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Arts and Culture in Adelaide

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From vast theatres putting on blockbuster musicals to cavernous museums that delve into Aboriginal art, Adelaide has no shortage of distractions. With ornate churches and grand 19th century architecture sitting alongside the sleekly modern landmarks, urban sightseers will have plenty to feast on too.


Performing arts


Perhaps unexpectedly, at least for anyone thinking that Melbourne is Australia's undisputed cultural capital, Adelaide is home to one of the most extravagant centres of the performing arts in the whole of the nation, as well as smaller, more intimate venues.


Adelaide Festival Centre


With its white, geometric domes overlooking the banks of the Torrens River, the sprawling Adelaide Festival Centre is a spectacular attraction even if you're not catching a show. This cultural hub features several performance venues, including the huge proscenium arch of the Festival Theatre and the cosier Dunstan Playhouse.


King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000. Tel: +61 8 8216 8600


Adelaide Festival Centre website




The stately North Terrace, right in the heart of the city, is where you should come if you want to immerse yourself in the history of South Australia. Its museums will take you back in time and allow you to cast your eyes over some truly world-class art.


Art Gallery of South Australia


Founded in 1881, and housed in one of the North Terrace's Neo-Classical buildings, the Art Gallery of South Australia isn't just home to Aboriginal art and other regional treasures. It also displays works by the likes of Manet and Renoir, not to mention the swoon-inducing visions of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.


North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000. Tel: + 61 8 8207 7000


Art Gallery of South Australia website


South Australian Museum


From the great articulated skeleton of a sperm whale to the century-old bones of an African elephant called Miss Siam, there's plenty of awesome animal attractions at the South Australian Museum. Aboriginal artefacts can also be pored over, including ancient boomerangs and shields.


North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000. Tel: +61 8 8207 7500


South Australian Museum website




It's in the very heart of the city that some of Adelaide's most handsome buildings can be seen. This is a fine place to simply amble around and take in the sights, from the ornate seat of the Parliament of South Australia to well-preserved 19th century mansions.


Adelaide Town Hall


With its looming clock tower and colourful Renaissance-style architecture, Adelaide Town Hall is a monument to 19th century Australian ambition. Its marble-clad interior as impressive as the outside, it puts on exhibitions throughout the year, and is still fondly known as the place where the Beatles played during their heyday.


128 King William Street, Adelaide SA 5000. Tel: +61 8 8203 7590


Adelaide Town Hall website


Religious sites


Lovers of Gothic-style architecture can seek out striking landmarks during their wanderings around Adelaide – the religious sites provide not just eye candy but a certain serenity amid the bustle of the city. Even the cemetery is an attraction well worth visiting.


St Peter's Cathedral


Its two spires piercing the wide blue sky, St Peter's Cathedral is perhaps the most iconic religious landmark of the city. That's in no small part down to its ornate Neo-Gothic façade, and stepping inside you'll see the painstakingly carved altar figures, colourful stained glass, and illustrated panels depicting scenes from the Bible.


27 King William Road, Adelaide SA 5006. Tel: +61 8 8267 4551


St Peter's Cathedral website


West Terrace Cinerary


A cemetery may not sound like a must-see attraction, but wait till you visit this one. Dating right back to the days of the very earliest settlers in South Australia, it's a poignant landscape of marble and slate where leading figures from Adelaide's past were laid to rest, each with their own fascinating stories which are told during the regular walking tours of the cemetery.


161 West Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000. Tel: +61 8 8139 7400


West Terrace Cinerary website


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