Good news — you’re coming to a city that knows how to party! Cape Town offers night owls and party animals a lot to choose from in the way of events, bars, clubs, and restaurants. With neighborhoods suited to specific crowds, you can easily hop around the city or stick to the stomping ground that you feel most represents your taste.
Before you leave home!
A good night out in Cape Town is a well-planned one! The city is quite spread-out so you can expect to take the odd taxi if you’re hopping from one hotspot to the next. We recommend you use a registered taxi service (i.e. the one’s you book over the phone). Also, don’t forget some cash! While most restaurants accept credit cards, you’re bound to stumble across pubs or clubs with a cash-only policy. Most important, look after yourself! Contrary to the country’s historically poor image abroad, South Africa is a relatively safe place to visit. But you should still exercise caution, especially at night. It’s simple really: stick with your friends and keep an eye on each other and your belongings!
One of the city’s most centrally-located social hubs, Long Street is a perfect place to start your night or even stay on. Just a stone’s throw from St. George’s Cathedral, it’s lined with book stores and coffee shops during the day. By night, you’ll find some of Cape Town’s best bars, restaurants and dance spots. Bohemian in style, Long Street lures both a local and foreign crowd so it’s a great spot to get an authentic feel for the city. For a detailed list of venues, check out Cape Town’s official tourism website and see for yourself just what Long Street has to offer!
On the contrary, the Victoria & Albert Waterfront is a bit of a tourist trap. The city’s harbor-side hotspot is not only known for its excellent views of Table Mountain, it’s here you’ll take the ferry to Robben Island. And since most tourists visit the late former president Nelson Mandela’s prison cell, and love great views of our precious mountain, the V&A Waterfront is bursting with tourists. If you’re into that, or don’t mind running into the odd selfie stick, then the area does offer several of the city’s best restaurants and bars. Do your research on restaurants or bars prior to visiting the area to avoid the traps!
Lower Main Road
The bohemian Observatory crowd has everything, especially for visitors wanting a relaxed, classy night out. The area lures the city’s hip young professional crowd with its superb restaurants, relaxed pub culture, and a variety of low-key clubs. Start your outing along Lower Main Road for top sushi or Italian and see where the night takes you. If you’re visiting Obs during the day, then its great barista-made coffee and sweets are a must! For more information on bars and clubs in Obs and beyond, check out Cape Town magazine’s sizeable list of venues!
Those looking for something a little more exclusive are bound to appreciate the Camps Bay area, which is just a hop, skip and a jump from our English School in Sea Point. An affluent pocket of the city, Camps Bay is big on world-class wine and European cuisine, including and especially great sea food. The area’s bar and club scene is particularly lively in the summer months (December through February). However, when the winter hits so too do the locals move out to other points of the city for their party needs.
Where there’s an LGBT crowd, you know there’s fun! Cape Town’s de-facto gay village is De Waterkant. A picturesque example of the best Cape Town has to offer in the way of architecture, food, coffee, and all-round good living, De Waterkant also hosts Cape Town Pride in either February or March each year. The village is part of the Green Point neighborhood, where on Sundays (daytime) we highly recommend you check out the fabulous Green Point markets.
Cape Town festivals and special events
Cape Town’s natural beauty and generally good weather (especially in summer) make it a perfect host for some of the region’s best food, wine, music, dance and cultural festivals. One of the summer’s first and best is the Kirstenbosch Sundowner Concerts in November. Next up we have events like OBZ in early December, Suidooesterfees in January, Cape Town Pride, and the truly Capetoninan Minstrel Carnival, also in January. Autumn kicks off with the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in April, a must-do! For a thorough list of festivals, check out what Time Out has to say!
Originally published on Ailola by Jayson McNamara on July 21, 2015.