Packed with colour and smiles, Newtown is a wonderful celebration of the urban regeneration of modern South Africa. Crumbling industrial buildings have been appropriated for craft markets, funky cafes, art galleries, and theatres. In the last few years, this inner city Johannesburg area has become a cultural and creative hub. With its multicultural atmosphere and safe space for expression, it’s also developing into one of Johannesburg’s best tourist attractions.
Newtown’s atmosphere is vastly different to the rest of Johannesburg, where the attractions are centred around shopping malls and gated communities. Instead, this is where murals line the streets, artists hangout on corners, and there’s a new pop-up cafe or restaurant opened every week. The highlight is to explore at leisure, as there are many things to discover on every street. Notable buildings include Museum Africa and the Market Theatre, which has a famous role in the battle against apartheid and has been fully refurbished. South African Breweries has a brewery here where it’s possible to try a dozen different beers.
Newtown is in the heart of Johannesburg and is linked to neighbouring Braamfontein by the Nelson Mandela Bridge. Johannesburg Park Station is South Africa’s major railway crossroads and is less than a kilometre away. During daylight hours, the surrounding area can be seen on foot. After dark, it’s recommended to take a taxi.
This small central suburb provides an eclectic and vibrant local experience. People of many ethnicities come together, and there’s a real sense of a community that’s working towards a shared future.