Activities / Western Cape

10 FREE things to do (when it rains) in Cape Town

Updated Sunday, 30 December 2018

There is plenty to do in the Mother city when it rains. And there is plenty to do in Cape Town for free. We set out to marry the two and come up with a list that will have you reaching for the wellies and charging out into the wet weather for your share of bad weather brightening.

First Thursdays

Art galleries in the city bowl stay open late once a month on Thursdays so that anyone can go and experience great art and entertainment for free, all within a few city blocks.

Urge Free wine tasting and jazz on Fridays

Urban Rural Growers Emporium (URGE), on the corner of Loop and Buiten Streets, is a new deli, coffee stop, wine bar and convenience store that sources locally produced meats, cheeses and vegetables from farmers in and around Cape Town. They host free wine tasting on Fridays 4pm – 6pm, followed by live jazz 6pm – 10pm. They also do other things like dessert/coffee tastings, but phone them to find out more.

Urge Deli
The Deli at Urge in Cape Town. Photography by Andrew Brukman

Kloof Street Library

You’ll find this local library at the top end of trendy Kloof Street. It’s cosy, filled with little nooks and crannies, a good selection of books, it’s free, AND it has this gorgeous little garden hidden at the back in which you can sit. In a bid to raise funds for their library, the librarians rent out classical CDs and sell second hand books.

PechaKucha, every now and again

An event that takes place throughout the world in over 500 cities, PechaKucha is a forum for ‘light bulb’ ideas and a space in which to share them. This free event brings together people from across the city in an evening in which they inspire one another. Twelve people are given 20 seconds to present 20 slides on a topic of their choice. Run by a group of volunteers, entry is free, and there are frequent beer breaks.

Iziko Museums on public holidays

On certain commemorative days, like Heritage Day and Youth Day, Iziko’s museums are open to the public for free, including Rust en Vreugd, the Bo-Kaap Museum, the Planetarium and the South African Museum. Check with the respective museum before going, just to make sure.

National Gallery
Photograph taken at the South African National Gallery in Cape Town

Indoor Markets; Neighbourgoods, Earth Fair, City Bowl, Bay Harbour, Blue Bird Food and Goods

Cape Town’s food markets are excellent. They’re wonderfully vibey and a great space in which to nurse a beer, or a morning coffee, and people watch. The markets are all free, but you’ll be so inspired by the various offerings that you will want to take along a little pocket money…

Whatiftheworld Gallery

A platform for a new generation of emerging South African contemporary artists in a decommissioned synagogue by the same guys who bring you the Neighbourgoods Market at the Biscuit Mill (actually, it was the other way around; they founded the gallery before the market). It is open on Tues to Friday 10.00 – 17.00, Sat 10.00 – 14.00 or by appointment. Find them on the corner of Argyle and Albert Road, Woodstock.

Parliament building

You can visit Parliament for a guided tour that includes the history, an explanation of how Parliament works and you can watch debates from the public galleries in the National Assembly. The average tour is only an hour and happens daily from 9.00 to 12.00 Monday to Friday. Book in advance. Find it on Parliament Avenue.

Houses of Parliament
Visit the Houses of Parliament in the Company Gardens

St George’s Cathedral Wednesday lunch time concerts

On the first Wednesday of the month, free lunch hour concerts, starting at 12.30pm, are held at St George’s Cathedral. Mostly organ recitals and sometimes choirs and accompanied instrumentalists; always inspiring. Find it at 5 Wale Street.

Free Music on Wednesdays

Get to hear new, upcoming bands from in and around Cape Town, starting with acoustic sessions involving anyone who wants to get up and perform a song or spoken word at the Zula Bar 98 on Long Street. Starting at 8.30pm every Wednesday evening, entry: free.

Find lots more suggestions of FREE Things to Do in Cape Town so you can splurge on your accommodation in Cape Town!

Cape Town Travel Plans