Top things to do at the V&A Waterfront Cape Town
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Top 30 Things To Do At The V&A Waterfront


The V&A Waterfront Cape Town

Situated in the oldest working harbor in South Africa, with the Atlantic Ocean on one side and Table Mountain on the other, the beautiful, vibrant, and always-buzzing V&A Waterfront is a favorite among local and international visitors. Encompassing a whopping 123 hectares (300 acres) in the heart of one of the most beautiful cities in the world – Cape Town – the V&A Waterfront is an iconic mixed-use destination that has loudly and proudly established itself as one of the most prevalent and highly sought-after destinations & not-to-be-missed tourist attractions in both Cape Town and South Africa with more than 24 million visitors annually.

**Interesting fact: Named after Queen Victoria and her son Prince Alfred, and with a maritime legacy dating back more than 350 years, the picturesque harbor of the V&A Waterfront is still used by tugs, fishing boats and various other vessels. But its reinvention as a quayside leisure hub – with ten distinct districts, each with its own character and charm, spread over 300 acres – has also made it the most visited destination in all of South Africa.

The V&A Waterfront Cape Town

The V&A Waterfront is the ultimate hub of art, entertainment, culture, history, adventure, food, shopping, and everything in between. Beyond being the leading retail destination in Cape Town, featuring more than 500 retail stores, you are truly spoiled for choice with 12 hotels, 5 museums, more than 80 restaurants & eateries – ranging from rustic al fresco to fine dining – a plethora of trendy rooftop bars, several cool cafés & hangout spots, 22 heritage sites & tourism landmarks, and incredible live entertainment 365 days a year showcasing the best local music. Not to mention an endless array of bucket-list worthy experiences, activities, and adventures that can be enjoyed by both the young and young at heart.

Top Things To Do At The V&A Waterfront


#1 Take a ride on the famous Cape Wheel

Now located at the V&A’s Breakwater Boulevard overlooking the waters of Granger Bay, the iconic Cape Wheel showcases spectacular elevated views across Granger Bay on one side, Robben Island in the distance, views of the renowned Table Mountain on the other end, as well as sights of Signal Hill and the Cape Town stadium. That’s not all! Riders will have below them the sight of giant container ships coming and going, large cruise and charter boats heading in and out of the harbour, kayakers accompanied by schools of dolphins as well as the possibility of spotting occasional whales that visit the bay from time to time.

Going on the famous Cape Wheel is without a doubt a MUST-DO Cape Town activity that should be experienced by everyone. In addition to being a bucket-list worthy experience, it promises to be a fun-filled and beyond thrilling experience that will be thoroughly enjoyed by absolutely EVERYONE – from the young right through to the young at heart!

**BONUS: To add an extra special touch to your already exciting ride on the Cape Wheel, you should definitely go on an unforgettable Cape Wheel sunset ride and watch the sun kiss Lion’s Head and Table Mountain good night. Not to mention enjoy stunning sunset views of the glorious Cape Town city skyline and beyond – Cape Town is known for its spectacular sweep-you-off-your-feet sherbet-coloured sunsets after all!

The Cape Wheel offers 30 fully enclosed air-conditioned cabins that will take you 40 meters above the ground as you safely and comfortably enjoy the 12 – 15 minute, four-revolution ride. The Cape Wheel is open from Monday through to Sunday between 10am and 10pm.

#2 Enjoy an exhilarating sightseeing boat tour and / or romantic sunset cruise

Soak up the breathtaking backdrop of the iconic Cape Town skyline, along with spectacular views of Table Mountain and the city’s landmarks from the boat as you sip on some sparkling wine and dance to the rhythm of the waves. All cruises, boat tours, and sailing / yachting expeditions depart daily from the V&A Waterfront Harbor. There are plenty to choose from, so shop around for the vessel and itinerary that suit you best.

Waterfront Charters gets good reviews and offers everything from budget Half Hour Seal and Harbor Cruises to Speed Boat Eco Adventures and Sunset Champagne Cruises aboard a beautiful sailing yacht. Prices vary according to which charter you choose. Whatever you decide, keep an eye out for Cape Town landmarks (like Robben Island, the Clifton beaches, and beautiful Blouberg beach); as well as local wildlife including the V&A Waterfront’s inquisitive resident Cape fur seals. If you’re looking to make your ocean adventure extra special, going on a sunset cruise or boat tour is perfect for you!

#3 Have some fun at the Scratch Patch & Mineral World with the kiddos

Southern Africa is often considered the gemstone capital of the world as almost half of the world’s gemstones are found here. And by far one of the most popular places to see and buy gemstones in Cape Town is at The Scratch Patch and Mineral World outlets at Simon’s Town and the V&A Waterfront. But besides the fact that the Scratch Patch boasts an extensive variety of gemstones, it also offers visitors a super fun experience. You can invite every member of your family to scratch around for their favorite tumble-polished gemstones from thousands of polished stones that quite literally cover the floor. It promises a super fun adventure you won’t soon forget. Thereby undoubtedly making a visit to the Scratch Patch one of the best things to see and do in the V&A Waterfront.

#4 Visit the Clock Tower

One of the V&A Waterfront’s most iconic historic landmarks. Situated near the site of the original Bertie’s Landing Restaurant, the Victorian Gothic-style Clock Tower has always been an icon of the old docks and has become an important focal point in the Waterfront’s recent urban design. This was the original Port Captain’s Office completed in 1882. On the second floor is a decorative mirror room, which enabled the Port Captain to have a view of all activities in the harbor. On the bottom floor is a tide-gauge mechanism used to check the level of the tide.

#5 Enjoy a game of Cave Golf with the whole family

Playing a fun game of Cave Golf has undoubtedly become one of the V&A Waterfronts top experiences. Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t enjoy an exciting game of mini golf? This 18-hole mini-golf course boasts a super fun layout that is both challenging enough to be enjoyed by the more avid mini golfers, while still being exciting and easy enough to be enjoyed by everyone. The fact that it is located indoors also makes a game of Cave Golf a fun activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family regardless of Cape Town’s unpredictable weather.

#6 Shop till you drop!

As the locals like to say when discussing where to shop, ‘the Waterfront probably has it’. Selling everything from fashion, homeware and curios to jewelry, leather goods and tech, the V&A Waterfront is Cape Town’s most popular shopping destination for a reason. The best bit is being able to step outside the mall for a quick break and a breath of ocean air.

#7 Explore Cape Town on a bicycle with Up Cycles

What better way to explore this wonderful city than on a bicycle? Up Cycles is the city’s only drop-and-go bicycle rental company, which means you don’t have to return all the way to the office after your ride. The city is flat and is therefore easy to navigate on a bicycle.

On offer are cruiser-style Dutch bicycles (helmets and locks included) for all ages and sizes, and you can rent one for as little as an hour, or as much as a day from early morning to sunset – whatever suits you best. There are special bikes for the kids, and bike seats for toddlers.

There are drop-and-go points all along the Atlantic Seaboard with one being in the CBD at the Breakaway Café. Explore the vibrant Waterfront, the Sea Point Promenade, the Green Point Park and Stadium Precinct, or the glorious city of Cape Town itself from the vantage point of a bicycle – a unique experience indeed!

#8 Visit the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum

A visit to the Springbok Experience Rugby Museum is another top V&A Waterfront attraction that can be enjoyed by every member of the family. This interactive and engaging museum, found across the road from the V&A Waterfront, therefore ensures a great experience for both rugby fans and non-rugby followers alike. Covering the history of rugby, with a big focus on South African rugby, the Apartheid Era and the famous South African 1995 World Cup victory, visitors can enjoy listening to insightful audio, marveling at lifelike rugby statues of famous players or even trying some fun rugby trials.

#9 Explore the Silo District & Zeitz MOCAA Museum of Contemporary Art Africa

The transformation of a decommissioned grain silo, which lay empty for more than a decade, into a world-class art museum and hotel has been widely lauded (and awarded). Indeed, the building is as striking as the exhibitions found within. The Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary Art Africa) houses an outstanding collection of art from across the continent – in fact, it’s the world’s largest museum of contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora. The top floors of the building are occupied by the Silo Hotel – highly recommended for an afternoon tea or post-museum cocktails, even if you’re not checking in.

#10 Explore the tastes of Makers Landing

Makers Landing is an emporium filled with the most exciting food entrepreneurs in Cape Town, a place where you can sample a huge variety of cuisines and drinks. Think African dishes, Indian street food, specialized chocolate and brewed-in-front-of-your-eyes beer. The Landing’s mission is to create a space where local food businesses can access state-of-the-art shared kitchen spaces and equipment, learning, support services and networking opportunities.

#11 Meet the Marine Life at Two Oceans Aquarium

Just south of Cape Town, the tropical Indian Ocean meets the temperate Atlantic, creating a unique ecosystem defined by its incredible diversity of marine life. Two Oceans Aquarium reflects that diversity with magnificent, immaculately maintained displays of sea creatures from all over South Africa and beyond. Meet ragged-tooth sharks at the Predator Exhibit or fall in love with the Penguin Exhibit’s comical colony of African penguins. Feeding times and regular talks add an educational element, while kids love the touch tanks and walk-through underwater tunnel. For a truly immersive experience, consider signing up for a scuba dive alongside turtles and rays in the I&J Ocean Exhibit.

#12 Visit the Cape Town Diamond Museum

The Cape Town Diamond Museum is regarded as one of Cape Town’s most unique and enduring tourist attractions. The fascinating history of diamonds is explored in this museum in the Clock Tower District. Here you will have the opportunity to discover and learn all about historical artifacts relating to the discovery of the first South African diamond in 1867; an event that sparked the diamond rush and changed the course of the country’s history. At the Cape Town Diamond Museum you will find out absolutely everything you’ve been dying to know about the world’s most precious gem.

Visitors to this lovely museum can also do guided tours to find out more about the amazing diamond industry, the magical history of diamonds and the diamond rush in South Africa, diamond mining gear, how diamonds are formed, how diamond jewellery is manufactured to the final product, and how the raw stones are graded and ultimately transformed into spectacular pieces of jewellery.

On show are also replicas of the world’s most famous diamonds and many other interesting displays. The museum can be visited seven days a week and is open from 9am to 9pm. Come and experience the world of diamonds for yourself!

#13 Stroll the Waterfront at Night

At night, the V&A Waterfront transforms into a festive playground complete with street entertainers, live music, and hundreds of sparkling lights. Wander along the promenade, admiring the spectacle of the illuminated Cape Wheel and soaking up the sounds and scents spilling from the waterfront restaurants. Stop in for a craft beer and good conversation at one of the many pubs; or for a fine dining experience at celebrated seafood restaurants like Firefish or Baia. The Cape Town Comedy Club is known around the world for the quality of its stand-up performances, while pop-up bars add to the party atmosphere by plying the crowds with local craft gins and Western Cape wines.

#14 Explore the V&A Waterfront Battery Park

Battery Park is a new urban park that forms the gateway to the V&A Waterfront and integrates Cape Town’s CBD and the V&A Waterfront through a series of pedestrian routes, including one alongside the canal. The V&A Waterfront Battery Park is a one-of-a-kind destination for locals and tourists alike. Steeped in history, our waterfront area has been transformed into a dynamic public space that offers a multitude of experiences for every visitor. Immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Cape Town as you explore Battery Park’s historic roots as well as engage in a range of outdoor recreation, entertainment, and retail activities in various levels of public spaces. With so much to explore & experience, get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey for both the young and the young at heart!

#15 Enjoy a range of water sport activities at the V&A Waterfront Battery Park | Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP), Kayaking & Swimming!

From standup paddling to kayaking, and swimming – there is something for absolutely everyone! The canal also provides a link between the V&A Waterfront and the Cape Town International Convention Centre through water taxis that ferry passengers between both points.

#16 Catch the Ferry to Robben Island

The V&A Waterfront is also the gateway to Robben Island, one of Cape Town’s top cultural attractions. The historic penal colony is located approximately 11 miles offshore, and the best way to get there is on a Robben Island ferry tour. Tours depart from the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront and last for around four hours. They offer a moving insight into the prison where the iconic former president spent 18 years of his 27-year sentence (and where many other political prisoners were incarcerated for their role in the fight against apartheid). Many guides are ex-prisoners.

#17 Take a Historical Walking Tour

The Waterfront is part of Cape Town’s working harbor, which dates back to 1654 when the first jetty was built by famous Dutch colonist Jan van Riebeeck. Your guide will introduce you to the landmarks that make up the area’s history, including the Clock Tower, the New Port Captain’s Office, the Pumphouse (from which the continent’s first electric lights were powered) and the Robinson Dry Dock (the first of its kind in South Africa). Tours last approximately 1.5 hours and depart daily from Chavonnes Battery Museum at 11am and 2pm.

#18 Shop for arts & crafts at the Watershed

A vast, light-filled warehouse providing space for more than 150 individual vendors, the Watershed specializes in the very best South African art and crafts with many of its high-quality products made locally in the Cape Town area. This is not your average African market: the prices are high and haggling is not expected. However, it offers a chance to invest in art, jewelry, fashion, and home decor created by some of the most exciting designers in South Africa. Make sure to visit the Watershed’s Jubilee Exhibition Hall, too, which hosts regular live entertainment, workshops, and exhibitions. Several stalls sell food and there’s a children’s playground at the entrance nearest the aquarium.

#19 Get an Aerial View of Cape Town on a Helicopter Tour

Cape Town is often voted as one of the most scenic cities in the world. To see it in its full glory, book a helicopter tour with one of the charter companies based at the V&A Waterfront. Both Cape Town Helicopters and NAC Helicopters offer various sightseeing flights, ranging from 15-minute tours of the city itself (including landmarks like Camps Bay, the Clifton beaches and the Twelve Apostles hotel) to 50-minute flights along the length of the Cape Peninsula to the Cape of Good Hope. Whichever option you choose, the sight of the city and Table Mountain nestled between False Bay and the Atlantic Ocean is one you’ll never forget. Flights start at around R2,000 per person.

#20 Have tons of fun with the whole family at the V&A Waterfront Battery Park’s Skate & Scooter Park!

It includes a combination of various skate and scooter elements including a bowl with spine and pump hump, quarter pipes, layback bank, gaps, a small plaza with hubba’s and rails, a frame set and a long ledge and rail. **Interesting fact: The Battery Park’s Skate & Scooter Park is the first skate park of this quality built within the city to world class skate park standards using lightweight construction. It was designed by California Skateparks in the USA with local input from local talent Marc Baker at CA Skateparks Africa.

#21 Brush up on your marine history at the South African Maritime Museum

The museum showcases the maritime history of Table Bay and houses the largest collection of model ships in South Africa. Floating exhibits in the Victoria and Alfred Basins include the SAS Somerset – a retired Naval Defence Boom Vessel and the Alwyn Vintcent – a coal-fired steam tug. Both may be boarded for a nominal fee.

#22 Play a game of Padel at Africa Padel

Africa Padel is bringing the world’s fastest-growing sport – played in over 60 countries and by more than 10 million people – to Africa, and, of course, CAPE TOWN! Strictly speaking, it’s not tennis. It’s known as Padel, a hybrid between tennis and squash & it promises to be both fun & wildly exciting!

Join the sports revolution and play a thrilling game of padel, any day of the week between 6am and 11pm. Enjoy a drink and/or snack after the game at the coffee bar on-site, whilst socialising with friends, family, other spectators, and fellow padel players. Further enhance your padel experience by feasting your eyes at the fantastic array of padel equipment and accessories in the pro shop.

**The entrance is in Portswood Road, located opposite Deloitte’s new offices off Helen Suzman Drive.

#23 Soak up the Sun in Nobel Square

Nobel Square pays tribute to South Africa`s four Nobel Peace Prize Laureates: the late Nkosi Albert Luthuli, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, former State President FW de Klerk, and former President Nelson Mandela. The larger-than-life bronze sculptures of the four Laureates were created by internationally acclaimed artist Claudette Schreuders, and they reflect the ambiguities of the search for an ‘African’ identity in the post-apartheid South Africa. The fifth sculpture in the square, Peace and Democracy, created by Noria Mabasa, acknowledges the contribution of women and children to the attainment of peace in South Africa.

**Added bonus: The Time Out Market opens out onto Nobel Square, a lively public space at the heart of the V&A Waterfront perfect for picnicking, people-watching, and enjoying the district’s talented street performers. There are large trestle tables arranged along the market side, where you can eat elbow-to-elbow with native Capetonians and fellow visitors.

#24 Go on an incredible & insightful V&A Waterfront GPS Audio Walking Tour

The V&A Waterfront is one of Africa’s most popular destinations with more than 24 million visitors every year. But just a few decades ago, South Africa’s oldest working harbour was an uninviting, industrial port. The place that sailors once called the Tavern of the Seas found itself cut off from Cape Town and its people.

How were the strong bonds between the city and its port broken? And how has the V&A Waterfront worked to rebuild them, creating new ways for everyone to rediscover Cape Town’s connection with the sea?

On this audio walking tour, you’ll find answers to these questions in unusual objects like shipping containers and unfinished highways. You’ll learn about the humble beginnings of the V&A Waterfront, starting in 1989 with Ferryman’s Tavern, and meet some of the characters who’ve helped shape its evolution.

Together, you will navigate currents of history and culture into the present, and whether this is your first time at the V&A Waterfront, or your hundred and first, this walking tour will open your eyes to hidden traces of the past, the complex dance of daily operations, and the exciting opportunities of the future.

Tour details:

  • Duration: The tour takes 1 hour.
  • Location: Start outside Mitchell’s Brewery and finish at the Zeitz MOCAA in the Silo District.
  • Cost: This tour is FREE!

What you need:

  • You’ll need a smartphone or tablet, an internet connection (for download only), and a pair of earphones.
  • Free Wifi is also available at the V&A Waterfront.

How it works

  1. First, download and install the VoiceMap app. Click here for AndroidClick here for iStore.
  2. Sign up using Facebook or email.
  3. Select Cape Town.
  4. Select and download the free tour Reinventing the Tavern of the Seas.
  5. Once the tour has finished downloading, plug in your headphones and tap Start.

VoiceMap works offline and uses GPS to play audio automatically, at the right time and place. So, you can put your device away and focus on your surroundings. If you do wander off course, we’ll let you know. And you can always take a quick look at the map on your screen.

#25 Put your skills to the test & play a game of chess at the Pier Head Chess Board or simply enjoy everything the vibrant space has to offer

Test your strategic skills and mental dexterity on this giant outdoor chess board. The space created for chess forms part of the V&A Waterfront’s development strategy to energise the space between buildings by creating vibrant spaces in which locals of all ages can relax.

But chess is by no means the only thing on offer – there is also a boules court (a French form of bowls played on rough ground), and several smaller chess games built into the outdoor tables for a more intimate game. For the kids there is Kids Ahoy Playground in the square. And for those who want to sit and watch the world go by while being entertained, face painters, stilt walkers a marimba band and balloon sculptors provide an air of festivity.

#26 Enjoy a fun-filled family day out at the Battery Park’s Park area

This family friendly area consists of a jungle gym, swings, rocking horses, and a scooter path. The elevated park area also boasts incredible views across the V&A Waterfront and the surrounding city streets. **The park is fully accessible to disabled visitors.

#27 Explore the Battery Park’s amazing Piazza

The Piazza forms one of the levels of the park. It comprises of retail outlets, pedestrian paths, benches, and gardens. Stairs leading down from the Piazza give visitors access to the canal, from where they can watch water activities or simply meander along the water’s edge.

#28 Enjoy amazing up-close Cape Fur Seal sightings

These beloved members of the Marine Big 5 can be spotted while simply strolling along the V&A Waterfront harbor. You can also find them at the Clock Tower Precinct and on old tires lining the quayside.

#29 Enjoy incredible live performances

Cape Town is known for its vibrant artistic scene and captivating musical pursuits. All of which can be enjoyed at the lively V&A Waterfront both on weekends and during the week. With live performances, street side buskers, performing art groups and passionate musicians taking to the stage all for your enjoyment. Boasting both up and coming rising stars and established musical performers, it truly is an incredible experience to be enjoyed by all!

#30 Other things to see & do at the V& Waterfront:

  • The V&A Waterfront is the main stop on the City Sightseeing Red Bus Tour
  • Let the kids take a ride on the Hamleys Express
  • Enjoy a game of HintHunt Escape Room with family and / or friends
  • Visit the Chavonnes Battery Museum – Dating back to 1725 it is the harbor’s oldest heritage site
  • Check out the Robinson Dry Dock – One of the oldest operating dry docks in the world
  • Enjoy a game of basketball or mini soccer at the V&A Waterfront Battery Park’s Multi- Court. Sporting adjustable hoops, the Multi-Court is accessible to both the young & young at heart
  • Visit the new Time Out Market, the Watershed at the V&A, and the Oranjezicht City Farm Market