Lunch Hour Adventures in the Cape Town CBD

Although this blog may suggest otherwise, I have actually been going to work 5 days a week here in Cape Town. But even on those 9-5 days, I love to take 10-15 minutes away from my desk for a little midday adventure. My office building sits on St. George’s Mall, right in the heart of everything, so exploring has been almost effortless. Here’s a roundup of my favorite spots around the Cape Town CBD (apologies in advance for some iPhone photography!):

  1. Adderley Street Flower Market

The Adderley Street Flower Market has been operating for the past 150 years, providing Capetonians with everything from daily blooms to wedding arrangements. The women working in this market have a special wit about them, and their businesses in many cases have been passed down from grandmothers to mothers to daughters. The market creates a lovely tunnel of fresh blooms, located in Trafalgar Place between Strand and Darling Streets and nestled between the Standard Bank and Golden Acre Mall. Open Monday-Saturday 7am-8pm.

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I’m totally one of those people that will find a way to squeeze fresh flowers into her budget. They’re basically a staple. And luckily the Adderley Flower Market stretches your dollar (or rand) pretty far: tell the vendor how much you are willing to spend, and she will assemble a beautiful bouquet for you to bring home. I love adding in some proteas, as they’re the national flower here and there is such a stunning variety. My bouquet for this week was 50 rand (about $3) and I’m thrilled with the mix of rustic greens and punchy proteas that I ended up with. Even Trader Joe’s can’t beat that.

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2. Lady Bonin’s Tea Bar

Keeping up with the inadvertent female entrepreneurialism theme, meet Lady Bonin’s Tea Bar! It was started in a humble/adorable tea caravan by Jessica Bonin, who quit her conventional job to pursue her passion of making tea, using socially and environmentally responsible ingredient sourcing. Lady Bonin’s now stands as a small-but-mighty brick and mortar establishment on Long Street. The impact investment firm I work for here actually helped secure some of her first capital investments!

Lady Bonin’s is a more-than-welcomed respite from the work day and the city as a whole: sit back in the idyllic courtyard and you’ll forget you’re anywhere near the bustling (and often raunchy) Long Street. Highly recommend the matcha latte and chai chili brownie to give you a much-needed caffeine boost for that 2pm conference call.

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3. Bocca and Bo-Kaap

I have this engrained prejudice against new, flashy-looking restaurants. I’ll gravitate towards a kitschy, cozy, older looking place any day. But, I was told by my friend Isa to check out Bocca and I’m so glad I did! One of the best prosciutto/arugula pizzas I’ve had, and I’ve had a lot. Served up in a matter of minutes, with just enough time to walk up the street to see the colorful Bo-Kaap quarter. Disclaimer: I actually went here for dinner, the wine glass wouldn’t have made an appearance in my workday lunch! IMG_6023

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4. National Library of South Africa

Take a walk through the beautiful Company’s Gardens and wind up on the palatial steps of the National Library of South Africa. Often ranked as one of the “top 10 best looking libraries in the world,” it’s a nice place to wander around for a few minutes. National-Library-of-SA


5. Greenmarket Square

This square has been around since 1696, and is the second-oldest public site in Cape Town. Today it’s a flurry of vendors and sidewalk cafe-diners that merits a quick stop. Most of the souvenirs are cheap and cheesy, but it’s always fun to walk through this lively spot. Dart in DEAR ME at 165 Longmarket St. for a bite or a cuppa to escape the mayhem.

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Hope you’re able to do some adventuring this work week!

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4 thoughts on “Lunch Hour Adventures in the Cape Town CBD

    1. Thanks Helen! It’s a very colorful city. The working world is a bit different- people wear jeans and hoodies to work in a lot of cases, and there aren’t as many formal meetings with rigid scheduling. Was an adjustment for me at first coming from Penn but everyone has been lovely 🙂

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