The number one attraction for many visitors to South Australia is the Adelaide Central Market. South Australia is renowned for its food and wine credentials and once you visit this fresh food market it’s easy to understand why. You need to put aside a few hours to really enjoy all that the market has to offer and bring plenty of market bags or a trolley because it probably won’t take too long before you’ll be wanting to fill them.
This much loved market is celebrating its 150th year of operation since its official opening in 1870 and it’s an absolute institution for South Australians. It’s completely undercover so is easy to visit all year round and plenty of people agree with that, with more than 9 million visitors a year roaming up and down the many pedestrian roads inside. There are more than 70 traders offering a wide range of food products including farm fresh fruit and veg, meat and poultry, but one thing I always love about markets are the catchy names of the businesses and their quirky or clever décor that tempt you to try their products.
There is always a colourful variety of food on offer and the aromas are divine. There are stalls where you can pull up a chair and have a bite to eat or you can purchase food and find seating areas where you can settle for a while and take a break when it all gets a bit overwhelming. Another thing I love about it is the multicultural facet, with flavours on offer from Italian, Greek, South American, French, Middle Eastern and African origins to name a few. There are also colourfully painted wall murals to look for while you’re wandering.
While in the area you can have lunch at the newly renovated Chinatown Plaza in Moonta Street adjacent to the market and easily found with traditional looking, red pagoda style gates found at either end of Moonta Street. The plaza has a fresh new look including a couple of traditional pagoda structures inside where groups can sit and enjoy the food from some of Adelaide’s top Asian restaurants. The food styles represented include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, and Indian. The plaza is open from 11am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and from 11am to 5pm on Sundays. In Chinatown you’ll also find shops selling Asian fruit and vegetables, authentic ingredients for creating your own dishes at home, as well as snacks and treats that aren’t available in regular supermarkets.
The Adelaide Central Market has easy car parking options with some 1 or 2 hour parks on the streets either side of the market (Grote Street and Gouger Street) or a multi-level car park for more than 1000 vehicles, which is free for the first hour during market trading hours and days, then $6 per hour after that. There are a number of entrances into the market so wherever you park it’s easy to access. The market opening times are Tuesday 7.00am – 5.30pm, Wednesday and Thursday 9.00am – 5.30pm, Friday 7.00am – 9.00pm, Saturday 7.00am – 3.00pm and as of March 22nd this year it will also be open on Sundays from 8:00am – 3:00pm.
My tips before visiting would be:
- Download the market map so you can get your bearings and don’t miss anything Adelaide Central Market Map
- Take a number of market produce bags to fill, you’ll need them
- Have an esky (or in our case a portable fridge) in the car if you’re driving in
- Wear comfortable flat walking shoes and wear layers it can be breezy and cold in some places then warm and cosy in others
- Take a break and have a coffee or snack at one of the market cafes while you review your plan of attack
- Enjoy lunch in Chinatown Plaza
- Take your own empty containers to stock up on fresh foods at the ‘House of Health’ stall
- Take home some French pastry treats for later
- If arriving by bus or tram, the market is easy to access from Victoria Square in the city.
- If arriving by train you can connect with the tram from the central railway station and travel within the city central area is free