Entertainment Guide to Cape Town
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Discover great local attractions, activities and things to do in Cape Town, South Africa.
Cape Town is by its nature a playful city (materialists left for Johannesburg or London long ago). But the diversions of Cape Town tend to be the beaches, sports, mountain walks, day-trips, wine tasting and by evening, sunsets and fine dining. The arts are necessarily constrained by finances and there are few theaters and concert venues. Museums are, equally, strapped for cash, although a few are well worth a visit. However, the love of music (particularly jazz) is very strong and cinema, too, is popular. There are also some venues for nightlife and a theme park. Festivals and special events are frequent, so check when you're in town.
The SA Museum in the Company Gardens is excellent. The Whale Gallery steals the limelight but the Planetarium and the other exhibits are well done. The Aquarium (in the Waterfront) is superb and highly recommended. The Castle is the oldest building in South Africa and has the excellent William Fehr art collection. The impressive Groot Constantia estate has a grand Manor House that is well worth a visit. Robben Island is now a museum; it was formerly a prison for political activists including Nelson Mandela. Unfortunately, the organization and quality of tours on Robben Island is sometimes poor.
The best place to see art and antiques is at commercial galleries. Try Church Street near Greenmarket Square in the city center. Small galleries are also found in most shopping malls. In-Fin-Art on Wolfe Street is a good place to start.
Cinemas are located in the shopping malls such as Cavendish Square in Claremont and the Waterfront. One exception is the Labia, an old cinema and landmark in Gardens. Cinéma Nouveau (in Cavendish Square and the Waterfront) feature more arty films. There is an IMAX cinema in the BMW Pavilion in the Waterfront. The standard of cinemas is usually very high.
Theater & Concerts
There are two main theater complexes: the Baxter in Rondebosch and the Artscape on the foreshore. They feature the full range of theater, dance and music. The standard and appeal are variable. During the summer there are excellent concerts at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden on Sundays (take a picnic) and the Spier Estate in the Winelands. The Theatre on the Bay in Camps Bay is home to light comedy and thrillers. For "fringe" theater try On Broadway in Greenpoint.
Cape Town has a strong passion for jazz, but there are remarkably few regular venues that are easy to get to. The Green Dolphin in the Waterfront is well known, and Café Camissa is in Gardens on Kloof Street.
To find hip night venues try Mercury on de Villiers Street, the clubs at the bottom of Long Street or La Med at Maiden's Cove near Clifton. The Drum Café is very trendy and cool (32 Glynn Street).
Ratanga Junction opened in 1999. It has various rides; one of which, "The Cobra," is one helluva ride! There are restaurants, a cinema and entertainment venues. This is a good place for families to have some fun.
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