The last data collected on South Africa found that there were just under 1 800 malls, and 44% of those are in this – arguably Africa’s biggest – metropolis we call Gauteng. When you consider that there’s more malls in SA than some of our emerging market peers – some which include nations with four times our population, according to a report by Urban Studies managing director, Dirk Prinsloo – you do start to get the impression that we Joburgers may be slaves to the mall. Lured by department store sales, the convenience of having “everything under one roof” and, sometimes, the false comfort that we won’t return from sundowners with our car having done a Houdini on us.

While we may not have a mountain to look at or a warm ocean to swim in, the truth is we do have a lot going for us. First let’s start with the amazing Joburg vibe It’s a great bustling city but where we can party harder than the best of them in Lagos. Then, our weather never gets so dangerously hot that we have to worry about the tropical heat melting our make-up. This December, we challenge you to go out and enjoy the concrete jungle versions of the Great Outdoors!


This summer leave your car at home, give the mall a break and hit a stall for a change. Eat some street food, buy some vintage clothes and have a craft beer. At least you’ll avoid those awkward trolley head-on collisions.

As one of the first mining camps back in the 1880s when the City of Gold was coming into its own, nobody could have guessed that over a century later, No.1 Fox would be filled with hipsters of every race, sipping on craft beer at 10am to the sounds of Micasa in the background. Described as Joburg’s “first modern food shed”, this is nirvana for food lovers. From Belgian waffles to gelato, sushi and a juicing café, you can’t be blamed for wanting to spend to every weekend sampling what’s on the menu. Open on Fridays from 12pm to 5pm; Saturdays from 10am to 7pm as well as Sundays and public holidays from 10am till 4pm, 1Fox (previously known as The Sheds) precinct also has a market, Jozi’s popular The Good Luck Bar and Mad Giant Craft Brewery.

1 Fox Street Precinct, Ferreirasdorp

Market on Main

Eight years ago, you couldn’t have imagined Maboneng as the home of Loincloth & Ashes, Little Addis Café and the place where a popular local series like Ayeye would be shot. Back in 2011 when Jacques van der Watt (of local design house, Black Coffee) and Bradley Kirshenbaum thought of making the area “accessible to the broader Johannesburg community”, the founders of the precinct had no idea that less than a decade later restaurants that started out as stalls at the market would end up as popular establishments. Now home to Market on Main, this is one of Joburg’s most curated upmarket venues for food and local design. From those looking for a family-friendly outing to fashionistas hoping to nab some uniquely African designs by Maria McCloy, Market on Main has been the place to be for Joburg’s cool crowd for a while now. Open every Sunday from 10am to 3pm, Arts on Main (where Market on Main is held) is the creative Joburger's stomping ground.

264 Fox Street, Maboneng

27 Boxes Night Market

Walk into any subway or train station in New York City and you’re bound to find a busker or two strumming a guitar or freestyling with a band. At Melville’s 27 Boxes Night Market – which takes place every Wednesday night from 5pm till 9pm – part of the live entertainment includes a busking stage. It’s a great spot to be, whether you’re looking at doing a little bit of vintage shopping, buying garden accessories or simply enjoying some of the art that’s on display. And you can bring the kids as well as the family dog. Tagged as the place where you “Shop. Play. Eat” 27 Boxes also has a branch in Soweto in Vilakazi Street, where its regular shopping hours are Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 6pm; and Sundays and public holidays from 10am to 4pm (although there’s a disclaimer that every shop can decide to change its opening hours).

75 4th Avenue, Melville

Keyes Art Mile

If schlepping into the city makes your heart race with anxiety instead of excitement then perhaps the northern suburbs are for you. Lovers of art will recall that two major galleries, namely Circa and Everard Read Gallery, are housed in this corner of Jellicoe Avenue, and now there are new additions in the form of the Southern Guild and SMAC. It’s not only about art though; if you’re in need of a quick bite and a great cup of coffee then the Milk Bar will be your stop. Known as the number one shop for limited-edition sneakers, you can make your way to Shelf Life to buy some streetwear. Local bespoke accessory and handbag designer Missibaba, internationally acclaimed furniture and home accessories store, Kartell, and artisanal luxury by Hanneli Rupert in the form of Okapi, all make up part of Keyes Art Mile. Yet without a doubt its most famous star is David Higgs’ new restaurant, Marble. Said to be one of Joburg’s top new restaurants, Marble allegedly has a three-month waiting list. They worked with some of South Africa’s most talented artists including celebrated ceramic artist, Peter Mthombeni, who’s Dolos figurines can be seen all over the walls of the restaurant.

19 Keyes Avenue, Rosebank

Movies and Picnic in the Park

There was a time when going to the local drive-in was the thing that all lovers did for some cuddling and sharing popcorn while watching a movie in your car. Now it seems that digital has made all of us just want to “Netflix and chill”. But every now and again Gauteng comes up with a few surprises. #MoviesInThePark is an annual event that usually starts at 12pm when the first movie is screened, all the way to the last movie’s screening at about 7.30pm. With entertainment including live music, food and of course different movies, coming to one of these will set you back anything from R100-R150 for adults (children are welcome and kiddies under the age of 12 have free entry). You’re allowed to bring a cooler box – a warm smile, obviously – but sadly no glasses, tins or plastics are allowed into the parks. If movies under the African sky don’t move you then simply go for Picnic in the Park. Venues move from Pretoria to Joburg with each event so make sure to search #PIP or #MoviesInThePark on social media for updates on the next event. This December the last #PIP will take place at the Cradle Moon Lakeside Game Lodge in Muldersdrift. Visit for information on tickets.