The 25 BEST Things to Do in Cape Town at Night 

Last Updated on June 1, 2024 by thecapetownblog

Cape Town may conjure images of sunny beach days, but did you know that there are a TON of amazing things to do here at night?

Yup, the Mother City’s vibrant nightlife is one of the reasons I fell in love with it, but you don’t have to get boozy to enjoy the evenings here! I’ve lived here since 2021 and have had many wholesome nights out in the city in addition to the wild ones. There are tons of ways to enjoy the beautiful sunsets here, lots of fun dining experiences to enjoy, and plenty of entertainment options to keep you engaged long after the sun goes down. 

So whether you’re looking for adventure, food, culture, or just a big old jol, I’ve got you covered. Let’s get into it! 

1. Sunset Champagne Cruise from the Waterfront

Watching the sunset in Cape Town is always a treat, but a champagne cruise makes it even better! I had an absolute blast on this 90-minute catamaran ride, taking in the views of the Atlantic coast at sunset with a glass of bubbly in hand. Okay, they weren’t the best bubbles ever (and yes, it was sparkling wine, not real champagne), but it was still one of the most fun and scenic experiences I’ve had in Cape Town. And at this point, that’s REALLY saying something! 

The cruise costs R580, which includes a bottle of bubbly for two. If you get through it all, you can purchase another, but we found that it was more than enough. Summer cruises leave at 7 PM, while winter cruises depart around 5 PM. We checked in 15 minutes before departure but my tip would be to arrive earlier, so that you can get to the front of the queue and snag the best seats on the boat. 

You can read my full review of the champagne cruise here, but the short version is this: it’s one of the best ways to spend a night in Cape Town! 

2. The Oranjezicht Night Market (Summer Only)

The Oranjezicht Market is Cape Town’s most beloved farmers’ market. It combines delicious food, fresh produce, and locally made goods all under one roof (or canopy). I love coming here because there’s always an upbeat, vibrant atmosphere, and it’s one of my favourite places for dinner and drinks during the summer.

You see, the Oranjezicht Market is open on Saturday and Sunday mornings all year round, but from October until early April, it also opens on Wednesday nights from 5 – 9 pm. It used to be restricted to restaurant stalls but it proved so popular that now the night market offers the full shebang! 

The market is located in Granger Bay at the V&A Waterfront, and there’s a parking structure right next door. I will say that during December and January, the queues can get pretty long, so I would recommend arriving early to avoid having to wait. 

Meanwhile, if you want to get a beer, I would avoid queuing at the main bar at the back. In the seating area on the ocean-facing side of the market, there’s a small bar serving a handful of local brews and most people tend to miss it, so I never have to wait for long to get a drink here.

3. Night Kayaking

Kayaking in Cape Town is one of the best ways to check out the city’s awesome marine life, but did you know that you can also go at night?

Yup, Kayak Adventures offer a nighttime adventure through the waterfront’s canals, so this is a fantastic opportunity to see the area lit up at night. I’ve paddled along the canal route during the day and it’s a super beautiful route, so I can only imagine that it would be just as lovely after dark. 

The experience costs R450 and you get an hour out on the water. Hours change seasonally so check that before you book, but they run daily as long as the weather permits. I think this is such a unique way to spend an evening in Cape Town!

4. Sunset Beach Picnic

There are plenty of fantastic places to watch the sunset in Cape Town, but the beach is always my favourite! I often head to Saunders Rock Beach for a sunset picnic as it’s in Sea Point, so it’s very convenient for me. However, the Clifton Beaches are even more beautiful. Just remember that you’re not legally allowed to drink alcohol in public here! 

5. Join a Bar Crawl 

I’ve done bar crawls on a few city breaks, and they’re such a fun way to discover a city’s nightlife and enjoy a night out with fellow tourists. And this Cape Town cocktail tour is no different! So if you feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of planning a night out, let the pros do it before you. 

I think that this tour has a fantastic itinerary, because it takes you to the same bars that I always bring my friends to when they come out to visit! From crazy cocktails to the city’s best G&T (yes, really) and a top-secret speakeasy, this is a great way to check out four must-visit bars in just one night. And best of all, it ends at a lively bar where you can carry on dancing until the wee hours with your newfound friends to upbeat, cheesy music. But of course, that part is totally optional. 

The tour runs from Thursday to Saturday and costs R1,800 per person, which includes all of your drinks along the way. The guide, Khanya, is so much fun and really knows how to have a good time, and she’ll also tell you anything you want to know about the city of Cape Town! 

6. Lion’s Head Sunset Hike 

One of the best ways to experience Cape Town at night is by hiking Lion’s Head. The 360 views from the summit are breathtaking, and the sunset takes them to a whole new level. The experience is truly magical as the sky transforms, casting a golden glow over Cape Town and the Atlantic Ocean.

However, watching the sunset from the top of the mountain means the hour-long hike back down will take place after dark, and so I highly recommend joining this guided tour. I think it’s much safer to have an expert to guide you, especially when scrambling over rocks, and headlamps and torches are provided, so there’s no need to worry about additional gear. 

Prices start from R1,582 per person for this tour and it has over 300 5-star reviews, which you can read here. Honestly, I think it’s totally worth it to enjoy this spectacular experience in a fun and safe way. 

7. Ride the Cape Wheel 

If you find yourself at the V&A Waterfront on an evening in Cape Town, why not take a ride on the Cape Wheel? The ride only lasts for 12 minutes so it’s a nice, quick activity and it’s a great way to enjoy the sunset or see the city lit up at night. I loved the views of the Waterfront from up here, as well as Table Mountain and the Green Point stadium. 

The Wheel is right outside the Victoria Wharf mall, and it’s pretty hard to miss! We bought our tickets on the day and came back at sunset to redeem them. They cost R175 for South Africans and R250 for international visitors on the day, but foreigners can save a little bit of money by booking in advance through Get Your Guide. 

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8. Party on Kloof Street

Kloof Street is one of Cape Town’s main nightlife hubs, and my personal favourite area to go out in! With fun bars like Yours Truly, Blondie, and Van Hunks on offer, this is the perfect place to grab a drink (or seven) and enjoy the city’s nightlife. 

Meanwhile, Asoka is the place to be on Tuesday nights, or they do a fantastic 3-course dinner special on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, so take advantage of that while you can! 

And for something a bit calmer, I also like rooftop cocktails at Rick’s Cafe Americain. The Dark Horse is a bit of a hidden gem and they serve great bar food and margaritas here.

9. Galileo Open Air Cinema (Summer Only) 

Cape Town’s renowned Kirstenbosch Gardens are definitely worth checking out during the day, but after dark, it’s all about the open air cinema. This is actually such a cute date idea and actually sparked romance for two of my friends! 

They host events in Century City, too, but I think Kirstenbosch is the venue to go for. Since this experience requires decent weather, it’s a summertime only occurrence, but I definitely think it’s worth checking out what’s on while you’re in town. 

Do be aware that Kirstenbosch is about a 15-30 minute drive from central Cape Town, depending on traffic. This isn’t a problem if you’re renting a car, or it’s possible to Uber there and back. 

10. Head to a Wine Bar 

The Western Cape is famous for its wines so it’s no surprise that Cape Town is home to a ton of great wine bars. To be honest, most bars and restaurants that you visit will have a decent selection on offer, but I find there’s something satisfying and sophisticated about heading to a dedicated wine bar. 

Personally, I really like Open Wine, as it’s classy and pretty affordable. I’ve even managed to enjoy a free wine tasting here before! Culture Wine is a bit pricier but they always have really talented local musicians to enhance the ambience and one of the most extensive selections around. 

For something a bit more relaxed, Leo’s Wine Bar is a trendy spot on Bree Street, and there’s usually a great atmosphere here. Or, I really love Publik, a tiny wine bar that encourages visitors to try lesser-known boutique wines from around the Western Cape. They focus on organic and sustainable wines and I loved the food here! 

11. Enjoy the Sunset from Kloof Corner

My favourite hike in Cape Town is Kloof Corner! It only takes 20 minutes each way and the views are absolutely breathtaking. From up here, you really get a sense of how varied and beautiful Cape Town’s landscape is, from the Twelve Apostles and Lion’s Head to the city bowl, which starts to sparkle as the sun goes down. 

Basically, it’s relatively little effort for a BIG payoff.

The trail begins along Tafelberg Road, and there’s plenty of free parking around. Then, you climb up the Kloof Corner steps, which are well signposted. The trail is easy to follow and the hike is short with lots of steps, although it gets quite steep towards the end. 

I’d recommend starting your climb about an hour before sunset if you can so that you get to enjoy the full spectacle. It’s nice to bring some food and drink along to enjoy up there. But having said that, I have cut it pretty close before so don’t stress too much if you’re short on time! 

12. Do an African Food Tour 

South Africa has a pretty diverse cultural tapestry, but it’s sometimes hard to find ethnic food from other African countries around Cape Town, unless you really go looking for it. So if you’re keen to try flavours from across the continent, I think that this African food tour is the ideal way to spend a night in Cape Town.

Depending on the evening you choose, your local guide will take you to 3-4 different restaurants around the city centre and Bo Kaap, that you would otherwise never know to visit! The CBD also feels a bit dodgy in places so I think going with a guide is way better than wandering around on your own trying to find hidden gems. 

Over the course of the tour, you’ll try different dishes from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana, and the Congo, so you really get a taste of how diverse Africa is. But for me the best part is that the guides then use the food as a jumping off point to teach you about the history and culture of each country. As a relative newbie to African history, I think that this is so interesting! 

Plus, the tour only costs R950, so it’s very competitively priced compared to other food tours I’ve come across. To go in the evening, you’ll need to choose the 5 pm tour, which lasts for around 4 hours. 

13. Take a Mixology Class at the Gin Bar 

The “Secret” Gin Bar is ironically one of Cape Town’s most popular bars! That’s not surprising, given its cute, Mediterranean vibe and the fact it’s seductively hidden behind a cafe, which always adds an element of glamour. So where better to learn to craft the perfect G&T and discover the best local gin brands with a mixology class?

Every Tuesday night, the Gin Bar’s lead mixologist takes a small group through an in-depth tasting, before teaching them how to make two craft cocktails. I was actually surprised by how good South African gin is – the Brits are known for it, but honestly, some of the brands here really knock it out of the park. And if it’s any good, you better believe the Gin Bar will have it. 

The class starts at 6 pm and lasts for 2 hours. Afterwards, you’re free to carry on hanging out in the bar with your newfound friends, head out to nearby Bree Street, or go upstairs for a tasty bowl of ramen. Either way, I definitely left with a newfound appreciation for gin. 

14. Enjoy Mojo Market

Mojo Market is a permanent indoor food market in Sea Point, with live music every night from 9 pm onwards. It’s one of my favourite places to enjoy a few chilled drinks with friends, and friends of mine have even played here! There’s a good vibe and lots of different food stalls to choose from. 

The House of Nasi Goreng is my favourite, but I also love Rip Republic. Souvlaking Good and Sha Sha Warma are both delicious choices. There are also three different bars here as well as stalls selling snacks like fudge and biltong. 

15. Karaoke at Bokeh

Bokeh is a karaoke bar where you have to get up and sing in front of a crowd! To be honest, I do prefer an Asian-style booth but that’s not available in Cape Town, so this is the next best thing if karaoke is your idea of a good night out (it’s definitely mine). 

We had to write down five songs on a slip and then the MC drew names to see who got to perform what. If you stay long enough, most people do get to sing something, but some lucky (or unlucky, depending on your stance) people have to get up there multiple times. The crowd is supportive, though – everyone was great during my way-too-sober rendition of Eminem’s ‘Without Me’.

Karaoke at Bokeh is from 8 ‘til late. It’s free to sing but of course you’ll need some liquid courage. The drinks here aren’t too expensive – I spent about 4 hours here and it only cost me around R300. Wine, cocktails, and tequila were all involved, so I was happy with that! 

16. Win a Pub Quiz

Or at least participate! 

I love a good pub quiz, and there are a few good ones around central Cape Town. Honey and Dora in De Waterkant host a drag pub quiz on Tuesdays, which is so much fun. The decor here is beautiful and the drag performances between rounds are always super impressive. I like the cocktails, too, and the burgers are so delicious. It kicks off at 6:30 pm every Tuesday and it’s best to book a table as it gets very busy. 

On Wednesdays, Tiger’s Milk in Green Point hosts a pub quiz. They often have fun themes, and we won the Valentine’s Day romcom one, which was a proud achievement! 

Meanwhile, the Fireman’s Arms quiz is one of the most popular around. My housemates and I went on a Thursday night during the winter and there were over 30 teams. It starts at 7 pm and costs R25 per person. I would definitely recommend getting a pizza for brain fuel, as it’s some of the best I’ve had. Again, you’ll need to book. 

17. Go for Cocktails

Okay, this is quite general, but I would highly recommend spending an evening checking out some of Cape Town’s coolest cocktail bars. 

Asoka, which I talked about earlier, has a buzzing Tuesday night and some great weekday dinner specials. It’s a really classy place and I love the pornstar martinis here! 

Cause and Effect, meanwhile, is known for its crazy themed cocktails. I liked the Table Mountain one, and my friend Jannes got the Noon Gun, which is based on the gun that makes me jump every single day without fail at midday. 

The Drinkery is a stylish speakeasy just off of Bree Street. If you feel like dancing, it’s hard to go wrong at the Athletic Club and Social. It does get a bit busy at times, but their El Diablo is the best in town. 

And then for drinks with a view, I love the Leopard Bar at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa. It’s a 10-minute drive north of the Camps Bay strip, so it’s out of the way enough that I have never needed a reservation here, and the sunset views are spectacular. Then, there’s 14 Stories in town which is a nice place to watch the sun go down and the city bowl light up in the evening. 

18. Party on First Thursday

The First Thursday of the month is a big deal in Cape Town. 

A BIG deal. 

It started as a city-wide way to celebrate the art galleries, but bars quickly caught on and now pretty much the entire CBD comes alive. In fact, during the summer a clothing store on Bree Street even had people dancing outside! (It was Float Apparel, in case you’re wondering). 

Bree Street is the centre of the action on First Thursday. During the summer, the Station on Bree pub actually closes off the southern end of the street for a huge party. Keep an eye on their Instagram page for details. It’s a ton of fun but it gets super crowded, so if you’re not ready to dance until the wee hours, there are plenty of other places to go. 

For a chilled-ish First Thursday, I recommend dinner at Clarke’s Dining Room, then heading to Fable for cocktails. After that, I like to continue onto the Gin Bar or P&G for the rest of the night. 

19. Eat Your Way Through the Time Out Market

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the new Time Out Market, but it’s a hit if you ask me! I was so excited when I saw which restaurants have set up shop here. For one, there’s De Vrije Burger, which you can usually only get in Stellenbosch. It’s so good that my friend and I once drove all the way to Stellies just to get one, so the fact you can get it at the Waterfront now is a dream come true! 

Then, there’s the Yard, which does delicious pizzas, and you can sample Cape Malay cuisine from the Bakarat. Culture Wine, which I mentioned earlier, also has a bar here, so you can wash your meal down with some of the Western Cape’s finest wine. Happy days. 

20. Enjoy the Dive Bars

Fancy cocktails are fun, but I don’t think you can beat a good old dive bar. If you’re like me and enjoy unpretentious nights out with friends, I recommend checking out some of Cape Town’s dive bars one night. Surfa Rosa is a real gem that stays open super late, but the real king of late-night bars is The Shack. And yes, that name is very accurate. If you want cheap drinks, pool, and nostalgic music, then Shack is the one. 

21. Catch a Show at the Theatre

If you’re looking for a cultured night in Cape Town, why not see what’s on at the local theatres?

Camps Bay is home to Peter Toerien’s Theatre on the Bay. They recently did Spring Awakening and also regularly host live comedy evenings and tribute acts. It’s definitely worth checking out what’s on. You could really make a night of it by heading somewhere nice in Camps Bay for dinner first – I like Chinchilla.

I also saw the most hilarious comedy show at the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch. I usually don’t venture out that way but a friend got tickets and I honestly had tears of laughter streaming down my face! This is one of Cape Town’s biggest performance venues and it’s actually part of the university, so definitely check out what’s on as they have some really interesting performances. 

22. Go for dinner at Marco’s African Place

Marco’s African Place is owned by Cape Town’s first black restaurateur, and every night he takes tourists on what can only be described as an African food safari! It’s one of the best places in the city to eat Xhosa cuisine, as well as South African classics like ostrich and springbok. There’s even crocodile on the menu, although I haven’t been brave enough to try it. 

This place is more than just a restaurant. It’s more like an immersive dining experience – that sounds pretentious, but it’s true! You don’t come here just to grab a quick bite. Instead, there’s live entertainment every night, so patrons get to watch African music and dancing, in exchange for a small cover charge of R25. Unsurprisingly, this place is popular so I would advise booking a table in advance.

23. Jazz at Athletic Club and Social 

The Athletic Club and Social is one of the best places to go for a night out in Cape Town. It’s always buzzing on Friday and Saturday nights, but during the week you can enjoy a sophisticated night of jazz and cocktails here – what could be better?

I love the old world vibe at Athletic, but it can be hard to enjoy when all three floors are filled with sweaty bodies, so it’s really nice to come when it’s quieter. This way, I actually get to enjoy my El Diablo without fear of it being knocked out of my hand by a sweaty stranger.

Jazz performances usually start at 9 pm on a Thursday night, but keep an eye on their Instagram to see what’s on! 

24. Take a Private Cooking Class 

If you want to see how Capetonians really eat, this private cooking class in a local home in Wynberg is SUCH a wholesome way to spend an evening. Richard and Gillian are super lovely hosts and they’ll teach you to make two or three South African dishes. They’re both professional chefs, so don’t worry you’re in good hands! 

When I first moved to Cape Town, I learned about South African cuisine through dinners at friends’ houses rather than out at restaurants. Restaurants here mostly serve the standard western fare that you’d find in pretty much any major city in the world – it’s home-cooked food that truly captures the essence of South African culture and hospitality.

The menu varies so I can’t tell you exactly what you’ll make, but stew, curry, and braai roasts are on the menu. Best of all, you’ll make either koeksisters or malva pudding for dessert, and both are delicious. (Sticky toffee pudding is my favourite dessert of all time, and malva pudding is pretty similar!) 

This class costs around R1,500 per person but the price varies slightly by group size. It’s a private experience so it’ll just be your group and your hosts, which makes it really personal. I highly recommend it! 

Click here to find out more and book

25. Catch a Movie at the Labia 

The Labia is a charming, classic gem in the heart of Cape Town’s city centre. Forget 3D screens or IMAX experiences; this old-school theatre’s appeal lies in its vintage charm. Although I’m not an avid cinema goer, watching a movie here always feels special. They screen a mix of classic favourites and new releases, which I love. 

The outdoor terrace is perfect for enjoying a drink before or after your film, and you can even take a glass of wine into the theatre. They also offer meal (or drink) and movie combos available every day, so it’s great value for money, so check out their latest deals.

Thanks so much for reading this article! As you can see, there’s plenty to do in Cape Town at night, and if you need more inspiration on what to get up to during the day, check out the following…

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