Johannesburg in South Africa is the second largest city in Africa, with more than 3 million people calling this bustling metropolis “home”. Joburg, or Jozi as some prefer to call it, offers visitors an experience as unique and diverse as the city itself. Whether you are on business, in search of a cultural encounter, an adrenaline rush or simply want to relax and unwind for a few days, the city of Johannesburg has everything you’re looking for and more!
In this post, we are going to emphasize you the top things to do and top places to eat in Johannesburg. As a foot note, much of Johannesburg shuts up shops at lunch times on Saturday, and doesn’t reopen until Monday. This means that weekend sightseeing can be frustrating – and hence it is worth planning your weekend in advance making sure you use Saturday morning wisely. Shopping malls all stay open until 5pm, but art galleries and museums will all close around 1-2 pm.
Where to see?
Mary Fitzgerald Square, named after South Africa’s first female trade unionist, this square is the best place to start a visit to central Johannesburg. Not only beaing the stage for annual events, it’s also a good place to people-watch at one of the area’s cafes.
Visit the Sterkfontein Caves and Maropeng Visitor Centre at this World Heritage Site, about an hour from Johannesburg, to view humankind’s evolutionary pathway, fossils, and paleontology, presented in a fun, kid-friendly manner.
Do a self-guided tour of the Constitutional Court, built on the site of a prison whose inmates included Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. The Apartheid Museum takes a holistic look at South Africa’s road to democracy.
CIRCA on Jellicoe, this remarkable piece to the Johannesburg cultural landscape will soon be its artistic centrepiece. Overlooking the northern suburbs, this spiral structure hosts unusual sculptures, sketches and contemporary work from across South Africa. The public space on the rooftop is amazing.
Additional to these, if you want to visit somewhere more “natural”, you can visit a gold mine, the lion park and Montecasino Bird Gardens in Johannesburg.
Where to Eat?
Narina Trogon is an inner-city restaurant that sources both local produce and local designers to sustain its fine sense of taste. The menu is constantly changing, but the simple philosophy remains the same. Expect dishes along the lines of grilled steak with camembert and polenta, butternut and sweet potato curry, and pan-fried tiger prawns.
Lucky Bean is a restaurant formerly known as Soulsa, but the recipe is unchanged. Low lighting, slick tunes, a decked-out cocktail bar and waiters who happily skip down a flight of stairs to serve. The food is spot on, too – light any-time meals, loads of vegetarian options, different stews, creative starters and delicious steaks.
Close to Rosebank, the suburb of Greenside is filled with popular restaurants. Gleneagles Road is lined with small restaurants, including Italian, Indian, Portuguese, and Japanese restaurants, along with those offering a more conventional range of meats, fish, and pasta. Over the weekend, cars fill the streets and people pack the sidewalks. The adjacent suburb of Emmarentia is also benefiting from Greenside’s popularity, with small restaurants popping up. The Emmarentia Dam and gardens, a popular natural walking and picnic spot, is also a draw.
Also near Rosebank, Parkhurst, a neighborhood full of freshly renovated homes and young couples, has some of the trendiest restaurants in Johannesburg. There are more than a dozen places to eat on 4th Avenue alone. Antiques shops and boutique stores selling furniture and children’s clothes also dot the street.
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