Why Adelaide should be on your winter travel hitlist

With festivals like Umbrella: Winter City Sounds, Indie-Con and the Adelaide Guitar Festival coming up, a trip to Adelaide might just be the perfect winter getaway.

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There are plenty of hidden gems in the coastal capital; with funky bars, delicious eateries, futuristic museums and, of course, events for music lovers. Don’t let the cold stop you from getting out and exploring this diverse city. To help you get started, here are some must-dos to add to your itinerary.


Adelaide’s CBD will soon play host to a range of music and art performances as part of this year’s Umbrella: Winter City Sounds festival. It’s a jam-packed program that’ll get you out exploring the city despite the winter chill. You’ll be able to catch Cosmo’s Midnight or Jaala, attend a mini-warehouse rave, watch some roller derby accompanied by live bands, take in acoustic tunes by the beach, and heaps more over a massive two weeks. Friday July 13 - Sunday July 29.


If you’re interested in the ins and outs of the independent music industry, then put Indie-Con on your to-do list. Taking over at The Hindley, the conference will see music industry insiders from across the world sharing tips and stories on everything from industry partnerships and smart marketing, to streaming and business skills. The program features international guests like indie record label pioneer Molly Neuman (Kickstarter, eMusic, Lookout Records) and Justin West from Canada’s Secret City Records. There’s also plenty of homegrown talent such as Dave Faulkner from the Hoodoo Gurus, Spotify’s Tom Mee, and Dom Alessio from Sounds Australia. Thursday July 26 and Friday July 27.


Classical, rock, folk, country – whatever your favourite genre of music might be, you’ll find it at the Adelaide Guitar Festival. Over four big days, you’ll be able to see guitar greats perform live, take part in workshops and peruse some amazingly crafted guitars and accessories. The 2018 program features international guests like Albert Lee, Marc Ribot, Kaki King and Vladimir Gorbach. Closer to home, you’ll also be able to catch local Australian talent such as Stefan Hauk, Abbe May, Wanderers, and the Grigoryan Brothers. It’s all going down at Adelaide Festival Centre. Thursday August 9 - Sunday August 12.


Another festival worth adding to your list is the Adelaide Dance Festival, launching for its first season this year. The brainchild of the Australian Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director, Garry Stewart, the festival runs over a two-week period. It’s a pretty diverse event, with heaps of performances, workshops, films, installations and discussions to explore. Highlights include The Australian Ballet’s The Sleeping Beauty, as well as The Cubic Museum, which will see local choreographers perform live installations inside a large Perspex cube. Sunday July 8 - Saturday July 21.


There’s plenty of bars and pubs to check out in Adelaide, and one of the quirkiest is this Brooklyn-themed all-in-one. At the bar you’ll find a selection of South Australian wines (it is the Mclaren Vale state, after all), a bevy of beers and some tasty cocktails, including a Roast Coconut Old Fashioned. But there’s more to this joint than just the drinks list. At BRKLYN you’ll also find a barber shop, a deli (fried pickles and philly cheesesteak, anyone?) and the Soundpond recording studio where DJ’s can set up and are broadcast to the main bar. It’s a trip to the Big Apple, but a whole lot closer to home. 260a Rundle Street.


This soda bar/diner is an oldie, but a goodie. Located on the upper level of the Adelaide Arcade, the team at Two Bit have been slinging burgers since 2011. What makes them so popular? Aside from looking totally drool-worthy, it’s probably the fact that everything on the menu can be made vegan, and a lot of it is gluten-free too. Pop in for a Fowl Play Burger, with fried ‘chicken’, sweet potato mash, gravy and spinach, or a sloppy joe (‘mince’, lettuce, tomato, cheese and sweet BBQ sauce) and don’t forget to try a house-made soda too. Adelaide Arcade, 150 Rundle Mall.


If you’re after a drink without the pub-style crowds, then Cry Baby is the place to go. This is a total newcomer to the Adelaide bar scene (it only opened in June), and it’s got that neon, jukebox, rock’n’roll vibe that you’d find at Melbourne’s own Heartbreaker. There are over 300 bottles of spirits to choose from, most of which are bourbon and tequila, as well as a one-page cocktail list and a selection of craft beers on tap. 11 Solomon Street.


Brand new to the Adelaide bar scene is Malt & Juniper, displaying an impressive array of whiskies and gins from around the world. It’s quaint and super cosy, warmly lit with booths to lounge in, and an upper mezzanine level where you can survey the full double-story cabinet of spirits. Unsurprisingly, the speciality here are the seasonal cocktails showcasing whiskey; like the Amaro Tea and Apple Sour, and gin; Mandarin Fizz and Herb Harvest. A few drinks here will definitely have you feeling warmer in the Adelaide winter. 18 Peel St.


South Australia is pretty renowned for its produce, and what better way to experience it first-hand than a trip to the local market. Adelaide Central Market has been around since 1870 and is home to over 70 traders, from fresh fruit and veg, to cafes and bakeries. Grab some fresh bread from The Market Bread Bar, who also stock a range of gluten-free loaves, head to Say Cheese for some free tastings, and stock up on some baked treats from Providore for later. Kicking off at 7am from Tuesday to Saturday, you’ll want to get down early for the best pickings. 44-60 Gouger St.


Regardless of whether you’re a gamer or not, Adelaide’s first virtual reality arcade, Untethered VR, is worth a look. It only opened in March this year, and is the first of its kind for the state. You’ll be fully geared up with a wire-free headset and backpack, meaning you get a full range of movement. This is particularly useful when playing zombie apocalypse game Arizona Sunshine – there’s a lot of fear-induced flailing of limbs in this one. 212A Gouger St.


The Museum of Discovery is another Adelaide newcomer, providing visitors with a unique science, technology and design experience. You’ll find a range of bizarre and intriguing exhibits across its two floors and seven gallery rooms, including an immersive projection of the solar system, surgically-modified silicone babies and a ‘gallery of pain’. After wandering around the museum, you can grab a bite to eat at the café, Food Lore, and digest all the strangeness you’ve just experienced. It’s free entry too, so don’t worry about blowing your travel budget. North Terrace, adjacent Morphett Street Bridge.

This article is proudly sponsored by City of Adelaide in partnership with Beat Magazine. Learn more about our editorial policy here.