Cape Town is known to be liberal and arty, and this is no truer than in Woodstock. This quirky area is only situated about 2 kilometres from the city centre and is an eclectic mix of colonial buildings with hip new thrift shops and the best street art in Cape Town. Most locals are stalwarts of the Old Biscuit Mill, its Saturday market brings Capetonians about from all corners of the city. Woodstock is home to many artisanal projects and a visit to the Woodstock Exchange is a must-do for any visitor. Here you can see a fantastic mix of local artists’ work and have some good coffee and local treats. There is everything in Woodstock from great local fish markets to fabric stores and second-hand books. Speaking of coffee in true Cape Town coffee-culture style, here are our favourite coffee spots in Woodstock:
Like many colonial stories before it, this place owes much to that of foreign arrivals on the Cape Town shore. During British rule in the 1800s, many residents started to move to Woodstock, as the area was so close to the city and docks, and even had its own beach. The beach is gone today – during the building of the famous V&A Waterfront, the whole coastline was moved back by dredging up all the sand. The name of Woodstock was only given in 1867 when the residents gathered at the Woodstock Hotel and voted for a new name for their suburb (previously known as New Brighton). This led to the popularity and growth of the suburb from 1870.
The best part about a visit to Woodstock is that you do not really need a plan. Albert Road is a fantastic place to start. With many thrift shops littered along this bustling street you will have many places to stop and window shop at the very least. This will lead you up to the Old Biscuit Mill, which is one of the busiest attractions in Woodstock and is an essential visit on a Saturday for the market. The entire area has second-hand shops and interesting old boutiques. If you are looking for the best fresh fish around the city, Fish 4 Africa is a great stop for local fish to make for dinner.
The most popular and unique experience one can find in Woodstock is a street art tour. The tours walk you through Woodstock and showcase some of the best street art in South Africa. Artists often come from all over the globe to exhibit some of their work on the streets of Woodstock. The walk is not only about street art but also a look into the local culture you experience while walking around. Art always comes from within, and the experience is great for locals and foreigners alike.
Not unlike the growing coffee culture in Cape Town, craft gin and beer have taken a massive step up in the South African market in the last few years. Woodstock is home to multiple breweries and distilleries which is sure to bring a smile to many visitors. The Devil’s Peak Brewery is one of the most famous and also home to my favourite beer in the city, can you guess which one?
Something a bit out of the ordinary but something that suits this neighbourhood well is the Insect Experience. This is always an interesting stop, a food stall that only makes food with insects and grubs, and to be honest you are going to be surprised. The ice cream is out of this world, and dairy-free!