Port Elizabeth is fast becoming one of the coolest cities in South Africa. Even the sassy folk from Cape Town, can’t seem to resist its sunny boulevards and easy charm.
It is a big city with a big personality, a secret underground creative culture, some of the coolest bars and eateries this side of the equator, and great stories, one of which involves a sultan and a ewe.

1. The beautiful haunted Opera House

The city has a lot of beautiful old architecture, but the Victorian Opera House is one of the most interesting. The oldest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, this grand cabaret-style theater was opened in 1892 and is said to have been built on the site of an old gallows. Its history of haunting is long and colorful, much like its history of hosting spectacular ballets, operas, and musicals.

2. Cradle for creativity

Port Elizabeth is famous for Route 67, an art journey that celebrates the years Nelson Mandela devoted himself to the freedom struggle, but that is just a tip of the artsy iceberg. Colorful murals and artwork hidden under bridges hint at a creative culture that is giving rise to a new generation of homegrown artists.
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art MuseumThe Athenæum, and artEC Community Center are just three institutions that are helping the creative movement find its voice. Live performances, poetry evenings, exhibitions, book launches, doodle nights, and walkabouts with artists are regular events.
The Under culture Contemporary Art Gallery hosts several pop-up exhibitions throughout the year that challenge the norm by presenting powerful, relevant, and captivating exhibitions by young conceptual artists. Galerie NOKO is another popular gallery that is known for its abstract and socio-political themes.
But it extends beyond that too. Even the restaurants and tattoo studios have become hubs for talent and creativity to bloom.

3. South Africa’s hot new food scene

A few years ago, the food scene in Port Elizabeth was still finding its groove, but today it is blossoming into something quite spectacular. Some of the coolest bars and restaurants in Port Elizabeth are in Richmond Hill, which is the heart of the culinary magic.
ASADA is a seafood grill and smokehouse and the place to be if you want to try Creole and Argentinian fire pit cuisine. If you prefer to spend your evenings with a taco in one hand and a margarita in the other, Tilting Heads Taco Cafe and Margarita Bar is a top-notch Mexican cantina.
And if sushi is more your thing, FUSHIN has won numerous awards for its exotic dishes and is known to make the best sushi in Port Elizabeth.

4. Beertopia

Creativity has even spread to the microbreweries in Port Elizabeth. Local breweries such as Bridge Street BreweryDockside Brewery, and Richmond Hill Brewing Co. are experimenting with bold artisanal brews that beer lovers will find wildly interesting and worth the trip.

5. Oldest coffee roastery in South Africa

Even the coffee devotees will find warmth and happiness in Port Elizabeth.
Mastertons, legendary purveyors of hand-roasted coffee, opened their first tea and coffee house in Port Elizabeth in 1924, making them the oldest roastery in South Africa. The city even has its own Mastertons blend.

6. Bottlenose dolphin capital of the world

Home to thousands of playful bottlenose dolphins and a hotspot for visiting orcas and humpback dolphins, Algoa Bay was named the ‘Bottlenose Capital of the World’ in 2016. The city even hosts an annual Dolphin Festival to celebrate its flippered friends.

7. Nightlife 

By night, the city comes alive with fairy lights and music as the taproomscocktail lounges, and bars fill up with people. Whether you are looking for a nightcap after dinner, live music and a few drinks, a rowdy good time, or dancing until 4am, the nightlife options are varied and promise a fun night out.

The Music KitchenBeer YardBeer Shack, and SoHo Whiskey & Cocktail Bar all host live music nights and are great places to hang out when the sun goes down. Pool City, a pool lounge in Walmer, regularly hosts live bands and tribute nights to rock ‘n’ roll legends.


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