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Experience Adelaide Arcade

Home > Adelaide > Shopping | Museums | Fashion | Coffee | Cafes
by Graeme Fanning (subscribe)
I'm a tour guide who is passionate about South Australia and love to showcase to locals and visitors. Visit my facebook page at
Published November 21st 2015
Take a trip back in time through Adelaide Arcade
Experience Adelaide Arcade

If you are looking for a combination of diverse shopping, good coffee and some mouthwatering snacks all in an historic setting, then Adelaide Arcade is the place for you.

Running between Rundle Mall and Grenfell Street in the retail precinct of Adelaide, Adelaide Arcade was built in 1885 with extensive use of cast iron, plate glass and electric lighting in Italianate style - in fact the arcade was one of the first buildings in Adelaide to use electric lighting.

Today there are over 100 specialty shops and outlets over two levels.

Adelaide Arcade
Entrance to Adelaide Arcade


Within the Adelaide Arcade complex is a small museum which depicts the history of the arcade, with items found when laying foundations for the erection of the building in the 1880's.

The exhibits on the balcony level of Gay's Arcade, adjacent to Adelaide Arcade include artefacts, decadent clothing, newspaper cuttings, photographs and even a piano accordion that plays the official Adelaide Arcade Grand Polka.

A brochure available at the museum is entitled "Children's History Trail" which allows the kids to answer questions in the brochure after exploring the exhibits.

The museum is free to all visitors.

Adelaide Arcade
Adelaide Arcade Piano Accordion

Resident Ghost

The complex contains a resident ghost, the former caretaker who unfortunately died in tragic circumstances in the early 1900's when he had his head mutilated in an electric generator.

It is also believed that there may be two other ghosts, one as the result of a woman being shot in the back by her husband around 1904 and the other a small boy, who died from gas inhalation around 1902.

Over the years there have been intermittent reports of sightings, the sound of footsteps, and objects having been moved from their original location without explanation.

Several ghost tours these days are conducted in the arcade, one company being Adelaide Haunted Horizons most Friday nights between 9.30 pm and 11.15 pm at a cost of $33. More information is available from their website.

Adelaide Arcade
Regal yet haunted Adelaide Arcade

Shopping Options

Some of the 100 speciality shops include Adelaide Hatters, who have specialised for the past 25 years in hats for men, women and children and for any occasion, from casual to formal functions. It is believed to be the largest specialty retail hat shop in Australia.

A total of 8 jewellers are housed in the Arcade as well as 7 fashion and accessories shops.

With Christmas just around the corner, there are also a good range of gifts and homewares and vouchers available from the several health and beauty outlets scattered in the arcade.

Adelaide Arcade
Specialised Shopping


Chocolate is always a favourite with many people and a branch of Haigh's Chocolates is located at the Grenfell Street end of Adelaide Arcade - their range of truffles is something else.

With Haigh's celebrating 100 years of their business this year, they continue to set the bar for premium quality chocolate in all forms and shapes and sizes.

Adelaide Arcade
Haigh's Chocolates


The options available within Adelaide Arcade for taking a break from shopping and experiencing good coffee and food are diverse, including traditional Japanese food, quality hand-made chocolates and Belgian Hot Chocolate, as well as a 1950's style soda bar and diner.

Adelaide Arcade
View of Adelaide Arcade Cafe


Adelaide Arcade provides a great mix of shopping, food and coffee, all housed in a historical facility in the heart of Adelaide. I can't wait to re-visit soon. The full range of facilities within Adelaide Arcade can be viewed on their website.

Adelaide Arcade
Christmas Theme in Adelaide Hatters

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Why? A unique mix of specialised shopping, food and coffee in an historic arcade
When: Mon to Thurs 9am - 7 pm, Fri 9 am - 9 pm, Sat 9 am - 5 pm, Sun 11 am - 5 pm
Phone: 08 8223 5522
Where: Adelaide Arcade
Cost: Dependent on your shopping and refreshment plans
Your Comment
Alongside is the equally interesting Gay's Arcade. Would they have the same ownership, I suppose. Upstairs there is a gem of gentlemen's tailoring, Terry Gasson,, who brought Savile Row skills to Adelaide.
by (score: 2|555) 1711 days ago
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