Cape Town Central, City Bowl
Once you've booked your accommodation in Cape Town Central, explore our pages for info on attractions and what to do in Cape Town Central.
Fondly known as the ‘mother city’, Cape Town lies in the arms of Table Mountain, more often than not shrouded in cloud and one of the world’s most recognisable landmarks. The heart of Cape Town’s city, her centre, is one of the only major CBDs in South Africa, if not the world, that hasn’t experienced urban decay or major relocation of big business.
The centre of Cape Town has grown fantastically over the last few years and its mix of European and African cultures means it is a-buzz, day or night, with a heady mix of culture, nature and history and an eclectic mix of people. This is the business centre but it’s also a chance to experience South Africa’s past - the South African Museum, the Castle of Good Hope, Company Gardens, Government Avenue and other museums and galleries lining the centre of town.
During peak season, market stalls line some of the avenues near Greenmarket Square and art exhibitions, some of them free of charge like the Michaelis Collection, mean you can spend hours here.
The city centre is compact and small enough to explore in a couple of days. Historical walks around town, like the Cape Spirit City Walk and the Footsteps to Freedom walk, will help you gain insight into the rich history that contributed to the mix of cultures unique to Cape Town, and nightlife in the city centre is awash with theatre and restaurants offering anything from African to European, fusion to traditional, Eastern to Western, and clubs and music venues.
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Cape Town Central Reviews
"This is a must visit if you're in Cape Town. Long Street is something of an experience, the quirky shops by day and the vibey night life when the sun goes ..." - Tania, JHB
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Cape Town Central Visitorial
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We’ve asked those in the know to share their favourites things about Cape Town Central. Find out where locals go for the best cup of coffee, lunch suggestions and much more. We’re letting you in on all of their secrets ... I Love Cape Town Central because ...
Featured Attractions in (or near) Cape Town Central
A unique combination of history, fine wine, traditional food, military ceremonies and craftsmanship awaits you at this pentagonal fortification. Built between 1666 and 1679, the Castle is the oldest surviving building in South Africa. The Castle, was, however, not the first fort to be built at the Cape. A ... more information
City Hall and Grand Parade lie side by side, both the subject of ‘imminent transformations’, which date all the way back to 2002 and have as yet to come to fruition. For years this beautiful, old building - the stairs of which were used by Nelson Mandela to address the nation when he was released from prison - has stood in the ... more information
Serving as a place of remembrance for the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945 when over six million Jews were murdered, the Cape Town Holocaust Centre lies on ‘Museum Mile’ in the centre of the city. Fundamental to the exhibits is the horror of racist ideology and the triumph of the ... more information
Company Gardens is a large public park and botanical garden set in the heart of Cape Town, home to a rose garden, Japanese garden, fish pond and aviary. Roaming Company Gardens, past the back of Parliament and Tuynhuys, the President’s official residence when in the mother city, is part of every visitor’s ... more information
Tuynhuys, the office of the state President and closed to the public, witnessed one of the most important turning points in South African history when FW de Klerk announced from its steps, on 18 March 1992, that South Africa had ‘closed the book on apartheid’. This beautiful building, built originally in 1700 as ... more information
When the apartheid government swooped on District Six, Cape Town in 1965, forcibly removing its occupants and declaring the area a "whites-only" zone, the rich fabric of an impoverished but vibrant community was torn to shreds. Over 60 000 people were wrenched from their homes, livelihoods ... more information
You cannot visit Cape Town and not visit one of its oldest markets, set on a cobbled square between Short and long Market Streets. This is where Capetonians have been buying their clothing, jewellery, sandals, crafts and nick-nacks for years, and, whilst the face of the market may have changed a ... more information
The city of Cape Town, despite not being the capital of South Africa, is home to South Africa’s Parliament - Cape Town is the legislative capital, whilst the seat of government is in Pretoria, the administrative capital - which is one of the biggest draw cards to the city under the mountain. Lying in the ... more information
Long Street could be described as the funkiest and loudest street in Cape Town, bustling with markets and boerewors roll stands during the day and hosting parties of all kinds once the sun sets. Once the vintage clothing shops and designers alleys are closed, attention is turned ... more information
For nearly 400 years, Robben Island, 12 kilometres from Cape Town, was a place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment. It was here at Robben Island that rulers sent those regarded as political troublemakers, social outcasts and the unwanted of society. During the apartheid years Robben Island ... more information
Few people know of this colony's existence. When the Dutch originally arrived in the Cape, penguins dominated the island. But by 1800 they were all gone - killed to add variety to the rabbits introduced in 1685 as a source of meat for passing ships. As with both Stony Island and Boulders ... more information
The South African Jewish Museum stands on what is considered Cape Town’s ‘museum mile’ in the centre of town - neighbour to the Old Synagogue, the first to be built on South African soil - the Great Synagogue, and the Albow Centre where the Cape Town Holocaust Centre is housed. The museum is a major ... more information
The oldest museum in sub-Saharan Africa, the South African Museum (SAM) has been adding to their collections for nearly 200 years and was established in 1825. Collections here range from fossils to insects and fish found as recently as a week ago; there are Stone Age tools, over 120 000 years old, side by ... more information
Lying in the Company Gardens, opposite the South African Museum on Government Avenue, the South African National Gallery houses some of the most beautiful collections of South African, African, British, French, Dutch and Flemish art in South Africa. The South African National Gallery’s permanent ... more information
St George’s Anglican Cathedral, a gorgeous example of Victorian era design with magnificent stained glass windows and a crypt in which there is a restaurant - reminiscent of St Martin’s in the Field in London - lies on Wale Street in Cape Town, and is known as ‘the people’s cathedral’ because of its ... more information
Once a congested city street, St George’s Mall is now a pedestrian area in the middle of Cape Town’s city, bustling with activity that ranges from live entertainment - provided by buskers, dancers, drummers, street artists and the like - to the sidewalk coffee shops and restaurants at which many locals and visitors ... more information
One of Cape Town's biggest tourist attractions, the Waterfront evokes images of the early activities of the harbour. Much of its charm lies in the fact that this busy commercial harbour is set in the midst of a huge entertainment venue with pubs, restaurants, specialty shops, craft markets, theatres and movies ... more information
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