In close proximity to two universities (the University of Johannesburg and the University of the Witwatersrand) Melville has always attracted students and academics and is a favoured neighbourhood for the city's writers, artists, performers and poets. Established in 1896 on the edge of the rocky Melville Koppies, what was once a sleepy, old-fashioned suburb, is now a colourful neighbourhood with a friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere. Quirky and alternative and with not one chain store or franchised restaurant in sight, Melville enjoys a reputation as Joburg’s most bohemian suburb. The main thoroughfares - particularly 7th Street and 4th Avenue - are an eclectic mixture of antiques shops, student bars, book stores, artist studios and upmarket restaurants such as The Leopard (pictured above) and Lucky Bean, a veritable Melville insitution famed for its traditional South African food. Furthermore the pretty tree-lined streets surroundings these contain guesthouses galore, making Melville a good base for anybody visiting the city for a few days.

Looking out over the Melville Koppies is the little Bamboo Centre which includes a cafe and restaurant, independent bookstore and South African designer boutique. Meanwhile over on 4th Avenue a disused park has become the innovative 27 Boxes, a boutique shopping centre made from shipping containers that houses a great range of exciting local fashion and design boutiques, a wide choice of cafes and food stalls and a purpose-built open-air amphitheatre and children's playground.
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