Cape Town really loves its markets. This is evident in the sheer number of artisanal and farmers’ markets that have sprung up in and around the Mother City over the last decade or so.
Here’s a guide to the city’s best markets, loved not only by locals but foreign visitors as well.
1. Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock
Arguably the city’s most famous and the one that really got the Cape Town market trend going, the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock has been wowing crowds every Saturday without fail for over 10 years.
Boasting an impressive selection of delicious local food as well as cool designer goods like leather bags, clothing and accessories, the Neighbourgoods Market often tops the itinerary of visitors to Cape Town. Because the market is so popular, it can get quite busy, so plan on getting there early and arrive hungry.
When: Saturdays, 9am to 2pm
2. City Bowl Market, Hope Street, Gardens
The City Bowl Market is housed within a historic Hope Street building in central Cape Town and offers food-loving market goers a phenomenal menu of local eats. The carefully selected vendors reveal the primary aim of the market organisers: to showcase the incredible array of food producers operating in and around Cape Town.
Expect delicious Durban-style curry, gourmet handmade pasta, wholesome and healthy salads and freshly pressed juices. If you find yourself visiting the market on the last Thursday of the month you’ll also get to see the Fashion Market, an additional offering of clothing and jewellery stalls.
When: Thursdays, 4:30pm to 8:30 pm
3. Bay Harbour Market, Hout Bay
Nestled between Hout Bay’s picturesque harbourfront and its rugged coastal peaks, the Bay Harbour Market oozes South African charm and a distinctively Capetonian creative spirit. Not only does the market that’s housed in a former revamped fish factory present a dazzling display of speciality goods, fashion items, local crafts and handiworks, you can also enjoy delectable food and drink offerings. And while you dine and browse, expect some foot-tapping, groovy tunes supplied by live music performances that add to the vibrant buzz of this popular market series.
When: Fridays, 5pm to 9pm; Saturdays and Sundays, 9:30am to 4pm
4. Milnerton Flea Market, Milnerton
If secondhand flea markets are your happy place, then dropping by the Milnerton Flea Market is pretty much obligatory. Though it no longer resides at its original location in the suburb of Milnerton, its new spot on Marine Drive (R27), along the edge of Table Bay, provides an absolutely stunning setting for some weekend shopping.
With the Cape Town CBD and the iconic Table Mountain acting as the backdrop to the open-air market, you’re guaranteed a scenic experience. The selection of items and goods for sale here is vast and varied and an ideal ground for bargain hunters. From secondhand clothing and used electronics to car parts and decorative items, there’s no end to the range of treasures you’ll discover here.
When: Saturdays and Sundays, 7am to 4pm
5. Oranjezicht Farmers’ Market, V & A Waterfront
The Oranjezicht Farm has roots stretching as far back as the 1700s when European colonialists set up what was to become a highly productive city farm. While a small section of the original farmstead is still in use, the successful market day has, in recent years, moved to its current Granger Bay location nearby the tourist mecca that is the V & A Waterfront.
The Oranjezicht Farmers’ Market is a place where locals buy fresh, locally sourced and organic (where possible) fruits and veggies, while a handpicked selection of traders offers up some of the most delightful and nourishing goods. Enjoy freshly baked bread from local bakeries, speciality vegan and vegetarian eats and some of the best local delicacies to be found in Cape Town; best of all, the atmosphere is ideal for families, kids and even pet dogs.
When: Saturdays, 9am to 2pm
6. Mojo Market, Sea Point
Though it only opened its doors on Sea Point’s bustling Regent Street in early 2017, Mojo Market has already proven to be a very popular foodie and lifeestyle destination. There’s a diverse range of dining options available at this permanent market location, with freshly shucked oysters, pungent grilled raclette cheese sandwiches, wood-fired pizza and acclaimed dishes from some of Cape Town’s best restaurant brands operating from market stalls.
You can also browse some of the many jewellery, clothing and design stalls and on weekends enjoy live music in the main atrium. When stopping by Mojo Market for lunch or sunset dinner, try snagging one of the window booths: that way, you can enjoy your meal with gorgeous ocean and Sea Point promenade views.
When: Daily, 7am to 9pm
7. Earth Fair Food Market, St. Georges Mall & Tokai
You’ll find the Earth Fair Food Market in town on Thursdays along St Georges Mall, between Church and Wale Streets and in the southern suburbs in Tokai on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Whether you go to the central location on St Georges Mall or the larger venue in Tokai, you can expect some of the city’s freshest and healthiest fare. With an emphasis on wholesome cuisine and produce, the various traders at Earth Fair will undoubtedly keep you feeling satisfied.
And if you make it to the Tokai instalment, make sure to bring the kids along as there’s an abundance of fun activities to keep the young ones entertained while you enjoy some great food and drinks and a festive atmosphere.
When: Thursdays, 11am to 3pm (St. Georges Mall); Wednesdays, 3pm to 8:30pm; Saturdays, 9am to 2pm (Tokai)
8. Blue Bird Garage Food and Goods Market, Muizenberg
If you happen to be in the Muizenberg area on a Friday evening and are looking for somewhere cool to grab a bite to eat, or socialise over a couple of drinks, while browsing through artisanal designer goods, make sure to stop at the Blue Bird Garage Market.
Housed inside an old plane hangar, the Blue Bird Garage Market brings together a vibrant bunch of producers, designers and local artisans, creating an infectiously charming and cool market space. Enjoy a thoughtfully considered lineup of local wines, craft beers, food vendors and of course, music performed by local acts. And with a fun kids’ play area available, an evening at Blue Bird can only go down as a well-spent Friday night.
When: Fridays, 4pm to 10pm
9. Root 44 and Blaauwklippen Family Market, Stellenbosch
A little further afield in the neighbouring town of Stellenbosch (famous for its university and world-class wineries), you’ll find two great family-friendly market options – the Root 44 Market at Audacia Wine Estate and the Blaauwklippen Family Market (below) at the Blaauwklippen Vineyard.
Both markets are packed with a variety of food stalls and a host of wonderful artisanal goods and handicrafts. And as both venues offer a range of fun entertainment for kids (including pony rides and jungle gyms) both are ideal spots for parents to enjoy a little picnic while the kids go wild.
When: Saturdays and Sundays, 10am to 4pm (Root 44); Sundays 10am – 3pm (Blaauwklippen)
– TEXT BY SAUL LIPCHIK
PHOTOS: THE OLD BISCUIT MILL FACEBOOK, CITY BOWL MARKET ON HOPE FACEBOOK, ORANJEZICHT CITY FARM AND MARKET DAY FACEBOOK, MOJO MARKET FACEBOOK, EARTH FAIR MARKET FACEBOOK, BLUE BIRD GARAGE FOOD AND GOODS MARKET FACEBOOK, BLAAUWKLIPPEN VINEYARDS FACEBOOK
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.