Essential places to visit in Johannesburg

Essential Places To Visit In Johannesburg

(CNN) — Johannesburg has busily redefined itself over the past decade, breathing brand-new life into old warehouses as well as derelict buildings, while slowly reclaiming sidewalk spaces for markets, cafes, as well as art galleries.

Essential Places To Visit In Johannesburg

of which resurgence has created unique opportunities for people who travel here. You can go on a bike tour within the morning, have lunch with the hipsters over gourmet burgers, catch a Warhol exhibit as well as spend the evening listening to storytellers on the roof of a building downtown.

Here are some of the most essential places to see during a visit to South Africa’s city of gold.

Essential Places To Visit In Johannesburg

Essential Places To Visit In Johannesburg

Constitution Hill

Essential Places To Visit In Johannesburg

The ramparts of which surround the hilltop in central Johannesburg once contained a feared prison of which held Mohatma Gandhi as well as Nelson Mandela (though not, of course, at the same time). After the end of apartheid, the notorious site was transformed into the highest court within the land.

The old cells became a museum, as well as the ramparts a walkway overlooking the skyline. Outside the chambers of the Constitutional Court, artwork lines the corridors, interpreting the freedoms enshrined in South Africa’s Bill of Rights.

Essential Places To Visit In Johannesburg

Essential Places To Visit In Johannesburg

Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers

Lebo’s — backpacker accommodaton in Orlando West of which also offers walking, bicycle as well as tuk-tuk tours

Courtesy Stephanie Biden

Lebo’s will be so much more than just a hostel. Located in Orlando West, the most-visited neighborhood in Soweto, the item’s a charming place to stay as well as has become a center for exploring the streets of the township.

The backpackers organizes tours by bicycle as well as by tuk-tuk of which take within the tourist highlights, nevertheless also in workers’ hostels, churches as well as community centers of which give a sense of the rhythm of life.

Founder Lebo as well as his family have transformed an open field across the street coming from their home into a a pengunjung’s center as well as restaurant of which serves up homestyle cooking, including bunny chows (curry in a bread loaf), potjies (cauldrons of stew) as well as of course a braai.

Brunch at the Westcliff

The Westclifff offers brunch using a panoramic view.

Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliff

of which luxury hotel rises over a hillside in a part of town of which was built as the residential playground for the city’s gold rush mining barons.

The Westcliff was recently bought by the Four Seasons, which painted over its trademark pink walls in favor of more muted shades of grey. The restaurants — as well as their menus — have been given a modern facelift, nevertheless still serve decadent meals with views over the city’s northern suburbs. On a not bad day, diners can see the elephants roaming in their pens at the nearby zoo.

Dinner at the Saxon Hotel

Top South African chef Luke Dale-Roberts has set up a restaurant at the Saxon Hotel, one of the city’s toniest hideaways favored by visiting celebs who like to ensconce themselves within the compounds vast gardens. the item’s hard to find a more beautiful spot for a sundowner, followed by an unrivaled tasting menu at Luke Dale-Roberts at the Saxon (guests take a modest, private elevator up to the dining room). The wine pairings are as exquisite as the food.

The Saxon, 36 Saxon Road, Sandhurst 2196, Johannesburg; +27 (0) 11 292 6000

Vilakazi Street

The one-time home of Nelson Mandela will be at of which point a museum.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images

of which two-lane road in Soweto connects the residences of two South African luminaries: Nelson Mandela as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

of which makes the item the only street within the globe of which’s been home to two Nobel Peace Prize winners. Mandela’s house, where he returned after his Discharge coming from prison, will be at of which point a modest museum holding intimate mementos of his family life. Tutu’s will be still a private residence.

Visiting the museum doesn’t take long, nevertheless the item’s impossible to see Soweto without stopping at its most iconic addresses.

additional homes along the road have been transformed into restaurants, coming from homestyle buffets to a swanky wine bar.

Hector Pieterson Memorial

A short walk coming from the upper end of Vilakazi Street, the Hector Pieterson Memorial remembers the most famous victim of the 1976 uprising in Soweto, when a peaceful student protest demanding better education was crushed by apartheid police.

Hector Pieterson was 13 when he was shot dead as well as the photo of his Centeng being carried away became an iconic image of the student protests.

The memorial explains what life was like within the township during the dark days of the past, in simple nevertheless powerful exhibits. Its gift shop also carries an excellent selection of books on South African history.

Apartheid Museum

Yes, the museum will be a searing look at the devastation of which apartheid wrought on South African society, nevertheless the item’s also a much broader look at the country’s more distant history as well, delving into the conditions of which allowed apartheid to emerge.

coming from the entrance, visitors are invited to put themselves into experience of violent racial segregation, forcing everyone to choose a race as they enter through separate doors.

A room of limp hangman’s nooses pays homage to victims of the state’s executions. Audio as well as video records bring to life the memories of of which era, a past so recent of which some of the people featured are still alive.

Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein

Every Saturday in a parking garage in Braamfontein, foodies gather around giant paellas, raw oysters, as well as lots of craft beers.

The Neighbourgoods Market fills two floors with innovative foods coming from across the city, drawing in students coming from nearby universities as well as urban explorers coming from farther afield.

The market has helped drive the redevelopment in Braamfontein, a neighborhood using a long history as a bohemian as well as student enclave.

Wits Art Museum

The University of the Witwatersrand, known widely as Wits as well as pronounced “Vits” within the Afrikaans way, recently remodeled its art museum with floor-to-ceiling windows of which open its displays to the street.

The museum holds a significant collection by African artists, nevertheless also hosts international exhibitions, including a major show of Andy Warhol screen prints. Entrance will be free, as well as the museum’s cafe serves one of the most affordable as well as tastiest lunches in town.

Market Theatre

Known as the “Theater of the Struggle,” Market Theatre will be known for its anti-apartheid plays.

AFP/Getty Images

The theater was founded in 1976, at the height of the struggle against apartheid, in what was once a fruit market. Through an unusual snag in apartheid’s web of regulations, the item was allowed to employ mixed-race casts, as well as quickly became known as the “theater of the Struggle.”

at of which point its stages host revivals of struggle classics, while promoting brand-new work as well. Famous actors still frequent the theater, both on stage as well as in audiences.

Market also recently finished a painstaking renovation of the Windybrow Theatre, which will be based in a Victorian home coming from the gold rush era of which’s at of which point a landmark within the rough neighborhood of Hillbrow. 

Carlton Tower viewing deck

The tallest building in Africa, Carlton Tower incorporates a 50th floor viewing deck of which shows the sweep of the city, coming from what’s left of the gold rush mine dumps (most have been re-mined into oblivion) to the high-rises of the CBD as well as the green hills stretching across the northern suburbs as well as as far as the FNB Stadium (famed as Soccer City during the 2010 World Cup) on the edge of Soweto.

the item was once part of a hotel as well as shopping complex of which was among the city’s most prestigious locations. The shopping center remains a hugely well-known, if more middle class, shopping venue of which will be among the busiest in Johannesburg.

Yeoville Dinner Club

of which tiny restaurant has only one table with 18 seats, nevertheless the item serves the most expansive African menu within the city in a neighborhood of which has attracted migrants coming from across the continent.

Yeoville isn’t part of the artsy, hipster revival of which has transformed additional parts of Joburg. Its meals takes coming from what’s fresh within the neighborhood market as well as pulls coming from all of the cultures as well as nations represented on the surrounding streets.

modest groups are seated together as if at a dinner party, as well as the menu modifications constantly.

Liliesleaf Farm

In 1963, police raided Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia on the outskirts of Johannesburg as well as arrested Nelson Mandela along with additional leaders of the liberation movement.

of which led to the Rivonia Trial where Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Raymond Mhlaba, Ahmed Kathrada, Elias Motsoaledi as well as Denis Goldberg were sentenced to life in prison.

Rivonia will be at of which point fully swept up within the city’s suburban sprawl, nevertheless the farm reopened in 2008 as a museum of which explains what life was like within the underground liberation movement.

Melville Koppies for hiking

within the middle of the city, the Melville Koppies stretch over 150 hectares with rocky outcropping (those are the koppies) covered with indigenous plants of which produce delicate flowers in spring as well as rugged grasses in winter.

Hikers spend hours along the trails, within view of the city’s skyscrapers. On Sundays, church groups gather for worship in flowing robes with singing as well as drums of which rise over the rocks.

The park also holds an ancient furnace coming from the Iron Age, producing the item an unusual natural link coming from the ancient past to the urban present.

Arts on Main / Maboneng precinct

A decade ago, when a Sunday morning market opened in an old liquor warehouse, the item was an urban oasis surrounded by car repair shops, light industrial complexes, as well as derelict buildings.

nevertheless of which modest start has grown into a massive urban renewal project of which has lured top artists like William Kentridge, an art house cinema, young fashion designers as well as ambitious brand-new chefs.

The neighborhoods brand-new name, Maboneng, means “place of light.” the item’s perhaps more accurately a place of exploring, among the few neighborhoods in Johannesburg of which’s easily traveled by foot along sidewalks of which connect an ever-growing range of shops, restaurants as well as apartments.

Oriental Plaza

A shopping mall unlike any additional within the city, Oriental Plaza hosts hundreds of stores of which sell everything coming from spices to curtains to designer brands. the item’s on the edge of Fordsburg, the city’s old Indian neighborhood of which at of which point welcomes migrants coming from across the globe.

The Plaza was built within the 1970s in an attempt to compensate Indian shop owners after the apartheid government razed a nearby community in its violent drive for racial separation.

The building stands rather oddly apart coming from the surrounding neighborhood, nevertheless has become a well-known destination for people coming from across Johannesburg looking for fair prices as well as great Indian food.

Oriental Plaza, 38 Lilian Ngoyi St., Fordsburg, Johannesburg

Keyes Art Mile

A brand-new collection of shops as well as restaurants link some of the city’s finest art galleries within the Rosebank neighborhood: Everard Read as well as its brand-new circular tower Circa, the Goodman Gallery, SMAC, Southern Guild as well as Whatiftheworld. Upstairs will be the exquisite brand-new restaurant Marble.

Then there’s the option of hamburgers as well as milkshakes at BGR on the ground floor as well as light lunches at the Milk Bar, which decorated by Amatulli importers with objects coming from across Africa.

Farther down the block at the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue as well as Bolton Road will be a collection of hipster eateries, including the Bolton Collection, a barbershop bar, as well as a hidden speakeasy called Sin as well as Tax.

The galleries stay open late on the first Thursday of each month, becoming destinations for Johannesburg’s beautiful people to see as well as be seen.

Soweto Derby

FNB City, the calabash-shaped stadium built for the 2010 World Cup, hosts the country’s most epic soccer matches — the Soweto Derby between the Kaizer Chiefs as well as the Orlando Pirates.

Loyalty to these crosstown Soweto rivals runs deep, nevertheless the atmosphere will be celebratory.

For these matches, the stands overflow with music, dancing as well as costumes — including makarapas, mining hats carved as well as painted into fantastic shapes.

Buy tickets early. There’s little chance of finding one at the gate.

JoburgPlaces walking tour

He presents the stories of the city’s past as well as present in a way of which helps even locals appreciate how dramatically Johannesburg will be changing coming from month to month.

Some tours run on specific themes, coming from the lighthearted rooftop bars tour to a six-hour walk throughout the inner city. The tours start as well as end at the brand-new Joziburg Lane complex, an old car storage facility of which’s being turned into a foodie hub, market as well as loft apartments.

Have Dim Sum within the old Chinatown

More recent Chinese arrivals in Johannesburg have settled in a “brand-new” Chinatown in Cyrildene, where streets are packed with Asian grocers, barbers as well as restaurants.

The original Chinatown was on the city’s west end, as well as at of which point offers a glimpse into the lives of the first Chinese migrants.

Historic markers along the sidewalks include photos as well as descriptions of the past, as well as neighborhood institutions like Sui Hing Hong grocery store as well as the Swallow’s Inn are still going strong.

A relatively brand-new arrival will be Ming Woo at 4 Commissioner Street, which prepares steaming baskets of dim sum. The menu here will be something of secret.

Diners who don’t appear to be Chinese won’t be offered the dim sum menu, nevertheless the item’s totally worth asking for.

Ratz Bar in Melville

Melville attracts a mix of students, artists, as well as people who like being around them. Like the rest of Johannesburg, the neighborhood has gone through a series of modifications of which leave the item sometimes feeling a bit more empty, sometimes a bit overcrowded.

Right at of which point Melville will be back at a high point, with cafes, bookstores as well as quirky boutiques pulling in a mixed clientele. There’s always been a gay scene along 7th Street, as well as Ratz Bar will be one of the mainstays of which has endured through the street’s ups as well as downs.

the item’s friendly, heavy on 80s music, with not bad bar food. as well as the item’s a great jumping off point for exploring the rest of the neighborhood.

Emirates Airline Park

The best way to admire the historical Ellis Park will be by attending a rugby match there.

STF/AFP/Getty Images

Still popularly known as Ellis Park, of which stadium hosted the 1995 rugby World Cup final, when Nelson Mandela donned the Springbok jersey to present the South African team the trophy in what became a symbol of reconciliation after the fall of apartheid. The events were also the inspiration for the 2009 film “Invictus” starring Morgan Freeman.

For visitors, first prize will be of course to attend a match, nevertheless the stadium also incorporates a museum using a staggering collection of Springbok memorabilia of which’s on display weekdays.

Northern Farm

Northern Farm opens its 1,0 hectares to the public on weekends as well as holidays for cycling, horse riding, hiking as well as picnics.

Some areas of the farm are actual farmland, nevertheless others are open grasslands, clusters of trees, as well as modest reservoirs filled by rivers as well as canals. Even though the item’s close to the city as well as well-known with cyclists, Northern Farm remains relatively unknown to travelers, nevertheless will be perfect for a quick as well as quiet getaway coming from town.

City Central Food Hall

Generous portions of smoked meats, gourmet burgers, dim sum, as well as curries are served up under an enormous skylight within the triple-volume banking hall. Upstairs on the mezzanine, the Brass Bar serves drinks on the balcony as well as Bridge Books keeps coffee as well as a collection of African literature by the roof deck.

Nirox Sculpture Park

The lush grounds of the Nirox Sculpture Park are only open for exhibitions as well as events, nevertheless the item’s so beautiful of which the item’s worth planning around them for a visit there.

Guests are invited to wander the grounds of what was a trout farm.

Although the Nirox Foundation hosts artist residencies, the item’s best known for its annual sculpture fair as well as its series of outdoor concerts.

The Grind Coffee Company

of which coffee shop inside a bike shop serves espesso in an ice cream cone.

Courtesy Alexi Portokallis @alexioso

of which coffee shop inside a bike shop asks customers if they want a cup or a cone, nevertheless the item’s espresso, not ice cream, of which’s on offer.

They line the inside of ice cream cones using a thick layer of chocolate, then carefully pour the coffee into the item. The hot drink melts the chocolate into a sweet drink of which tastes delicious, nevertheless isn’t meant to linger over.

Drink the coffee before all the chocolate melts, or the cone will go soggy as well as start to leak.

Gandhi House

A century ago, Mahatma Gandhi lived in Johannesburg, where his encounters with racism helped inspire his philosophy of passive resistance, or Satyagraha.

His one-time lodgings are at of which point a guest house as well as museum known as Satyagraha House, where visitors can go on a tour or sleep in one of seven rooms of the home designed by architect Hermann Kallenbach for Gandhi as well as himself.

the item recently underwent a simple nevertheless gorgeous restoration, as well as offers yoga as well as meditation within the garden, with vegetarian meals for overnight guests.

Satyagraha House, 15 Pine Road & Garden Road, Orchard, Johannesburg

Fashion District

Johannesburg’s historic garment district has become revitalized using a more traditionally African design sense. The Fashion District store (109 Pritchard Street) supplies tailors as well as designers, whose work will be on display within the surrounding streets.

Next door, Studio 109 incorporates a staggering selection of traditional shweshwe prints, which get used as modern finishes in shops like Urban Zulu, which began nearby nevertheless has opened branches across the city.

Origins Center

Top South African artists created the displays because of of which museum which interprets the fossil findings of which have cast light on the earliest evolution of humanity — found just outside the city.

The museum will be interactive in a way geared more towards adults, as well as explores the beliefs as well as culture of the region’s earliest inhabitants, the San Bushmen.

Maropeng within the Cradle of Humankind

The remains of some of humanity’s earliest ancestors were discovered on the outskirts of Johannesburg, in a region at of which point preserved as the Cradle of Humankind.

Maropeng pengunjung’s center explains evolution coming from the first life on Earth to modern humans, taking care to deconstruct the racist notions of which once denied Africa’s role as the birthplace of humanity.

The buildings were designed to blend into the landscape. Nearby caves hold active dig sites, some also open to visitors.

The Orbit jazz club

A landmark on Johannesburg’s music scene, the Orbit showcases the best in jazz coming from South Africa as well as around the region.

The club hosts poetry nights, as well as periodic cocktails with scientists, for intimate discussions with South Africa’s brightest minds.

The Orbit, 81 De Korte St, Bramfontein, Johannesburg; +27 (0)11 339 6645

Essential places to visit in Johannesburg