Braamfontein, 'the spring by the brambles', was declared a township in the late 1880s, and before that, was part of a vast Witwatersrand farm. Located north of Johannesburg's city centre and despite decades of fluctuating socio-economic fortunes, Braamfontein remains an important economic and entertainment hub.

Did you know?

At Wits University, there are museums dedicated to palaeontology, natural science, geology, architecture, rock art and fine art, as well as theatres to visit.

Braamfontein is a commercially and culturally diverse business district comprising a mix of office blocks, student accommodation, restaurants, retail outlets, colleges, theatres and hotels.

Colloquially known as 'Braamies', it is the seat of the City of Johannesburg’s local government and is the home of South Africa's Constitutional Court and a top South African university, the University of the Witwatersrand.

An area with working class roots, in the early 1950s, when the centre of Johannesburg declined, Braamfontein became the alternative metropolitan place to work and play.

Between the late 1980s and early 2000s, urban decay from the inner city spread to Braamfontein, causing an exodus of corporate and tertiary institutions northward.

In 2002, local government realised how important the location and function of Braamfontein was to the local economy, and embarked on a multi-million rand regeneration programme for the area, supplemented by significant private-sector investment.

Today, a city improvement district (CID), managed by the Braamfontein Management District, provides security and maintenance of the upgraded environment, including a high visibility uniformed security force, parking attendants, closed circuit TV cameras, and extensive greening initiatives.

Braamfontein’s transformation from a rundown business district to a revamped Soho style neighbourhood with chic hotels, art galleries, trendy bars clubs and restaurants, continues apace.

A number of Braamfontein’s buildings have been, or are being turned into student accommodation or Manhattan-style loft apartments. Repairs to infrastructure and public artworks have enhanced the urban environment.

Braamfontein’s allure is its mix of historical landmarks, like the Lord Milner Hotel dating back to 1906, and its bustling modern African mélange of hair salons, newspaper kiosks, fast-food restaurants, spaza (informal) shops and internet cafés.

Likewise, Braamfontein attractions range from cultural stalwarts like the Johannesburg Theatre, to the revolutionary Origins Centre that re-examines humankind’s past through the medium of rock art.

Braamfontein must-sees include the striking Nelson Mandela Bridge, the Constitution Hill complex, the Johannesburg Planetarium, and a whole new generation of contemporary creative spaces, like 70 Juta, that house avant-garde interior design, art, fashion, and film studios.

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