9 ways to spend a day in Johannesburg

There is a common misconception that there isn’t much to do in Johannesburg; many come here for business or to do their shopping. As a result most people think there’s nothing much to Johannesburg apart from seeing skyscrappers and shopping malls. Since I’m currently living here, I figured I’d put together a list of things to do when you have a day or two to spend in Johannesburg.

1. Take the red bus tour

Bus tours are very popular across the world. They’re an easy way for tourists to see the popular sights in a city, and they’re also great for new expats looking to get their bearings in a city. In Johannesburg, you can click here to make a booking for the bus or to see the full list of stops the bus makes. You will pass sights such as the Apartheid Museum, the Origins Centre and SAB World of beer. Spend the day listening to commentary of each of the sights, and you can hop off whenever you like, if there is something you would like to see more of. A must-do for anyone new to Johannesburg.

2. Neighbourgoods Market

Located in Braamfontein, Neighbourgoods is a food market that runs every Saturday. A variety of food stands can be found here, from Italian to Indian food, and everything in the middle! Grab some piping hot paella, or indulge in some red velvet cake. There’s something for every pallet. They also have some crafts for sale, so be sure to have some extra cash with you. Let the live band set the vibe while you enjoy your food with some of the amazing craft beers and cocktails on sale. It’s definitely the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. Just remember you need cash for the food stalls.

3. Fourways Farmer’s market

Couldn’t make Neighbourgoods on Saturday? Then head over to Farmers Market on Sunday. Located in Fourways, you can combine this with a visit to Monte Casino, as they they are opposite each other! Farmers market has a combination of vendors selling crafts, to food and wine stalls. So you can do some shopping, then try out some of the tasty foods on sale. There’s a variety of seating options, just be sure not to get there too late as it gets full! Again, don’t forget to take cash for the food stalls!

4. Maboneng

The heart of Joburg; this is place to be if you “want it all” without having to travel in between. Be sure to visit Arts on Main, another great food and crafts market. There’s roof-top salsa dancing as well if you want to give that a go. The streets are lined with crafts, artists, and the odd musician! After you’ve had your fair share, head over to the Living Room, a roof top bar just around the corner from Arts on Main. They have an amazing view of Maboneng as well. R50 will get you in, so don’t skip this one! You can just walk around Maboneng, you’ll stumble across something that will tickle your fancy.

5. Soweto

Whether you just want to try out a chisa nyama (barbeque), or you want to learn more about the history of the townships, there’s something for you to do. I did a full post on Soweto because a few lines wouldn’t do it justice. Check out my article “A day in Soweto” for a full itinerary.

6. Monte Casino


Ever wanted to Italy? Then Monte Casino, with it’s Tuscany feel is where you want to be. The floors are just like the cobble streets you’d find in Tuscany, and if you look up as you walk, you’ll think you’re looking at the sky. Try your luck at the casino, do a bit of shopping, or catch a show while you’re there. There are a few great coffee shops there as well. For the nature lovers and photographers, there is a bird garden you can visit as well, making it the perfect destination to spend your day in Johannesburg.

7. Gold reef City


This amusement park is fantastic if you have younger children with you, as it will keep them out of your hair for a while. It’s also great for adults, who just want to have some fun on the rides. Gold Reef City is also directly opposite the Apartheid museum, so if you’d like to learn more about the history of apartheid, then be sure to head this way. The red bus tour also starts here, fyi.

8. Nelson Mandela Square


If the name doesn’t give it away already, the obvious attraction here is the statue of Nelson Mandela. But don’t despair, there’s more to do around this area. There is a wide variety of restaurants around here, so catch up with some friends over lunch. If shopping is your thing, you’ll feel right at home. With a lot of variety between international brands and local brands, this shopping mall is also conveniently connected to Sandton City. So if your bank account can take the hit, then shop away.

8. Climb the westcliff steps


Who says you have to skip leg day when you’re traveling? Combine some fitness with sight-seeing by taking the climb up these 210 stairs in Westcliff. It’s a great way to view the leafy suburbs of Westcliff as well, and the summit of the climb gives what is arguably one of the best views of Johannesburg.

9. Visit 27 boxes in Melville

Ever wondered what happens to those old shipping containers? Well some of them are used to build shopping malls! Located in the suburb of Melville, 27 boxes is a shopping mall made out of old shipping containers. If not for the unique shopping experiences, head over there to check out the cool coffee shops and restaurants in hip area of Melville. It’s a really cool hang-out spot.

How many of these have you done? Comment below. Remember to follow my page on Instagram @thingu.official,like my Facebook page Thingu and subscribe to my youtube channel Thingu Official for more updates! 

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