Jozi’s got it all- the energy, the friendliest people, the freshest ideas and the high-octane lifestyle and unique character which attracts people from all over the world. Following last year’s list of things to do in Johannesburg, we want to help you make 2016 your year to explore Joburg with 50 fun ideas that are surprisingly easy on the pocket.
The costs you see below are subject to change at the organisations’ discretion. Contact the organisation directly for the latest prices and information.
In no particular order:
1. Visit the Locrate Market in Soweto
Featured image and above image both via The Locrate Market Facebook Page
The self-described lifestyle market “to break all markets”, the Locrate Market has “mother trucker” food trucks, live music, poetry readings, bike tours, craft beer and singular designer apparel. Held the first Sunday of every month from 10am to 6pm. Its founders’ vision is to empower entrepreneurs and create indelible experiences. 073 521 9035/ 0735078424. Vilakazi Precinct, Orlando West, Kudu Street/Moema Street.
2. Hop on a Red Bus Tour
The most cheerful way to discover Joburg is on the roof of a shiny red city sightseeing bus. They’re hop on, hop off meaning you get to choose how you spend your time. The tour comes with audio commentary available in 15 languages.
A day ticket will cost R160 for adults and R90 for kids (kids under 5 travel for free, max 2 per adult) buy online to save time and money here.
3. Reflect at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
The centre of memory can be found at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, a non-profit organisation started by Madiba in 1999. Visit the current exhibition which focuses on photography during the State of Emergency. Submit a booking request via the website here to visit the centre. One is able to visit on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 09h30 and 15h30.107 Central Street, Houghton. Call +27 (0)11 547 5600.
Cost: free, donations welcome.
4. Three-wheel through Jozi on an e-tuk-tuk
No longer reserved for Bangkok’s congested streets, e-tuk-tuks are a refreshing, environmentally-friendly and fun way to cover short distances in Melville cheaply. It also means you get to take in the sights without stressing about parking or traffic. Look for the large “e” on the side of the tuk-tuk. Contact 072 316 8099. 66 4th Avenue Melville.
Cost: approx R30 a ride.
5. Grab a drink at coolest rooftop spot in JHB, the Living Room
The Living Room is a rooftop oasis made up of ever-changing vertical gardens. The delicious meze and smoothies come recommended. Swing in a hammock or sip a smoothie surrounded by greenery and a spectacular view. Open to the public on most Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 3pm to 9pm and Sundays from midday until 8pm. 20 Kruger Street, Main Change Building, Maboneng. Call 082 370 9284.
Entrance: free but depends on event.
6. Slam dunk with Bounce
Bounce your heart out on 50 interconnected trampolines, do epic slam dunks, flips and serious kicks or enjoy a game of trampoline dodge ball with your mates. There are junior jumping designated areas for kids under 6 and grip socks to keep everyone safe. Address: Waterfall Lifestyle Centre, Woodmead Dr & Maxwell Dr, Jukskei, Midrand.
Call: 011 517 2500.
Cost: one bounce session costs R140, there are also student and family specials available.
7. Rediscover your city with Mainstreet Walks
Feel the pulse of the city, explore its arteries. Try their “east city cycle tour” (R180 per person) or their “picnic in the sky” at full moon (R200 per person). They also have an “art and justice” tour showcasing the incredible inner city art (the art and justice tour is a bit pricier at R250 per person). Find out more and book here.
Cost: from R180 per person.
8. Visit the James Hall Museum of Transport for free
Steam locomotives, penny farthings and ox wagons will keep kids intrigued for over an hour. Pioneer Park, Rosettenville Road, La Rochelle. This is a stop on the red city bus tour. Open Tuesdays to Fridays (9am-5pm), Saturdays and Sundays (9am-12pm, 1pm-4pm). Closed on Mondays, every third weekend of the month, 25 to 26 December. Call +27 (0)11 435 9718.
Cost: free, donations to keep the museum running appreciated.
9. Check out Uncle Merv’s in Maboneng
For an awesome vibe, classic shakes and expertly brewed coffee Uncle Merv’s in Maboneng is the place. Corner Fox and Kruger Streets. Open Monday to Sunday 7am to 4pm. You can also rent a bike from Uncle Merv’s and explore the inner city. Find out more from Bheki Dube here.
Cost: approx R50 for a smoothie and croissant.
10. Shop at the Oriental Plaza
The best bargains can be found at this indoor bazaar. 360 shops offer everything from clothes to rugs, spices, linen, jewelery and appliances. Don’t be shy to test out your bargaining skills. 38 Lilian Ngoyi St, open everyday except Sunday.
Cost: R4 for 1 hour parking, entrance is free.
11. SAB World of Beer
Two-time winner of the number one tourist attraction in SA, SAB World of beer tour is a must for anyone fond of a cold one or just interested in the fascinating political and economic history behind our beloved brewery. Sample raw barley and hops, ask questions and fill up on interesting facts about the origins of beer drinking in SA. After the tour you can do a beer tasting included in the ticket price or simply enjoy the views of Newtown from the tap room while sipping on two complimentary SABMiller Beers. Bookings are essential. The SAB World of Beer is open seven days a week from 10am until 6pm. The last tour is at 5pm, except for Sundays and Mondays, when the last tour is at 4pm. This is a stop on the red bus route. 15 Helen Joseph Street (formerly President Street) Newtown. Call +27 (0)11 836 4900.
Cost: R105 for adults, R35 for kids under 17 (as they won’t be doing any beer tasting) pensioners and students pay R95.
Don’t miss out on the action. Cheap flights to Johannesburg here.
12. Feed the ducks and take a boat out on Zoo lake
Take some bread crumbs along and have a lovely afternoon out at Zoo lake feeding the ducks and geese. You can also rent out a row boat which fits up to 6 people. You’ll have a great time paddling about. The boat club is open from 9.30am to 5pm from Tuesday to Sunday (it’s closed on Mondays). You can also go bowling at the bowling green or have a picnic.
Minimum cost per boat: R10, cost per person: R7.50 and R5 for children.
13. Brunch at Milk Bar in Kramerville
Afro-inspired hip hang-out Milk bar has healthy breakfasts, strapping coffee and zesty gin cocktail nights on Wednesdays. They open bright and early at 6.30am in the week, a little later on the weekends. Wednesday and Friday nights close at 11pm. 6 Desmond Street, Kramerville, Johannesburg. Call 072 641 8977.
Cost: R18 for a double espresso
14. Kitchener’s Comedy Night
Kitchener’s at the Milner Hotel in downtown Jozi is an institution. It’s over 100 years old and Joburg’s second oldest pub. Enjoy up and coming comedians strutting their stuff most Tuesday nights at 8pm. Check their Facebook page before hand. Cnr Juta and De Beer Str Braamfontein 079 106 3697 / 084 665 5077.
15. Head to Pata Pata for a burger, stay for the jazz
Popular 60’s themed jazz restaurant filled with good people, good food and good music. 286 Fox street, Maboneng. 011 069 8172.
Cost: R75 for a pata pata burger.
16. Catch a thought-provoking flick at the Bioscope Independent Cinema
Don’t miss out on their fabulous pizza deal combo. Look out for their amazing rooftop cinema events here. 286 Fox Street.
Cost: get a ticket, a pizza (from their restaurant Chalkboard) and a beer all for R120 if you book online.
17. Eureka at Science Bono Discovery Centre
Winner of numerous travel and education awards, the Science Bono Discovery Centre will capture your kids’ imagination and ignite a life-long love of science. Housed in a repurposed power station find it on the corner of Miriam Makeba and President streets, Newtown, Johannesburg. Close to other Newtown attractions such as the Market Theatre and World of Beer. Open 7 days a week.
Cost: free for kids under the age of 3, R25 for kids aged 2-16, pensioners and students and R40 for adults.
18. For a helluva night out look no futher than Hell’s Kitchen
Food, drink, music, mayhem is the motto. There’s a secret room behind the bookcase, live music on the weekend and an unpretentious vibe. Hell’s Kitchen is a Shop 4. 7th street, Melville. Call 079 980 9591.
Cost: R128 for Bad Ass Baby Back Ribs.
19. Contemporary cool at Gallery MOMO
Get your fix of the best contemporary South African and international art at Gallery MOMO set in an airy Parktown house. It was established by Monna and Lee Mokoena in 2003. 52 7th Avenue, Parktown North, Johannesburg, +27 11 327 3247. Open Monday to Friday from 9am to 6pm and 9am to 4pm on Saturdays.
20. Take in the view from the tallest skyscraper in Africa!
Image by Chris Eason from Flickr.com
Ride the elevator 50 floors to see the awe-inspiring view from thetop of the Carlton centre. Good to know: this is a stop on the red bus tour. Open everyday but closes at 2pm on Sundays.
Admission to the “top of Africa” is R15 for adults and R10 for children under 12.
21. Join the Troyeville Hotel’s Book Club for an enlightening evening with an author
Drop in on one of Jozi’s oldest-running book clubs at The Troyeville Hotel. This beautiful space with flamingos on the dining room walls hosts enlightening discussions with a variety of authors. Check the Troyeville Facebook page for event updates. An evening of dinner and a discussion varies- around R200 depending on the event.
1403 Albertina Sisulu Road. Corner Wilhemeina Street (formerly 25 Bezuidenhout Street), Troyeville.
Cost: approx R200 for dinner and an evening with the author and the Troyeville Book Club
22. Neighbourgoods Market
This legendary Saturday market has the goods. Famous for its array of locally-sourced food, live music such as Majozi and fun atmosphere it is the place to be on Saturdays for brunch and mimosas or perhaps flourless chocolate fudge cake from Made With Love and iced coffee. 73 Juta Street. 011 403 0413.
Cost: around R50 for something delicious for brunch, R20 for a coffee.
23. Amazing birds at Montecasino
Go for the fantastic flight show and meet Oliver the Southern White Pelican among many other lively characters. You’ll also encounter sloths, chameleons and red-ruffed, ring-tailed and brown lemurs in the park. Open from 08h30 to 17h00 every day. Flight of Fantasy Shows on weekdays at 11am and 3pm and on the weekends at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Cnr William Nicol Drive & Montecasino Boulevard, Fourways. Call 011 511 1864.
Cost: children over 10 years and adults pay R64, children under 10 years and pensioners pay R36.
24. Find nature within the city at Melville Koppies Reserve
Image by Pascal Parent from Flickr.com
This nature reserve and heritage site is found right in the heart of Joburg. It shows an excellent example of the 3 million year old ridges that made up the Johannesburg landscape before the advent of the gold rush. The central area is the safest for hikes as it has controlled access. You can join a hike or guided tour every Sunday on Melville Koppies Central. No booking required. Check the calendar for details of starting times and dates.
Cost: R50 per adult and R20 per child.
25. Rosebank Rooftop Market
Joburg is a flourishing city of rooftops and trees (an estimated 10 million). This Sunday market is a fun, family-affair on the roof of Rosebank mall. 9am to 4pm. 50 Bath Avenue, Rosebank.
26. Chase down the Minotaur of the mind at Amazing Mazes
Image by Bill Davies from Flickr.com
Kids and parents alike will have the best time exploring the different mazes, secret gardens and completing mind-bending quizzes. From February to May there’s a mielie maze and an elemental reed maze open from June to December. Activity takes about 90 minutes. Location: off Beyers Naude Drive on Boland street in Honeydew. 073 795 2174.
Cost: R80 per child, R120 per adult. Family ticket of 2 adults and 2 children for R350.
27. To a tee at World of Golf
The Momentum World of Golf is a peaceful place to practice every shot imaginable. R139 gains non-members entrance and access to all facilities except the fitness centre and grass tees. Contact: 011 545 8600.
Cost: The daily rate for non-members is R139.
28. Cake, coffee, bar – Wolves, Illovo
This spot is co-owned by Angie Batis Durrant of Lucky Pony fame among her other exciting ventures in Jozi. Think red velvet cake, free wifi, interesting teas and coffee throughout the day at Illovo’s hippest spot then banging gigs in the evenings. Call 011 447 2360. 3 Corlett Drive, Illovo.
Cost: R17 a flat white
29. Action Cricket
Fun for all ages, action cricket is a lively way to involve the whole family. 70 minutes per game with all equipment provided. Contact: 08611 ACTION (228466) | Action Cricket has multiple arena locations in Joburg
Action Cricket prices are available on request. From about R35 p/p for a half-hour practice session and R480 for league games (R480 divided between team members).
30. Take the original inner-city walking tour with Past Experiences
Experience Jozi on the ground. The original inner city walking tour company has a Braamfontein Art tour coming up (R150 pp), architecture tours, graffiti and historical tours and many other authentic Jozi experiences on offer. Book by calling 011 678 3905.
Cost: from R150 per person.
31. Get your adrenaline fix at Orlando Towers
This is the site of the world’s first bungee jump between two cooling towers. A variety of adrenaline junkie activities are available with the most affordable being the 25m rock climbing course (R50 per person) and the group paintball at R170 per person (100 balls each) available at the bottom of the western cooling tower. If you’re keen to spend a bit more and you’re feeling up to the challenge the Bungee Jump is R480, the Power Swing is R360 and Abseiling/Rap jumping is R260. Booking 48 hours in advance essential for certain activities. 071 674 4343. Dynamo Street cnr Old Potch Road, Soweto.
Cost: from R50 per person.
32. High tea at Lindfield Victorian House Museum
Step back in time to the Victorian era at Lindfield house and indulge in a traditional high tea. R120 for a tour and high tea with cream and scones. 72 Richmond Avenue, Auckland Park, Johannesburg. 011 726 2932.
Cost: R120 for a tour and high tea.
33. Catch a jazz show at the Orbit
The Orbit is a warm bistro with serious jazz performances. Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 5.30pm to 1.30am. +27 11 339 66 45, 81 de Korte Street, Braamfontein. Booking in advance highly recommended. See the program calendar here.
Cost: varies per show from R120.
34. Mr Big Stuff
Waffles and fried chicken or deep fried mac and cheese squares? Yes please!
Mr Big Stuff is across the road from a red city stop. 87 Juta Street, Braamfontein. 011 339 1412.
Cost: R55 for a crispy chicken waffle sandwich. Look out for student specials.
35. Ubuntu Kraal Brewery, Soweto
This atmospheric brewery serves up excellent food (gourmet boerie and apple ale pork ribs) and that liquid elixir- Soweto Gold beer. You may get to meet the “Mad master brewer” Ndumiso M. Madlala himself. The beer garden is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10am til late. Closed Mondays. Call 074 738 0355 to book at the restaurant/beer garden and 072 867 29 53 to book a brewery tour. You can also book the old train carriage for private events. 11846 Senokoanyana St, Soweto.
Cost: from R65 for a gourmet boerie roll
36. Channel your silly side and Zorb around in a giant inflatable ball at Jozi X
Jozi X has the longest zorb ride in South Africa. Climb into the 3m diameter inflatable ball and roll down the 200m long slope. R80 pp for 1 zorb roll and R100 pp for 2 rolls. Jozi X also has slacklining to practise your balancing skills and develop core strength, the crazy sport of Bubble Soccer and the Big Air Krush Kushion Jump. This will get you practicing serious tricks, flips and rolls on skateboards, bmx bikes and snow boards. R50 for 3 hours, call ahead during the week to book a session. Jozi X adventure centre, Cnr Main & Sloane, Bryanston. Wednesday to Sunday from 10 am to 5pm. Call 082 456 2358.
37. Cheer on the Kaizer Chiefs on their home ground in the biggest stadium in Africa
The biggest stadium in Africa, the FNB stadium, goes by many names including Soccer City. It’s built in the shape of a Zulu clay pot traditionally used for serving umqombothi. Vuvuzelas and gees welcome.
Catch a game from as little as R30 a ticket.
38. A treat for the senses at the largest flower market in the southern hemisphere
The 50 000 square metre specialised flower warehouse, the Multiflora flower market, sees 1 million flower stems pass through its doors in just three to four hours! Private shoppers are welcome to browse through the largest flower market in the Southern Hemisphere. Contact: 011 613 4011.
39. The Market Theatre
The Market theatre was an integral part of the struggle and continues to produce strong, intelligent performances. Award-winning past pieces include Woza Albert, Asinamali, Bopha, Sophiatown, You Strike the Woman You Strike a Rock, Born in the RSA, Black Dog and the standard continues with cutting edge performances on offer. Book on Computicket. 56 Margaret McIngana St, Newtown. Monday hours are 8am to 4pm, Tuesday to Saturday hours are 8am to 10pm and Sunday hours are midday to 5pm. Call 011 832 1641 for more info.
40. Drive over the Nelson Mandela Bridge
Especially when it’s lit up at night! Note the red city tour does drive this route.
41. Think quick in the Escape Room
The antidote to rainy-day boredom, this is the ultimate puzzle game for adults and kids. Each puzzle requires 2 to 6 players. You will have 60 minutes to work as a team to puzzle your way out of the room. Second Floor, 173 Oxford Road, Rosebank. Call 072 277 2733. Book here.
Cost: R1200 for 6 people (R200 each if you have 6 people).
42. Rare eagles at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens waterfall
Take a break from Jozi’s buzz into the peaceful cover of the Walter Sisula National Botanical Gardens, a 30 minute drive from the CBD. If luck is on your side you may spot the nesting pair of Verreaux’s (black) eagles in the cliffs by the Witpoortjie Waterfall. 086 1001278. Malcolm Road, Roodepoort. Don’t miss out on stargazing in early September and October. The adjacent Emmarentia Dam is a great spot for a picnic.
Entrance: R30 for adults, R25 for pensioners and students (with valid student card), and R12 for scholars. Entrance is free for children under 6.
43. Keeping it cool at Northgate Ice Rink
Feeling the heat this summer? The Northgate Shopping Centre ice rink is a great place to cool off while getting in some exercise. Keep an eye on their Facebook page as they often hold fun events like foam parties and celebrity bands/DJs. Cnr Witkoppen and Olivenhout. 011 794 8706.
Cost: R60, skate hire: R25.
44. Wits Origins Centre
A unique museum dedicated to celebrating the origins of human kind including fascinating rock art. Audio tours available. On occasion there are public lectures in the evenings. Open every day from 10am to 5pm. Yale Rd & Enoch Sontonga Avenue. 011 717 4700.
Tickets cost R40.
Good to know: If you are willing to spend more there is a “test your own DNA” tour on offer.
45. Bryanston Organic Market
Live music, handmade goods, a tea garden and crafting activities for the kids.This is a great option especially if you are looking for a weekday market. 40 Culross Road, Bryanston. Open on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9am to 3pm.
46. Wednesday nights at Sir James van der Merwe’s
Climb the steep staircase up to the distinguished bar open to the public on Wednesday nights. The view of Sandton and the decor is exceptional. This is part of Katy’s Palace, the magical events venue which is a sister to the famous Emily Moon restaurant in Plett. 6 Desmond Street, Kramerville. 072 607 4235
47. 27 Boxes
This avant garde shopping centre is constructed entirely out of shipping containers. This is the perfect place to source a unique gift and sip a freshly-pressed juice or a homemade ice cream. 4th Avenue, Melville, Johannesburg, South Africa. Call 082 448 1835.
48. The Military History Museum for fascinating military planes and other relics
Artifacts from Umkhonto-we-Sizwe, the Anglo-Boer War, the Anglo-Zulu war and various other historical battles are on display. Open daily from 9am to 4:30pm. 22 Erlswold Way, Saxonwold. Call 011 646 5513.
Entrance is R30 for adults, R15 for senior citizens, R25 for learners and students.
49. Gold Reef City
Image by Xander Buys from Flickr.com
History and adventure collide at this unique gold rush theme park. There are activities to suit all budgets just decide whether you’re a Major rider (R140) or a thrill rider and get ready for the ride of your life. R120 for under 1.3 m riders. Cnr Nothern Parkway and Data Crescent, Ormonde. Call 011 248 5000.
Cost: from R120.
50. Beerhouse for a cold one
And last but not least head to Beerhouse in Fourways. They stock at least 99 craft beers both local and imported, host fun quiz nights, silent discos and serve excellent pub fare. 1 Sunset Ave, Corner Witkoppen rd, Sandton. Call 011 465 2402.
We’d love to hear your favourite things to do in Johannesburg in the comments below.