Recently voted the world’s best city, Cape Town has plenty to offer every kind of visitor. From exploring the peaceful wine lands to thrilling shark cage diving in the Atlantic Ocean, there is something on offer for everyone. One of the more popular laid-back activities in the beautiful Mother City is visiting markets – whether it is for cheap clothing bargains or for fresh, organic foods. With a colourfully eclectic population, the city always offers guests a fun and lively atmosphere.
1. What? The Neighbourgoods Market
Where? The Old Biscuit Mill (373 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town)
When? 9AM-2PM (Saturdays only)
Established as an independent enterprise in 2006 by entrepreneur’s Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro, the Neighbourgoods Market showcases more than 100 specialty traders each Saturday, offering a platform from which local farmers, fine food purveyors, expert local chefs, and micro initiatives can feature their products. The Market is situated within the Old Biscuit Mill, a former sky-lit brick warehouse and courtyard in Woodstock’s industrial area. The market provides a fantastic array of fresh and inviting organic foods, as well as locally made specialty goods. It also makes for a marvelous meeting spot for a catch up with friends or a fun day outing, providing guests with an exciting, bustling ambiance. The Neighbourgoods Market also features the occasional event of specialty festivals, live music spots or other activities over the year.
2. What? City Bowl Market
Where? 14 Hope Street, Gardens, Cape Town
When? 4.30PM-8.30PM (Thursday) 9AM-2PM (Saturday)
In the metropolitan city of Cape Town, the City Bowl Market is fast becoming a popular meeting place for Cape food enthusiasts. Guests are treated to fun live music and scrumptious cuisine from all over the world. Kids can enjoy the Kids Zone while adults sample delicious craft beers and fantastic goodies. Situated in a spectacular building in Gardens with a rich history, the City Bowl Market on Hope is a great place to spend the day with friends or family. Expect delicious cupcakes, summer salads, freshly baked breads, hot curries, sweet pancakes and plenty more! The range of fine foods, drinks and people make for a combination that offers visitors an ancient manner of shopping in a contemporary context at a top-quality food market in the heart of the Mother City. Everyone involved in the operation of the City Bowl Market shares a goal to be sustainable, independent, and rooted into the local community. Also, once a month a Fashion Market is hosted on a Saturday Morning, making for a lovely day’s outing.
3. What? Greenmarket Square
Where? The Square that splits Burg Street and lies between Longmarket and Shortmarket Streets.
When? 9AM-4PM (Monday to Saturday)
The lively Greenmarket Square can be found in the centre of Cape Town’s business region. The square boasts a rich history as a former slave market, a fruit and vegetable market and, during the 1950s, a mere parking lot. Today the area serves as a place in which to browse through locally produced clothing, glassware, hand-painted fabrics, footwear, music, sunglasses, and other knick-knacks from all over Cape Town and the rest of Africa. Greenmarket Square is the ultimate flea market, where visitors can find a large variety of goods to purchase, as well as enjoy a range of entertainment in the form of buskers, mime artists, jugglers and more (especially on Saturday mornings and other busy times). The Market has proven to be a big success in the city, offering a range of coffee shops and restaurants in the area, where people can relax at a sidewalk table and enjoy the atmosphere.
4. What? V&A Market on the Wharf
Where? The old Musica Building at the Waterfront (Next door to Nobel Square, behind Two Oceans Aquarium on Dock Road)
When? 9.30AM-6PM (Wednesday, Thursday, & Sunday) 9.30AM-7.30PM (Friday & Saturday)
Upon the initial establishment of the V&A Market on the Wharf, Cape Town suddenly had its first and only marketplace in which to provide vendors with permanent selling spots, and to offer consecutive market-goers a regular and reliable place to visit. The Market is housed in a building that was formerly a Musica Warehouse, before which it was the Waterfront’s Old Power Station.
This foodie paradise offers both tourists and locals alike the opportunity to sample the world on a plate each day of the week. From authentic German pretzels, to Dixieland sandwiches, to tom yum soup, to Belgian waffles, biltong or even a hot bowl of Durban curry, the V&A Market provides something for everyone. The bazaar takes place indoors, with plenty of seating both inside and outside, allowing for some dazzling window-shopping, fantastic free sampling and passionate chit-chat throughout the area. If the sun’s out during your visit to this market, be sure to try a local craft beer from the market bar, and after you’ve spent a good amount of time exploring the Market, park at one of the picnic benches from which you can take in the splendor of the working Waterfront harbour, framed by the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain.
A Kids Zone is also offered here, where children can create mosaics, sand art and bracelets for a reasonable amount. Italian cooking classes are also provided for kids between the ages of 4 and 14 each Sunday from 3PM-4PM.
5. What? The Bay Harbour Market
Where? 31 Harbour Road, Hout Bay (Next to ‘Fish on the Rocks’)
When? 5PM-9PM (During Summer) 9AM-4PM (Saturday & Sunday)
The Bay Harbour Market is a diverse, chic wonderland of incredible art, craft, fashion, décor, and music, all enhanced by the fantastic scents of food that entice all senses. With more than 100 stalls providing everything from koeksisters and crayfish to cappuccinos and bunny chows, the Bay Harbour Market is the most eclectic weekend hotspot in Cape Town. The Market is located on the edge of the water, in the old authentic part of the Hout Bay Harbour, and is made up of tempting stalls in a renovated fish factory, including external tented alleys and courtyards. The traders provide guests with a large variety of goods, including top-quality cuisine, stunning décor, stylish clothing and marvelous art and craft items. Performances from local musical artists offer a lively atmosphere in which to browse through the Market or to simply relax by the crackling fireplace with a tasty, filling meal.
6. What? Blue Bird Garage Foods and Goods Market
Where? 39 Albertyn road, Muizenberg
When? 4PM-10PM (Fridays only)
Situated in a stunning old plane hangar that has maintained its historical charm in the heart of Muizenberg, the Blue Bird Garage Foods and Goods Market is known for its low-key unpretentious atmosphere. Its regular line-up of local bands, craft beer on tap, and a range of hearty cuisine (including poitjiekos, burgers, Lebanese and Thai dishes, and more) make for fantastic evenings out. Vegans and those with specific dietary requirements can find lots of delicious food to sample, and customers are encouraged to stock up on organic farm produce and artisan breads, as well as indulge in delightful cakes and treats before finally heading home.
With a Kids Zone, the Market has become one of the most popular places to relax and socialise after a stressful week. The people of the Market all seem to know one another, promoting a fantastic sense of camaraderie, and many residents of the suburb seem to have stalls there themselves, all offering something unique, and top-quality, usually with handmade charm. From steam-punk jewellery crafted from old clocks, vintage second-hand books, sophisticated parasols, edgy artworks, leather bags, and bohemian dresses, the Market has something for everyone. In terms of food, expect everything from cinnamon and mascarpone cupcakes, thin-based pizzas, freshly sliced biltong and gluten-free chocolate brownies, to enormous organic burgers, smoothies, gourmet wraps and fresh sushi. A Fashion Market is offered here on the first Saturday of each month between 11AM-4PM.
7. What? Porter Estate Produce Market
Where? 7025 Tokai Road, Cape Town (at the Chrysalis Academy Grounds)
When? 9AM-1PM (Saturdays only – weather dependent)
Porter Estate Produce Market (known as the ‘PEP Market’), is a charismatic outdoor market where locals and tourists alike can browse through an abundance of organic produce, freshly baked farm-style bread, and more, all while kids are kept entertained with fun activities.
Situated beneath the trees in Tokai Forest, Porter Estate is a family-friendly area, encouraging people to bring family and friends along (even dogs are permitted to accompany you – provided they are on a leash). The Market is the brainchild of the restaurateurs and chefs who established Jonkershuis on Groot Constantia, and the multi award-winning Societi Bistro (50 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town). The PEP Market allows for visitors to sample fresh produce directly from the source, delighting all the senses. The Market is operated with exceptional professionalism and is a community-driven project that offers a platform for students of the Chrysalis Academy to gain valuable life and work experience. Look out for the remarkable abundance of local cheese selections, honey, naturally produced pantry items (like pestos, pickles, and chutneys), and more! Parking is plentiful on the estate grounds.
8. What? Market at the Palms
Where? 145 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock
When? 9AM-2PM (Saturdays only – During summer)
Situated in the centre of trendy Woodstock in Cape Town, the Palms Décor and Lifestyle Centre provides countless top-quality goods, from charming wooden furniture and custom-designed kitchens, to extravagant textiles and carpets, old wooden doors, and recycled kitchen and bathroom items. The Palms also offers big offices and several locations available for hire, and provides 300 free parking bays for visiting customers. This unique market features over 40 traders, all with distinctive goods that can’t be found at any other market in Cape Town. It’s sister market, ‘Die Kattebak’ is a newly refurbished vintage knick-knack market that looks out over the food market. Together, the two markets enhance the modern edge of the historic Woodstock building that displays a wide variety of décor and lifestyle vendors to keep visitors busy for hours.
Musical artists are also featured regularly at the market, providing market-goers with a beautiful melodic and vibrant atmosphere to enjoy on their day out. In terms of food, expect quality fresh farm produce and delicious country cuisine – this includes traditional treats such as jaffles, vetkoek, pancakes, home-made jams, biscuits, ginger beer, lemon cordial, and more! If you’re looking for something a little more sophisticated, try out the snoek pate on butternut biscuits, pickled beetroot, rocket pesto and feta tarts, olives, designer teas, fresh Saldanha oysters, and pickled mussels, all topped off with a glass of fine wine.
9. What? Milnerton Flea Market
Where? Marine Drive (R27) & Milner Road Intersection, Metro Industrial Township
When? 8AM-2PM (Saturdays and public holidays) 8AM-3PM (Sundays)
On the days the Market is open, around 250 stalls begin popping up in the mornings alongside Marine Drive, offering visitors a unique outing and shopping experience that is only enhanced by the crisp ocean breezes and the remarkable scenery of beautiful Cape Town. Established more than two decades back, this bustling open-air trading space is not only one of the city’s biggest, oldest and most iconic informal bazaars, but also a paradise for bargain-hunters. There are a wide range of products available for purchase here, in any form imaginable, as well as delicious cuisine and confectionery items that cater for just about every preference.
The main attraction that gave the Market its fame and popularity is the seemingly endless assortment of pre-owned items that range from simple domestic tools and utensils to knick-knacks, collectables, militaria, and antiques at nominal prices. This allows visitors to head home with a car full of bargains, having had a successful and satisfying day at the Market.
Along the broad walkways at the Market, you’ll find various open car boots that are filled with things like porcelain gravy boats, elaborate antique jugs and tea sets, wetsuits, copper door knockers, vintage accordion cameras, gold-plated buddhas, old vinyl records, vehicle parts, light fixtures, glass kitchenware, and more! There are several food vendors who provide hungry market-goers with anything from waffles, pies and spring rolls to croissants, coffee, and curried mince. Arrive in the early morning to find the best bargains, and on a Saturday to find new weekend stock.
10. What? Church Street Antique Market
Where? Corner of Long and Wale Streets, Cape Town
When? 9AM-4PM (Monday – Saturday)
This relatively small cobbled stretch in the heart of Cape Town is a trove of vintage clothing, collectable coins, plastic jewellery, porcelain animals, and more. The goods found here are often even more intriguing than the people who frequent the pedestrianised area of Church Street, who range from artsy coffee enthusiasts and crafty antique hunters, to fashionistas who are more than proud to ‘strut their stuff’. The Church Street Antique Market makes for a perfect lazy day outing, giving visitors a chance to meander along Church Street whilst browsing through everything from delicious lunches and coffees to antiques and art galleries. Selling things such as glassware, delicate china, kitchen utensils, ornaments, microscopes, nautical instruments, mirrors, books, accessories, and handmade curios, there is something for everyone, pleasing both casual browsers and serious collectors simultaneously. Be sure to have cash handy, as most stores here do not accept any type of credit card.