Adelaide is a veritable melting pot for Australian art and history – with an eclectic mix of galleries and museums hosting exhibitions from local and international artists, plus a packed roster of festivals and fairs on the city’s annual calendar.
We’ve compiled our list of ten must-see Adelaide art galleries and museums for the discerning aesthete, where you can flex your art critic and historian muscles.
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Your guide to the best Adelaide art galleries and museums
Art Gallery of South Australia
Best Adelaide art gallery for: peeking into Australia’s rich history
History buffs will need to set a full day aside to explore The Art Gallery of South Australia, which houses paintings, sculpture, and prints, as well as metalwork and furniture spanning the past 2,000 years. Those interested in the contemporary Australian art scene should also keep an eye out for TARNANTHI – a festival hosted by the museum – which promotes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art.
📍 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute
Best Adelaide art gallery for: gaining first-hand knowledge on First Nations art and culture
The oldest First Nations owned and run multi-arts centre Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute spotlights contemporary and traditional indigenous art. Located on the edge of the sprawling green space of Murlawirrapurka, the art museum hosts live musical performances, talks with artists, and workshops and demonstrations on where you can learn basket weaving, dancing, and other artistic practices from the artists themselves.
📍 253 Grenfell Street, Adelaide SA 5000
Best Adelaide art gallery for: interacting with technology-driven artworks
At the nexus of science and art is MOD., a gallery that uses technological innovations to get you thinking about the human experience. 2023’s exhibition explores the limits of pain and risk, and who we are when we come out on the other side. It might be best to leave little ones at home for this one, as the interactive exhibitions are ideally experienced and enjoyed by guests between 15 and 25 years old.
📍 North Terrace, adjacent, Morphett Street, Adelaide SA 5000
Adelaide street art trail
Best Adelaide art gallery for: viewing art out in the sunshine
You can’t stroll around Adelaide without stumbling upon evocative and inspiring street art, with as many as 217 sightings available for you to seek out on this map alone. Every year, Adelaide Fringe, the biggest arts festival in Australia, commissions Australia’s top emerging and established artists to cover the city in large-scale murals. So, lace up your most comfortable walking shoes, grab some sunscreen, and hit the streets for the ultimate open-air gallery.
📍 Adelaide CBD
Best art gallery for: watching live demonstrations of fine craftwork
Design connoisseurs will revel in a visit to JamFactory, where ceramics, glass, and metal crafts, as well as furniture and jewellery are on full display. From Monday to Wednesday, you can also take a complimentary 30-minute guided tour where you’ll witness resident artists’ glass-blowing demonstrations. Feel free to peruse its retail store afterwards, which is filled with bespoke gifts for friends and family.
📍 19 Morphett Street, Adelaide SA 5000
Australian Contemporary Experimental (ACE)
Best art gallery for: scoping out the latest contemporary art
Those wanting an intimate look at Australia’s contemporary art scene will find plenty of thought-provoking pieces at ACE, an independent contemporary visual arts organisation based in Adelaide’s creative hub, the Lion Arts Centre precinct. From 4 February to 18 March 2023 ACE will host an exhibition on bodies of water as dynamic living systems.
📍 Lion Arts Factory, 68 North Terrace (West End), Adelaide SA 5000
Flinders University Museum of Art
Best Adelaide art gallery for: discovering significant socio-political artworks
Flinders University Museum of Art is a sprawling collection of paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, photographs and videos, and many more mediums. Those interested in learning about Australia’s complex political history can immerse themselves in the Australian political posters collection, which charts the evolution of contemporary printmaking practices in the country.
📍 Social Sciences North Sturt Road, Bedford Park SA 5042
The Shadow Initiation at the South Australian Museum
Best Adelaide art gallery for: gamifying your gallery-crawling experience
The South Australian Museum has five floors of historical collections, focusing primarily on Australian First Nations and Pacific cultures. In The Shadow Initiation, you’ll get to trawl through the exhibits to solve as many puzzles as you can within an hour – adding an adrenaline-fueled edge to your time in the museum. The game is priced at $49 (AUD) per person for the general public.
📍 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Samstag Museum of Art
Best Adelaide art gallery for: witnessing a new generation of masters
You can’t miss The University of South Australia’s Samstag Museum of Art – an eye-catching geometric building hosting several contemporary art exhibitions that draw a young, hip crowd. The gallery hosts artists such as the Australian-born duo Soda Jerk, whose video work Hello Dankness samples from popular movies to comment on US election cycles.
📍 Hawke Building, City West campus, 55 North Terrace, Adelaide SA 5000
Best Adelaide art gallery for: learning about Australia’s culturally eclectic community
You can learn about Australia’s diverse population of international identities at the Migration Museum. Past events include scavenger hunts and craft workshops to engage little ones over school holidays, as well as thought-provoking glimpses into Australia’s Palestinian, Croatian, and Italian communities from their migration into Australia to how they preserve their distinct cultural identities.
📍 82 Kintore Avenue, Adelaide SA 5000