Outdoor markets are undeniably central to Africa. More than just neighborhood farmers markets or flea markets, these African markets are often the heartbeats of cities, and South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, is no exception.
Scores of locals and tourists gather at the markets to buy everything from artwork and natural remedies to handcrafted clothes and exotic meats and produce. Be sure to bring plenty of cash; not all vendors take credit cards. Below, discover a few of Joburg’s best outdoor markets.
Spawned from a Cape Town market with the same name is Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein. Held every Saturday and located mere blocks from the Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Parktonian All-Suite, Neighbourgoods features more than 100 merchants lining two floors, many of which are doling out fresh food and craft beer and cocktails.
Other merchants sell wares like chocolate, jewelry, clothes and bags. On a warm day, visitors can enjoy a cocktail on the rooftop with a view of Johannesburg. As with most of Johannesburg’s markets, visitors should bring cash, although some merchants do take cards. This is one of Johannesburg’s busier markets, so it’s recommended to arrive on the earlier side (doors open at 9 a.m.).
Rosebank Sunday Market
Rosebank Sunday Market is known for its unique location: the rooftop parking lot of Rosebank Mall, overlooking the Johannesburg skyline. Rosebank is one of Johannesburg’s biggest markets and has been held here on Sundays for years.
Shop for antiques and vintage clothes, as well as art, and be sure to pop by the gourmet food stalls and rooftop bar. On the last Sunday of every month, the market also features live entertainment and a car boot sale — a flea market of sorts, where locals sell used goods from the trunks of their cars. This is the market for the thrift shop traveler.
LoCrate Market is one of Johannesburg’s trendiest markets, held in Soweto on the first Sunday of every month. The no-frills market caters to young, aspiring creators looking to sell their products.
It’s not unusual to see makers hawking handcrafted jewelry and clothes out of a vintage VW van or musicians playing music with handmade instruments. Like many of the other markets mentioned here, there are also local merchants serving made-to-order food and drinks, including local craft beer. LoCrate is also located near where many of the Soweto tours start from.
Market on Main
At Market on Main in the Maboneng District, food and design take center stage from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday. Started by two designers, Jacques van der Watt and Bradley Kirshenbaum, the market’s mission was to give both food and design entrepreneurs a space to sell their goods and tourists and locals a space to enjoy their Sunday.
Visitors will want to come hungry, as food stalls serve decadent ice cream, dim sum, barbecue, paella, handcrafted cocktails, local craft beer and much more. Beyond the food stalls, the market is lined with local merchants selling handcrafted wares like bags, clothes, sunglasses and shoes.
1 Fox Market Shed
While many of Johannesburg’s markets are weekly, or even monthly, 1 Fox Market Shed is a weekly three-day event, taking place Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, with a night market on the last Friday of the month.
Located in the former precinct of late-1800s mining camps, this market is all about the food and drinks. Visitors will find international cuisine, including gourmet burgers, Neapolitan pizza, French pastries, Indian curry and Belgian waffles.
Market Shed is also located next to Mad Giant Brewery and The Good Luck Bar. With more hours and such a large space, 1 Fox Market Shed has a little bit more room for visitors to spread out than at some of Joburg’s other markets.