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Thrifty Thrills The Best Free Family Activities in Adelaide

Thrifty Thrills: The Best Free Family Activities in Adelaide

Adelaide’s family fun doesn’t cost a dime, and we have the insider’s info on all the wallet-friendly adventures you and your crew will love! 

From checking out the captivating artwork at the South Australian Museum to touring a chocolate factory, there’s no shortage of no-cost family activities in the CBD. 

So, why break the bank when you can break into a world of fun for free? This article has all the details!

Enjoy the hustle and bustle of Adelaide’s Chinatown

From zacknowbody

Address: 18 Moonta St, Adelaide, SA 5000

Operating Hours: Daily – 24 Hours


Kids will have a blast soaking in the vibrant sights and lively atmosphere of Adelaide’s bustling Chinatown. The go-to spot is the plaza—a popular space to kick back and relax with murals as the backdrop.

Families can also spot charming red lanterns, pagoda-style roofs, and other structures common in Asian countries like China, Malaysia, and Japan. 

Moreover, the streets come alive with spirited tunes from morning to dusk. The street parties get louder during special occasions, like Chinese New Year!

Play with science in MOD

Address: North Terrace, adjacent, Morphett St, Adelaide, SA 5000

Operating Hours:

  • Mon – Closed 
  • Tue to Sat – 10 am to 5 pm
  • Sun – Closed


For absolutely nada, you can create core memories with your fam by playing with science at MOD, a museum boasting interactive STEM exhibits.

If you want to see your loved ones’ jaws drop, check out the Neural Nexus, a virtual network of neurons floating through the air that can learn, adapt, and even chat with you. 

There’s also Traces of You, letting visitors see versions of themselves living in parallel universes. AI and infrared cameras create digital doppelgängers that mimic your every move—and yes, it gets trippy and thought-provoking.

Swim, surf, and snorkel at Adelaide’s best beaches

Beachside bliss doesn’t have to drain your wallets, especially when it’s Adelaide we’re talking about. 

You can soak up the sun and take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of Glenelg Beach or people-watch on the nearby cafe-lined Moseley Square. 

If you’re up for a dose of art and culture, head to the Glenelg Bay Center, a breezy 2-minute walk from the main shoreline. For those who still have energy, you can go to the Glenelg Jetty for sunset viewing or fishing.

Tourists seeking a less-crowded spot can hit Semaphore Beach. This beach has several shallows and flaunts a powder-like 2-kilometer shoreline where a 585-meter jetty stands. 

Moreover, there’s Brighton Beach, which has newbie-friendly waves for those who want to surf.

You can’t miss Largs Bay too, especially with its calm waters perfect for paddleboarding, and Aldinga Beach, which is a snorkeler’s dream teeming with marine life, like leafy sea dragons, giant cuttlefish, seahorses, and more.

And we can’t forget Moana Beach, ideal for catching the perfect wave or casting your line for hours of beachside fishing. Most families bring their car to the shore, but this will cost you $8.

Chill at the Adelaide Himeji Gardens

From therightsideofadelaide

Address: Cnr South Terrace & Glen Osmond Rd, Adelaide SA 5000

Contact Details: (08) 8203 7203

Operating Hours: Daily – 8 am to 5:30 pm

Unwinding with your family at the stunning and tranquil Adelaide Himeji Gardens is priceless. 

All the zen attractions here are meant to blow the cobwebs away, from the serene garden lake with ducklings, fish, and turtles to the Japanese bamboo tubes (shishi-odoshi) producing a gentle clacking sound.

Our favorite spot, though, is the karesansui, a dry-landscape Japanese garden of rocks, sand, and gravel symbolizing natural landscapes, such as mountains and seascapes. Minutes of meditation and reflection make this site better.

See the diverse people and products of the Adelaide Central Market

Address: 44/60 Gouger St, Adelaide, SA 5000

Contact Details: (08) 8203 7494

Operating Hours: 

  • Mon – Closed
  • Tue – 7 am to 5:30 pm
  • Wed to Thu – 9 am to 5:30 pm
  • Fri – 7 am to 9 pm
  • Sat – 7 am to 3 pm
  • Sun – Closed


With stalls representing various cultures, the Adelaide Central Market is a terrific and cost-free spot to introduce your kiddos to diversity. 

Here, youngins can witness different cultures via the stalls’ vibrant colors, smell some delicacies’ unique aromas, and hear the different languages spoken by vendors and customers, which all foster an early appreciation of other cultures.

The energetic environment also offers a sensory-rich and immersive experience. Little ones get to watch skilled vendors in action and hear the cheerful buzz of people from all walks of life.

Visit Adelaide’s best structures

  • SAHMRI: North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000
  • d’Arenberg Cube: 58 Osborn Rd, McLaren Vale, SA 5171
  • Adelaide Oval: War Memorial Dr, North Adelaide, SA 5006
  • St. Peter’s Cathedral: 27 King William Rd, North Adelaide, SA 5006
  • Parliament of South Australia: Parliament House, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000
  • Ayers House: 288 North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000

Adelaide has no shortage of architectural wonders and visiting them is a thrilling visual adventure for the entire family.

The must-see ones include SAHMRI and the d’Arenberg Cube, modern jaw-droppers with shapes and styles straight out of a sci-fi film. In addition, The Adelaide Oval blends modern layouts with nature’s greenery. 

Fams with fans of period architecture are in for a treat, too, with St. Peter’s Cathedral’s Gothic Revival aesthetics and the Parliament of SA’s Neoclassical design. Ayers House is another classic stunner, teeming with the elegance of Regency architecture.

Stroll or hike Adelaide’s trails

– From RAAofSA

Adelaide has an abundance of scenic and family-friendly trails. 

Beach lovers can hit the Coast Park Walking Trail with stunning coastal views. You shouldn’t skip the woodlands of Sugarloaf Circuit, too, where kangaroos and koalas roam freely. 

If you’re looking for urban vibes mixed with grasslands and bodies of water, the Adelaide Park Lands Trail is where it’s at. And don’t forget Thorndon Park—a shady loop with picnic spots, BBQs, ducklings, and direct access to the crystalline Thorndon Reservoir.

Address: North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000

Contact Details: (08) 8207 7000

Operating Hours: Daily – 10 am to 5 pm


The Gallery of South Australia is an artistic treasure trove with over 47,000 artworks. 

Inside, you’ll find a cornucopia of artistic expressions, from honored Aboriginal artworks to iconic paintings like Brett Whiteley’s 10 Rillington Place W11 and Dušan Marek’s 2000.

Additionally, the gallery has the Start at the Gallery program with free kid-centered activities where your little ones can join workshops, make art, socialize, and more! This event takes place every first Sunday of the month, and bookings aren’t required.

Stroll through Adelaide Botanic Gardens

From Walk 4k Today

Address: North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000

Contact Details: (08) 8222 9311

Operating Hours: 

  • Mon to Thu – 7:15 am to 6:30 pm
  • Thu to Fri – 7:15 am to 7 pm
  • Sat to Sun – 9 am to 7 pm


A family day at the Adelaide Botanic Gardens is time truly well invested. 

The Adelaide Botanic Garden sprawls across 50 well-tended hectares, showcasing a diverse range of plants, both native and international. 

Your fam can also unwind on tree-shaded and lakeside picnic grounds brimming with flora, like jasmines, pines, and orchids. Birds such as fairy-wrens and noisy miners also perch the trees, so be on the lookout for these flappers.

In addition, there’s a free 1.5-hour tour exploring this flowery paradise’s best sections, including First Creek Wetland, the Amazon Waterlily Pavillion, and the International Rose Garden.

Read at the State Library of South Australia

Address: North Terrace, Adelaide, SA 5000 

Contact Details: (08) 8207 7250

Operating Hours: 

  • Mon to Fri – 10 am to 5 pm
  • Sat to Sun – 12 pm to 5 pm


Whether your folks are avid lifestyle magazine readers, fantasy fanatics, or history buffs, there’s a book they’ll fancy at the State Library of South Australia. There are thousands of reading materials here, and entrance is free.

This place is special because it hasn’t lost its vintage flavor with its maintained original design, fancy gold-themed paint, elegant iron handrails, and chairs. 

The library’s Mortlock Wing, known as one of the world’s top 20 most beautiful libraries, will also have you mesmerized. With its grand colonnade, intricate wood carvings, and a mix of classical and modern design, this section is a cut above the rest.

Tour Haigh’s Chocolates’ factory

Address: 154 B26, Parkside, SA 5063

Contact Details: 1300 424 447

Operating Hours:

  • Mon to Fri – 9 am to 5:30
  • Sat – 9 am to 5 pm
  • Sun – 10 am to 3 pm


Haigh’s Chocolates’ factory tour is your golden ticket to a sweet, free family escapade in Adelaide. 

During this guided journey, you’ll uncover the delectable history of Haigh’s and the magic behind their top-tier chocolates that have stood the test of time. 

You and your kids will watch in awe as their talented confectioners flex their artisan muscles, creating and hand-finishing award-winning sweets. The real treat, though, awaits at the tour’s end, when you’ll get to taste the chocolates!

Play and picnic at parks

  • Elder Park: King William Rd, Adelaide, SA 5000
  • Bonython Park: Livestrong Pathway, Adelaide, SA 5000
  • Brown Hill Recreation Park: Brown Hill Creek Rd, Mitcham, SA 5062

It doesn’t matter if your fam is into relaxation or physical activities; Adelaide’s parks have you covered.

There’s Elder Park, offering stunning walking tracks with killer views of Torrens Lake, the critters that call it home, and the city’s skyline. 

The CBD also has Bonython Park, with flat pathways for serene strolls along the Torrens River and prime spots for viewing swans. For a bit of physical fun, beeline to this park’s play space, accessible for visitors with hearing and seeing disabilities.

Then, there’s Brownhill Recreation Park, a refreshing paradise where a creek flows through a valley shaded by ancient river red gums. It’s a peaceful 51-hectare park with horse trails and a fenced area for your puppers.

Check Rundle Mall’s sculptures

From vitomattvm

Address: Between King William St and Pulteney St Adelaide, SA 5000

Contact Details: 0402 703 006

Operating Hours: 

  • Mon to Thu – 9 am to 5:30 pm
  • Fri – 9 am to 9 pm
  • Sat to Sun – 9 am to 5 pm


Rundle Mall’s quirky and iconic structures will surely put a smile on your family’s faces. There’s A Day Out by Marguerite Derricourt, showcasing bronze pigs living their best life as tourists in Adelaide.

At the mall’s center, you’ll run into The Mall’s Balls, two colossal stainless steel spheres courtesy of Bert Flugelman. If you want to tickle your kids’ imagination, take them to Salvador Dali’s surreal Triumphant Elephant

For a bit of history, see the Progress sculpture that’s been keeping an eye on Rundle Mall for over 50 years and the perpetually playful Girl on a Slide by John Dowie, which has been around since 1977!


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