Things to do in Johannesburg

About Johannesburg

Must-see attractions in Johannesburg include the Apartheid Museum for a somber yet educational experience, the lively Maboneng Precinct for a taste of local culture and art, and the fascinating Cradle of Humankind archaeological site. Soweto holds historical significance, while Constitution Hill bears testament to the nation's struggle for democracy.
Top activities in Johannesburg with kids encompass exploring the Johannesburg Zoo for a wildlife adventure, enjoying thrills at Gold Reef City Theme Park, and stimulating young minds at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre. These sites offer a combination of fun, education, and family bonding opportunities.
The best outdoor activities in Johannesburg include hiking at the Melville Koppies nature reserve, picnicking in the Johannesburg Botanical Garden, and taking in the views from Northcliff Hill. These are perfect for nature lovers and adventurers looking to experience Johannesburg’s natural beauty.
For indoor fun, visit the sprawling Sandton City Mall for shopping and dining, engage with interactive exhibits at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, and indulge in the diverse art collections at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Each provides an engaging experience away from the outdoor elements.
The best Johannesburg tours include the city sightseeing hop-on-hop-off bus tour, the historical Soweto bicycle tours, and guided excursions to the Cradle of Humankind. These narrated tours offer insightful perspectives on Johannesburg’s heritage and attractions.
Among the most visited museums are the Apartheid Museum, the Hector Pieterson Museum, and the Wits Art Museum, each offering a deep dive into facets of South African history, memory, and contemporary art.
On rainy days, indoor tours at the Apartheid Museum, the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, or a trip to the Market Theatre for a live performance offer enriching experiences that can be enjoyed without concern for the weather.
Short tours in Johannesburg could include a visit to the moving Nelson Mandela Square, a quick tour of the historic Neighbourgoods Market, or a brief jaunt to see the public art installations around the city center. These excursions are excellent for those tight on time but eager for a dose of local flavor.

Best Things to Do In Johannesburg

Embark on an enriching journey through Johannesburg, a city bustling with culture, history, and modern attractions.

Johannesburg: Neighbourgoods Market

What is it?
A vibrant weekend market featuring local artisans, designers, and culinary delights.
Why you should go?
Situated in the trendy neighborhood of Braamfontein, the Neighbourgoods Market provides a lively atmosphere that captures the essence of Johannesburg's urban culture. Visitors can savor gourmet foods, browse through bespoke crafts, and relax to the sounds of live music. The market embodies the community's creative spirit and is ideal for tourists aiming to experience the local lifestyle and mingle with residents, making it one of the top fun things to do in Johannesburg on a weekend.

Johannesburg: Montecasino

What is it?
A Tuscan-inspired entertainment complex known for its casino, theaters, and bird gardens.
Why you should go?
Montecasino offers an Italian village feel in the heart of Johannesburg. Its all-encompassing entertainment options provide visitors with a plethora of Johannesburg activities ranging from movies and live shows to an impressive array of restaurants and bars. The meticulously landscaped bird gardens add a natural dimension to the experience. This destination promises a full day of leisure and is recommended for anyone seeking vibrant nightlife or day-time family-friendly fun.

Johannesburg: Maboneng Precinct

What is it?
An urban neighborhood known for its street art, indie boutiques, and hip cafes.
Why you should go?
As a hub of fashion, art, and dining, Maboneng Precinct is a prime example of urban regeneration and innovation. Walking through Maboneng's streets offers a sensory feast, from striking murals and galleries to food markets and cutting-edge eateries. The area is a hotbed for emerging designers and artists, and its vibrancy and raw energy are quintessential things to see in Johannesburg, especially for those who appreciate the contemporary pulse of city life.

Johannesburg: Pilanesberg National Park and Lion Park

What is it?
Wildlife reserves offering safari experiences and encounters with Africa’s big game.
Why you should go?
Just a short trip from Johannesburg, these parks serve as gateways to the animal kingdom. Pilanesberg National Park is a malaria-free zone teeming with diverse African wildlife, while Lion Park provides close-up interactions with lion cubs. Both parks offer educational and exhilarating safaris, one of the best Johannesburg excursions to witness the Big Five in their natural habitat and to learn about conservation efforts in South Africa.

Johannesburg: The Cradle of Humankind

What is it?
A UNESCO World Heritage site known for its fossil-rich caves and anthropological significance.
Why you should go?
Just outside of Johannesburg, The Cradle of Humankind presents the fascinating story of human evolution. The site offers a unique journey into our ancestral past, with state-of-the-art facilities and original cave tours. It's not only one of the most educationally enriching places to visit in Johannesburg but a profound pilgrimage to the very origins of humanity. This attraction is a must-see for history buffs and curious minds alike, looking to unlock the secrets of our species.

Johannesburg: Apartheid Museum

What is it?
An immersive museum dedicated to the history of apartheid in South Africa.
Why you should go?
The Apartheid Museum stands as a powerful reminder of South Africa's past, offering insights into the segregation era and the journey to democracy. With poignant exhibits and engaging stories, it captivates visitors with its in-depth portrayal of the socio-political climate. No visit to Johannesburg is complete without stepping into this emotive space, which not only educates but also inspires reflections on human rights, equality, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Johannesburg: Gold Reef City

What is it?
A premier entertainment destination that combines thrills with historical insight.
Why you should go?
Gold Reef City offers Johannesburg activities that span from exhilarating theme park rides to underground mine tours. This unique attraction allows visitors to delve into the city's gold mining heritage while enjoying a day filled with entertainment. Whether it's learning the golden history or screaming with joy on a rollercoaster, Gold Reef City provides a fun-filled excursion that marries education with pleasure, making it a hit for all ages.

Johannesburg: Constitution Hill

What is it?
Historic former prison complex and home to South Africa's Constitutional Court.
Why you should go?
Constitution Hill is a testament to South Africa's tumultuous past and its ongoing commitment to democracy. Walking through the precinct, one can sense the echoes of former inmates, including Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. This site educates on the country's legal transformations and serves as a beacon of hope, making it one of the most significant things to see in Johannesburg for those interested in history, justice, and architecture.

Johannesburg: Soweto & the Mandela House

What is it?
The historic urban settlement of Soweto with the iconic Mandela Family museum.
Why you should go?
Embarking on Johannesburg tours to Soweto gives a real insight into the cultural and political significance of this township, especially at Winnie and Nelson Mandela's former house now turned museum. The area pulsates with energy and tradition, offering a stark contrast to the cosmopolitan vibe of Johannesburg's city center. The experience at Mandela House is not only educational but deeply moving, as it brings one closer to the life of South Africa's most revered statesman.

Johannesburg: Johannesburg Botanical Gardens & Emmarentia Dam

What is it?
A massive green space abundant with plant-life and a beautiful water reservoir.
Why you should go?
For a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle, the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and adjacent Emmarentia Dam offer a tranquil escape. These gardens are a haven for nature lovers, with their intricate layouts, diverse flora, and the calming presence of the dam's waters. Ideal for picnics, leisurely strolls, or even water sports on the dam, this locale ranks highly among fun things to do in Johannesburg for those seeking solace in nature's embrace.

TOP-5 Johannesburg Tours for First Time Visitors

  • Explore the vibrant heart of South Africa with a comprehensive commentary on the best things to do in Johannesburg, including visits to iconic sites and hidden gems.
  • Discover the history and transformation of the city, highlighting what to see in Johannesburg, such as Constitution Hill and the Origins Centre.
  • Delve into places to visit in Johannesburg with tales of the Gold Rush and the burgeoning art scene, enhancing your understanding of this dynamic city.
  • Unlock fun things to do in Johannesburg with an audio tour through buzzing markets, panoramic viewpoints, and lush botanical gardens.
  • For those seeking adventure, Johannesburg excursions in audio form guide you through zoos, museums, and Mandela House, capturing the spirit of the city.

Fun things to do in Johannesburg with kids

Johannesburg beckons families with a host of engaging activities, ensuring the little ones are entertained while soaking up the vibrant culture of the city. From educational experiences that fascinate curious minds to outdoor adventures perfect for young explorers, Johannesburg has it all. The Johannesburg Zoo offers a spread of wildlife in lush, landscaped environments, giving kids the chance to see their favorite animals up close while learning about conservation. For an exhilarating day out, Gold Reef City's thrilling theme park rides and historic gold mining attractions are unmatched, blending fun with a touch of history. The Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, a world-class science museum, invites hands-on interaction with science and technology displays, making for an inspirational learning environment. Each attraction is a treasure trove of discovery, promising a blend of education, excitement, and family bonding time in Johannesburg.

Things to do in Johannesburg with family

Families venturing to Johannesburg will find an array of attractions that cater to both the young and the young-at-heart. Begin your adventure at the Johannesburg Zoo, a sanctuary housing a diverse mix of global wildlife that will captivate both children and adults. Immerse in educational fun at the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, where interactive exhibits invite hands-on exploration and awaken a love for science and innovation. The ever-popular Gold Reef City also tops the list of family-friendly Johannesburg activities with its blend of thrilling amusement park rides and historical exhibits that whisk you back to the gold rush era. These top-notch destinations are more than mere places to visit in Johannesburg; they are gateways to creating lasting memories and fostering family togetherness in the heart of South Africa.

Free things to do in Johannesburg

Discovering Johannesburg doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag, as the city is replete with free attractions that promise enriching experiences for all. Visitors can immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of South African history with a walk through the dynamic neighborhood of Maboneng, known for its striking street art and bustling market atmosphere. Nature enthusiasts can delight in the beauty of Johannesburg Botanical Garden, a verdant oasis that offers a serene escape from urban life with its dedicated rose garden, and scenic picnic spots by Emmarentia Dam. Art aficionados should not miss the First Thursdays Johannesburg, where galleries and cultural attractions open their doors late into the evening, offering free admission to exhibitions, live music, and sometimes even complimentary refreshments. These attractions showcase just a taste of the diverse things to do in Johannesburg that require no admission fee while offering deep insights into the city's heartbeat.

Cheap things to do in Johannesburg

Thrifty travelers can rejoice at the abundance of affordable experiences Johannesburg has to offer. Delve into the city's past with a visit to the highly informative Museum of African Design (MOAD), which showcases innovative African art and design with a very modest entrance fee. Bargain hunters and culture enthusiasts will revel in the vibrant Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein, where one can browse local crafts and savor street food without breaking the bank. For panoramic city views, Northcliff Hill, the second highest point in Johannesburg, provides the perfect vantage point and is entirely free to access. Enjoy a leisurely hike up to the lookout and take in the vast urban landscape below. These activities not only count among the best things to do in Johannesburg on a budget, but they also offer authentic experiences that reflect the true spirit of this dynamic metropolis.

Things to do in Johannesburg for couples

Couples in Johannesburg can find a romantic retreat amid the city's hustle with experiences that cater to love and adventure. Start with an enchanting escape to the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens, where the entwined paths lead to waterfalls and secluded gardens, ideal for picnics or quiet reflection. For a taste of excitement and culture, take a stroll through the Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg's urban renaissance, offering art galleries, eclectic dining spots, and the Bioscope Independent Cinema for a unique movie-going experience. As the sun sets, head to The Westcliff's Flames restaurant for fine dining with breathtaking views of the Zoological Gardens and the city skyline – a perfect dinner spot to indulge in gastronomy and each other's company. Each of these settings provides intimate things to do in Johannesburg, ensuring an array of special moments to be shared between partners.

Things to do in Johannesburg at night

When the sun dips below the horizon, Johannesburg transforms into a nocturnal playground with a vibrant array of night-time attractions. One can start the evening with a visit to the bustling 44 Stanley, a mixed-use development teeming with boutique shops, art studios, and some of the city's finest dining establishments, perfect for a leisurely dinner or a unique shopping experience under the stars. The exhilarating atmosphere of Gold Reef City doesn't fade at dusk; in fact, the theme park shines with night-time entertainment options, including a casino, live shows, and a variety of restaurants and bars. For a more laid-back experience, the open-air Rooftop Markets provide a chance to shop for curios, crafts, and local designs while enjoying the city's skyline. Each of these spots offers a unique flavor of Johannesburg activities after dark, ensuring memorable experiences for night owls and party-goers alike.