Ultimate guide to things to do in Adelaide with kids

The South Australian capital, often referred to as the “city of churches,” is famous for its grandeur, history and European charm. But Adelaide’s diverse activities and relaxed vibes also cement its place in the family-friendly category.  

With impressive architecture, wide boulevards, expansive parklands, colourful year-round festivals and al fresco dining options, there are loads of things to do in Adelaide with kids!

Adelaide South Australia
Adelaide South Australia from the Torrens River

Start your exploration at Port Adelaide, which is jam-packed with family distractions. This includes the National Railway Museum as well as the wonderful Maritime Museum. There’s also impossibly cheap Port River Cruises to spot dolphins.

Read more: What to do in the Adelaide Hills with kids

Catch a cricket or AFL football match at Adelaide Oval, hailed as the world’s prettiest cricket ground. Or visit one of the city’s many cultural institutions such as the excellent Art Gallery of South Australia, which boats a free activity space for children. The South Australian Museum is another great indoor attraction. A flourishing arts scene sees the city play host to renowned events such as the Adelaide Festival of Arts, Fringe Festival and WOMADelaide.

The Adelaide Fringe festival
Join the crowds for the weird and wacky at the Adelaide Fringe! Credit: Shutterstock

Families will love exploring the city’s vast green spaces and gardens too. Get on your bikes for a ride along the River Torrens Linear Park Trail. The track travels from the Mount Lofty Ranges to the coastal suburb of Henley Beach. Pack your towels and head to one of the fantastic city beaches, such as the popular Glenelg Beach. Here, visitors can swim with dolphins or, if they dare, take a dive tour with Great White Sharks.

If you prefer your animal interactions to be from a distance, a visit to Adelaide Zoo is a must. So is a safari at open range Monarto Zoo, about 50 minutes from the city.

Top things to do in Adelaide

  1. Sample Fresh Produce at Adelaide’s Central Market
  2. Take a stroll through Historic Port Adelaide
  3. Peruse the incredible collection of artworks at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
  4. Tackle RoofClimb at pretty Adelaide Oval.
  5. Swim with the dolphins at Glenelg. 
  6. Ride a camel at Victor Harbour.
  7. Cuddle a koala at Cleland Conservation Park.
  8. Meet giant pandas, Funi and Wang Wang at Adelaide Zoo.
  9. Hire a bike and cycle along the River Torrens.
  10. Get your thrills at West Beach Adventure aerial park.

Things to do in Adelaide with...

The wide sand of Glenelg is perfect for a hit of cricket. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission/ Andre Castelluci

Best time to visit Adelaide as a family

Adelaide enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate and in fact has the lowest rainfall of all the Australian capitals. The city enjoys mild winters and warm, dry summers. February is typically the hottest month of the year, and June the rainiest.

The best times for families to visit are Autumn, from March to May, and also Spring, from September through November. In spring, the city is awash with colour as flowers bloom in the city’s extensive parklands. March is festival season with Adelaide Festival of Arts and WOMADelaide setting the city abuzz. This, along with Australian school holiday periods, is also the busiest time to visit. You’ll need to book well ahead to secure the best family friendly accommodation.

If you’re looking for a bargain, visit during the cooler winter months of June to August when you’ll find great accommodation deals and cheaper flights.

Take baskets and bags to carry your booty home from the Central Market. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission

Family-friendly places to eat in Adelaide

If its been around for more than 40 years and is loved by celebrities and football teams alike, you can guarantee it is going to be good. La Trattoria is a family owned and run restaurant that was opened by the Parisi brothers in 1975. In fact, it is one of the oldest restaurants in Adelaide. They have perfected their pizza, pasta, veal, salads and also their gelati from old family recipes. La Trattoria has even been praised by names such as Jon Bon Jovi and Mick Jagger.

During your visit, be sure to eat your way through the incredible Adelaide Central Market. This is undoubtedly the best spot to taste and see Adelaide’s bounty of fine produce, from farm-fresh fruit and vegetables to organic meats, artisan cheeses and seafood. During the school holidays the kids can even take one of the organised Big Market Adventures for Little Foodies Tours to learn more about where their food comes from.

For a feast of food trucks head to Victoria Square, or explore the best of Adelaide’s modern Australian cuisine on Peel Street.

South Australia’s Adelaide Hills Food Trail for Kids is another must for foodie families. This educational adventure introduces kids to producers to learn about where their food comes from and the processes involved in food production. Kids will also love the summer Cherry Trail that links the region’s orchards where they can pick plump ripe cherries straight from the tree.

Go fruit picking on orchards in the Adelaide Hills. Credit: South Australian Tourism Commission/ Adam Bruzzone

Things to do for free in Adelaide

  • There’s stacks of free fun to found in Adelaide, indoors and out.
  • Kids under five can travel free on the tram to Glenelg, one of the city’s many popular beaches. Here, you can easily spend a day enjoying the sand, sunshine and sea, as well as an abundance of activities.
  • Take a stroll through the beautiful Adelaide Botanic Garden, which is home to many unique plants that date back to the time of dinosaurs. Or take a hike through Morialta Conservation Park with its extensive network of walking trails to soak up views of the Morialta Gorge.
  • The Art Gallery of South Australia has an incredible collection. In fact, its Studio at the Art Gallery offers a free activity space for children and families. The South Australian Museum’s five floors of intriguing displays make Australia’s natural and cultural heritage engaging and fun for kids. Then head to the State Library after dark to see the cool projections on its Story Wall.
What’s on?

The best annual events for families in Adelaide

The Adelaide Fringe festival

Feb/March – Adelaide Fringe

You’ll find family and kid friendly shows at Adelaide’s wild and wonderful Fringe festival.

March - Adelaide Festival

Australia’s premier Arts festival showcases theatre, world-class musicians, dance, writers and visual art.

March – WOMADelaide

Enjoy family friendly performances and workshops by the world’s best traditional and contemporary musicians, dancers and DJs.

May – DreamBig Children’s Festival

This arts festival for schools and families is the largest of its kind in the world.

May – South Australia History Festival

Enjoy hundreds of events such as talks to workshops exploring the local history.

June – Cabaret Festival

The largest festival of its kind in the world with major events at the Dunstan Playhouse, Festival Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre and Artspace.

Girls scream on a fun fair ride at Adelaide Show

September – Royal Adelaide Show

Experience animals, rides, food and entertainment as the country comes to the city.

October – OzAsia Festival

Australia’s biggest Asian arts festival.

Popular stories