It’s October already. How did that happen? This year has flown past and it’s almost time for December shut-downs and summer holidays…

But, for many families that means very little, as they’ll be working through most of the summer with no prospects of tropical islands or indulgent spa days.

So, here are a few budget-friendly ideas for anyone in Cape Town who won’t be enjoying more than a few days off here and there over the festive season

1.     Visit Zeitz MOCAA at De Waterkant

On Wednesdays, anyone who can prove that they’re from Africa gets into this contemporary art gallery and museum for free. And, it really is a very special experience that you can savour alone or with a friend.

2.     Hike Lion’s Head

For a real escape from the city, you can climb to the top of this mountain. Incredible views of the City Bowl, beaches, Waterfront, and even the Winelands and mountain ranges in the distance can be enjoyed. Bonus: this is completely free.

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Table mountain sunset

3.     Rally the troops for a game of putt-putt

For a small fee (around R30 at the time of publishing) you and your friends can head down to Sea Point for a fun game of putt-putt to clear the mind and ease the worries. The 18-hole course is rugged, with a focus on fun, but boasts gorgeous views of the sea and mountains.

4.     Cocktail, Camps Bay style

When you have the opportunity to have a night out with friends, head down to Camps Bay for a cocktail as you watch the sun set.

5.     Explore the city on the topless buses

For around R200, you can explore the Mother City for the whole day on one of the touristy hop-on, hop-off buses. Plug in your earphones for a guided tour of the City Bowl, Winelands and Hout Bay to see Cape Town through new eyes.

6.     Meet friends for famous cupcakes

Cupcakes make everything better. So, if you have an hour to get away from the office and meet with a friend, head to Charly’s Bakery in the City Bowl for some unforgettable indulgences.

Array of colourful cupcakes

7.     Go to the movies

Although taking a few hours out to watch the latest blockbusters is always fun, The Labia Theatre takes a more nostalgic approach to cinema. Artsy movies can be enjoyed in retro-styled cinemas for a real escape.

8.     Escape to the gardens of Babylonstoren

Just half an hour outside the historical town of Franschhoek are the magnificent, tranquil gardens of Babylonstoren. The entrance fee is only a few rands (R10 on weekdays and R20 on weekends for adults, at the time of publishing), which are donated to the local community.

9.     Walk the City Bowl

Although you may have driven through the City Bowl hundreds of times, taking your time to stroll the shops, restaurants, galleries, boutiques, and markets of the CBD is a fantastic way to take your mind off things and to catch up with what’s new and happening in Cape Town.

10.     Immerse yourself in the magic of The Book Lounge

In addition to a comfy lounge that has so many books to enjoy, local authors often visit The Book Lounge to read from their recent work. This is different, free, and food for the soul. And the coffee’s good.

Cape Town is a bustling metropolis that has so much to offer. But in the middle of everyday life, it’s easy to miss its magic. Take an hour or two out of your day to savour what makes the Mother City so special.