The city of Cape Town is a gold mine for food, wine and art lovers, as it hosts some of the most eclectic and art-loving events, as well as being home to many incredible art galleries.

Feel like you’re overwhelmed with all the art ventures of the Western Cape? Here are the top 5 places all art lovers need to visit in Cape Town.

1 First Thursdays

Arguably the biggest art event in Cape Town, First Thursdays takes place on the first Thursday of every month. The event is a free experience where art galleries and other cultural attractions in the inner city stay open late, inviting you to experience art and culture while exploring the city on foot through the night. Many restaurants in the popular Bree, Loop and Long street stretch become a hotspot on the First Thursdays evening, so make sure you grab a booking if you’re planning on stopping for dinner and drinks!

What to see:

Gallery MOMO

The world renowned contemporary art gallery was founded in Johannesburg in 2002, and has recently opened an exhibition space in Cape Town. The gallery supports local and international upcoming talents through its residency program, which allows artists to exchange ideas and engage with a new environment. Artists presented at Gallery MOMO often feature in international biennales such as Venice Biennale and Beijing Biennale.


When The first Thursday of every month
Where Various galleries inner city and East city
Cost Free
Contact [email protected]

Photography First Thursdays


2 Art Thursdays in Obz

Art Thursdays is a self-guided tour for art lovers and community members to experience and explore the ever-growing Observatory with its something-new popping up around every corner. Pick up your map from Ahem! Art Collective on 77 Lower Main Road and take on Obz to view and purchase art from unique exhibitions featuring local artists while supporting artisans, musicians and micro-businesses.

What to see:

Ahem! will be presenting a special homage to the People’s Painter in collaboration with the Consulate General of Russia, featuring work by 13 selected artists in the illustration and animation industry. The Tretchikoff Homage Exhibition will be featured at Ahem! Art Collective on the next Art Thursdays, presenting extraordinary work by artists like Caroline Vos, Carmen Ziervogel, Ulysse Malassagne and more until 14 September 2017.


When The second Thursday of every month, the upcoming Art Thursdays is on 10 August
Where Venues are predominantly on Lower Main, Trill Rd and Nutall Rd
Cost Free
Contact +27 76 996 7067

Photography Silas Lekgoathi


3 Stevenson Gallery

The Stevenson Gallery is a Woodstock art-lover gem, with an international exhibition programme hosting stunning exhibitions. The gallery has brought the work of people like Francis Alÿis, Rineke Dijkstra, Thomas Hirschhorn, Glen Ligon and Walid Raad to South Africa and often for the very first time. Fall in love with the beautiful and thought-provoking works of artists like Penny Siopis, Claudette Schreuders, Zanele Muholi and more, all who’s works are featured at the gallery.

What to see now:

The New Parthenon

The group exhibition that focuses on the essay film and object-based installation as modes of speculative inquiry is presented by Stevenson until 26 August 2017. The work is in an essay form which is used to approach a series of formal and philosophical questions, which are articulated within a broad field of materiality, including the essay film and installations that incorporate objects as well as elements of photography, ephemera and performance.


When Monday to Friday, 9a,m – 5pm, Saturdays 10am – 1pm
Where Buchanan Building, 160 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock
Cost Free
Contact +27 21 462 1500, [email protected]

Photography Facebook


4 South African National Art Gallery

Sitting comfortably in the historic Company’s Garden, the South African National Art Gallery is the ultimate gallery of African and international artwork including paintings, sculptures, photography, beadwork, textiles, and works on paper. A visit to the SA National Gallery will treat art lovers to the work of established South African artists who exhibit at the gallery on a regular basis.

What to see:

Butcher Boys (1985-6) by Jane Alexander, mixed media

The eery, life-like sculptures of the grey horned, naked male bodies known as the Butcher Boys is renowned South African artist Jane Alexander’s most famous sculpture. The figures greet visitors and immediately draw them in to their human-like figures resting on a wooden bench. The Butcher Boys are made from plaster and their standout features of dead, opaque eyes, deep wounds down the middle of the abdomen and no mouth capture the attention of anyone who passes by. The sculpture symbolises the racial discrimination and violence committed during apartheid South Africa.


When Daily from 10am – 5pm
Where Government Avenue, Company’s Garden
Cost Adults R30, 6-18 years R15, SA Students and pensioners R15, Family ticket (2 adults and 2 children) R75, children under 5 enter free
Contact +27 21 481 3970

Photography Skatelescope 


5 Irma Stern Museum

The Irma Sterm Museum, which was established in 1971 and is governed by the University of Cape Town and the Irma Stern Trust, promotes an understanding and appreciation of the life, work and travels of the iconic South African artist, Irma Stern. The museum displays a collection of her art and artefacts she collected on her travels, in the privacy of her own home. The works show Irma Stern’s development as an artist, and her works of portraits and exotic figures, lush landscapes and colourful still lifes. A visit to the museum is an experience like no other, where the uniquely furnished interior of Stern’s sitting room, dining room and studio is retained in the manner left by the artist herself.

What to see:

Upon Irma’s numerous trips to Europe and her journeys in Africa, she collected and filled her home with artefacts and incredibly unique artworks. The highlight of her African artefact collection is the Buli stool, possibly acquired by the artist before 1935. Many experts agree that the stool was carved in the early 20th century by a master craftsman in the Congo, known as Master of the Buli. A historical and classic African artwork, that can easily be viewed by any art-loving Cape Tonian.


When Tuesday to Friday, 10am – 5pm. Saturday from 10am – 2pm
Where UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cecil Road, Rosebank
Cost R10 entrance fee
Contact +27 21 685 5686, [email protected]

Photography Irma Stern Museum 



Featured photography Ryan McGuire

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