Are you looking for fun in the City Of Gold's central business district? Then look no further! We've put together a comprehensive guide to entertainment in the Joburg CBD.
The Hillbrow Theatre Community Centre, home to the Hillbrow Theatre Project, is a unique space that incorporates 5 practice spaces, a dance studio as well as the Hillbrow Theatre itself. The centre comprises a 368-seater theatre built in the 1970’s, which is equipped with a film projector, a sound system and lighting rig. These spaces have been rendered safe environments for learners of all ages to engage with the performing arts in a meaningful way.
Visit The Hillbrow Theatre
The Market Theatre, based in the downtown bohemian suburb of Newtown, was opened in 1976, operating as an independently, anti-racist theatre during the country’s apartheid regime. It is named after an original fruit and vegetable market which was located there.
Visit The Market Theatre
Previously located in Ferreirasdorp (and currently looking for a new home), POPArt stands for People of Performing Art, and that’s exactly what the theatre is all about: providing a platform for the showcasing of some of the freshest work and ideas from some of the hottest emerging and established Performing Arts talents in Johannesburg. From children's theatre to independent productions, POPArt does it all.
Situated in the north of Johannesburg on the main road, is the ABSA bank tower. The ABSA Art Gallery is inside the ABSA tower. The prestigious art competition that allows artists and architects to work together to create a space that accommodated the artworks perfectly, the Barclays L’Atelier is held at the Absa Towers North building in the Johannesburg CBD. The gallery opens Monday to Friday at 8:30 – 16:00 and is closed on weekends and public holidays.
Visit The ABSA Art Gallery
The Standard Bank Gallery is an exciting exhibition space situated in the heart of downtown Johannesburg. Since it opened in 1990, it has become one of the city’s foremost fine art venues. Standard Bank is committed to developing the arts in many facets, but the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg has to be one of the leaders in developing young artistic talent in South Africa. Every year Standard Bank hands out the highly acclaimed and very prestigious Young Artist Award where young artists get the acknowledgment and recognition they need to launch a long-lived and successful career. The best part? Admission to the gallery is free!
In 1991 returning exile and artist Kim Berman and Nhlanhla Xaba, an up-and-coming Soweto artist, founded Artist Proof Studios to develop talented artists from disadvantaged backgrounds. Tragically Xaba died in 2003 in a fire that destroyed the original studio premises. In tribute, the studio's new location at the Bus Factory contains many works salvaged from the fire. Today APS acts as a specialist art education centre with a focus on printmaking.
Visit Artist Proof Studios
It doesn't get any cooler than this! And is an underground club in Newtown. Known for its electronica ranging between techno, house, and drum and bass, And offers a party like no other. The club is known for its TOY TOY and Addictshun club nights and its involvement with Afrika Burn.
Visit And Club
Rocking the Joburg skyline since 1985, Carfax nightclub in Newtown has partied with generations upon generations. Its doors act as a rite of passage to any and all varsity students who attend any of the local universities in town.
The 360-degree Roof of Africa viewing level is a great place to get perspective on the city's incredible scale and many neighbourhoods. Aside from the view, there's little to do up here with just a scuzzy cafe and a small collection of photos, although the telescopes are a welcome addition to the bird's-eye experience. The entrance kiosk and lifts are tricky to find.
Address: Carlton Centre, 150 Commissioner St, Marshalltown, Johannesburg, 2000
Constitution Hill is a living museum that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. The site is a former prison and military fort that bears testament to South Africa’s turbulent past and, today, is home to the country’s Constitutional Court, which endorses the rights of all citizens. Nelson Mandela. Mahatma Gandhi. Joe Slovo. Albertina Sisulu. Winnie Madikizela-Mandela. Fatima Meer. They all served time here, but the precinct also confined tens of thousands of ordinary people during its 100-year history.
Visit Constitution Hill
Modderfontein is an urban forest. Driving through from Edenvale into the mud fountain town, you travel along a road bordered with pine trees and giant oaks. However, once you reach the centre of town, the jacarandas take over the scenery. Covering the streets in purple confetti, these trees, which originate from Brazil, romantically hang over the Modderfontein surrounds. Take a trip down to the dam at the reserve to see them in full bloom, or take a hike up one of the trails for a better view.
Kensington spans 52 streets, making it one of Joburg's largest suburbs. This is also jacaranda central. Take a slow drive up Highland Road, travelling through a blanket of fallen flowers. There are a number of historical sites to visit here, too, including the Scottish War Horse Memorial and Jeppe High School for Boys. From these viewpoints, you can see the vast covering of the jacarandas and take a few snapshots of the Joburg skyline.
With rolling views, you’ll be able to see the purple blanket that adorns Joburg in summer. Though it’s not the highest location, it definitely does the job. The Koppies also offer a lot more, with the indigenous flora currently in bloom. Stop in at sunrise for an unforgettable experience. If you wish, you can even bring your dogs for a walk as there are a number of pathways to explore.
Observatory Ridge is the highest point in Joburg, which looks out over Houghton, Orange Grove and beyond. At 1,808 metres above sea level, Observatory Ridge offers a view of the sprawling expanse of our beautiful city. For those of you who didn’t know, there is also a commemorative British Indian Army monument that was erected over 100 years ago. So, go on and get yourself that perfect eagle's eye view of the jacarandas in bloom, while also taking in some history. If you visit on a Sunday, you can stop by Sylvia's Market before heading home. Sip on craft cocktails or tuck into a gourmet burger under one of the old clubhouse's jacarandas.
This is the second highest point in Joburg, at just one metre lower than Observatory Ridge. Northcliff Hill overlooks the CBD to the right and the northern suburbs to the left. Northcliff Water Tower has long been known as one of the top romantic spots in the city. Take your sweetheart to see the spring blossoms in all their glory. Northcliff Hill is also one of the best places to see the pink, burnt orange and amber Joburg sunset, so be sure to take a picnic blanket and some champers along on your date. You can drive up to the top of the hill or take a mammoth hike. Either way the view is sure to be stunning.
If hiking isn’t your scene, then why not opt for the posh view from the Westcliff? High tea at Four Seasons Hotel is an unforgettable experience offering a decadent sweet and savoury smorgasbord, plus stunning views from the Westcliff ridge. You’ll be able to take in the jacarandas from a position of complete luxury, with a plate of Petit Fours in hand. To walk off the calories, take your car around to the top of the Westcliff steps and give them a jog up and down!
Joburg is one of the world's largest man-made forests. But, you don't need to be out in nature to experience it. The inner city offers fantastic views of concrete meets greenery. Once the tallest building in the Southern hemisphere, Carlton Centre offers a 360 degree panoramic view from the 50th storey. Just R15 will get you to The Top of Africa viewing deck, from where you will be able to view all things purple and jacaranda.
Lastly, we recommend Tyrwhitt avenue in Rosebank. Swap your car for a stroll down this jacaranda lined street. The incredible purple canopy makes it feel as though you are in a magical world whilst you crack the oyster-shaped pods beneath the soles of your shoes. These jacaranda trees are recognised as being part of the history and heritage of the Rosebank area, giving it its characteristic atmosphere. While you are here, stop by the Keyes Art Mile to experience an array of world class galleries, restaurants and boutiques.
Despite the fact that they’re now considered invasive and can no longer be planted, Jacarandas do generally have a 200-year lifespan, meaning that we’ll be able to view them for a long time yet. So get your camera ready and head out for some violet adventures.
Have you been to any of these viewing spots? Let us know what you think of them in the comments section below. Also, share this on social media and win the affection of a journalist.
Once upon a time, there lived an ice rink where all would go and have a great time. However, when the Ice Queen ran dry, she fell asleep for many years. All who had wished for the rink to come to life once again lost hope on its revival and found comfort in the dark, dingy and lonely space. Until! Prince Charming (three of them) came to give the Ice Queen a kiss to awaken her. This is the moment when Skyrink Studios was born.
What used to be the spot for all who wanted to skate and just have the time of their lives living the ice fairy tale became an abandoned space. The ice rink was that one spot in Johannesburg CBD that everyone had a story to share.
It was the place where friendships began, families came together and when it closed down, many dreams were crushed. But decades later - a light was to be rekindled.
This is really a Cinderella kind of tale, but with a twist. And, of course, there is a happy ending.
The three brilliant minds that saw something beyond what the country could see, and wanted to introduce Johannesburg to an inspiring concept, making it a reality right before their very eyes. Miles Britton Masekela, Marvin Mathibe and Frank Mohapi are the 'princes' that charmed the Ice Queen and Skyrink Studios came to life.
These three gentleman saw something genius in the ice rink and found it great for their vision of creating an innovation that would live on to be a part of making history at the well-known Carlton Centre.
The studio is a visual dime piece, both literally and hypothetically. It boasts with out-of-this-world, state-of-the-art equipment and facilities - they have six studios and five control rooms, where all the magic happens.
Their space oozes with the creative look and ambiance, with every artists' needs and directors' dream, this film production hub has inspired many to come and work with them. So, remember this monumental space, because they are ready to help in creating content that will put South Africa on the map, if it hasn't already.
Skyrink Studios is comfortably trying to move into the mobile TV space and it's no surprise because every production house.
They have hosted the popular and spectacular #Azania by designer, David Tlale. This fashion artistry was quite the showstopper.
They have also done some amazing work with MTV Shuga, MTV VJ Search, The Parlotones, Remix SA and many other amazing shows.
This spot has seen plenty of Mzansi talent in short period of time, so you can only imagine what they have in store for us in the future.
The sky is the limit, they said. But Skyrink is shooting right out the hemisphere and going big.
Okay, so this spot isn’t always open to the public as it is one of the most exclusive venues in the city, but when they host parties on the 22nd floor of the Randlords venue, you better ensure you’re there! You will be perched on the highest point in Braamfontein, and get a complete 360 degree panoramic view of the City of Gold that stretches from the magnificent FNB Stadium and bustling Soweto to the Sandton Skyline.
All the best things in life tend to be free, hence my reason for mentioning the Northcliff Water Tower as one of the best sunset spots in Joburg. I say this because I have experienced it firsthand. One of my ex-boyfriends decided to spoil me with a romantic picnic for two at this spot, and I must say it is by far one of my fondest memories! The sunset from this spot definitely set the perfect backdrop to a romantic evening. So, if you are looking for an ideal date idea that will not break the bank, then pack a picnic basket with tasty goodies and some good wine, find a comfy blanket, head to Lucky Avenue in Northcliff and set up at the Northcliff Water Tower.
Directions: From Beyers Naude Drive, turn left onto Frederick Drive. Left onto Hearn Drive, which will lead into Rockey Drive. Then turn right into Louie Avenue, and right again into Lucky Avenue.
After a long day of taking in all the sights that the Cradle of Humankind and Sterkfontein have to offer, why not sit back and relax out on the deck at Forum Homini’s Roots Restaurant? Wind down while sipping on a glass of wine as the sun sets over the surrounding dam and veld. The restaurant offers a truly stunning African sunset. And, once the sun has gone down, head inside for a divine dinner to round off your day on a high note (be sure to book beforehand, as booking is essential).
Whether you are looking for a relaxing spot to wait out the traffic or a great spot for a stunning sunset and pre-party drinks to get your night started, the Skye Bar offers an elegant space just for that. This spot can be rather pricey when it comes to their cocktails, so ensure you visit it for a special occasion or if you are looking to spoil yourself! I think taking in the panoramic views of Sandton while sipping on a refreshing Honey Sling (Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey shaken cold with vanilla extract, pineapple juice, charged with soda water) sounds like the perfect way to start an evening out with the girls!
Grab a cocktail, sit out on the pool deck and take in the glorious Highveld sunsets from the Island Bar at Southern Sun Hyde Park. This happens to be one of the most popular and happening places to be over weekends, as the vibe is busy and buzzing on Friday and Saturday nights. Their cocktails are superbly refreshing, perfect for spring and summer nights, and the sunset views from this venue are one of the best in the city.
The San Deck Sandton is another great option if you're chasing a majestic Joburg sunset. This is yet another Sandton favourite if you are looking to sit back, lounge around on the comfy, luxurious couches and sip on a sundowner while watching the sun go down over the Sandton CBD skyline. On colder nights, they have three large fire pits that will set the ambience and keep you warm while you take in all of that the city lights have to offer once the sun has gone down.
Reconnect with nature at The Living Room in the heart of Joburg! This rooftop venue offers urban-eco café cuisine, plant art and urban design. It also has a showroom for green design and lifestyle. On Sunday afternoons they host fantastic live entertainment to end off your weekend on a chilled note, and best of all, you get the opportunity to check out the stunning views of the Maboneng Precinct as the sun goes down over the city.
Head to the very top of the 50-storey Carlton Centre and take in a stunning 360-degree view of the city from one of the highest points in Joburg. From the observatory deck, you can see the whole of Joburg, from the FNB Stadium and Soweto in the south-west, Braamfontein and Hillbrow directly north, to Gandhi Square to the west. Take in this stunning sunset which literally turns Joburg into the City of Gold. There is also a bar and coffee shop at the very top!
No need to take the tedious six-hour journey down to the coast just to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach along with your favourite cocktail! The Beach has finally come to Rivonia, offering a rooftop beach right in the heart of Joburg! This stunning venue has some of the very best sunsets over the city, and is fully equipped with a full bar with amazing cocktails, gourmet hot dogs and finger platters, and live entertainment!
For more info, click here.
On the stunning grounds of the St Stithians College, Higher Ground Restaurant is the perfect spot if you are looking to sit back and enjoy the stunning views of the city while indulging in fabulous cocktails and delicious food. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is ideal if you are looking to wait out the traffic after work, or need to get together with friends for after-work sundowners.
Remember that our “Top Picks” are not paid for and are compiled at the discretion of the journalist. We only write about what we love.
Also known as the roof of Africa, at 223 m the Carlton Centre has been rocking the record books as the tallest office building in Africa since 1973. With 50 floors, the foundations are 5 m in diameter and extend 15 m down to the bedrock with nearly 50% of the floor area existing below ground. It used to house the luxurious Carlton Hotel and one of its most prominent guests was no other than Hillary Clinton. It takes only 45 seconds to go from the ground floor to the 5th, which is known as the Roof Of Africa.
Address: 150 Commissioner St, Johannesburg, 2001.
11 Diagonal Street
Designed by German-American architect Helmut Jahn, 11 Diagonal Street was designed to look like a diamond reflecting in the Jozi sky. With floor-to-ceiling windows, the 80-meter high building stands out among the other skyscrapers. Construction was concluded in 1984 and... come to think of it...it kind of looks 80s. Retro!
Address: 11 Diagonal St, Johannesburg, 2001.
The Anstey's Building
During the late 1930s, an art-deco styled building popped up in downtown Johannesburg. At the time, it was the tallest building in Africa and was owned by a guy called Norman Anstey. Anstey ran the Anstey's Department Store.
Address: 59 Joubert St, Johannesburg, 2001.
The most prominent structure in town is the Hillbrow Tower (no Jozi skyline tattoo is complete without it). Fun fact about this building is that it always needs to be higher than the tallest building in town so that the telecoms signals sent from it won't be interrupted. Pretty cool, eh? Unfortunately, it's closed to the public due to security reasons, though it used to host a revolving restaurant at the top.
Address: Hillbrow Tower, Banket St, Johannesburg, 2038.
The most iconic feature of the Sandton skyline stands out like a spire on the horizon. The Michelangelo Hotel is where celebrities and world leaders stay when they visit the city, from Justin Bieber to Barack Obama and just about every other A-grade celebrity in between. At 140 m tall and between R30 000 and R60 000 per square meter per month, The Michelangelo Hotel is nothing but the most exclusive kind of real estate in Africa.
Address: 135 West St, Sandton, Johannesburg, 2196.
Last but not least, we have Ponte City. This high rise was almost turned into a vertical prison until developers snatched it from ruin. This once-upon-a-time slum of a skyscraper boasts a 100% upper-middle-class occupancy. Ponte is an iconic point of interest and acts as a beacon to the neighborhood of Hillbrow. Though the neighborhood itself has a bad reputation, it's seen an ample amount of upliftment since Ponte's redevelopment.
Address: Joe Slovo Dr, Johannesburg, 2198.
By Shawn Greyling
Have you been to any or all of these glass and concrete monsters? Let us know in the comments section below. Help us spread the love for Jozi by sharing this article on social media.
Since 1973 the Carlton Centre has been the tallest skyscraper on the continent. At 223 metres, it deserves to be known as the Top of Africa. The building houses both offices and shops, and has over 46% of its floor area below ground level. The Carlton Centre was designed by the American architectural firm Skidmore, Owings and Merrill and cost over R88 million to build. Head to the observation deck and enjoy a panoramic view of the City of Gold.
Joburg has plenty of public pools you can advantage of if you don't have one at home. What could be better than cooling off in the water, chilling with some friends, chowing down on delicious food, followed by a bit of tanning?
Have you ever wondered about the origins of beer and how it's made? A guided tour through the SAB World of Beer will answer these question and more. You'll be shown the brewing process, get to taste traditional African beer, visit an old-school shebeen and finish off the day with two complimentary beers and a hearty meal.
Wow, right? Here's how it works – you meet your guide at Market on Main, where you'll receive a picnic basket with essentials (utensils and a blanket). You get 30 minutes to wander around the market and fill your basket with something to eat and drink. Then, you'll catch a ride to the 'Top of Africa' at Carlton Centre, where we promise your jaw will drop as you take in the view of the Joburg skyline from the 50th floor.
This striking temple is 70km north-east of Johannesburg and on arriving, you'll feel like you're somewhere in the Far East, surrounded by the colourful Buddhist architecture. You're definitely going to want to take some photos so don't forget to bring a phone or camera with you. You can arrive at the temple and just walk around, but there are also free guided tours and events held there — the information is on their website.
Imagine a hot-air balloon ride over the scenic Magaliesberg range in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, while sipping on champagne. Sounds like the movies, doesn't it? But it gets better… Once you land, you'll get treated to a champagne breakfast. Bill Harrop's Original Balloon Safaris is the longest established, licensed balloon airline in the country and this experience should really be on your bucket list.