Parktown – Experience Joburg's history in this suburb

more than a year ago
The first of the suburbs north of the inner-city, Parktown, was established in the 1890s and was home to many of Joburg’s Randlords. The expansion of the M1 and Parktown’s densification destoryed many of the mansions but the ones still standing let you learn about Joburg's history and the people who played a role in shaping it. If you’re an architecture fan they are an excellent way to see the Cape Dutch revival, Victorian and Edwardian styles. Read on to find out what to explore in this historic neighbourhood.

The View

The View's grand entrance.

Built in 1897, The View was the home of diamond magnate Sir Thomas Cullinan. Its red-brick exterior and white gables are magnificent, and a trip there with Joburg Heritage Foundation provides unique insights into Cullinan’s life and the role he played in shaping Johannesburg. You can alson book The View for events or go on a tour of the building with Microadventure Tours.

Mike’s Heritage House (formerly Mike’s Kitchen)

Mike's Heritage House, the lawns are perfect for the kids to run around while you eat in peace.

One of Joburg’s oldest and most well-known restaurants, this heritage house was the spot for birthday parties in the ’90s and 2000s. A trip there was always a highlight as you ran around while the parents sat and chatted. Mike’s Heritage House is still a popular option today for a meal out or to watch the sport at the bar. With many of the original Victorian and Edwardian features in the ‘Eikenlaan’ house still present, Mike’s Heritage House has a setting that few restaurants can beat.

Johannesburg South Africa Temple and Beit Emanuel Progressive Synagogue

You’ve probably seen the six gilded white spires of the Johannesburg South Africa Temple piercing Joburg’s skyline. Still, you may not know the building they adorn. The temple is home to the Latter Day Saints Church. It is one of the busiest of their temples in sub-Saharan Africa, with members spanning the diaspora. You can join them for a service or book an appointment to visit the building.

The Beit Emanuel Progressive Synagogue is one of Joburg’s largest and most diverse Jewish Congregations. They’re incredibly welcoming, and if you’re looking to learn more about Judaism and its contemporary issues, their Saturday afternoon talks have become very popular. Alternatively, you can join them for their Friday evening or Saturday morning service.

Artist Proof Studios

Printing at Artist Proof Studios. Photo from Artist Proof Studios.

Founded in 1991 by Kim Berman and Nhlanhla Xaba, Artist Proof Studios is one of Joburg’s most prominent and long-standing print studios. Focusing on printmaking, Artists Proof Studios seek to increase access to art education and provide a platform for emerging artists to grow. Visit to buy work from the artists and join them for one of their open studios to meet and engage with the artists working there. They also offer excellent short courses in printing techniques. 


The home of Randlord John Dale Lace, Northwards, was constructed in 1902 by the architect Herbert Baker (whose architectural designs are scattered across Joburg). Part of the Arts and Crafts architectural movement, Baker saw decoration as part of the architectural process and the grand building is dotted with intricate detailing. Join Microadventure Tours for a house tour and afterwards revel in sublime views of Joburg from the sprawling gardens. This is also the HQ of the Joburg Heritage Foundation, who offer a fantastic range of tours. Joburg Heritage Foundation works incredibly hard to preserve the history of Johannesburg’s built environment. Their regular tours focusing on specific neighbourhoods offer essential insights and quirky tidbits about the city’s history.

Linder Auditorium

The impressive Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra at the Linder Auditorium.
With some of the best acoustics in the city, the Linder Auditorium, located on Wits’ Education Campus, is the place to go if you want to listen to classical music. Home to the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, their seasons host a wide range of international musicians and composers. They are sure to leave you spellbound at the talent on display.


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