There are dozens of things to do in Cape Town during the day - from scaling Table Mountain, lounging around on the pristine beaches, or kicking back beneath the shade of oak trees at historical wine farms. But Cape Town nightlife is also a major drawcard for visitors to the city. There are dozens of fun things to do in Cape Town at night, from dining out at award winning restaurants, to enjoying the sunset from a rooftop bar, savouring high quality cocktails and local craft beers, or dancing the night away in the heart of the city or just metres from the sea. Regardless of how you like to enjoy your time after dark, chances are Cape Town nightlife will have you covered.
Eating out is one of the best things you can do in Cape Town at night, even if you’re only in the city for 24 hours. Cape Town’s Bree Street, along with its smaller side roads, is packed full of vibrant restaurants that range from high-end street food and tapas, down to wholesome burgers and wood-fired pizzas. Although targeted almost primarily at tourists, and thus priced accordingly, the various restaurants along the Camps Bay strip, perhaps the most famous of Cape Town nightlife hot spots, offer stunning beach and sunset views in a more hedonistic setting. Another fun and more relaxed way to combine eating and drinking after dark in Cape Town is to visit one of the night markets in Cape Town. Although most markets are open primarily during the day, there are a handful dotted throughout the city that stay open into the early evening. Hout Bay Market in Hout Bay, Bluebird Garage in Muizenberg, the City Bowl Market in the City Centre, and Mojo Market in Sea Point offer a more laid-back approach to Cape Town’s nightlife.
Drinking with a view
The local tradition of “sundowners”, enjoying a drink with a view of the setting sun, is still alive and well, thanks to the best rooftop bars in Cape Town. There are several popular rooftop bars to choose from which range from the vibrant and unpretentious right through to classy and high-end. Yours Truly on Kloof Street offers open-air seating and views of Lion’s Head from the first-floor bar, in a relaxed atmosphere. Closer to the hustle of the city centre are Tjing Tjing and nearby hotel bar 14 Stories, both of which are among the best rooftop bars in Cape Town. If you’re after the ultimate refined rooftop bar experience then head down to the newly-built Silo District at the V&A Waterfront. There you’ll find the iconic Silo Hotel, which has a rooftop bar with dramatic views over the harbour and towards Table Mountain.
Capetonians tend to enjoy spending a few hours over the weekend hopping between bars, and with dozens to choose from throughout the city it’s one of the best things to do in Cape Town at night. The highest concentration of bars is in the Cape Town CBD is along three famous streets - Kloof, Bree, and Long - and a few of their smaller side roads. Each targets a different audience, and so if you’re looking to sample a variety of Cape town nightlife it’s worth venturing to each. Although Long Street is one of the most popular Cape Town nightlife hotspots for tourists, it can be a bit chaotic and overwhelming, particularly if this is your first introduction to the city. Parallel Bree Street offers a calmer, more mature selection of bars that serve up craft cocktails and beers, while Kloof Street occupies a spot somewhere in the middle - the bars there attract a range of ages and serve everything from cheap bottled beer through to high-end cocktails. Although many have their favourite street and refuse to budge from them, as a first timer looking to sample the best things to do in Cape Town at night, it’s worth considering each.
Dancing until the early hours
If your Cape Town nightlife goals include dancing until the early hours of the morning then you won’t be disappointed. Although the city is not on a par with the nightlife capitals of the world, there are several clubs that stay open late and play a variety of music. Fiction and The Waiting Room towards the top of Long Street are three Cape Town institutions that have earned loyal followers. Underground DecoDance is still a popular late night club along the Atlantic Seaboard. But if you’re looking for the clubs more focused on an international clientele head to Camps Bay, where you’ll find several bars transforming into late-night clubs or the V&A Waterfront’s Shimmy Beach Club.
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