Cape Town is sometimes labeled the least african of African cities—which, depending on who’s doing the labeling, is said with enthusiasm or disparagement. But whatever you think of the must-see destination, post–World Cup Cape Town radiates a palpable hum of cool thanks to the rise of local, cutting-edge artists. The city’s finest style hour takes place every Saturday morning at Woodstock’s Neighbourgoods Market, where stands sell silk-and-leather sandals, biltong (Afrikaans beef jerky), and chèvre frais cheeses from Franschhoek. The trio behind the shopping epicenter also opened Whatiftheworld Design Studio, a retail space in East City and a gallery in Woodstock that showcase designs by young South African talents. The studio is close to Heritage Square, where you’ll find Caveau Wine Bar & Deli, whose menu spotlights regional dishes (dukkah-rubbed ostrich) and global fare (seared tuna in citrus sauce). Whether you have two days or two weeks, you’ll want to augment Cape Town’s under-the-radar spots with luxury services, such as those at Table Bay hotel, on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, or the renovated Cape Grace: either can arrange yacht tours, wildlife excursions, and strolls to the beaches of the Cape of Good Hope reserve.
Cape Town Affordable Tip: The best hotel for visitors looking for a design immersion is the 33-room Grand Daddy. On its leafy rooftop are seven suites set in converted Airstream trailers. Doubles from $174.
Cape Town Family Tip: The KidsOnly program at One&Only Cape Town offers place-specific activities ranging from ostrich-egg painting to African dance performances. For teens, there are chaperoned movie screenings at the nearby Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. Doubles from $735, kids’ club complimentary for children and teens.
Cape Town: World’s Best Scorecard
No. 6 city overall
No. 1 city in Africa + Middle East
Cape Grace W. Quay Rd., Victoria & Alfred Waterfront; 27-21/410-7100; capegrace.com; doubles from $786.
Caveau Wine Bar & Deli 92 Bree St., Heritage Square; 27-21/422-1367; caveau.co.za; drinks for two $7.
Neighbourgoods Market Old Biscuit Mill, 373-375 Albert Rd.; neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za; Saturdays 9 a.m.–2 p.m.
Table Bay Quay 6, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront; 27-21/406-5000; suninternational.com; doubles from $436.
Whatiftheworld Design Studio 11 Hope St.; 27-21/448-1438; designstudio.whatiftheworld.com.
Whatiftheworld Gallery 208 Albert Rd.; 27-21/448-1438; whatiftheworld.com.