Published : Dec 05, 2023

Festive Season in Cape Town

3 min read

Many of us dream of a white Christmas, somewhere cold and snowy. But Cape Town, while not known for its December snowfall, is a great location to spend the festive period with great activities to get you into the holiday spirit! The Mother City really comes alive over December, with lots of beachgoers, Christmas shopping, and warm days spent lounging in the sun. You’ll struggle to find a place with better vibes and happier faces.

Christmas Markets

Cape Town is known for its numerous magnificent markets year-round, and the festive season is no exception. Christmas markets are a great place to buy your Christmas presents, as you’ll find unique gifts, all while supporting independent businesses and artists. Some recommended markets include the Cape Gift Market at the Sea Point City Hall, the Stellenbosch Kersmark which has over 180 stalls, the Pinelands Craft and Gift Fair which runs until late December, the Lourensford Market, and the Oranjezicht City Farm Market. Many local churches will often host their own small Christmas markets, which is definitely worth visiting as well.

Festival of Lights
Festival of Lights

Every year, Adderley Street becomes a sight to behold with its Christmas lights and decorations. A favourite activity for many is taking a drive down the street on any night in December. The official turning-on of the lights is a must-do activity, with food and gift stalls lining the road and a great street party to round the night off. This usually takes place on the first Sunday of December.

Sing Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight is one of Cape Town’s longest festive traditions, having occurred annually for over 30 years. The event takes place over 4 days in December at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – the dates for 2023 are 14 – 17 December. The event is hosted by the Rotary Club of Kirstenbosch, which raises funds for community-based projects, such as youth-leadership development, various health programs, feeding-schemes, early child development, and elderly support. The carols are led by a small band and a choir. Patrons are encouraged to bring along their loved ones and a picnic basket and spend this special evening in one of Cape Town’s most breath-taking locations. Be sure to book early, as this event attracts over 20 000 people!

Visit Santa and His Elves

Meeting Santa and telling him what you want for Christmas is an experience kids are always excited for. Most shopping centres have their own festive celebrations, many of which include meeting Santa. The best ones to visit are Canal Walk Shopping Centre and the V&A Waterfront. Check out what events they are hosting on their websites.

Enjoy a Christmas Movie at Galileo Open Air Cinema
Enjoy a Christmas Movie at Galileo Open Air Cinema

The Galileo Open Air Cinema returns every year during the summer months, with a fun line-up of movies at various locations. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens is the venue where their Christmas specials usually take place. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a Christmas movie in the open air. For 2023 they are showing Last Christmas on 20 December, Home Alone on 24 December, and The Grinch on 25 December.

Celebrate New Year’s In Cape Town

If you are staying in Cape Town for New Year’s, be sure to check out the Cape Minstrels, or Kaapse Klopse, on 2 January, as they parade through the streets with colourful clothing and jolly music. This tradition stems from the day-off slaves had, and today celebrates the end of slavery. For New Year’s Eve, the V&A Waterfront is usually a good spot to watch the fireworks and Long Street will be your one-stop party destination.

When you stay with us, you can expect comfort and cheer every season. Ideally located to experience all the Mother City has to offer, be sure to book early and enjoy the festive period in style. Keep an eye on our socials for any holiday specials!

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