Neighbourgoods Market: Jozi

Neighbourgoods Market: Jozi

On the odd weekend I am in Johannesburg, I usually spend Saturday working which explains why it has taken me so long to to visit the highly recommended Neighbourgoods Market. Nearly every travel article from the New York Times 36 Hours in Johannesburg to GQ Magazine (UK) Get Yourself to Johannesburg, New Cool Capital of the Southern Hemisphere lists this Saturday market located in the hip, regenerated neighborhood of Braamfontein as a must. It’s embarrassing it has taken me two and a half years, to get here. But before tackling the Neighbourgoods Market, I highly recommend caffeinating yourself at Father Coffee, a minimalist roaster and espresso bar next to the market. Snag a seat on the outside bench for some epic people watching. All those throngs of people streaming by are heading to the market so don’t dawdle for too long.

If you want to peruse the food stalls and to secure a seat with a view of Shepard Fairey’s nine story mural of Nelson Mandela, before the crowds arrive early. There are many food options, so grab your beverage of choice and start searching. While I was making my dining decision, I fortified myself with some cold pressed green juice from the aptly name Juiced.

After three laps, I settled on Chicken Goujon from Sumting Fresh and a blackberry sparkling cordial from Kuhestan Cordials. I found an open seat on the roof deck and summarily wolfed down my food – a delectable layer of french fries and fried chicken strips, hidden under a pile of parmesan cheese. Accompanying this delicious fried food concoction, was a slice of watermelon, slaw, and a cucumber. I almost tricked myself into thinking it was healthy. Seeing the number of people who selected the same meal, only reinforced that I had made the right choice.

The roof deck has to be one of the best places to people watch in Jozi. This is a place where fashionable university students share a space with camera toting tourists, and trendy families from the ‘burbs. It’s the kind of place where friends gather for good food, conversation, and day drinking. It’s the kind of place where you can experience Johannesburg’s frenetic, creative energy and start to understand why so many people love this trendy, gritty city.

The Neighbourgoods Market occupies a parking garage that is reached via an alley off DeBeer Street between Juta and DeKorte Streets. It is open on Saturdays from 9:00am – 3:00pm. If you live in Johannesburg and haven’t ventured further South than Sandton in a long time, this is a good spot to begin you re-explorations of Jozi.

If you are a tourist, skip breakfast at the hotel and make this your first stop before moving on to Constitution Hill, the Wits Art Museum, or any number of nearby attractions. The City Sightseeing red bus stops two blocks away and while you wouldn’t normally catch me on a sightseeing bus in any city, in Johannesburg it is a rather effective way to get around. Alternatively, uber.