Home to the main campus of the University of the Witwatersrand, Braamfontein is Johannesburg’s most youthful neighbourhood, populated by a cosmopolitan mix of students, academics and young professionals. The nightlife in this area is always buzzing and there are a great selection of hipster coffee shops, fashion boutiques and art galleries to explore as well as top museums and theatres. Conveniently linked to the Park Station Gautrain, easily walkable and with a vibrant cafe culture and lots of cool street art to admire, Braamfontein is an ideal place to explore on foot.
Visit a museum
Braamfontein has a number of great museums that are not to be missed. The jewel in the crown is Constitution Hill, a huge complex that sits on Braamfontein’s north-easterly edge. Once a colonial fort and then a prison, it is now the location for South Africa’s Constitutional Court, the highest court in the land. Its old prison blocks have been made into an outstanding museum detailing the terrible conditions suffered by those imprisoned here by the apartheid state. Another must-visit is the Origins Centre on the Wits University campus, a fascinating museum that explores and celebrates the history of our earliest ancestors.
Explore the arts scene
Buzzing Braamfontein is a magnet for artists and there are numerous interesting art galleries and exhibition spaces such as Kalashnikovv and Stevenson Gallery where you can see the latest works by some of South Africa’s most exciting young artists. The Wits Art Museum hosts a regularly changing series of exhibitions that focus on historic and contemporary South African art, while Braamfontein’s streets are also a canvas for impressive murals.
Shop for fashion
Braamfontein has an enticing range of small boutiques selling cult local fashion labels such as Simon and Mary hats, limited edition sneakers and quirky T-shirts. You can also find unique accessories and vintage fashion at the weekly Neighbourgoods Market, which attracts thousands of visitors every Saturday for gourmet food, cocktails, local fashion and a party atmosphere.
Stop for coffee
For a coffee on the go find a spot at the bar at the pocket-sized coffee roastery Father Coffee (and be sure to buy a bag of beans to take home with you too), or grab a streetside table at the Doubleshot roastery. If you are looking for lunch with your brew try Daleah’s cafe for light meals, Post for sandwiches or visit Love Food Kitchen & Cafe where there is a lunchtime harvest table every weekday.
Party until dawn
On weekends Braamfontein becomes the city’s party neighbourhood with Johannesburg’s young and carefree descending on its busy bars to dance the night away. Start your evening with sundowners on the rooftop Beach bar or at the slick cocktail hangout Anti-Est before moving onto The Orbit to catch a jazz concert. If you want to party Kitchener’s is the place, a historic pub that is now a DJ bar – here the queues to enter start early and the party finishes late.