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The celebrated regeneration of Woodstock - with its mix of interior boutiques, trendy eateries, designer interior shops and galleries alongside the more traditional mechanics, corner shops, clothing factories and second-hand dealers - makes it a destination in its own right, and host to some of Cape Town’s most fascinating attractions. Of these, the most famous is the Neighbourgoods Market, the original must-do Saturday morning market for Cape Town foodies, but take a look at the Galleries & Shops, as well as nightlife options below.

Neighbourgoods Market

Cape Town’s most popular food market, held every Saturday in a revamped Victorian warehouse (373–375 Albert Road), is where the trendy and the downright hungry feast at the city’s most delicious food stalls. There are over 100 traders, farmers, butchers, mongers, bakers, grocers and local celebrity chefs taking time out from their restaurant kitchens. You can eat while you browse, or seat yourself at one of the large communal tables with the day’s papers and large bowls of flowers and potplants. Adjacent are some fantastic shops. Tip: Get here early – between 8.30am and 9, if you want to avoid the inevitable crowds. Market closes just after 2pm.

Woodstock Galleries and Shops

Cape Town has always been a magnet for artists and Woodstock has become synonymous with the city’s most fabulous galleries. Best amongst these are the Michael Stevenson Gallery, located in the Buchanan Building at 160 Sir Lowry Road; the Goodman Gallery at 167 Sir Lowry Road and and the award-winning Whatiftheworld Gallery on 1 Argyle Street (off Albert Road).

Also in Albert Road, The Old Biscuit Mill is a collection of charming shops and restaurants. Don’t miss Imiso Ceramics for beautiful pottery objets, Heartworks for its excellent African crafts, Plush Bazaar for interesting found objects for the home, and The Mobile Boutique for a collection of cool South African designers. The Test Kitchen, one of the city’s fine dining venues launched by award-winning chef Luc Dale Roberts, is also located here. Other than this, shoppers are advised to pop into The Bromwell at 250 Albert Rd, a “shopping concept” store, with every piece on sale handpicked and unique. For similarly “bespoke” items, but ones you can wear, Rewardrobe at 89 Sir Lowry Road is where you’ll find cleverly refashioned second-hand garments and accessories. Vamp (cnr Albert Road and Treaty St) offers a similar deal, but this time its vintage furniture, décor and homeware products that enjoy a makeover.

Woodstock Party

If there’s a show or a party on at Albert Hall (206 Albert Road), make sure you get there, especially if you’re into quirky, full-tilt events that pack out with the coolest crowd in town. The Hall celebrates the owner’s love of antiques with smatterings of designer inventiveness. In a signature palette of black, white and red, everything echoes the obsession with left-of-centre nostalgia, from the antique Coca-Cola fridge in the entranceway to the vintage paintings and prints that decorate the walls alongside the long, narrow dancefloor-cum-auditorium. A small stage—more like a curtain- and speaker-bedecked raised area at one end of the hall—is used by anyone from live artists, to DJs hosting underground parties, and top-rated comedy performers—this venue has no commitment to any single event so there’s an anything-goes, never-to-be-repeated approach.

Look out, too, for the sensational DJ collective, Fong Kong Bantu Sound System which brings together some of the best-established underground DJs in the city. They sometimes perform at the All Nations Club, at 281 Main Road. If you don’t mind showing your age, Decodance Underground (The Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road) is Cape Town’s quintessential Eighties’ music venue where The Cure finally collides with The Clash, and Michael Jackson is resuscitated for a much-applauded appearance alongside Duran Duran and Bonnie Tyler. There’s quite a grungy sound, too, and some more rock-based music from those eras, so not always ideal if you’re the type who prefers the smooth, even beats of the electronic age. (Open: 8.30pm–2am Wed, 8.30pm–4am Fri–Sat)

Last but not least, after the Europeanized, sanitized safety of the Waterfront or the Cape Quarter an evening spent at aMadoda! Braai (Strand Street, Woodstock) is a chance to hang out with locals and tuck into barbequed meat and quaff beers by the bucketful; spirits are sold in bottles rather than tots so prepare for a night of mayhem. Things kick off rather late (don’t expect a crowd before 9 or 10pm), and by the time the buzz gets going, the entire neighbourhood (kept secure by hired guards) is packed to overflowing with BMWs, SUVs and a suave, predominantly black crowd that’s dressed up and ready for serious action. Nobody minds that the space is right next to the railways tracks, décor is cheap and garish, or that the music blasting away (either out of the jukebox or from an out-of-control DJ) causes spontaneous dancing in just about every nook and cranny. Welcome to the real Cape Town. (Tel: 021 447 2133; Open: 4–11pm Thurs and Sun, 4pm–4/6am Fri and Sat)

Getting around

While Woodstock offers some of the city’s greatest sights, it’s a suburb best explored by car rather than on foot. We are happy to make the necessary car hire arrangements. Alternatively we can recommend a few specialist companies, be it to rent a classic convertible, Harley Davidson, or a reliable small operators offering better-value deals than the big-name global car hire companies.