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14 Free Things To Do in Adelaide When You’re On a Budget

Make some room in your calendar for a fun, cost-of-living-friendly day out as we round up the best free things to do in Adelaide.

Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market

Expensive doesn’t always mean the best and being budget-friendly doesn’t always mean boring! Adelaide is a hub for activities just waiting to be enjoyed if you’re saving the pennies for a big purchase, your bank balance has had a little too much fun of late, or you are simply after something enjoyable that doesn’t involve ticket prices.

Think strolls through gorgeous gardens throughout all seasons, day trips to beautiful beaches, farmers markets to attend with friends and live music at the pub. These are some of the best free activities to do in Adelaide for those on a budget.

Free Things to do in Adelaide: Culture & Entertainment



If you consider yourself to be a STEM enthusiast, then you'll be obsessed with MOD., Adelaide's futuristic museum all about science, discovery, and learning. It's the place to go if you're looking for free things to do in Adelaide that will inspire you through its boundary-pushing research. MOD. hosts one in-person and one online exhibition each year, as well as events, workshops and other activities, so there's always something to do.

North Terrace, adjacent Morphett St, Adelaide

ANZAC Centenary Memorial Walk (Image credit: Tract)

ANZAC Centenary Memorial Walk

Pay your respects to the servicemen and servicewomen who have served their time in the war and take a walk down the ANZAC Centenary Memorial Walk. The memorial wall has both images and the names of the South Australians who have served in the war, with the interpretative wall made of Adelaide black granite depicting Australian society through all the times of conflict spanning a century. This is the perfect place to reflect and pay your respects as you immerse yourself in Australian history.

Kintore Street, Adelaide

South Australian Museum

South Australian Museum

Spend hours of your time immersed in fascinating history, culture and natural wonders across the five floors of the South Australian Museum - all without spending a single cent.

Explore the mammal room filled with curious creatures from around the globe, cool down in the polar collection with tens of thousands of artifacts from the historic era of polar exploration, and take your time throughout their many permanent collections across biological sciences, humanities and mineral sciences, among others as one of the most fun and educational free things to do in Adelaide. This museum is so large, it will take you days to get through it all!

Keep an eye out for their special exhibitions, events and programs throughout the year, although you may have to pay an entry fee for certain events.

North Terrace, Adelaide


Catch a Free Gig

Head out to one of Adelaide’s many bars, pubs, restaurants and cafes to discover some of SA’s talented musical acts – absolutely free! Hang out at NOLA for blues and acoustic, Casablabla for their resident DJs and eclectic range of acts, or pubs featuring local artists including The Lion Hotel and The Stag, and Bowden Brewing in Plant 3 Bowden.

We love to keep an eye out for the best regular live music sessions at some of our favourite spots around the city, in particular when we’re seeking free things to do in Adelaide, which you can always find in our monthly guide roundups.

Adelaide Fringe Festival


South Australia is called the Festival State for an extremely good reason. We have an exciting festival on practically every single month of the year, with many of them having events to enjoy while on a budget and looking for free things to do in Adelaide.

The Adelaide Fringe festival (February-March) takes over the entire city for a month, with ticketed shows across many venues and free shows to catch in bars, on the streets and in larger venue spaces such as the Garden of Unearthly Delights and Gluttony that are free of charge to enter and spend your day in. Cultural festivals such as OzAsia burst out onto the streets of Adelaide and of course, there are the many, many food festivals including Tasting Australia with their Town Square area that is free to enter.

Art Gallery of South Australia

Art Gallery of South Australia

With over 45,000 unique works of art, the Art Gallery of South Australia will provide you with hours of entertainment and cost you absolutely nothing! It doesn’t matter if you’re an art connoisseur or more of an art novice, there’s something for everyone in the many rooms spanning every genre imaginable.

Highlighting radical changes in Australian art after the second world war, the permanent fixture Rethinking Australian Art is a must-see, alongside the gallery's many events such as the lunchtime Tuesday Talks, where you can hear special details and insights on exhibitions from curators, artists and guest speakers. Or, you can get a group together and head to First Fridays, the galleries after-hours art and entertainment on the first Friday of each month with the latest exhibitions and displays, live music and talks until 9pm – all for free!

North Terrace, Adelaide

Free Things to do in Adelaide: Food

Haigh’s Chocolates

Tour Haigh’s Chocolates

Did you know that the South Aussie heroes Haigh’s Chocolates offer free guided and self-guided tours of their factory in Parkside? There’s no booking necessary, just pick your time and day, turn up at the visitor centre and take yourself on a journey through the various levels of the factory, all while learning about Australia’s oldest (and most delicious) chocolate manufacturing retailer.

You will get to see the production line and the staff in action, creating the tasty treats that Haigh’s is so well known for, including its chocolate frog, truffles and bars. If you don’t mind spending a couple of dollars in your search for free things to do in Adelaide, some chocolate seconds may also be available during the tour, and of course, in the shop at the end of your visit.

Tours operate Monday-Saturday, except on public holidays. Self-guided tours also available 

154 Greenhill Road, Parkside

Adelaide Central Market

Adelaide Central Markets

Running since 1869, the Adelaide Central Markets are a must-see icon of our city. The impressive building holds over 70 stalls of artisan products, fresh produce, baked goods, cafes and shops to explore for some foodie inspiration while on a budget. Spending an hour or two wandering around the markets is a delight for all of your senses (and stomach), especially the tasty smells and the sight of colourful goods on show. 

You may find yourself very tempted to pick up a treat or two, but if you're strict on saving your pretty pennies, you can settle for picking up a taster sample of some of the goods available. 

Open Tuesday through Saturday, times vary

44-60 Gouger Street, Adelaide

Adelaide Showground Farmers Market

Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Market

Get your fill of country living without leaving Adelaide with a Sunday session at Adelaide Showgrounds Farmers Markets, South Australia’s largest farmers’ market and an excellent free thing to do in Adelaide thanks to there being no entry fee.

Browse the many stalls available, which sit at an average of 100 each week, depending on seasonality, and get a taste of some the local produce from right here in South Australia. From bread and baked goods, fruit and vegetables, gardening and flowers, to wine, beer and cider, it is the perfect place to get some gift inspiration ahead of Christmas, anniversaries and any other occasion.

Open every Sunday, 8.30am to 12.30pm

Rose Terrace, Wayville

Free Things to do in Adelaide: Beaches

Glenelg Beach

Glenelg Beach

One of Adelaide's most popular beachside locations, Glenelg, turns on the charm with its pristine beach, sidewalk cafes and casual, laid-back vibe. Glenelg feels more like a holiday destination than a suburb of a capital city, with the beach itself perfect for swimming, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing and snorkelling. With buzzing Jetty Road, Moseley Square and the Moseley Beach Club operating through the summer months, there is no shortage of ways to experience summer days in Glenelg.

Henley Beach

Henley Beach

Another seaside suburb of Adelaide, Henley Beach is a vast stretch of glistening coast, while onshore, the vibrant café scene in Henley Square is abuzz with activity. Although a lot is going on between the bars and restaurants, the beach itself has a laid-back holiday feel throughout summer, where it’s all about enjoying the simple pleasures. It's a popular swimming spot, and the beach is great for stand-up paddleboarding and kite surfing, while the jetty is best for fishing.

Free Things to do in Adelaide: Gardens

Adelaide Botanic Garden

Adelaide Botanic Garden

There’s 50 hectares of lush botanical plants, greenhouses, ponds and open greens to be discovered right in the heart of the city at the Adelaide Botanic Garden.

Wide stretches of grassy meadow are a welcome space to spend your time in, ideally with a picnic if the weather permits, before venturing through the beautiful Palm House, built in 1877 and full of plants from Madagascar, the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion, or the unmissable Bicentennial Conservatory – the largest single span conservatory in the Southern Hemisphere. Nature enthusiasts should keep an eye out for some of South Australia’s famous wildlife throughout the Botanic Garden, with birds, bats and other creatures calling the park home.

North Terrace, Adelaide

Himeji Gardens (Image credit: City of Adelaide)

Adelaide Himeji Garden

Neatly tucked away inside Adelaide’s Southern Park Lands with manicured greenery, ponds and beautiful botanicals, Himeji Garden is a little ‘pocket of Japan’ waiting to be discovered. Pack up a picnic to share with friends, or a blanket and a good book for some quality alone time, and head into the tranquil zen paradise for a relaxing, peaceful time away from life’s commotion.

The two styles of garden within the walls offer two different experiences, the ‘kare senzui’ dry garden with patterns combed into the rocks and sand, and the ‘senzui’ lake and mount garden that creates the idea of vastness and grandeur.

South Terrace and Glen Osmond Road, Adelaide

Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens

Mount Lofty Botanic Garden

A place not too far from the city but feels a thousand miles away, Mount Lofty Botanic Garden is a vast stretch of beauty and nature with long walks, a huge lake and amazing wildlife to be discovered. Picturesque in every season, from the bright blooms of springtime to the vibrant orange and reds as autumn slowly creeps in ahead of winter. 

You will find many sculptures and artworks to be admired, pavilions that provide shelter and make a great meeting spot, fern-packed gullies to venture into and endless trails to wander along in all seasons of the year. The park has no entry fee, making this one of the most beautiful free activities to do in Adelaide.

16 Lampert Road, Crafers

Finished our edit of the best free things to do in Adelaide and after more budget-friendly ideas? We've got you covered. Check out our list of the best happy hour deals in pubs around town and where to find some tasty cheap eats to enjoy.

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