Lying directly between Johannesburg’s historic city centre and the newer Sandton business district, and with a Gautrain station right on its doorstep, the Rosebank precinct is one of the most popular places to be in Johannesburg for business and leisure. Sparkling new office buildings and luxurious high-rise apartment blocks are steadily filling the skyline, and its busy pedestrianised shopping precinct hums with a diverse crowd that comes to find the latest fashions and enjoy Rosebank’s many restaurants and cocktail bars. An easily walkable area with a wide choice of hotels, numerous art galleries and the Rosebank Art & Craft Market, this is also a very popular base for tourists staying over in Johannesburg.
Trawl the malls
Rosebank is one of Johannesburg’s top stops for shoppers, with three interlinked shopping centres containing close to 200 stores. For fashion by local designers check out the Zone@Rosebank, which boasts local brands such as Urban Zulu and The Space, a fashion emporium selling clothing and accessories by cutting-edge local labels. Rosebank Mall has the very best selection of high-street stores, as well as smaller independent brands like iwasshot in joburg :), which makes the coolest notepads, phone covers and coasters printed with photos of urban Joburg. There is also a branch of Cinema Nouveau, which specialises in arthouse and foreign films, and the slick Exclusive Books store is the perfect place to stop for a fair-trade coffee and to browse the latest paperbacks.
Visit an art gallery
The stretch of Jan Smuts Avenue between Rosebank and Parkwood is Johannesburg’s “Art Gallery Row”. Here you can find some of the country’s leading contemporary art galleries, such as the distinctive Circa and Everard Read galleries, the entrances of which are guarded by eye-catching sculptures, and the Goodman Gallery, famed for its cutting-edge exhibitions and representation of the city’s internationally renowned and top-selling contemporary artist, William Kentridge. Other smaller galleries worth investigating in the area include Res Gallery (photography), Kim Sacks (ceramics and African artefacts), Lizamore & Associates, and David Krut Projects and Bookstore, specialising in prints and in art books. On the first Thursday of every month the whole area comes alive in the evening with special exhibition openings and pop-up art events.
Shop for souvenirs at the craft market
Rosebank’s huge Art & Craft Market (open daily) is among the best places in Gauteng to buy South African crafts. It’s a wonderland of African craftsmanship with stalls selling everything from beaded sculptures, jewellery, West African masks, traditional fabrics and carved wooden figurines of the Big Five to classic souvenirs such as magnets, key rings and T-shirts. On Sundays there is also the huge Rosebank Sunday Market on the roof of the Rosebank Mall with live entertainment, food and craft stalls, clothing and vintage bric-a-brac.
Drink and dine in style
In The Firs you can find one of the city’s top steakhouses, The Grillhouse, and the classy Asian restaurant Koi, while for breakfast with the sophisticated set, nearby Tashas is always a favourite. For your morning coffee join the queue at South Africa’s first-ever branch of global coffee chain Starbucks, and if you have a sweet tooth pick up some doughnuts at Krispy Kreme or try one of the many delicious and unusual flavours offered at Paul’s Homemade Ice-Cream (both in the Zone@Rosebank). In the evening, drop by Katzy’s for whisky and jazz or visit the Champagne Bar at the 54 on Bath Hotel. For contemporary dining on a rooftop with one of the best views in the area, make a booking for celebrated Cape Town chef David Higgs’s “live-fire grillhouse” Marble next to the Circa Gallery.