I’ll be totally honest, before I got to Cape Town, one of my South African friends gave me a ton of stern warnings about the city, including to not go out at night.

But what’s the fun in that?

Once I asked him to clarify a bit, I discovered that it’s totally fine to go out and do things at night.

The main thing he was cautioning me against was being out walking around the streets past dusk.

All my friends and I needed to do was call an Uber and the entire city was ours to explore.

Over our time in town, we went out to a bunch of great restaurants, bars, clubs, night markets, and spent one evening taking in the heavenly view of sunset from on top of Table Mountain.

In fact, it kind of surprised me that there were so many things to do in Cape Town at night.

We spent so many nights out laughing, drinking, and meeting new local friends. 

Read on to find out all the best things to do in Cape Town at night, plus answers to all the frequently asked questions about safety and going out in the city at night.

Best Things to Do in Cape Town at Night

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1. Take a Sunset Cruise

One of my favorite memories from my time in Cape Town was taking a sunset cruise around the coast with a group to celebrate my friend’s birthday.

It was a super spontaneous last minute decision, and was seriously epic.

We saw dolphins, seals, an incredible sunset, and some absolutely insane views of the Cape.

Fair warning though, definitely bring a jacket because it gets quite cold on the water once the sun is down.


Reserve your spot today!


2. Chill at a Night Market

One of our go-to evening plans most evenings was to hit up different night markets.

They’re super fun because there’s a bunch of different food stalls, including ones that sell alcoholic drinks, plus most have little craft and boutique booths to browse.

Plus, my friends and I really loved it because it was an easy way to meet locals who would give us pointers on things around town we shouldn’t miss.

Here’s a list of some of our favorites, plus a few I’m dying to check out on my next visit.

Just double check their hours, as some run seasonally.



3. See a Performance at The Baxter Theatre

Being a total theater fanatic, I can’t believe I was in Cape Town for almost three weeks and didn’t get the time to see any theater.

Catching a show at The Baxter Theatre is something I’m hoping to cross off later next year when I get back to Cape Town. 

Locals tell me that this is one of the best theaters to catch all excellent performances and comedy shows.



4. Catch a Film at Galileo Open Air Cinema

Everyone should experience at least one outdoor film screening in their lifetime.

It’s such a fun and unique way to relax either solo, with friends, or even on a romantic date night.

In Cape Town, that means heading to the Galileo Open Air Cinema.

They generally show films between October and April when the summer weather is in full swing.

Locals tell me you’ll want to arrive early for screenings, as this is a really popular place.

You’ll also want to bring your own blanket to sit on, and maybe a sweater so you don’t get chilly once the sun goes down.



5. Take in the View From Table Mountain

It’s basically a crime to go to Cape Town and miss seeing the view from Table Mountain, especially at sunset.

Depending on how athletic you want to be, you can either go roughly three hours before sunset to hike up the mountain, or you can pre-book tickets to take the lift to the observation area and skip the workout.

I’ve done both, and would say the cable car is definitely the best unless you want to be all sweaty at the top taking photos.

Either way, the views are a must-see!


Book your trip to the top of Table Mountain today!


6. Test Your Knowledge at Trivia Night

Okay, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but trivia nights can be really fun, especially if you’re traveling as a group.

These are some of the most popular quiz nights in Cape Town:



7. Enjoy the Sunset on Lion’s Head

My friend April and I ended up hiking Table Mountain first, and after that we didn’t have the motivation to do another hike so quickly, so this hike is on my to-do list for the next visit. 

I’ve heard amazing things about it and the photos I’ve seen of the views have been amazing.

The hike takes about two to three hours to reach the top.

Also, please remember, doing this means you will hike back down in the dark.

Local’s Tip: If you don’t want to hike, take a car to the top of Signal Hill for similar views.


Not a confident hiker? Book this sunset group hike!


8. Sample Whiskey at The Whiskey Library

I know not everyone loves whiskey, but if you like it even a little, The Whiskey Library is a must.

You can do tastings, or even just describe what taste profile you’re looking to drink and their experts will recommend something delicious for you to sip. 

While you’re there, don’t forget to try the whiskey cheese platter, it’s one of their most popular food items.



9. See the City From Above

If hiking isn’t your thing, but you still want an epic sunset view, book yourself an epic sunset helicopter ride over Cape Town.

This is another activity that’s at the top of my Cape Town bucket list.

The tour I’ve listed below takes off from the V&A Waterfront, giving you amazing views of the “Mother City”, plus Table Mountain, Lion’s Head, and more.


Book your helicopter ride today!


10. Catch a Play at Artscape Theatre

This is Cape Town’s major theater and thus, always seems to have something exciting on its schedule.

Artscape Theatre hosts ballet performances, opera, the philharmonic, dance competitions, choir, and of course, some classic musicals and plays.

I can’t wait to see a show here one night during my next stay in Cape Town.



11. Enjoy a Relaxing Dinner

Everyone has to eat, right? 

So whatever you do, don’t chance ending up somewhere subpar.

I love spontaneity until it comes to eating out. I fully believe in research to make sure I’m enjoying whatever meal I sit down to.

Below are the spots in Cape Town I really loved, plus a few that locals recommended.



12. Go Dancing

One of my favorite nights out in Cape Town was when we all went out dancing for my friend April’s birthday.

We had already spent the day on the Franschhoek Wine Tram, so we had a solid pregame already in place.

Once we got back to the city, we quickly cleaned up and headed out to the Village Idiot.

We had so much fun dancing to old school 90s and early 2000s hits. The crowd was on the younger side, which made it extra fun on the dance floor.

Plus, the bartenders are hot and know what they’re doing. We had the time of life here the night we went out.

Obviously, just stay aware of your surroundings and stick together for safety. 

These are some other hot spots locals mentioned when we were asking for advice on where to go celebrate:



13. Catch a Show at Labia Theatre

The Labia Theatre is the oldest independent art repertory movie theater in South Africa, so it’s well worth a visit.

They’ve got classic snacks, a cool movie lineup, and a charmingly vintage interior.

Don’t worry if you’re not into old movies, the theater plays a wide range of classic and new films, so you’ll have plenty to pick from.



14. Sing a Tune at Karaoke

If you’re in Cape Town with a group, nothing spells a good time, like singing a bit of karaoke after a few cocktails.

Head to one of these popular spots to belt out your favorite tunes:



15. Hit Up a Cocktail Bar

Obviously, if you’re flying solo, remember to stay aware of how much you’ve had to drink and balance any cocktails you have with some water.

These are some of the most popular watering holes for cocktails in Cape Town:



16. See a Movie

I know you can catch a film anywhere in the world, and it’s true, but sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and relax after a long day of sightseeing.

If you’re feeling like a chill night out, head to one of these theaters to catch the latest blockbuster:



17. Catch the View From a Rooftop

I believe if the weather is right, you should always hit up at least one rooftop bar in every city you visit.

You’ll get a gorgeous view, plus delicious drinks at any of these popular rooftop bars in Cape Town:


FAQs

Can You Walk in Cape Town at Night?

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One of the first things my South African friend told me when I asked for advice on visiting Cape Town was to never go out past dusk.

Basically, what he meant was don’t be on the street when it’s dark out.

Thankfully, ride apps like Uber are cheap compared to what you’d spend in the US or Europe.

Is Cape Town Good for Nightlife?

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Cape Town has a bunch of really fun nightlife options, including live music venues, delicious cocktail bars, clubs, and tons of restaurants.

Is Cape Town Safe for Female Tourists?

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Overall, Cape Town is a safe place for female tourists. However, you need to exercise caution, especially at night. 

You need to take cabs or Ubers everywhere at night, absolutely don’t walk around after dark solo. 

Besides that, just use common sense, and be careful about drinking too much if you go out solo.

Final Advice

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Everyone should be able to go out in Cape Town at night without worries, but I just want to reiterate that South Africa can be a dangerous place.

Always keep aware of your surroundings and if something doesn’t feel right, trust your gut.

There was one night my friends and I went out to dinner at a place we’d been to earlier in the week for lunch.

The vibe was totally different, and the server we had was very off. He insisted to us multiple times after finding out we weren’t local, that we must go to the ATM down the road to get cash because their credit card system has been triple charging people.

He picked the wrong targets, especially because one of my friends is from South Africa.

We all had already observed him speaking with some guys on the street who handed him an envelope of cash.

We all insisted we’d be paying by card, just like all the other local patrons who hadn’t warned of this fake issue.

The next day we went back to speak to the management because we knew he’d eventually target other tourists who would wander down the alley the ATM was in, inevitably getting robbed as part of this guy’s set up.

We were told by the manager that this server had been sketchy and they’d had multiple issues with him and cash. Our direct testimony is what they needed to get him fired.

The point of the story is that you should never let your guard down and always trust your instincts. 

They won’t lead you wrong, and with any luck, you’ll have an amazing night out with no problems.

Let me know in the comment below what you’re most looking forward to doing in Cape Town at night!

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