A guide to Cape Town CBD

Private Property South Africa
Kit Heathcock

A growing number of young professionals are choosing to live in the CBD at the heart of this happening city, walking to work and enjoying the cosmopolitan urban lifestyle.

“You really feel connected to what's going on when you live here,” says Chris Reid, who moved here from Durban, “whether you're going gallery hopping on First Thursdays or just walking down Bree Street and checking out the new stores and restaurants.”

Urban regeneration over the last decade has resulted in a host of initiatives such as First Thursdays, when galleries and cafes stay open until late, Open Streets and City Walk Saturdays that bring the streets alive and create a safe environment full of creativity that attracts a young and innovative crowd. Julien Xemard left Paris for Cape Town six years ago and loves it here. “Cape Town surely is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The diversity of open-minded people creates such a fantastic energy. The CBD vibe could be defined by First Thursdays; the variety of people in the street still blows my mind.”

While Bree Street is the go-to place for the latest hip eatery or bar, and Long Street is the epicentre of trendy nightlife, the East City is establishing its own vibe at the less developed end of town. “Harrington Street particularly is about to take off in a big way,” says Chris, “it's less sexy and slightly more gritty than the CBD proper, but with loads of young creatives working there and some great restaurants and bars it'll be coming into its own very soon.”

Markets such as the City Bowl Market in Hope Street on Thursdays, the Oranjezicht City Farm Market in Granger Bay and the Good Company Farmers’ Market in the Company’s Garden on Saturdays bring fresh organic produce and street eats to the city, and to reconnect with nature the mountain and the beaches are never further than a short bus or taxi ride away.

What I love most about the CBD is you can have a semi-car-free lifestyle. I walk most places and then Uber or taxi everywhere else. It's probably the one place in South Africa you can really live like that.

Chris Reid, resident

Things to do:

  • First Thursdays on the first Thursday evening each month
  • Moonlight Mass cycle ride at full moon
  • Stroll down Bree Street
  • Visit the South African National Gallery
  • Relax in the Company’s Garden

Best in food and drink:

  • Jason Bakery
  • Black Sheep Restaurant
  • Maria’s
  • Carne
  • Aubergine
  • Outrage of Modesty
  • Hank’s Olde Irish

Best of nature:

  • The Company’s Garden for birds, squirrels and trees
  • Green Point Urban Park for running and picnics
  • Lion’s Head for great views and full moon hikes
  • Table Mountain for hiking and fynbos
  • Camps Bay and Clifton beaches for sundowners
  • Granger Bay and Three Anchor Bay for stand-up paddle boarding or kayaking after work

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This article originally appeared in Neighbourhood, Sunday Times.

Experience Cape Town's City Bowl in this spectacular video:

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Cape Town City Bowl
Hip and Happening Hotspot
Living in the CBD of Cape Town is unlike any other city centre. Table Mountain, Lions Head and Signal Hill cradle the City Centre, with mountain hikes and forests in easy access and it is within minutes’ drive to some of the world’s best beaches. Depending on which area in the city you live, the housing arrangements can vary from large leafy houses in Oranjezicht, to small studio apartments in the City Centre. Living in the CBD of Cape Town gives the best of both worlds as you're in close proximity to all amenities, as well as have nature on your doorstep.
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