Sophisticated, cultured, neat-casual − the self-image Adelaide projects, a nod to the days of free colonisation without the 'penal colony' taint. Adelaidians may remind you of their convict-free status, but the stuffy, affluent origins of the 'City of Churches' did more to inhibit development than promote it. Bogged down in the old-school doldrums and painfully short on charisma, this was a pious, introspective place.
But these days things are different. Multicultural flavours infuse Adelaide’s restaurants; there’s a pumping arts and live-music scene; and the city’s festival calendar has vanquished dull Saturday nights. There are still plenty of church spires here, but they’re hopelessly outnumbered by pubs and a growing number of hip bars tucked away in lanes.
Just down the tram tracks is beachy Glenelg: Adelaide with its guard down and boardshorts up. Nearby Port Adelaide is slowly gentrifying but remains a raffish harbour ‘hood with buckets of soul.
Governor Hindmarsh Hotel The go-to venue for touring and local acts who’ve already made a name for themselves.
Jive Long-running rock room at the (slightly) less seedy end of Hindley St.
Grace Emily Hotel Edgy country, alternative and open-mic adventures in Adelaide’s West End.
Exeter Hotel Bohemian and arty: original bands nightly \.
Gilbert Street Hotel Swingin’ jazz sessions every Tuesday night, plus country and blues on Thursday night and Sunday afternoon.
Wheatsheaf Live acoustic blues and country in the beer garden (more of a beer garage, really).
Central Market Adelaide’s effervescent undercover market is an unmissable foodie experience.
Gilles Street Market Fashion, arts and crafts in a CBD schoolyard.
Wild at Hart Fresh Food Market An organic food market in pugilistic Port Adelaide?! The times they are a-changin’…
Adelaide Farmers Market Roll up, roll up: get your local produce, your electrifying coffee and your hipster breakfast.
Stirling Markets A 12-minute drive into the hills behind Adelaide is this vaguely hippie monthly street market.
Zen Kitchen Downtown Vietnamese, fast and fabulous.
Jasmin Indian Restaurant Still the best Indian restaurant in town.
Gin Long Canteen Pan-Asian delights, from Bangkok to Hanoi and back.
Zucca Greek by the sea (no better location).
Parwana Afghan Kitchen Spill some Afghan on your kaftan.
Mestizo Peruvian perfection in Glenelg’s back streets.