The park is named after the Elder family who were early settlers and developed the company Elder Smith (previously known as Goldsborough Mort).
The Elder Park Rotunda was erected in 1882. The Popeye boat is launched off the banks of the River Torrens, near Elder Park as well as paddleboats. Bicycle hire is also available from Elder Park. The Torrens Linear Walk also passes through Elder Park.
It is the home of the annual Christmas Carols by Candlelight for Adelaide and also hosts Symphony under the Stars and the Adelaide Festival of Arts.
The park will also play host to a big screen event for Adelaide United's Asian Cup final against Gamba Osaka.