The Newtown Cultural Precinct, in downtown Johannesburg, has a distinctly cosmopolitan vibe; and underlying its trendy coffee shops, restaurants, art galleries and clubs is the same avant-garde attitude that made it a hot-bed of protest theatre, music and poetry during the apartheid era.

Did you know?

Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown is named after the 1920s labour activist and deputy mayor of Johannesburg.

The Newtown Cultural Precinct is the heart and soul of Johannesburg's cultural landscape, a place where the creative arts are nurtured and celebrated.

Few places embrace cultural diversity like Newtown. Here, Hindi celebrants light up theskyline with massive Diwali firework displays, dancing dragons breathe fire into the Chinese New Year, Gay Pride queen's samba across the Nelson Mandela Bridge, and jazz aficionados flock to Newtown's annual Joy of Jazz Festival.

Centred on Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown is packed with museums, art galleries, craft workshops, dance studios, live music venues, nightclubs, bars and restaurants. Among Newtown Cultural Precinct's more famous landmarks are Museum Africa, the Market Theatre and Gramadoelas restaurant.

In Newtown, you can also explore the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, browse alternative bookshops, tour the SAB World of Beer, or shop for local art and crafts at numerous galleries. Nearby is the Oriental Plaza, a famous – and cheap – shopping destination.

Perhaps because of its politically turbulent past, Newtown Cultural Precinct remains resolutely colour-blind. Since the mid 1900s, musicians, artists, poets and dancers, irrespective of race, gathered here, seeking relief from life under apartheid through creative expression. This vein of defiance still keeps Newtown's creative pulse throbbing, so if cutting-edge, controversial and boundary-breaking creative expression inspires you, you'll find it here.

For a quintessential Johannesburg night out, look no further than Newtown. Drop in at Kaldi’s Coffee for a pick-me-up brew from Ethiopia, Tanzania or Kenya; watch the sun slip down over the City of Gold from a trendy café overlooking the square; take in a show or an art exhibition before a night of clubbing or grooving to live jazz. Creative Newtown will keep you endlessly entertained.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Newtown Cultural Precinct Management
Tel: +27 (0) 11 833 4053
Fax: +27 (0) 11 832 2826

How to get here

The Newtown Cultural Precinct is in downtown Johannesburg.

How to get around

The Newtown Cultural Precinct is easily accessible by taxi, bus or car, and there is plenty of parking available. You can also visit Newtown as part of an organised tour of Johannesburg.

What to eat

Newtown has a number of popular restaurants catering to all tastes. For an African-inspired meal try Moyo (pan-African cuisine) or Gramadoelas (traditional South African cuisine).

What's happening

Newtown hosts some of the Johannesburg's biggest events including the Joy of Jazz Festival, the Newtown Diwali Festival, Arts Alive, SA Fashion Week, the Africa Day concert and the Dance Umbrella.