In a nod to the renaissance transforming South Africa, 
Cape Town has been crowned the World Design Capital of 2014.

The art scene here particularly flourishes in the neighborhood of Woodstock, a historically industrial quarter along a shabby stretch of the city’s eastern fringes.

Revamped heritage buildings hum with galleries, vintage shops, restaurants, and working ateliers. “I love the energy,” says chef Luke Dale-Roberts, who opened his top-rated Test Kitchen and Pot Luck Club restaurants in Woodstock’s Old Biscuit Mill, with views of Table Mountain from the top floor. “Within a two-mile radius, I can go to a bronze foundry or a woodworker’s factory.”

Design mavens can chat with the artistic tenants at Side Street Studios, admire crochet objets d’art (hand-produced by crafters from the impoverished Khayelitsha township) at Moonbasket, and consider contemporary African art 
at Whatiftheworld, a gallery in a former synagogue.

And every Saturday, Woodstock’s Neighbourgoods Market brings out the city’s bohemian tastemakers (fedoras, Afro curls, round spectacles, and tattoos aplenty). Here, in a once abandoned warehouse from the Victorian era, local vendors hawk screen-printed cushions and handmade leather bags alongside artisan cheeses and buttery steak pies.

  • Travel Tip: Explore the tangle of lanes below Albert Road, where mural subjects range from rhinos to Mother Teresa.

This piece, written by Sarah Khan, appeared in the April 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.