Free activities in Johannesburg: What to do for fun when you’re broke

‘Cos pay-day is too far away.

December was a long and expensive month, and it feels like it’s roughly three years before January payday. Until then we’re broke as hell but we still wanna do nice things. Here are our favourite free activities in Johannesburg:

Stroll around an art gallery

Most art galleries are free to explore; just don’t knock anything over. Looking at art is inspiring, peaceful, and makes you feel cultured and cool. Our top pick is CIRCA on Jellicoe Avenue. Even if you don’t love the art on the exhibition you’re guaranteed a ? photo in their iconic entrance ramp.

 

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Visit a beautiful temple

Did you know the largest Buddhist temple in Africa is in Gauteng? The Nan Hua Temple has incredible architecture and gardens to admire as you wander through it. You can also buy a full hot lunch for only R30 here (their dining hall has a no-talking policy, so it’s basically like going to a free silent retreat). There are pretty strict rules though: you may not swear, take photos or wear revealing clothing while visiting the Temple.

 

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Check out a local hike

One of the best parts of living in South Africa is always having some kind of natural beauty on your doorstep/a short car drive away. Jo’burg is a big city but there are plenty of hikes to do in and around it. Melville Koppies has a few do-able trails you can trek along amongst indigenous trees and flowers.

 

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Chill in nature

If you want to experience the Zen of being in nature but are too lazy to go on a whole hike to do so, hit up a local park. Here the grass is lush, the trees are shady and you don’t have to own hiking shoes or get sweaty. The Johannesburg Botanical Gardens are free and full of beautiful plants (the best spot being their Rose Garden which has over 10 000 roses planted in it). Pack a picnic to save money on eating out and wander down to the Emmarentia Dam where you can watch geese and sailboats go by. Quaint AF.

 

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Have a night at the museum

First Thursdays is a free public event where art galleries, museums and other cultural experiences keep their doors open until late on the first Thursday of every month. Check out the First Thursdays site to see where to head to (hot tip: art galleries launch new shows on First Thursdays, which usually means free wine).

 

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Surround yourself with flowers

The Multiflora Flower Market is not your average flower seller’s market. Visit to walk around the overwhelming stacks and stacks of colourful flowers, both local and imported. Even if you can’t afford a bunch of roses just shipped in from Holland you can still enjoy their scent (and even take some misleading photos of you holding them. Instagram doesn’t need to know you’re broke).

 

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