural institutions, colonial heritage
Market experiencesAdelaide Central Market, various farmers’ markets7:00 am – 3:00 pmFresh produce, artisanal goods, lively atmospheres
Festival and event attendanceAdelaide Fringe, WOMADelaide, Adelaide Festival of Ideas, SALA FestivalVariesArts, music, dance, ideas, innovation
Free Things to Do and Places to Visit in Adelaide South Australia

Excited yet? In this ultimate guide, I’ll share my top picks for free activities in Adelaide, along with insider tips and essential information to help you plan your visit.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history aficionado, food lover, or simply looking for a good time, Adelaide in South Australia has something for everyone.

Explore the Great Outdoors

The picturesque Adelaide city skyline reflected in the River Torrens, showcasing the city's free natural beauty.

First, let’s talk about Adelaide’s stunning natural beauty. With its pristine beaches, lush parks, and scenic hiking trails, Adelaide is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. And the best part? Enjoying these natural wonders won’t cost you a cent.

1. Relax on Adelaide’s Gorgeous Beaches

Let me tell you, Adelaide boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, and I’ve been to my fair share. From the bustling Glenelg Beach to the serene Port Noarlunga, there’s a perfect spot for everyone.

One of my favorite things to do is simply pack a picnic, grab a good book, and spend the day lounging on the soft, white sand. If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or snorkeling? The crystal-clear waters are teeming with colorful marine life.

Insider Tips:

  • Visit beaches during weekdays to avoid crowds.
  • Bring your own snorkeling gear to explore the reefs at Port Noarlunga.
  • Check the tides and weather conditions before planning your beach day.

2. Immerse Yourself in Nature at Adelaide’s Parks and Gardens

Adelaide is green and lush. With a whopping 45% of the city center dedicated to parklands, you’re never far from a peaceful oasis.

My personal favorite is the Adelaide Botanic Garden. Spanning 50 hectares, it’s an absolute must-visit for any nature lover.

I always make a beeline for the stunning Palm House. It’s a Victorian-era glasshouse filled with exotic plants and the Bicentennial Conservatory, the largest single-span conservatory in the Southern Hemisphere.

For a more tranquil experience, head to the Himeji Garden, a serene Japanese-style garden tucked away in the southern parklands. It’s the perfect spot for a peaceful stroll or quiet reflection.

For adventurers, make the short trip to Mount Lofty Botanic Garden in the Adelaide Hills. The walking trails offer breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding hills. In autumn, the garden explodes with vibrant colors as the leaves change.

Insider Tips:

  • Visit the Adelaide Botanic Garden in different seasons to see the changing flora.
  • Attend a free tea ceremony demonstration at the Himeji Garden on the last Sunday of each month.
  • Take the Heysen Trail at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden for a challenging hike with rewarding views.

3. Go for a Scenic Bike Ride or Hike

If you’re like me and love to stay active while exploring a new city, you’ll be happy to know that Adelaide offers plenty of opportunities for scenic bike rides and hikes.

Travelers’ favorite route is the River Torrens Linear Park Trail. This 46.5-kilometer path follows the River Torrens from the hills to the coast, passing right through the heart of the city.

Make sure to pack lunch, make a day of it, and stop at picnic spots and points of interest. And if you don’t have your own bike, don’t worry – the Adelaide City Council offers free bike rentals.

For a more challenging experience, head to Mount Lofty Summit, the highest point in the southern Mount Lofty Ranges. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking, and there are plenty of hiking trails to choose from.

My favorite is the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit trail—it’s a bit of a workout, but trust me, it’s worth it.

Insider Tips:

  • Rent a free bike from the Adelaide City Council and explore the River Torrens Linear Park Trail.
  • Take the Waterfall Gully to Mount Lofty Summit trail for a challenging but rewarding hike.
  • Visit the Mount Lofty Summit at sunrise or sunset for the most spectacular views.

Discover Adelaide’s Rich History and Culture

The historic South Australian Museum, a free architectural landmark to admire in the heart of the city.

Adelaide is a city full of history and culture, with plenty of free attractions that offer a glimpse into its past and present. From museums to landmarks, there’s no shortage of free things to do in Adelaide for history buffs and culture vultures.

4. Visit World-Class Museums

One of the best things about Adelaide’s museums is that many offer free entry. The South Australian Museum is an absolute must-visit.

This museum has an extensive collection of Aboriginal artifacts, natural history specimens, and interactive exhibits. I always lose track of time exploring the Australian Aboriginal Cultures Gallery – it’s just so fascinating.

Art lovers won’t want to miss the Art Gallery of South Australia, which features a wide range of Australian, Aboriginal, and international artworks. They also host regular free exhibitions and events, so be sure to check their website to see what’s on during your visit.

For a truly unique experience, head to the MOD. (Museum of Discovery). This futuristic museum explores the intersection of science, art, and innovation through interactive exhibits and cutting-edge technology.

Insider Tips:

  • Visit the South Australian Museum on a Tuesday for free guided tours
  • Check the Art Gallery of South Australia’s website for upcoming free exhibitions and events.
  • Allow at least 2-3 hours to fully explore each museum

5. Tour Adelaide’s Iconic Landmarks and Architecture

Another free thing to do in Adelaide is to wander the streets and admire the city’s stunning architecture. Yes, like I said—it’s free.

Start your journey at Victoria Square, the heart of the city. Here, you’ll find the stunning St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral and the historic Adelaide Town Hall.

Fun fact: Did you know that Adelaide was designed to be a “city within a park”? Victoria Square is just one of the many green spaces that make Adelaide a beautiful and livable city.

From there, take a stroll down North Terrace, Adelaide’s cultural boulevard. You’ll pass by some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the State Library of South Australia, the Art Gallery of South Australia, and the University of Adelaide.

For a taste of Adelaide’s colonial past, head to Port Adelaide and explore the beautifully preserved 19th-century buildings. The Port Adelaide Lighthouse is a must-see – it’s one of the oldest surviving lighthouses in South Australia.

And if you’re interested in maritime history, be sure to check out the South Australian Maritime Museum. While admission to the indoor exhibits is not free, you can explore the outdoor displays at no cost.

Insider Tips:

  • Visit Victoria Square on a Sunday morning to catch the Adelaide City Council’s free City Bikes rental.
  • Attend a free lunchtime concert at the Elder Conservatorium of Music on North Terrace.
  • Take a self-guided walking tour of Port Adelaide’s historic buildings using the Port Adelaide Tourist Trail map.

Experience Adelaide’s Vibrant Food and Market Scene

Visitors browsing the vibrant stalls of the Adelaide Central Market, a free attraction for food lovers.

No visit to Adelaide is complete without experiencing its food and market scene. From the bustling Adelaide Central Market to the charming farmers’ markets scattered throughout the city, there are plenty of opportunities to sample the best of South Australian produce and cuisine without breaking the bank.

6. Shop at Adelaide Central Market

If you only visit one market in Adelaide, make it the Adelaide Central Market. Trust me, it’s a food lover’s paradise.

You could easily spend hours here with over 70 stalls selling everything from fresh produce to gourmet cheeses, artisanal bread, and multicultural cuisine. All that while you just taking in the sights, smells, and sounds.

The free guided tours are among the best things about the Adelaide Central Market. These tours offer insights into the market’s history and the stories behind the stallholders. I always come away with a newfound appreciation for the hard work and dedication that goes into bringing fresh, local produce to our tables.

Insider Tips:

  • Visit on a Friday evening for the Adelaide Central Market Twilight Market, featuring live music and additional street food stalls.
  • Taste-free samples from the generous stallholders, but purchase something if you find a new favorite.

7. Haggle at Farmers’ Markets

In addition to the Adelaide Central Market, the city is home to a thriving farmers’ market scene. These markets are a great way to experience the best of South Australian produce, meet local farmers and artisans, and soak up the lively community atmosphere.

Some of my favorite farmers’ markets include the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market (held every Sunday), the Gilles at the Grounds (held on Saturdays), and the Willunga Farmers’ Market (held on Saturdays).

Try to chat with the friendly stallholders and learn about their products and farming practices. By doing that, you can often find unique, artisanal goods that you won’t find anywhere else.

Insider Tips:

  • Bring your reusable bags and containers to reduce waste.
  • Arrive early for the best selection and to avoid crowds.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions – the stallholders are passionate about their products and are always happy to share their knowledge.

Attend Free Events and Festivals

Massive crowd enjoying a free concert at night of WOMADelaide, one of the many free things to do in the city.

One of the best things about Adelaide is that there’s always something exciting happening, and many of the city’s events and festivals are completely free to attend. There’s something for everyone, from the world-renowned Adelaide Fringe to the vibrant WOMADelaide.

8. Attend Adelaide Fringe (February-March)

If you visit Adelaide in February or March, you cannot miss the Adelaide Fringe. This month-long festival is the second-largest of its kind in the world, and it transforms the city into a hub of creativity and entertainment.

While many of the shows and performances require tickets, there are plenty of free events to enjoy. From outdoor art installations to live music in the streets, the Fringe has something for everyone.

I always make sure to check out the Garden of Unearthly Delights and Gluttony, two of the festival’s biggest hubs. The atmosphere is electric, and you never know what you might discover.

9. Watch WOMADelaide for Free (March)

If you’re a music lover, you won’t want to miss WOMADelaide. This four-day world music and dance festival takes place in the stunning Botanic Park and features an incredible lineup of international and local artists.

While the festival itself requires a ticket, there are plenty of free workshops, talks, and performances happening in and around the park. I always arrive early to catch a good spot on the grass and feel the festival atmosphere.

10. Explore Other Free Festivals and Events

Aside from Adelaide Fringe and WOMADelaide, the city hosts a wide range of other free festivals and events throughout the year. Some of my favorites include:

  • Adelaide Festival of Ideas (July) – A celebration of innovation and big ideas, with free lectures, panels, and discussions
  • SALA Festival (August) – A month-long celebration of South Australian living artists, with free exhibitions and events across the city
  • OzAsia Festival (October-November) – Australia’s leading contemporary Asian arts festival, with free performances and workshops
  • Christmas in Adelaide (December) – A series of free festive events and activities, including the famous Adelaide Christmas Pageant

No matter what time of year you visit, there’s sure to be something exciting happening in Adelaide. Just be sure to check the city’s event calendar before you go.

Get Around Adelaide for Free

Free things to do in Adelaide for tourists - Free City Connector Bus for free getting around the city.

So, how do you get around Adelaide for free? You can easily get around the city without spending a cent on transportation. Here are some of my favorite ways to get from A to B for free:

11. Hop on the Free City Connector Bus

The Free City Connector Bus is a great way to explore central Adelaide and visit some of the city’s top attractions. The bus runs on two loops – one covering the city center and the other extending to North Adelaide – with frequent services running every day.

I love hopping on the City Connector Bus and just seeing where it takes me. You never know what hidden gems you might discover along the way.

12. Experience Free Tram

Adelaide’s tram network is a convenient way to get around the city and offers free travel within the city center. The free tram zone extends from South Terrace to the Entertainment Centre, covering popular travel destinations like Rundle Mall, the Adelaide Central Market, and the Adelaide Railway Station.

When you’re exploring the city, you should always take advantage of the free tram. It’s a great way to rest your feet and take in the sights at the same time.

13. Ride Adelaide Free Bikes

If you’re like me and love exploring a city on two wheels, you’ll be happy to know that Adelaide offers free bike rental through the Adelaide Free Bikes program.

Simply visit one of the participating locations, such as the Adelaide City Council or the Adelaide Central Market, and rent a bike for the day.

Riding a bike is the best way to explore Adelaide. The city has fantastic bike-friendly infrastructure, and there are so many beautiful routes to choose from. Plus, it’s a great way to cover more ground and see even more of what Adelaide has to offer.

What’s the Best Time to Visit Adelaide for Free Outdoor Activities?

The best time to visit Adelaide for free outdoor activities is spring (September-November) and fall (March-May). The weather is mild and pleasant, and there are fewer crowds.

Are there any Free Guided Tours of Adelaide?

Absolutely! Adelaide Free Walking Tours start daily at 10 am and 2 pm from the Adelaide Town Hall. For food lovers, the Adelaide Central Market offers free tours from Tuesday to Saturday at 9:30 am, 10 am, 10:30 am, and 11 am. Art enthusiasts can enjoy free tours at the Art Gallery of South Australia daily at 11 am and 2 pm.

What are some Free Annual Events in Adelaide?

Adelaide has several fantastic free annual events, like the Adelaide Fringe, which features lots of free performances from February to March. WOMADelaide offers free workshops and performances in March. The Adelaide Festival of Ideas, in July, has free lectures and panels. The SALA Festival, in August, showcases free exhibitions of South Australian artists.

Final Thoughts

Wow, can you believe how many incredible free things there are to do in Adelaide? I’ve barely scratched the surface in this guide, but I hope I’ve given you a good starting point for planning your own adventure.

Before I go, I want to leave you with a few final tips for making the most of your time in Adelaide:

  1. Talk to the locals – Adelaideans are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet, and they’re always happy to share their favorite spots and hidden gems with visitors.
  2. Be open to new experiences – Adelaide is a city that rewards curiosity and exploration. Don’t be afraid to try new things and step outside your comfort zone.
  3. Take your time – One of the best things about Adelaide is its laid-back, easy-going vibe. Don’t try to cram too much into your itinerary. Take your time, soak up the atmosphere, and enjoy the journey.
  4. Share your experiences – If you discover a new favorite spot or have an incredible experience in Adelaide, don’t keep it to yourself. Share it with other travelers and help spread the word about this amazing city.

Of course, there are also plenty of paid experiences to be had in Adelaide. There are world-class restaurants and adventure activities in the nearby hills and wine regions.

But what I love about this city is that you don’t have to choose between having an amazing time and sticking to your budget. With so many free things to do in Adelaide South Australia, you can easily mix and match paid and free experiences to create your perfect travel itinerary.

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