Just about every Adelaidian is familiar with the Adelaide Central Market and all the wonders it holds, but there are many other enticing places in the streets and arcades surrounding this iconic landmark. From food stops with a real difference to fashion flashbacks and gift ideas from around the world, check out our starter’s guide to discovering just a few of the gems within the fascinating Market District.
A cracking good way to kick off your tour
Start at the corner of King William and Franklin Streets and wave hello to a fellow explorer, Captain Charles Sturt, as you head west down Franklin Street towards Crack Kitchen. This elegant example of modernist architecture was once a bank and later a video-gaming bar. After an interior redesign, it’s now a popular Scandi-chic, light-filled café where you can enjoy a delicious locally-sourced brunch.
Further west takes you to the Adelaide Central Bus Station, the first port of call for many inter and intra-state visitors to the city. Across the terminus entry you’ll find The Joinery – a place to learn about conservation and sustainability, or organise a unique and memorable travel adventure through pureSA. If you’re a planet protector who owns an electric vehicle, you’ll also find the City of Adelaide’s Electric Vehicle Charging Hub here.
Meaningful food experiences
Next door to The Joinery, the Foodprint Experience café aims to connect people to the food they eat and where it comes from by using sustainable, locally sourced produce. Stock up on bamboo cups and straws, bees wax wraps, handmade soaps and pickled delights.
If ‘the arts’ is more your vibe, head a little south from the Adelaide Central Bus Station towards Grote Street and enrol in dancing, singing or acting classes at the family-owned Star Academy Performing Arts Studio.
Head east or west – both ways are best!
Wander west down Grote Street toward Morphett Street and you’ll come to Times Up Supermarket – an Asian grocery with a difference. Along with a vast variety of dumplings, noodles and tasty snacks, there are tanks filled with live sea creatures. Crabs, lobsters and even eels can be prepared for you to take home by the ever-helpful staff. You can’t get fresher than that!
If you head east along Grote Street you’ll hit Adelaide’s Chinatown where you can indulge in all sorts of delicacies. An array of restaurants serve-up everything from yum cha and noodles to Peking Duck and chicken feet. If you enjoy cooking at home, the supermarkets here are brimming with amazing food items, handy kitchenware and decorations to help you set the scene.
Shop the planet
Walk east through the colourful Adelaide Central Market (stopping along the way for a tasting sample or three and some fresh food shopping) to discover the delights of the Central Market Arcade, home to over 60 speciality stores.
At Little Tokyo, pick up delicate Japanese bowls, tea caddies, fans and purses, along with Japanese beer and sake. Jai Accessories, a long-time staple of the Arcade, has you covered for colourful dress-up masks, hats, scarves and handbags. Next door, Better World Arts supports indigenous communities with its colourful array of Aboriginal art and decorated items. Opposite is OmMade Meet the Maker where your skincare needs can be taken care of with all-natural organic products. The colourful Moroccan-made earrings are sure to be an attention grabber.
Exit via the Arcade’s eastern end, head south and around the corner into Gouger Street – a thoroughfare teaming with activity. Before you get side-tracked, take a detour south into Compton Street and stop in front of the picture-perfect front window display at Push Pin Boutique – always beautifully styled with outfits from bygone eras. Inside you’ll find vintage threads in great condition.
Time for a breather
Getting thirsty? Bar 55ml could have just the refreshment you’re looking for. Walk to the end of Compton to Wright Street, turn left and then left again into Mill Street to find this ever-so-cosy bar offering beer and wines from all over the world.
Sign out with a song
Finish your day by heading back to Gouger Street for a meal at any of the sensational restaurants and cafes running down both sides. If you still have some pep in your step, there’s a variety of karaoke bars along this vibrant thoroughfare where you can stretch your vocal chords or head north to Grote Street to enjoy some live tunes. The Hotel Metropolitan has live bands on most nights of the week, or wander a few doors east to La Boheme for lush cocktails and to see a show in the comfort of its bohemian velvet interior.
With its fresh produce, rich history and cultural diversity, Adelaide’s Market District is a must-do experience.
If you have your own favourite places within this vibrant city area, leave a comment below so we can share your top spots with other readers.