24 Hours in the City of Adelaide | Family Staycation in South Australia | Review

Weekend Family Staycation in the City of Adelaide, South Australia

Choose your own adventure in the heart of Adelaide, encompassing everything from fun shops to trendy laneways and historic hotels.

by Carla Caruso

The idea of staying the night in our very own city – and exploring it from ‘the inside’ – has always appealed.

So, when the State Government offered $100 off stays at CBD venues back in October, I was one of the first in line. The Great State vouchers were part of a COVID-19 stimulus measure to get South Aussies travelling in their own backyard and give the tourism industry a shot in the arm. (Fifty-dollar vouchers were also up for grabs for regional and suburban accommodation).

Finding a room for our family of four (rather than just a couple), in the deal, proved a little tougher. But then, we hit on the Mercure Grosvenor Hotel Adelaide. The four-star hotel is conveniently situated on North Terrace and steeped in history, built in 1920.

We picked a Sunday night for our stay when the kids had a pupil-free day the next day. It was fun checking out the history cabinet in the hotel lobby (including an old newspaper article on guests being evacuated following a blaze nearby.)

After our 2pm check-in, we headed to Rundle Mall to see the festive displays and browse for gift ideas at shops like Toyworld and Lush Handmade Cosmetics (nicely, vegan and cruelty-free) at the Myer Centre. We also perused some of the updated side streets like Leigh Street.


Then it was time for a fuel-up. We’d timed our visit well with the Lucky Dumpling Market on at Elder Park until 15 November 2020. We headed there for some mid-arvo munchies including dumplings, bubble tea, and fairy floss-wrapped ice cream. The River Torrens was looking its sparkly best.

Next on the agenda was checking out the Giant Christmas Tree in Tarntanyangga/Victoria Square. From November, the lights turn on nightly at 8pm until 2.30am. Along the way, we stopped at OTR North Terrace to grab a few more snacks. (To my mind, a city holiday isn’t a holiday without a visit to a 24-hour convenience store!)


The temperature hit 37C during our stay, so the boys cooled off in the Square’s water feature before the Christmas music and light show began. It was well worth the wait.


Feeling very festive, we jumped on a free tram back to North Terrace, making a pitstop at the Strathmore Hotel for dinner (another historic spot, 165 years’ young). Afterwards, at our hotel room, the boys fell asleep almost as soon as their heads hit the pillow. A successful day!

The next morning, before our 11am checkout, we checked out a few of the hip eateries in the Adelaide Railway Station like Mornings Konbini and Commute ADL. Then, capping off our trip, we bought a Christmas tree on Rundle Street!

There are so many other places we could have added to our list to visit during our stay, such as the Adelaide Zoo, SA Museum, and Holey Moley mini-golf course (getting in the spirit of the upcoming TV show). We also could have tried an escape room (there are two in Rundle Mall), hired an e-scooter, or beyond. But, alas, we’ll have to save it for next time.

Now, over to you … how might you design your own mini adventure in the city?

What we like about it

  • A weekend stay can be just the recharge you need – away from the housework and your laptop.
  • Why travel far when there’s so much yet to be explored in your own backyard?
  • Cutting out lengthy travel times means you get a nice break, without needing a holiday after your holiday.

Things to consider

  • Some parts of the city seemed less kid-friendly at night on the Sunday we were there, like King William Road and Bank Street.
  • Over-pack for the kids! Items like swimmers and a spare change of clothes would have come in handy when our twins ran through Victoria Square’s water feature amid the heat. Think beyond your usual city shopping trip.

Coffee and food options nearby

There are a plethora of eateries to try, from Rundle Mall to Rundle Street. The only challenge will be deciding just which one to go with each mealtime.


Review by Carla Caruso

Click here for all the Best Playgrounds for Toddlers

See our Top Parks & Playgrounds Around Adelaide here.

For more information on Adelaide’s city centre, please visit the City of Adelaide website.

What:  24 Hours in Adelaide’s CBD | Family Staycation Review 

When:  Anytime

Where:  Adelaide CBD | South Australia

Who:  Everybody

All photos by Carla Caruso and James Elsby for Play & Go Adelaide, November 2020

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.


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