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MMost 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 in 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.
Travel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Parkhurst is a unique and small area and has no tourist office – just get there and see for yourself!
How to get here
Parkhurst adjoins Parktown North. Travelling north or south on Jan Smuts Avenue, turn into 7th Avenue off Jan Smuts and keep going until you see 4th Avenue. There is also a Gautrain station in nearby Rosebank, within walking distance of the suburb.
Best time to visit
Summer is great because you can sit out on the pavement cafés and watch the world wander by. But winter has its charms too, including a number of pubs and restaurants with cosy fireplaces.
Things to do
Stroll up and down 4th Avenue, window shopping, or sit at one of the many pavement cafes with a glass of wine or a cappuccino, soaking up the cosmopolitan atmosphere.
What to pack
A hat and sunblock!
What to eat
Whatever takes your fancy. There are numerous restaurants, fast food outlets and pubs serving grub along 4th Avenue.