6 Unmissable Weekend Markets to Explore in Joburg

With jacaranda trees blooming, summer in full swing, and the start of the season where South Africa comes alive (the last four months of the year, also known as the ‘Bers’), it is no secret that more time will be spent outdoors. If there is one thing South Africans share a love for, it’s fun in the sun, and weekend markets are among the places they seek it.

Joburg, the city that never sleeps, offers a variety of weekend markets that cater for everyone. Daytime lovers and those that come alive when the night falls are set for a fantastic time.

Many will agree that beautiful sunny skies, gourmet treats, and the company of good friends and family are a winning combo and a perfect reason to ditch the old restaurant routine and try one of many exciting food markets around Jozi. Find the one that suits you and have the time of your life.

Delve into the colorful weekend life of Johannesburg residents while collecting unique arts and crafts, experiencing the fashion, getting fresh produce from local farms, and enjoying the best street food in Southern Africa.

Here’s your go-to guide.

Fourways Farmers Market 

Operating time: 08:00 – 18:00
Operating days: Saturday, Sunday and an occasional Friday night market.
Pro Tip: Always have extra money for takeaways, as this is a food haven, and one meal is never enough. The seafood paella and Cajun chicken from the popular Something Fresh stall are my favorites; you’ve got to try them.

Looking for good vibes, good food and groove? Look no further; the Fourways Farmers Market is the market for you. It boasts an incredible selection of locally made cheeses, cured meats, sweet treats like the scrumptious dunked doughnuts, jams, freshly squeezed juices, preserves and finally, beautifully handcrafted jewelry, clothing, beauty products and plant markets and a beautiful and well-manned beer garden.  

This vibrant open-air market is a platform where some of the region’s finest musicians, artists, designers and other traders showcase their goods.

On arrival, the walk down the flower and olive tree-lined path and through to the hay bale picnic lawn will let you know that you have successfully escaped city life. What better way to enjoy your weekend than listening to the live band while watching your children play and having a picnic on the lawn?

Fourways Farmers Market recently introduced a second musical stage specifically for the entertainment of the young crowd that loves to dance while enjoying their drinks of choice. This makes it one of the most family-friendly among Joburg’s markets. The market also allows you to explore beautiful hiking and cycling trails within the Moderfontein Reserve.

Prison Break Market 

Operating time: between 09:00 and 21:00
Visit their website for the exact opening times for each shed.
Operating days: from Monday – Sunday, with the pop-up market on the last Sunday of the month.
Pro Tip: The Prison Break Market is cashless; all vendors have card machines.

When they say ‘country meets urban,’ they are talking about this unique market. Prison Break Market is a cross between a pop-up market and a shopping center. It boasts seven amazing sheds with varied offerings. Each shed has different operating days and times. With a wide selection of crafters and designer stalls, indulgent and appetizing artisanal foods, delicious meals and creative crockery painting at the Clay Cafe, interactive photo experiences and a shed dedicated to distilling and brewing liquor and wine tasting; be sure to come and enjoy this unique experience.

In addition to regular operations, there is a monthly pop-up market, a night market and themed events. Prison Break Market also boasts numerous unique, quirky, historical, and collector pieces that, over the years, have been restored to bring some nostalgia to the folk who visit. With so many photo opportunities at your disposal, I recommend putting them on your bucket list.

Market on Main

Operating time: 10:00 – 15:00
Operating days: Sundays, at Arts on Main in Maboneng, downtown Johannesburg.
Pro Tip: Come here with an open mind as you will see all types of people visiting Johannesburg from different parts of the world.

Launched in January 2011, Market on Main has established itself as Johannesburg’s leading urban food and design market, trading regional food and local designs.

Market on Main was started with the vision to give top food and design entrepreneurs a beautiful space to trade weekly and has been faithful to itself since then. This upmarket creative marvel is the one to visit for a relaxed time out with friends and family. Picnic under the olive trees while enjoying Ethiopian, Moroccan, Chinese, Italian, and Indian food. Take advantage of South African dishes such as bunny chow, boerie rolls, and snoek on roosterkoek. 

The Playground

Always wondered where the bulk of Johannesburg’s young people, especially the inner city youth, hang out on Sundays? Well, now you know. Before exploring what the Playground, formerly known as Neightbourgoods Markets, has to offer, you will notice the market-goers’ vibrant fashion sense. It is quite a sight for the eyes to feast on. If you appreciate a laid-back but vibrant type of vibe, then be sure to make a turn here.

This dynamic market is known for delectable street food and uniquely designed goods. It’s a meeting point to swap ideas and be inspired by the people and energy of Joburg. As the new name suggests, this market caters mainly to students and young people. Therefore, you will be happy to learn that the prices are pocket-friendly.

Operating time: 09:00 – 18:00

Operating days: Sundays

Pro Tip: This is also nice for birthday celebrations. Celebrating a birthday or just want to have some creative fun? Head to the Paint Jam for some paint and sip activities.

Rosebank Sunday Market 

Operating time: 09:00 – 16:00
Operating days: Sundays
Pro Tip: If you are looking for more Afrocentric clothes, accessories and antiques, this is the market for you as it offers an eclectic assortment of handmade creations and souvenirs.

This unique market is for the artistically inclined and offers a true reflection of South Africa’s dynamic nature. With its large selection of craft stalls, vintage clothing, live music, kids’ entertainment and lovely gourmet food, there is something for everyone. When you visit, you are guaranteed to experience a multitude of cultures, styles and flavours all thrown into one melting pot.

The open rooftop parking space transforms every Sunday into a premier, vibrant marketplace. The shopping experience includes an array of tasty delights, exciting ambience, unusual antiques, original clothing and craft market stalls. One of the most loved offerings of the market are the stunning views of the Johannesburg skyline and sunsets to compliment the pulsating African heartbeat of the traditional market experience.

What’s unique about this market is the car boot sale on the last Sunday of the Month.

Irene Village Market 

Operating time: 09:00 – 17:00
Operating days: Saturday and Sunday, with the pop-up market every first and last Saturday of the Month.
Pro Tip: This is a dog-friendly market, so bring along those four-pawed friends on your outing.

Have you been to The Big Red Barn yet? This family-friendly market, open since 1989, is famous for its proudly South African handmade arts and crafts. It offers a range of fun things to do. These include Acrobranch, zip-line, bungee trampoline, jumping castle, body bumper balls and Segways for the kids, a 20 to 30-kilometer mountain bike route, a 5 to 13-kilometer trail run and the unique and beautiful Olifants Cafe at the Barn. This cafe has a wide selection of fresh cakes and the best menu to choose from, and most importantly, they keep the drinks flowing.

At the Big Red Barn, wares undergo a strict selection process to eliminate the inauthentic ones and ensure that the consumers get value for their money. Market-goers will also find an array of delectable treats, and the lamb pita comes highly recommended.

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