Cape Town is a true melting pot—a cosmopolitan city that’s been a nexus of cultures for hundreds of years. The communities in and around Cape Town are what give the city its characteristically rich and vibrant heartbeat.

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Whether you’re looking for world-class global cuisine (they have outstanding Asian, European and South American restaurants) or want to experience authentic local tastes from Cape Malay to township-made beer, Cape Town has it all.

Art Museums

The highlight of the arts scene at the V&A Waterfront is Zeitz MOCAA, the continent’s first major museum dedicated to art from Africa and its diaspora. One could spend days marvelling at the myriad exhibitions which include the work of some of the most respected artists working today.

The Norval Foundation in Steenberg is dedicated to the research and exhibition of 20th- and 21st-century art from South Africa. The Foundation combines the experience of art with an appreciation for nature. The Sculpture Garden, outdoor amphitheatre, purpose-built exhibition spaces and research library are situated in a unique setting that offers visitors a multisensory experience

Guga S’thebe Arts and Culture Centre in Langa train residents in art techniques such as metalwork and pottery. It provides a space for dance, arts and crafts lessons, singing, music, and poetry, and hosts regular art exhibitions.

Neighbourhood Experience Development

The Neighbourhood Experience Development project promotes sustainable tourism in disadvantaged areas, by developing tourism products and packaging them together into routes exploring areas that visitors might not otherwise visit.

Cape Town Tourism launched the Khayelitsha Neighbourhood Experiences in 2019 and is working on developing itineraries in other communities.

Khayelitsha is the largest township in Cape Town and is situated 30km southeast of the city centre, just off the N2. It’s a vibrant township known for its entrepreneurial spirit and social development projects.

The township is rich in product offerings and boasts an unexpected diversity of experiences including various accommodation options, shack theatre, street art, organic gardening, a gangster museum, vibrant choirs, fine dining, traditional food, cycling/running, and arts & craft.

Cinema and Theatre

With dozens of galleries and theatres, there are many ways to get your dose of arts and culture while visiting Cape Town.

From November to April, the Galileo Open Air Cinema screens classic films beneath the stars. Bring a picnic or enjoy the food trucks and snuggle up under a blanket.

The Labia is the oldest independent cinema in South Africa. Since 1974, it has been playing host to film festivals and art-house films.

The Artscape theatre supports a philharmonic orchestra, a ballet company, and an opera company. The Fugard Theatre features two intimate theatre spaces. The Baxter Theatre plays host to local and international productions, including drama, ballet, music, and comedy. Theatre on the Bay offers a good mix of local and international drama, musicals, comedy, cabaret, music and dance.

Events & Sports

Cape Town hosts a variety of food, wine, comedy, dance, literature, and film festivals year-round.

Some of the big ones include the Cape Minstrel Carnival (around New Year’s Day), the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (end of March), and every March the streets of Cape Town burst into a colourful and joyous celebration with the Cape Town Carnival. Think Rio Carnival, but with a real African flavour. Expect dancing, giant floats and pyrotechnics.

On the first Thursday evening of every month, you can explore art galleries and cultural attractions in the central city as part of the First Thursdays initiative.

Cape Town is a hub of sporting activity and plays host to some of the biggest tournaments and races in the world.

The annual Cape Town Cycle Tour is the largest individually timed cycle race in the world (with approximately 35,000 entrants), and it boasts one of the world’s most picturesque routes.

Over every Easter weekend, more than 10,000 distance runners participate in the Two Oceans Marathon making their way around the Peninsula on a route that takes in False Bay, Fish Hoek, Chapman’s Peak, and Constantia Neck.

The Cape Town Sevens is a huge rugby event on Cape Town’s sporting calendar. The competition is fierce and the fans dress in full regalia which makes it a fun weekend event.

The Absa Cape Epic is the largest full-service mountain bike stage race in the world. It takes 600 two-rider teams through some 700kms of the Western Cape region in South Africa. Every year the route changes, making it an annual event for serious mountain bikers.

Cuisine Culture

It’s safe to say Cape Town is a foodie’s paradise. From street food to corner cafes, burger joints to tapas, and traditional cooking to fine dining, the city’s growing food scene is packed with mind-blowing options that cater to every taste and vibe.

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South Africans are notorious carnivores but Cape Town has been at the forefront of the trend toward raw and organic, and it’s now the easiest it’s ever been for those following a plant-based diet to find good food.

With the recent surge in popularity of community markets, there’s something for every taste and flavour, every day of the week from the Oranjezicht City Farm Market Day to Mojo Market. The Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill is a favourite on Saturdays and one can head to the Bay Harbour Market for live music and great food.

Cape Town Culinary Tours offers small and unique tours to connect visitors to some of the City’s best chefs.

Cape Food & Wine Tours will introduce you to both Cape Town as a historical melting pot of cultures as well as a contemporary foodie destination.

Eat Like A Local offers a walking food tour through Cape Town that is a curated journey of flavour and cultural heritage.

Food Jams are social gatherings in which eating food is only half the fun. Participants are paired up, preferably with strangers, and each team is given a portion of the meal to prepare and invited to follow the recipe.

Wine

People come from all over the world to sample South African wine, for good reason. Their wine is some of the best in the world and is a treat for seasoned connoisseurs and total beginners alike. They’re all located in stunning surroundings and many contain beautiful examples of unique Cape Dutch architecture.

There are five main wine routes in or close to Cape Town. Cape Town is unique in that it contains a wine region in the middle of the city: Constantia. Durbanville and Helderberg are also within the city borders, and Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are within 30 minutes to an hour’s drive of the city centre. Your best option is to choose a route that’s convenient for you and select four or five estates that tickle your fancy. The Franschhoek Wine Tram perfectly combines breathtaking scenery and world-class wines. The Wine Tram covers a large area of the Franschhoek wine valley, with eight different lines and stops at more than 20 wine farms.

Gin

Cape Town’s gin scene has really taken off in recent years. The indigenous botanicals used in some of the local gins make them beautifully unique, and a bottle of Cape Town gin is the perfect gift for friends and family back home.

Whether you like it with tonic, on the rocks, or as part of an elaborate cocktail, you’re bound to find your perfect gin in the Mother City. The Cape Town Gin Route spontaneously launched in mid-2018, and there are more exciting developments to come. It currently features six distilleries over six kilometres, with over 20 local gins available to try.

The Secret Gin Bar is tucked away behind Honest Chocolate on Wale Street. There are no signposts, so you have to know where you’re going: through the chocolate shop and out the back to the quaint Mediterranean-style courtyard.

Beer

There’s no doubt that craft beer is well-loved by Capetonians and visitors to the city alike, which explains the vast and ever-growing community of microbreweries in the Western Cape.

Tap Rooms are set across a wide range of locations in the city, from light industrial estates with themed interiors to wine estates with spectacular views. Breweries include Jack Black, Woodstock Brewery, Striped Horse, Urban Brewing Company and Brewers Coop. Taprooms are a great way to sample craft beers and Cape Town has some incredible ones to choose from with Devils Peak, Beerhouse, and Newlands Brewery all top spots for tastings.

There are also some very interesting authentically South African speciality beers hitting the tap rooms, incorporating fynbos and wild yeast for uniquely balanced flavours.

Coffee & Tea

The coffee culture is strong in Cape Town with shops lining the corners and main strips across the city. Truth Coffee is often listed as one of the best coffee shops in the world, thanks to its Victorian futuristic fantasy interior: steampunk lovers will be in awe.

Origin Coffee and Deluxe Coffee are two more favourites and many local connoisseurs consider their brews some of the best coffee in the City. Rosetta Roastery is serious about coffee and source only the best single-origin coffees from across the world.

From traditional tea ceremonies to red cappuccinos (a cup of rooibos with foam), the tea culture in the Mother City has never been stronger. The Cape is known for its distinct fynbos vegetation that is unique to the Cape region. The Cape Fynbos Tea Ceremony in the Company’s Garden offers you a chance to taste some of the indigenous herbs that have been used for centuries. The ceremony is informative and the tea is served with handmade Turkish delight.

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