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Adelaide, Australia, is still fighting for its place on the list of must-visit Down Under destinations. But with a renowned arts culture and a hearty food and wine scene, it’s only a matter of time before South Australia’s capital wins the hearts, minds and taste buds of U.S. travelers.
Chris Edser, an Adelaide native and illustrator/animator who has lived in the area for most of his life, continues to witness the evolution of the multicultural coastal town into a top destination for travelers. Here, he shares his top picks for experiencing Adelaide like a local.
The best way to start a visit to Adelaide is: With a glass of wine, natch.
What are some of the city’s trendiest areas?Recent legislation around allowing outdoor seating in laneways made bars and restaurants in the city center a whole lot better. Leigh Street (don’t miss Pink Moon Saloon) and Peel Street (try Bread & Bone Wood Grill) off Hindley Street are now popular, as well as Ebenezer Place in the East End, where I recommend Exchange Specialty Coffee, East End Providore cafe and Parwana Afghan Kitchen.
It’s wine o’clock. Where to?Some places you can sample South Australia’s finest wine include Cantina Sociale and East End Cellars. National Wine Centre of Australia seems like it was set up just for tourists and functions, but I recently enjoyed sitting in its courtyard Wined Bar for a drink looking out at Adelaide Botanic Garden.
Where do you find creative inspiration?In Adelaide, it’s not a matter of where, but when. Adelaide Fringe is the largest open-access arts festival in the Southern Hemisphere, which coincides with Festival of Arts; the WOMADelaide music, arts and dance festival; and many food and wine festivals. These take place in February and March — definitely the time to be here — but year-round, anything the State Theatre Company puts on will be amazing. There are also always exhibitions; check out Samstag Museum of Art or Urban Cow Studio.
TGIF! Visitors to the city should head to:The Exeter Hotel, which is an Adelaide institution. The place hasn’t changed in my adult life and serves well-priced beer. Other great pubs in the city are Grace Emily Hotel and Crown and Anchor Hotel (which has a spaghetti bar upstairs), and The Gov has live music most nights.
Where can visitors go to experience a “typical” Aussie meal?If you eat meat, I would try to find well-prepared kangaroo. It’s healthy and ethically and sustainably farmed. For an upscale feast with interesting indigenous produce, try Orana or Red Ochre Grill. If you can coincide a visit with a cultural event focused around the Kaurna people, the original indigenous people in the area, that would be the best way to experience a true Australian meal. A typical late-night food in Australia is a pie, and a weird Adelaide tradition is the pie-floater — a meat pie floating in pea soup with a special selection of condiments.
The city’s best-kept secrets are:The Summertown, Uraidla and Piccadilly areas just outside the city have an amazing collection of new independent wineries, breweries and restaurants, and the scenery is incredible. The 745-mile hikable Heysen Trail passes right through the area. Adelaide also has excellent accessible city beaches; Henley Beach and Semaphore are more peaceful than Glenelg, which is the best-known.
The DetailsSouth Australian Tourism Commissiontourism.sa.gov.au