48H in… Johannesburg

Things to do and see in the City of Gold.

While others flock to the coast, you’ve chosen to stay in the city (or head there). Good choice! We share our recommendations for the ultimate minibreak in a city seldom known as a holiday town.

Written by Neo Khanyile

Jozi. The City of Gold. Gangster’s Paradise. Whatever you know it as, Johannesburg is the most dynamic city in the country. Holidayers usually flock to the coast at this time of year, and this is precisely the reason you would want to be in the city for this season. The streets aren’t as packed as usual and this gives more time for exploring and immersing yourself in what the city has on offer.

Day 1, 8AM Breakfast at Glenda’s

Start off your day at the popular Glenda’s in Hyde Park for breakfast. Glenda’s is a lovely eating-out experience with sunlight piercing through the large surrounding trees. The waitrons are attentive, friendly and efficient, and meals are beautifully presented. The French café-style restaurant has a unique design and warm ambiance.

Day 1, 9:30AM Rosebank Art Crawl

What better way to replenish the soul than a good gallery-hopping art crawl. The best place for this is at the Keyes Art Mile in Rosebank. Check out the Everard Read Gallery, the oldest commercial art gallery in South Africa; contemporary artist Banele Khoza’s BKHZ Studio; and Circa Gallery, an architectural masterpiece. For those interested in fine artisanal craft, True Design supplies luxurious furniture and accessories, while Okapi specializes in superior accessories and bags, fabricated and handmade locally.

Day 1, 1:30PM Constitution Hill

Constitution Hill is a living museum in the heart of Johannesburg. The site is a former prison and military base, having once held the likes of Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and Fatima Meer. Today it houses the country’s Constitutional Court and a museum gallery that tells the story of South Africa’s journey to democracy. 

Day 1: 3PM 7th Street Melville

Home to some of Johannesburg’s most iconic nightlife spots, 7th Street Melville is a great place for sundowners. Take a moment to explore the street and discover tapas restaurants and jukebox bars as well as the institution that is Six Cocktail Bar. With so many students and young professionals living nearby, 7th Street has always maintained a reputation as a nightlife hotspot and is among Joburg’s most famous bar-hopping areas.

Day 1, 6:30PM Dinner at Pablo House Melville 

Around sunset, enjoy the view over a drink on the terrace at Dos Manos at Pablo House, a stone’s throw away from 7th Street. The menu boasts a wide array of wood-fired pizzas and a selection of wood-fired grills. Go for the view, stay for the food, cocktails, and friendly staff.

Day 1, 8:30PM Nightcap and Dance on 7th

Take a stroll along Melville’s 7th Street where you’ll find an array of nightspots for a bit of a dance and a drink before calling it a night. Popular spots are Hell’s Kitchen for a bit of a rock vibe; Joanna’s Melt Bar for a pop jukebox feel; Liquid Blue for a ‘Yanos tint or The Anti Social Social Club if pop, hip-hop, and R&B are more your speed.

Day 2, 10AM Breakfast on 4th

4th Avenue in Parkhurst offers an assortment of restaurants and cafés that are perfect for side street dining. Grab breakfast at Nice on 4th, Coppa or The Station for a Joburg eating experience. The avenue also offers a shopping opportunity with a mix of couture, interior design, and antique shops littered along the street.

Day 2, 11:30AM Maboneng

Explore the Maboneng Precinct in Jeppestown. The widely gentrified space is home to Arts on Main which hosts the weekly Market on Main where hawkers sell their wares and culinary artisans show off their skills. The precinct also boasts shops, restaurants, art galleries, studios, and a theatre.

Day 2, 4:30PM Sundowners in the Sky 

For a change of scenery and pace, take a trip to Sandton. Here you’ll find Alto234, the highest urban bar in Africa. Found on the rooftop of The Leonardo in Sandton, the space boasts 360-degree views over Joburg. Alto is one of the most aspirational and exclusive places for epicureans in South Africa to be. Signature cocktails and a selection of tapas are on offer as you soak in panoramic sunset views stretching as far west as the Magaliesberg. 

Day 2, 7PM Dinner at TANG

To end off the whirlwind 48 hours, sit down for some fine dining at TANG, located at Mandela Square. This is an opulent take on the Japanese IZAKAYA-style of eating and drinking. The food and drinks here are creatively prepared and presented to provide diners with a luxurious and sensory dining experience.