South African Hotels

Johannesburg City Center Tourism Information

Quick Facts: Johannesburg City Center

  • Johannesburg's central business district is a major tourist attraction
  • It is home to top-class museums, art galleries, monuments, outdoor art installations and restaurants
  • This high rise jungle is steeped in cultural and historical significance from the acclaimed district of Newtown to Braamfontein
  • Breathtaking Nelson Mandela Bridge.
  • Absa Money Museum
  • Arts on Main
  • Burning Truth
  • Constitution Hill
  • James Hall Museum of Transport
  • Johannesburg Art Gallery
  • Johannesburg Planetarium
  • Kwa Mai Mai Market
  • Origins Centre

Distance to Airport: 22 km

Distance to City: 1 km

Introducing Johannesburg City Center

Reincarnated, rejuvenated and vibrant, Johannesburg's central business district is a major tourist attraction boasting top-class museums, art galleries, monuments, outdoor art installations and restaurants. This high rise jungle is steeped in cultural and historical significance from the acclaimed district of Newtown to Braamfontein, which links to the city via the breathtaking Nelson Mandela Bridge.

From the earliest days when settlers came to the city of gold, Johannesburg's central area was identified as an ideal location for both residential and commercial  development. During the 1960s and 1970s, the city thrived, birthing a number of landmarks including the towering 50-storey Carlton Centre - the tallest building in Africa at the time.

Apartheid laws declared central Johannesburg a Whites-only area, but without the capacity to police this, more and more people began to filter in.  With the abolition of the Group Areas Act and the ending of Apartheid, disadvantaged black South Africans and immigrants from war-torn African areas flooded into the city, triggering what has been described by sociologists as "white flight". Businesses moved north to Sandton and commercial buildings were transformed overnight into residential tenements. Crime increased and the city centre became a no-go zone.

In 1998, the Central Johannesburg Partnership was established with the bold (and somewhat heroic) intention of transforming this ugly duckling into a tourist and business friendly swan. Several inner city improvement and management districts were identified, CCTV cameras were installed throughout the city and tax incentives were introduced to draw back investors. As a result, the Johannesburg CBD of today is a far cry from its ugly past self.

Best Kept Secret

Oriental Plaza

Probably the only shopping venue where bartering or haggling over prices is actively encouraged, whether you're after richly coloured exotic fabrics or intoxicating spices. Bree, Malherbe, Lillian, Main & Avenue Streets, Fordsburg. http://www.orientalplaza-fordsburg.co.za.

Getting there

The R24 runs from O. R. Tambo International Airport directly into Johannesburg city centre.

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