Wondering where to shop in Cape Town? While there are many fun things to do in Cape Town, there’s no denying that the Mother City is a shopper’s paradise. With hundreds of shopping centres and boutique stores scattered all around the city, you’ll find anything from designer clothes and accessories to handcrafted jewellery, household items and furniture.
If you’re visiting Cape Town and looking to buy gifts and curios to take home with you, head to one of Cape Town’s many popular shopping centres and luxury boutiques. There are so many great options that it may be hard to know where to start. So we’ve rounded up the top 10 best places to go shopping in Cape Town central and beyond.
Tip: If you’re looking for a market shopping experience, then you’re spoilt for choice! Check out our list of the best markets in Cape Town.
The Top 10 Best Places to Go Shopping in Cape Town
Cape Town’s shopping scene is nothing short of exhilarating. In no particular order, here are some of our favourite destinations for the best shopping in Cape Town.
1. V&A Waterfront
Boasting incredible views of Table Mountain, the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is a hustling and bustling meeting space where crowds gather to eat, drink, admire the views and shop!
With over 450 retail outlets, the Victoria Wharf Shopping Centre offers plenty of opportunities for you to purchase gifts, souvenirs and curios to take home with you.
The V&A Waterfront is one of the most popular of Cape Town’s tourist attractions, offering an abundance of shopping and entertainment options, including sunset cruises along the Atlantic Ocean, the Cape Wheel, and over 80 of the most incredible V&A restaurants.
2. The Old Biscuit Mill
The Old Biscuit Mill is a vibrant and innovative shopping centre located in one of the bustling streets of Woodstock. The Mill is a space where talented and creative individuals come together to showcase their unique designs and artwork.
This shopping spot in Cape Town is home to popular farmer’s markets, fine dining restaurants, a delicious chocolate factory, art galleries and more. You can look forward to plenty of shopping opportunities, as well as live music performances and musical events from time to time.
A popular destination for locals and travellers alike, the Old Biscuit Mill is the place to interact with some of Cape Town’s most innovative and talented designers, artists and chefs.
3. Greenmarket Square
Built in the late 1600s, Greenmarket Square is a historical marketplace in Cape Town that now hosts a number of quirky stalls offering some of the best South African curios and traditional African gifts and souvenirs.
Walk through the colourful rows that offer an abundance of handcrafted ornaments, musical instruments, handmade beaded jewellery, traditional African clothing and beautiful landscape paintings of Africa. Walk away with some of the most exquisite pieces of African arts and crafts at great prices.
4. Kalk Bay
This warm, colourful and quirky seaside village located on the coast of False Bay is home to some of the most eclectic stores, theatres, art galleries and restaurants in the Mother City. It’s one of the best places to visit if you’re looking for more unique shops in Cape Town.
Named the world’s coolest neighbourhood, cobbled streets of Kalk Bay are lined with incredible hidden gems, including vintage bookstores, antique shops, quaint cafes with ocean views, musical theatres, bohemian trinket stores, vintage clothing markets and charming restaurants. Spend the day exploring the side streets of Kalk Bay and enjoy shopping for rare and unique gifts in this creative little neighbourhood.
5. Cape Quarter
If you’re looking to explore the clothing boutiques in Cape Town, look no further than the Cape Quarter’s shops. Situated in De Waterkant, the Cape Quarter is a lifestyle centre that offers a rare and unique shopping experience with over 100 boutique stores.
With carefully selected shops that pride themselves on craftsmanship and design, here you will find traditional African souvenirs, handmade jewellery, leather handbags, locally designed clothing and trendy workout gear, as well as plenty of restaurants and bars for when you need refreshments.
The Cape Quarter is an all-rounder, whether you’re looking to grab a few groceries, pamper yourself at the salon, enjoy a scrumptious brunch, or pick up a designer purse, Cape Quarter is the place to be.
6. The Watershed
Not your average African market, The Watershed, located next to the Two Oceans Aquarium, is a buzzing space that offers arts and crafts from some of the very best high-end designers in Cape Town.
With over 150 traders who represent over 365 local brands, the indoor warehouse is filled with high-quality collections from premium brands. There is a large focus on ceramics, textiles, furniture, home decor, leather goods, arts, crafts, fashion and jewellery, so you’re sure to find some incredible tidbits here no matter what you’re looking for.
Be sure to visit the Watershed’s Jubilee Exhibition Hall too, which hosts live entertainment, art exhibitions and workshops.
7. The Woodstock Exchange
The Woodstock Exchange is a space for young creatives to come together and share their original design and artwork. Located in the busy and colourful streets of Woodstock, The Woodstock Exchange is home to unique boutiques mixing fashion and accessories with interior home decoration. There are also a few restaurants and coffee shops to stop at for a bite or a beverage.
The industrial space has a focus on innovation and creativity, with sculptures and murals placed around the building. This shopping complex is a wonderful place to start your day, pick up a few gifts and spoils for yourself, and get your creative juices flowing.
8. Long Street
Long Street is one of the most famous streets in Cape Town. Although Long Street is known for its nightlife, during the day, it is home to trendy clothing stores, bookshops, quaint restaurants, coffee shops and plenty of stores selling traditional African clothing and jewellery.
A buzzing street in the city centre, boasting an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, lounges and nightclubs, Long Street is a popular destination for both locals and tourists visiting Cape Town.
9. Gardens Shopping Centre
Located in the city centre just minutes away from Cape Town’s many famous sightseeing attractions, Gardens Shopping Centre is a cosmopolitan space attracting locals and visitors to its vibrant atmosphere.
Offering an alternative to the busier Cape Town malls, this shopping centre is an ideal place to find everything you need, from special boutiques and hair salons to pharmacies and grocery stores to pick up your essentials. The community space offers an exciting mix of everything from clothing stores to delicious restaurants.
10. Canal Walk
The biggest shopping mall in Cape Town, Canal Walk is home to over 400 clothing stores, restaurants, major retailers, luxury boutiques, electronic and interior decorating stores, entertainment areas and more.
As the biggest mall in Cape Town and one of the largest shopping malls on the African continent, you can expect to find everything you’re looking for here. The high season for shopping runs from November to January, when a number of stores have premium discounts on selected items.
Wrapping Up: Where to Shop in Cape Town
There you have it, some of the best shopping malls and boutique stores to go shopping in Cape Town. With everything from small, unique shopping centres and towns to large shopping malls in Cape Town, you’re spoiled for choice while looking for the perfect take-home treasure.
Whether you’re exploring the quaint sidestreets of Kalk Bay or getting your luxury shopping fix at the V&A Waterfront’s shops, you can trust that you’re in for a great time.
If you’re looking for more exciting activities in the Mother City, have a look at our blog on the best of Cape Town’s family-friendly activities.
First published February 2019, updated November 2023.