Ah, Adelaide — so much to see, do and taste! If you have just a couple of days to explore the South Australian capital, here’s a suggested itinerary…

Adelaide is one delicious destination.

And while the food and wine are undoubtedly among the top reasons to visit the South Australian capital, these days there’s a whole cornucopia of cosmopolitan experiences on offer — tucked into every nook and cranny of the CBD. Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten track and explore a backstreet or laneway that looks promising. From amazing street art (tiny paste-ups to building-sized murals) to artisanal work spaces, basement bars and seriously cool cafes, the surprises just keep on coming.

Here are some ideas for how to spend 48 hours in Adelaide.

Day one…

8am: Do a breakfast tour of the Adelaide Central Market

The Adelaide Central Market has long been the city’s bastion of gourmet goodness and it remains a must-visit if you want to taste-test the produce and many delicious specialities that give South Australian cuisine its flavour. A guided breakfast tour of the market operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

How to spend 48 hours in Adelaide
Adelaide Central Market. Image: Drea Chong

10am: Head out on a DIY walking tour

Time to walk off a bit of that market indulgence. Start by taking a stroll through Adelaide’s bustling Chinatown precinct, marked by a paifang arch at either end. Zigzag your way across Grote, Franklin, Waymouth and Currie Streets, looking for popping street art as you go. If you happen to be strolling Monday to Friday, call into Elementary Coffee on Young Street for a restorative latte. Continue on down Leigh Street with its plethora of funky bars and eateries. The Pink Moon Saloon is one to note down for later.

How to spend 48 hours in Adelaide
Image: Adam Ford

Noon: Go a pho at Sit Lo

If you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, cross Hindley Street and head down Bank Street to petite Vietnamese eatery Sit Lo. Feast on heavenly bao buns and MSG-free pho in an industrial chic setting.

How to spend 48 hours in Adelaide
Sit Lo

2pm: Explore the Art Gallery of South Australia

This is Adelaide, so time to get cultural. Cross over North Terrace to the very grand Art Gallery of South Australia. It’s home to the city’s pre-eminent art collection, including a strong showing of Australian colonial and Indigenous art. The highlights are many and varied, so get the most from your visit by joining the free 2pm tour with a knowledgeable volunteer guide.

How to spend 48 hours in Adelaide
Art Gallery of South Australia. Image: Bigstock

5pm: Enjoy a rooftop apéro at Proof

Meet the pioneers of Adelaide’s small bar revolution. Proof on Anster Street (more of a laneway to be honest) was the first venue awarded a small bar licence back in 2013. You could plop this bar down in le Marais in Paris and it wouldn’t look out of place. The intimate downstairs bar is kitted out with stylish wood panelling and objects d’art, while the rooftop terrace is a great spot to hang with a larger group.

7pm: Indulge your inner-Francophile at Delicatessen

Ooh la la, our French-theme continues just around the corner on Waymouth Street with dinner at the sublime Delicatessen Kitchen and Bar. The Paris salon-style décor is fabulous, and the wine suitably extensive. Feast on French-inspired classics like bouillabaisse or ratatouille, or go the steak and fat chips with béarnaise sauce. Check out the recently discovered stone cellar, which has been converted into a speakeasy-style bar.

How to spend 48 hours in Adelaide
Delicatessen Kitchen and Bar. Image: Megan Fox

9pm: Shake it up with a cocktail at Maybe Mae

Wind down for the evening (or wind up depending on your age) with a masterfully mixed cocktail at Maybe Mae. The bar is tucked away in the basement tunnel between Peel and Leigh Streets. It’s tricky for the uninitiated to find. Look for the doorman, and later in the evening, the queue.

How to spend 48 hours in Adelaide
Maybe Mae. Image: Food & Wine Collective

Day two…

9am: Do brunch in the East End

The East End is where it’s at for brunch in Adelaide, especially on weekends when many city cafes shut up shop. Exchange Speciality Coffee is tucked away off Rundle Street and is open seven days. It’s popular, and not that big, so get there reasonably early.

11am: Take a tram to Glenelg

Adelaide lost most of its tram network in the mid 1900s, but everything old is new again, and the city is busy spending around $80million on city extensions to the remaining Glenelg line. Climb on board and head out to the seaside suburb of Glenelg for an afternoon of beachy pursuits.

How to spend 48 hours in Adelaide
Take a tram to Glenelg. Image Bigstock

3pm: Grape graze at the National Wine Centre of Australia

Back in town, and while you may not have time to head out to any of Adelaide’s renowned wine regions during your visit, they come to you at the National Wine Centre of Australia — located just on the edge of the CBD. Sample from a range of 120 different Australian wines in the state-of-the-art tasting room, manned by expert staff. There’s an accompanying charcuterie and cheese platter that has your name on it.

How to spend 48 hours in Adelaide
National Wine Centre of Australia. Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Commission

7pm: Join the glitterati for dinner at 2KW

Wind up your Adelaide sojourn eight floors up at 2KW Bar and Restaurant’s rooftop terrace. Freshly shucked South Australian oysters, a delicate Adelaide Hills rosé, and the twinkling city lights make for a fabulous finale.

Need a place to stay?

The Soho Hotel is located right in the heart of the Adelaide CBD and makes the perfect base from which to explore everything the city has to offer. Choose from thirty chic and contemporary rooms and suites, including luxury spa suites. The hotel is within easy walking distance of the city’s shopping and dining precincts. Onsite restaurant The Little Soho does traditional tapas with a modern twist and is open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner, and Friday for lunch.

Find more accommodation options around Adelaide

About the writer

Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has previously had the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten. Adam and his team will be contributing pieces to NeedaBreak.com throughout September and October.

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