20 Unmissable Attractions in Johannesburg

Zebra mural by Faith47 seen in Marshalltown
Zebra mural by Faith47 seen in Marshalltown | ©Marturin Le Goff/Flickr

Johannesburg has so much on offer it’s often difficult to decide how to spend a day in this bustling city. We’ve narrowed it down to 20 unmissable experiences to ensure you make the best of your stay.

1. Get a panoramic view of the inner city from The Carlton Centre

Building

Underneath the office tower visitors will find a massive shopping centre
©Francisco Anzola/Flickr
Visit the tallest building in Africa for unmatched, panoramic views of the City of Gold. At 223 metres (732ft) the building towers over downtown Johannesburg.

2. Take a stroll in the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens

Botanical Garden

The beautiful Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens is the perfect spot for a picnic and, although situated in a city, it’s home to more than 220 bird species.

Check out the street art

Johannesburg’s street art scene is expanding by the day as artists from all over the globe colour the city’s walls, buildings and streets. Book a street art tour to ensure you see as much as possible.

Zebra mural by Faith47 seen in Marshalltown

3. Sip on cocktails at The Living Room rooftop bar

Bar, Cafe, Pub Grub, Coffee, Tea , Fast Food, Vegan, Vegetarian, Wine, Beer

Enjoy a lazy weekend afternoon sipping cocktails and tasting craft beer at the vibrant Living Room rooftop bar in Maboneng. The rooftop is filled with plants, creating a relaxing atmosphere in contrast to the urban surroundings.

4. Get into nature at the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve

Hiking Trail, Natural Feature

Hiking the Melville Koppies Nature Reserve is a popular pastime and offers breath taking scenery. The Nature Reserve is also a heritage site and its geology dates back three billion years.

5. Take a historical tour of Constitution Hill

Museum

Constitution Hill, a former prison for men, women and children, is the site of the South African Constitutional Court and has rich historical value. Visitors learn about the country’s struggle for freedom and about the many lives involved in the fight.

6. Catch a show at the Soweto Theatre

Building, Theatre

The Soweto Theatre aims to offer new talents a platform to make their work visible
Courtesy of The Soweto Theatre
Check out one of the amazing musical or theatrical productions for a culture-filled evening. The theatre was only established in 2012 but has already become an icon of local art and entertainment.

7. See the stars at the WITS Planetarium

Building, Museum

The WITS Planetarium opened in 1960 and was the first complete planetarium in Africa. The planetarium hosts educational programmes for children and adults and cost as little as R35 (approximately £2).

8. Bungee jump from the Orlando Towers

Bridge, Park

8. Bungee jump from the Orlando Towers
©Albert Dezetter/Unsplash

The colourful silos are an adrenaline junkie’s dream come true. Choose between a 100 metre (328ft) bungee jump or free fall, there’s also rock climbing and a paintball course.

Orlando Towers, Chris Hani Road & Dynamo Street, Power Park, Soweto

Adrenaline junkies can jump from a suspension bridge between the two towers | ©Albert Dezetter/Unsplash

9. Browse local artisanal products at Neighbourgoods Market

Market, South African

Pienaar & Son craft gin sold at the market
Courtesy of Neighbourgoods Market
Neighbourgoods Market is the place to be on a Saturday morning. Get there early to grab an artisanal breakfast and then soak in the friendly atmosphere while browsing the stalls.

10. Learn at Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Museum

The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre is ideal for family outings and those with a keen interest in science and technology. From photography displays to more than 350 interactive exhibits, Sci-Bono is the largest science centre in Southern Africa.

11. Watch a film at the Bioscope Independent Cinema

Cinema, Movie Theater, Theater

The outdoor cinema events are held at different locations, so sign up for their mailing list to stay in the loop
Courtesy of the Bioscope Independent Cinema
The Bioscope Independent Cinema, a 62 seater indoor cinema, is the coolest place to watch a movie. From outdoor screenings to classic movie Sundays, there’s something for every film-lover.

12. Play at The Escape Room

Sports Center

The Escape Room is an unusual yet exciting experience loved by thrill-seekers
Courtesy of The Escape Room
The Escape Room is a live puzzle game where teams have to unravel a mystery in order to be let out of a room. This thrilling experience has been designed by a psychologist, architect and chartered accountant ensuring its success.

13. Drink hand-crafted beer at Gilroy’s

Craft Ale Bar, Pub, Pub Grub

Award winning brewery, Gilroy’s, is situated in a craft village in Muldersdrift, and is the place to taste hand-crafted beer. Take a drive on a weekend and prepare yourself for the coldest beers and tastiest pub grub Johannesburg has to offer.

14. Get your hands on fresh cut flowers at the Multiflora Flower Market

Market, Shop, Store

The Multiflora Flower Market is a massive flower auction space that boasts the widest selection of fresh cut flowers in South Africa. “The Mall” is open to consumers wishing to purchase fresh flowers, plus there’s a great party accessories store selling vases, table decor and more.

15. See the birds at the Montecasino aviary

15. See the birds at the Montecasino aviary
©Martie Swart/Flickr

It might be hard to believe but there’s a birder’s paradise in the heart of Johannesburg. The walk-through aviary is home to more than 60 bird species and visitors will spot the endangered Southern Ground-Hornbills, a pelican, loeries and more.

Montecasino, Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways

Colourful lorikeets | ©Martie Swart/Flickr

Have a true African experience at Lesedi Cultural Village

The village is a homestead to different African cultures who live according to specific traditions and visitors get to experience this first hand.

Lesedi Cultural Village, Kalkheuwel, Broederstroom, R512

Experience true African culture at Lesedi Cultural Village

16. Listen to live jazz at The Orbit

Bistro, American, Vegetarian, Pub Grub

Live jazz at The Orbit
©South African Tourism/Flickr
The Orbit’s bustling atmosphere and cool setting makes it the best spot in town (if not in the country) to listen to live jazz.

17. See the best of local art at The Goodman Gallery

Art Gallery

The gallery works closely with both established and emerging artists
Courtesy of The Goodman Gallery
The Goodman Gallery, established in 1966, is a beautiful art gallery which showcases the best of the local art scene. The gallery has since its inception offered a non-discriminatory platform for artists to display innovative and controversial pieces.

Take a tour of Soweto

Soweto, short for South Western Township, is a large informal settlement just outside of Johannesburg. A tour of Soweto includes a visit to the Hector Pieterson Museum and Freedom Square, as well as a stop by the home of Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.

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