Besides its sandy beaches and hundreds of swanky bars and excellent restaurants, Cape Town is also home to a number of cultural attractions including museums, theaters, and art galleries. If you are interested in South African culture or you wish to see a fabulous play at a local theatre, South Africa’s Mother City has got you covered. Let’s take a look at some of the best cultural attractions in Cape Town.
1 Baxter Theatre
Located in the suburb of Rondenbosch, the Baxter Theatre showcases both international and South African major works. Built in 1976, this remarkable theater used to challenge the apartheid regime and held multi-racial plays and performances at a time when censorship was part of the everyday life in South Africa. It was also home to many theater legends including Andrew Buckland and John Kani. Today, the Baxter Theatre stages dramas, musicals, ballets, and comedies. If you wish to have a drink or dinner, the Long Bar and the buffet-style Baxter Restaurant are located on the ground floor of the theater.
2 Fugard Theatre
Fugard Theatre is one of the most popular playhouses in Cape Town and it was named after the legendary playwright Athol Fugard. Expect to find two theatres inside the venue which host a wide range of international and local productions such as The Rocky Horror Show, Waiting for Godot, A Human Being Died That Night, and many others. The theatre is situated inside a historic building which is a National Heritage Site and features a lovely bar on the ground floor where you can unwind with a drink before or after the show.
3 Artscape Theatre
One of the biggest theatres in the city, Artscape Theatre is a premier performing venue that boasts 4 large theatres which host everything from popular musicals to ballet and international opera performances. The venue itself is nearly 50 years old and is home to many festivals, youth music competitions, and development education programs. Artscape Theatre also boasts the popular Arts Café which offers reasonably priced meals and drinks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
4 The Cape Gallery
The Cape Gallery is definitely one of the most popular cultural attractions in Cape Town and at the same time one of the oldest galleries in the city. Here, you will find everything from sculptures that showcase the African culture to cool graphic sketches, paintings, and ceramics. Exhibitions at the Cape Gallery usually last for a month.
5 Everard Read Gallery
Situated inside a charming building right at the V&A Waterfront, Everard Read Gallery is all about supporting local artists and their sculptures and contemporary paintings. The gallery was recently expanded and now has one more exhibition space, as well as a lovely sculpture garden right across the road. The place is available for hire for cultural events and can seat around 80 people.
34FineArt is a large exhibition space that features fine artwork by some of the best local artists in South Africa. These works cover many different genres and come in numerous forms. Some of them are entertaining, while others are deeply moving and provoking. Besides pieces from local artists, there is a smaller section where international artists showcase their works.
7 Springbok Rugby Experience Museum
The ultimate cultural attraction for sports fans, the Springbok Rugby Experience Museum is located at the V&A Waterfront and offers deep insight into the history of the most popular sport in South Africa. Travelers will find a wide range of audio-visual displays, as well as many memorabilia including animated paintings, clothing, and famous trophies. There is also an on-site rugby store where you can try various fitness tests to see if you have what it takes to become a professional rugby player.
8 Iziko South African Museum
The oldest museum in the country, Iziko South African Museum is one of the most visited cultural attractions in Cape Town. Founded in 1825, this excellent museum is home to many social history and natural collections and houses close to two million specimens of which some are 120, 000 years old. Some of the highlights include dinosaur dioramas and recorded whale calls. Make sure to check out the on-site Planetarium which offers a spectacular 3D space experience.
9 South African Jewish Museum
Opened in 2000 by Helen Suzman and the late president Nelson Mandela, the South African Jewish Museum is situated at the site of an old synagogue in Company’s Garden and covers the history of the Jewish people in South Africa and the world. There are numerous interactive displays and artifacts on-site, as well as a shop where you can purchase ceramic mezuzahs, cookbooks, embroidered challah covers, and many more items. The museum features two buildings: one is about the Holocaust, while the second one focuses on the Jewish history in general.