(By Russell Jarvis , first published on Travelstart.co.za)

We’re halfway through 2018 and Cape Town is still enjoying the spoils of the momentum she’s gathered from numerous international press mentions from the New York Times to TripAdvisor and The Telegraph

Cape Town is now firmly on the world map as a destination unmissable. Table Mountain now joins the likes of the Statue of Liberty, The Gherkin, the Eiffel Tower, Burj Khalifa, Sydney Opera House and the Shanghai Tower; a tacked on natural edifice on the tapestry of the world’s iconic cities. To visit these iconic cities, view our cheap international flights.

But what lies beyond its beautiful mountain, historical Robben Island, wine regions and most popular sights? With this comprehensive list of alternative things to do in Cape Town, we encourage you to explore the other side of the city. Discover Cape Town’s unique culture, people and history through outdoor activities, restaurants, bars and museums. We help you uncover 42 places around Cape Town to eat, play, shop, celebrate and relax, as well as an attractive smattering of free things to do in Cape Town.

1.   Acrobatic, juggling, trapeze, comedy … family fun at the Zip Zap Dome


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Cost: Enjoy a full 80-minute show with South Africa’s mind-blowing talent for R100.

From its iconic high-tech dome next to the CTICC in Cape Town, Zip Zap has been creating shows and discovering talent since 1992. So good are their performances that they were invited to perform for Mandela on his 77th birthday in 1995, at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006, at the International Circus Festival in Monte-Carlo in 2001, at the opening of the Cirque de Demain Festival in Paris in 2012 and had their own TV series called Life in the Circus on eTV; a 13-episode docu-reality series showing the behind-the-scenes of this social enterprise and their anything-is-possible approach to life. Visit them at their tent in town to watch some training or book a show on their website: www.zip-zap.co.za.

Contact: info@zip-zap.co.za

2.   Live and eat cake at Charly’s Bakery


Cost: Enjoy coffee and a cupcake in South Africa’s most iconic bakery for as little as R50.

As the home of ‘mucking afazing’ cakes in Cape Town, Charly’s as it is affectionately known to most, have been cooking up a delicious combination of controversy and confectionary since 1989. A trip to Charly’s Bakery should definitely be on your list of things to do in Cape Town! Visit them at their shop in town for a cup of coffee and goodies galore.

Contact: 021 461 5181  | View location

3.   City Sightseeing made easy with the Hop On, Hop Off Bus

Cost: A one-day open top bus tour costs R200 per adult or R180 if you buy online.

Ths is probably the best way to get acquainted with any city, in any season. The red City Sightseeing double-decker buses have built a reputation inmany towns around the world for being the go-to vehicle for new introductions and bearing finding expeditions, and in Cape Town, it’s no different. Start day 1 with the red route – a seamless tour of the City Bowl and its surrounds, and then hop on the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour for sightseeing further afield to Hout Bay and the Constantia Wine Valley. Plugin your earphones and be your own tour guide in more than 16 languages.

Contact: 021 511 6000  | View location

4. Old school movie viewing at the Labia Theatre

Cost: All shows: R50 p/p.

You might have heard Gran & Gramps reminisce about back in the day trips to the bioscope and now you can relive their nostalgia in what is arguably the coolest, most unique and independent art-repertory cinema in South Africa. The curiously named Labia Theatre on Orange Street is where you can still sit on the terrace and sip a drink from the licensed bar or take it into the cinema and enjoy whilst watching your movie. The building on Orange Street was opened by Princess Labia in May 1949 as a theatre for the staging of live performances. Nowadays, it’s an old-fashioned movie house attracting love-birds and hipsters for its retro décor and the chance to take in a movie that’s slightly more affordable than the prices you’ll pay at the commercial cinemas. Visit their website for their popular movie ticket and meal combos. The best!

Contact: 021 424 5927  | View location

5. Release your inner Sherlock at HintHunt in Woodstock

Cost: R192 p/p for a group of 5.

For something different, try the group game craze that’s sweeping Cape Town. HintHunt, in South Africa since 2013, is situated at the vibrant Old Biscuit Mill and promises a competitive, fun and unique experience – the ultimate activity for families, friends and colleagues. Without giving the game away, you get 60 minutes to climb a mountain of puzzles and mysteries in a tiny room. The goal is simple yet challenging: get out in time!

Contact: 021 448 9864 | View location

6. Beerhouse – got 99 bottles and a barbie ain’t one!

Cost: Beers from R12 (for a 120ml taster) all the way to R130 for the Liefmans Yell’om with a fruity bite.

This contemporary beer hall in the heart of the Mother City’s famed Long Street precinct promises fans of the amber nectar a world of beers under one roof. Showcasing the best in meticulously selected local, international and micro-brewed beers, the aptly named Beerhouse has fast become a firm favourite among passive pint sippers and beer buffs alike.

Contact: 021 424 3370  | View location

7. Browse Bree Street, meet Cape Town cool

Bree Street lies in the centre of the city parallel to Loop Street and Long Street, and for a while now it has surpassed the status of up and coming, having grown into the hotbed of quintessential Cape Town culture it is today. Some say it’s Cape Town’s best-kept secret chock-a-block with bars, boutique restaurants, galleries and shops of the international designer and homegrown variety; oozing Mother City charm and heritage all the way. Highlights include schmoozing at Jason’s with a coffee and a croissant in the morning, lunch at The Birds or Clarke’s Dining Room, seeing what goods are on offer at SAM (South African Market), before heading downstairs to La Parada for some tapas and sundowners with the rest of Cape Town’s inner-city professionals.

View location

8. Sweet & savoury indulgence at Earth Fair Market


Taking place every Thursday in the St Georges Mall thoroughfare (cnr St Georges Mall & Church Street) from 11:00 to 15:00, the Earth Fair Food Market attracts workers and tourists from all over the Cape Town CBD. While some opt for a Mexican snack, some delicious biltong or a piece of homemade fudge, others will fill up on their ‘second lunch’ and do some veggie grocery shopping. The market is one of those typically hidden Mother City gems that you’re likely to stumble on and subsequently fall in love with. You can also catch the Earth Fair Market merchants in Tokai on a Wednesday and Saturday.

Contact: jacqui@earthfairmarket.co.za  | View location (Earth Fair Food Market St Georges Mall)

9. Celebrate creativity and culture at Bay Harbour Market

Cost: Free to visit!

Hout Bay’s Bay Harbour Market offers an eclectic stylish wonderland of exquisite art, craft, fashion, decor and live music complemented by the delicious aromas of food to tempt all the senses. With over 100 stalls, the Hout Bay market is great for kids, adults and couples’ outings. Housed in an old fish factory, so it’s the perfect jaunt for those rainy Cape days. Open Friday night to Sunday afternoon

Contact: 083 275 5586 | View location

10. First Thursdays – your (free) ticket to artsy emancipation

Cost: Free!

On the first Thursday of every month, explore the art galleries and shops of Cape Town’s central city until late when Cape Town’s CBD comes alive as dozens of stores keep their doors open until 21:00. Whether you’re an accomplished art buff or someone who has never stepped foot in a gallery, First Thursdays is an incredible way to experience the cultural wealth that this city has to offer.

Find out more: facebook.com/FirstThursdaysCT


Click page 2 below to read about more things to do in Cape Town under R200…