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 apartheid.

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, Johannesburg. Here, Hindi celebrants light up the Jozi skyline with massive Diwali firework displays, dancing dragons breathe fire into the Chinese New Year, Gay Pride parade-queen’s samba across the Nelson Mandela Bridge; and jazz aficionados flock to Newtown’s annual international Joy of Jazz Festival.

Centered on the Mary Fitzgerald Square, Newtown is packed with museums, art galleries, craft workshops, dance factories, live music venues, clubs, bars and restaurants. Among Newtown Cultural Precinct’s more famous landmarks are MuseuMAfricA, the Market Theatre, Kippies jazz club, and Gramadoelas restaurant.

In Newtown, explore the Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, browse alternative bookshops, tour the SAB World of Beer, or shop for original, South African-made art and crafts in its numerous galleries. Nearby, the Oriental Plaza, also within the Newtown zone, and is an historic shopping attraction.

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

For a quintessential Jo’burg night out, look no further than Newtown. Drop in at Kaldi’s Coffee, for a pick-me-up brew from Ethiopia, Tanzania or Kenya; see the sun slip down over the City of Gold from a trendy café overlooking the square; then dine out, and take in a show or an art exhibition, before a night of clubbing, or grooving to live music in Newtown. 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 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.

Where to stay

The Newtown Cultural Precinct is in downtown 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 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.

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