A lot of people shit on Adelaide. They call it Radelaide, which confers a certain sarcasm and sets up unfeasible expectations. And sure, it's a tiny place ( 1.3 million) where nothing ever happens (two things are happening, according to Time Out), and the whole place is full of dreary churches ( 529), but this just isn't the full story. Adelaide is aces, you just need to know where to look.
To shut up the naysayers, I compiled some upsides to the world's least appreciated city.
Adelaide Began as a Utopian Paradise
In 1836, we planted ourselves in the middle of Aboriginal land and proclaimed it Adelaide. This was clearly wrong, but I like to think our hearts were in the right place. Unlike Hobart, Brisbane, or Sydney, free settlers founded Adelaide as a sort of libertarian utopia, which was so optimistic they didn't even build a jail. Then in 1895, we became the first state to give women the right to vote, followed by becoming the first state to decriminalise homosexuality a century later in 1972. This was followed by the decriminalisation of weed in 1987.
Adelaide is Cool About Weed
While the rest of the country is still talking, South Australia decriminalised marijuana nearly 30 years ago, and unlike WA, we haven't recriminalised it. This came about in the middle 1970s. Hippies were no longer the only ones getting high and calls for decriminalisation were widespread. It took 10 years, but swayed by the potential to save big bucks on law enforcement, SA introduced the Cannabis Expiation Notice in April 1987. Nowadays we don't actually consume more pot than any other state—although it's nice to know we can.
Pingers are Very Affordable
Weed isn't the only drug of choice in the Festival State. Ecstasy is super cheap at the moment, prompting the Adelaide Advertiser to run a fear campaign in on how pills are down to $7 a piece. Maybe this is scary, but then as my friend pointed out, "everyone just wants to feel good." According to him there's a powerful batch of Air Jordans going around. He says they've put a spring in his step.
Rent is Very Affordable
Melbourne took the cake, but Adelaide recently became the fifth most livable city in the world, probably because you can actually get a park in the CBD without killing yourself. The other reason is our super cheap rent. The average Adelaide CBD apartment is 37 percent cheaper than in Sydney, with the only downside being the eternal jackhammers on Victoria Square. If you can't put up with them, it's about $700 less every month to live in an Adelaide suburb than in Sydney.
Adelaide Tries Hard, it Really Does
I'll admit it; we've got the municipal equivalent of small-man syndrome. That's why we built a sports stadium so huge that it dwarfs the neighboring Torrens River, and a new hospital that looks more like an alien research hub than a health centre. And we make a really big deal of WOMAD and Clipsal 500—because we're trying. We really are.
Adelaide Is Innocent
After decades of whining and stockpiling donuts at the Melbourne Airport, Adelaide got our first Krispy Kreme outlet last July. We literally lined up for hours, and one hungry bandit stole six boxes of Krispy Kremes off some teenagers at knifepoint. See, in a town like this, even a donut shop can be a celebrity.
We'll Teach You to Love Buskers
Adelaide has the kind of public music you'll never see anywhere else. Stroll down Rundle Mall and you'll see at least one of these guys: a man with an actual piano on wheels, the famous "dreaded" keyboard guy, the incredibly talented violin player who plays the theme song from The Truman Show, and a man with the guitar with thousand strings. They're all of mixed talents but they're all unanimously novel. And if music isn't your thing, there's a weird, gropey kind of magician who I'd stay away from. You might like him though.
The Men in Black
In 1998, one year after the release of the best movie ever, a guy named Ken Wang put a cardboard cutout of Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones in the upper story window of his house in Malvern. He did it to celebrate his son's 21 st, but almost twenty years later, and after a set of new homeowners, the men still gaze down over Cross Road's six o'clock traffic. To me, this is the beating heart of Adelaide
We Have a Beach in the City
It only takes around 20 minutes to get to Henley Beach from the Adelaide CBD but that's not close enough, so we built a beach. Now we we can play volleyball in the CBD and go to Shotz afterwards. I don't know what's more Adelaide – the fact we built a beach, or the fact that no one wonders why.
Love, the Adelaide Way
We have a saying in this city: First you get the money, then you get the girlfriend, then you get a house in the northern suburbs. Consequently, we have a reputation for snapping up each other and settling down quick. But that's what Adelaide's all about. You either get out while you're young, or you stick around forever. The median age for women to get married here is 27.7 years. The national average is 29.2.
No One Has Heard of Us
If you're overseas, the likelihood of meeting anyone who knows Adelaide is zero and this means you can lie to them. I once told a German backpacker that we're famous for the best hot glue guns in the world. He was impressed.
Adelaide Is Just Nice
Because no one has ever heard of us, no one ever visits, and our streets are quiet and dull which is how we like them. We've very gradually convinced everyone that Adelaide is shit, and now there's no one to invade our private little metropolis. This insular quality is very special. We've got ourselves and our city beach. That's all we need.
I'm going to sign out with Ben Folds here, because I think he said it best. "Here you know the world could turn or crash and burn and you would never know it. Going where the air is clear, there's better beer, in Adelaide."
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Photos by Anthony Corso
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