Joburg, I love this city so! It’s energy, creativity and youthful vibe inspire me! I love the cosmopolitan feeling, its gritty edges, street art, people, contrasts, heritage… I could go on and on.
I often get asked by friends, fans and Capetonians about things to do in the city. There’s so many things to do in Johannesburg for locals and and tourists alike. Here’s my quick guide on how to make the most of summer in Jozi.
Joburger’s love our markets. What we lack for in natural spaces, we make up for by a choice of epic foodie markets. There’s so much to choose from! From the hipster Neighbourgood markets on Saturdays in Braamfontein, to it’s Maboneng equivalent at Arts on Main, and the Wednesday night market at 27 Boxes in Melville. Indulge in gourmet street food, craft beer and local designer goods.
2. Walking tours
The best way to explore a city is on foot and Joburg is no exception. That being said, if you’re a newbie (or a local) I highly recommend a walking tour to get a sense of place. Joburg has some great companies offering excellent waking tours – from general inner city walks to more specialised tours on street art, heritage and architecture. Some of my favourite tour companies include Past Experiences (inner city specialists) Dlala Nje (for walking tours of Hillbrow & Yeoville), Main Street Walks and Joburg Places.
Jozi is one of the yougest cities in the world – it recently turned 130, but is still choc-full of excellent heritage attractions. If it’s your first time here, you have to visit the Apartheid Museum, Constitution Hill, the Cradle of Humankind and Soweto to get some insight into the cities deep (and dark) heritage. Other excellent heritage sites include Satyagraha House, Liliesleaf Farm and Sophiatown Heritage centre. Technically Soweto, is a city on it’s own and I’d recommend at least a half day their. I always recommend the tours offered by Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers – their bicycle tours, walking tour and tuk tuk tours are all excellent.
4. Live Music
Joburg has an eclectic live music scene but it’s best to check out the gig guides for whats hot. There seems to be a music festival of some sort almost every other weekend! Other than events, my favourite live music venues are The Goodluck Bar for rock, pop and urban music, and The Orbit and Afrikan Freedom Station for jazz. Bassline in Newtown also has some epic events, their regular Thursday night reggae nights are legendary!
Johannesburg’s art scene is exploding! There are over 100 galleries, museums and exhibition spaces curating the best South African art. You can still find affordable pieces at some of the smaller galleries. Visit the Wits Art Museum, the Johannesburg Art Gallery & Standard Bank Gallery have excellent collections. The other cool galleries are centred around the Rosebank (Jan Smuts Rd, Keyes Art Mile) & Braamfontein (Juta street) districts. If you love art, don’t miss First Thursdays! Check out Johannesburg In Your Pocket Guide for the latest exhibition information.
6. Shopping (not malls!)
It’s not called the City of Gold for nothing. Besides the fact that the city rests on the richest gold reef in the world, Joburger’s are known for their love of bling and fashion. There are way too many shopping malls in Jozi, where you can stock up on your latest designer brands – Sandton City, Hyde Park, Rosebank and Mall of Africa are the most popular. I’m honestly no mall-rat, so I’d rather direct you to my shopping haunts that are not malls where you can support local designers. Some cool spaces are dedicated to showcasing just that – Workshop Newtown, Melville’s 27 Boxes, Maboneng, 44 on Stanley are my picks for the best of Joburg fashion.
7. Get outdoors
Joburg may not be as outdoor friendly as our sister cities, but we do have some cool places to enjoy nature. Emmarentia Dam, Zoo Lake and Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens are great for picnics. If you fancy a hike, then head to Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve or Suikerbosrand. For an adrenalin rush head to the Orlando Towers in Soweto and try out their bungee jump!
So that’s my pick of my top things to do in Johannesburg. If you have any other suggestions, let me know in the comments below.