What's Happening This First Thursday

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What's Happening This First Thursday

Take to the streets and discover the Mother City’s art spaces by night.

Last Updated: 8 September 2017

This is what's happening this First Thursdays

Gareth Pearson wants to get people walking. Specifically, he wants to get them walking around the city, at night, in quieter areas, where they wouldn’t usually be.

A daunting task, one would think, especially in a South Africa where cruising the sidewalks after dark is anathema to most of the population. But so far, the Stellenbosch business strategy graduate has managed to entice more than a good few pavement-phobic Capetonians out onto the streets with a once monthly free art walk called First Thursdays.  

Started in London to make art galleries and museums more accessible to the public, the event, which encourages exhibition spaces to stay open until 9pm with no entrance charge on the first Thursday of the month, has fast taken hold across the globe. And thanks to Gareth’s city-loving street smarts, Cape Town has been part of this legion of participating cities since November 2012, giving citizens a chance to bounce from venue to venue and enjoy a nightlife that doesn’t necessarily have to do with upper Long Street.

If you looking to experience the art of first Thursdays, then have a look at the following venues:

The Cape Gallery
The Cape Gallery seeks to expose fine art that is rooted in the South African tradition, work which carries the unique cultural stamp of the continent. This Thursday, 1 June 2017 at 6pm, Jeremy Lawrence will introduce the annual Winter Solstice exhibition.
60 Church Street | Cape Town 8001

Gallery MOMO
This gallery is a world-renowned contemporary art gallery situated in the Bo-Kaap. The gallery was founded in 202 and represents artist at the forefront of the local and international art world. The gallery will show Stephanie Conradie's "Ordentlikheid: A Creolised Object".
170 Buitengracht Street | Oro Africa Building | Cape Town 8001

99 Loop Gallery
99 Loop shines a light on a range of top emerging and established artistic talent from South Africa. The Gallery presents its annual winter group exhibition, with a selection of new works by their artists plus some new talent.

99 Loop Street | Cape Town 8001

The AVA Gallery
The AVA gallery has been providing a platform for artists and art lovers for decades. Their exhibitions and other events continue to champion emerging and established voices in contemporary African art. This exhibition hopes to offer an insight into the complex life of Erf 81, also known as the Tamboerskloof farm, through the contemplative images of photographer Ashley Walters.
35 Church Street | Cape Town 8001

Eclectica Print Gallery
This gallery is exhibiting a collection of fine Art Prints, etchings, woodcuts, linocuts, litho cuts, silkscreens and charcoal and ink drawings on paper. This exhibition aims to offer a platform for different perspectives, answering the questions of looking in many ways.
69 Burg Street | Cape Town 8001

You can also check out the following galleries and other places open on First Thursdays:

  • The Book Lounge (not a gallery, but still...)
  • Young Blood
  • Ground Arft Cafe
  • Mullers Gallery
  • Friend's of Design
  • Alliance Francaise du Cap
  • Mungo
  • Olive Green Cat

Also, for those that like to enjoy a cold one with the boys (or girls), here is a selection of some of the restaurants open on First Thursday: 

First Thursday cannot be completed without the taste of beer on your lips. A trip to the beer haven of Long Street will give you the much-needed quinch for your thirst, after viewing the amazing art. With 99 bottled beers from 13 different countries and 26 taps, you will get more than you've bargained for.

223 Long Street | Cape Town 8001

Roast & Co.
Roast & Co. has opened its doors to the public to take a glimpse at their newly renovated courtyard. The brand-new rotisserie restaurant - open from Friday 8 September - will focus on the art of roasting chicken, and they do it well. You will get to enjoy menu tasters and sip on some delicious drinks from Roast and Co.’s alcohol partners; Warwick Wine Estate, Stella Artois and Tanqueray Gin. 

Tiger's Milk
Tiger's Milk restaurant offers a nostalgic and chilled environment to enjoy whilst tucking into the renowned dude food and beer - think burgers, pizza and mouth-watering ribs. The restaurant runs food and drinks specials from time to time, so be sure to ask your waiter if there’s anything on the go on the day of your visit.

Corner of Long Street and Hout Street | Cape Town 8001

Headquarters (known as HQ) is the city centre steakhouse and most well known for a hardheaded devotion to a single concept: the handsome brasserie-style restaurant has only one menu option (Siloin, salad and chips). Needless to say, HQ doesn’t mince words, nor they do they mince meat. They focus on what they stand for and what they’re good at: steak, really good steak (there is a mushroom-based vegetarian option). So, how do you like your steak?

Heritage Square | 100 Shortmarket Street | Cape Town 8001

If you don't like the sound of those, maybe check these ones out:

  • Hokey Poke
  • The Grand Daddy
  • Club9 and Dapper Coffee Co.

The First Thursdays art walk starts at 5pm and most of the galleries stay open until 9pm (some close at 8pm). Browsers can start at any gallery on the map, work their way around in any order they like and also pop into one of the many great places to eat and drink along the route. Visit to find the date for the next event and to view the map of participating venues.  


Take a look at our overview of art galleries in Cape Town and find one or two that may be on the First Thursdays circuit.


Use our events section for an up-to-date overview of happenings in Cape Town. Also don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, join our Google+ circle, connect with us on LinkedIn and check out our Pinterest boards for updates. 

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