Maboneng Precinct#4 in Best Things To Do in Johannesburg
- 4.5Food Scene
Lovers of good food, contemporary art and trendy shops will enjoy exploring the city's Maboneng Precinct. Known for its eclectic vibe (think New York City's Chelsea neighborhood or the Hackney area of London), the once unsafe Maboneng Precinct now offers an array of quirky galleries, eateries, clubs and stores, many of which are housed in former factories and warehouses. The majority are located inside of Arts on Main, a multi-purpose building that acts as the neighborhood's central creative hub.
Although many of the shops are open during the week, Maboneng is best experienced on the weekend, most notably Sunday. That's when the neighborhood's popular Market on Main is held, which locals and tourists alike flock to for its array of international fare, live music and fun atmosphere. Another popular time to visit is on the first Thursday of every month — excluding January and April — when the area offers a night market, complete with live music and lots of food and crafts.
Maboneng Precinct is located less than a mile west of downtown Jo'burg. Shops are typically open from 10 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m., and many restaurants are open by 11 a.m. When getting to Maboneng (which is easiest and safest to reach by car), stay alert: Though the neighborhood is no longer dangerous, some visitors found the surrounding areas to feel a bit precarious. It is free to visit Maboneng Precinct. Public restrooms and street parking are also available.
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#1 Apartheid Museum
For a thorough understanding of South Africa's appalling apartheid era, a visit to Johannesburg's Apartheid Museum is a must. The museum features a series of graphic yet informative exhibits, including an array of hanging nooses that represent the execution of 131 government opponents and a series of televisions that show footage of anti-apartheid residents being attacked and killed. The museum also features several interactive exhibits, such as a room where visitors are invited to move a stone from the right to a pile on the left to show their commitment to fighting discrimination and racism. There's also two museum entrances – one for whites and one for nonwhites – to denote the physical separations once apparent during apartheid.
Although several recent travelers warned that you will feel emotional while making your way through this attraction, many agreed that the Apartheid Museum's heartbreaking atmosphere is necessary to help you truly understand what occurred during this period. And remember to take your time here. With so much information to digest, at least a few hours (if not a full day) is recommended.
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