Don’t expect a glitzy mall when you come to Parkhurst, one of Johannesburg’s top shopping and dining destinations. It’s a small, cosy suburb, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in the quality of its restaurants, shops and vibrant village atmosphere.

Did you know?

In 1903, Parkhurst was still the most northerly section of a Braamfontein farm.

Most major cities seem to have one particular area that the locals favour – in Johannesburg that's Parkhurst.

Parkhurst lies just north of Rosebank and is always a-buzz with people sipping coffee at pavement cafés, browsing through antique shops or checking out the latest in design and fashion.

Registered in 1904, Parkhurst was Johannesburg's 67th suburb. Although small, it’s densely populated with over 2 200 plots averaging about 500m2.

Don’t look for the stately mansions of the old Randlords – those exist closer to the heart of the city – but expect quaint cottages and small houses that have been lovingly restored by their present owners. Colourful walls, tiny cheerful gardens and narrow streets are the order of the day.

The focus of what's happening is on 4th Avenue. It’s a long street lined with all manner of restaurants – some of the best in Johannesburg – as well as interior design boutiques, funky gift and clothing shops, and a concentration of hair salons and beauty parlours that could almost satisfy Paris Hilton. There's even a store to feed and pamper the pets.

But Parkhurst isn’t a 'posh' place like Sandton. Its size makes for informality and friendliness. You often have to weave your way past the patrons on the pavements as they sit at small tables chatting, eating, drinking and enjoying the Highveld sunshine.

You’ll get a good idea of an urban village community in Parkhurst. You’ll see children playing in the park and residents walking their dogs. Up to 100 dogs are walked to the park most evenings where their owners sit and catch up with local news and gossip.

If you're looking for a vibrant European sidewalk café culture with some of Johannesburg’s best restaurants then head for Parkhurst.

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