Newtown

The regeneration of downtown Johannesburg has resulted in Newtown's development as a tourist attraction

The regeneration of downtown Johannesburg has resulted in Newtown's development as a tourist attraction (Image: Wildebeast1)

Newtown is situated in Johannesburg’s inner city and forms part of the city’s cultural and creative hub. The district houses theatres, art galleries, museums, restaurants, book stores, craft markets, clubs and cafés. For any local or tourist that appreciates the arts, Newtown is one of the places to visit in Johannesburg.

In the early 20th century, the area was originally used primarily for brick making since the land was rich in clay. Due to its easy access to Johannesburg’s railway lines, Newtown became a commercial and trading hub as banks, brick companies, breweries and fisheries were established in the area. 

The district has a politically turbulent past and, due to its multiracial diversity, it was the scene of some of the first forced removals in Gauteng implemented by the apartheid government.  Today, Newtown remains resolutely colour-blind with artists of all races gathering here.

Strategic regeneration projects in downtown Johannesburg have facilitated the development of Newtown as a tourist attraction, residential zone and cultural area.  The district’s popularity is further boosted by its accessibility – the Nelson Mandela Bridge links Newtown to Braamfontein, whilst the M2 highway and bordering railways lines provide convenient transport routes.

Some of the more significant landmarks in Newtown include the Market Theatre, renowned for its role in the fight against apartheid as the “Theatre of the Struggle”. Museum Africa, which promises a “fascinating rediscovery of the Africa’s glorious ancient past”, can also be found in the artistic district.

Newtown also houses the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Southern Africa’s largest science centre, which seeks to promote interest in science and technology. Still within the district lies the SAB World of Beer which is one of the popular Johannesburg attractions visited by tourists and is focused on the history of brewing using tools such as floating holograms and 3D movies. 

A visit to Newtown wouldn’t be complete without taking in some of the restaurants and nightlife spots which lend themselves to the eclectic, multicultural, artistic reputation of the area.

See below for more details.

Museum Africa is a great place to learn about Johannesburg's history through a number of permanent displays

Museum Africa is a great place to learn about Johannesburg's history through a number of permanent displays (Image: Gauteng Tourism Authority)

The Market Theatre

Tel: +27(0)11 832-1641
Website: www.markettheatre.co.za
Address: 56 Margaret Mcingana Street

Museum Africa

Tel: +27(0)11 833-5624
Website: www.museumafrica.org
Address: 121 Bree Street
Open: Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 5pm, closed on Monday

Sci-Bono Discovery Centre

Tel: +27(0)11 639-8400
Website: www.sci-bono.co.za
Address: Corner Miriam Makeba and President streets, Newtown
Open daily from 9am to 5pm
Closes at 4.30pm on weekends/holidays

SAB World of Beer

Tel: +27(0)11 836 4900
Website: www.worldofbeer.co.za
Address: 15 President Street, Corner Ntemi Piliso, Newtown 
Open Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm

Cappello

Tel: +27(0)71 180 8701
Website: www.cappello.co.za
Address: 1 Central Place, Jeppe Street 
Open: Monday to Thursday from 8am to midnight, Fridays from 8am to 2am, Saturdays from 9.30am to 2am, Sundays from 11.30am to midnight. 

Kaldi's Coffee

Tel: +27(0)11 492 1134
Address: 1 Central Place, Jeppe Street.
Open: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7.30am to 7pm and Tuesday from 7.30am to 6pm, closed on Sunday.

Niki's Oasis

Tel: +27(0)11 838 9733
Address: 138 Bree Street
Open: Monday from 12pm to midnight, Tuesday from 12pm to 10pm, Wednesday to Saturday from 12pm to midnight, closed on Sunday.

Bassline (live music venue)

Tel: +27(0)11 838 9145/6
Website: www.bassline.co.za
Address: 10 Henry Nxumalo Street

Sophiatown Bar Lounge

Tel: +27(0)11 836 5999
Website: www.sophiatownbarlounge.co.za
Address: 1 Central Place, Jeppe Street
Open: Monday to Wednesday from 10.30am to 9pm, Thursday to Saturday from 10.30am to 2am and Sunday from 11.30am to 8pm.