Rosebank is a popular and pleasant northern suburb of Johannesburg (25 minutes by road from the airport, mere minutes by Gautrain) with a happening business and design district, upmarket shopping malls, fine hotels, outdoor cafés and restaurants and good interior-design shops, art galleries and craft markets.
People congregate here after dark to dine outdoors, visit the bookshops, window-shop the boutiques and retail outlets and take in a movie.
The latest addition to the suburb is a Gautrain station that allows commuters to travel to Sandton and Pretoria via luxury high-speed train and to OR Tambo International airport via the Sandton station.
Rosebank is very pedestrian friendly – all the major attractions are within walking distance of each other – with loads of parking available.
The combination of two shopping areas (The Rosebank Mall and The Zone) makes for quick access to items such as shoes, bags, clothing, jewellery, music, home/interior-design items and good books, not to mention excellent eateries and all the main banks.
The area between the Zone and the Firs Shopping Centre has been turned into a super stylish walkway and square, lined with trendy Asian and local restaurants and fashion boutiques. It’s a popular spot for breakfasts and weekend lunches – and dinner, of course.
Look out for
A big drawcard is the African Craft Market, which forms part of the Rosebank Mall complex and sells authentic, hand-carved African masks, baskets, cloth, sculptures and artwork from southern, central and even West Africa. A bit of haggling won’t go amiss.
The weekend Rooftop Market operates from the car park of the Rosebank Mall on Sunday mornings and sells deli foods, clothing, books, art, crafts, interior-design items and anything besides. Prices are good and the choice wide.
Movie connoisseurs come to Rosebank Mall and The Zone across the street to catch the latest art movies at the Mall and more mainstream releases at The Zone.
The Design District at 160 Jan Smuts Avenue was developed with the idea of bringing designers and design-related businesses together in one area. It is centrally located in Rosebank, near the main intersection of Jan Smuts Avenue and 7th Avenue.
The Hyatt Regency Hotel, adjacent to the Firs Shopping Centre, has an open-air courtyard, much appreciated as a top social spot and a place to enjoy al fresco dining, a late-afternoon drink or a quick coffee.
The nearby (walking distance) Rosebank Hotel is state-of-the-art, modern and fashionable and favours all things fresh and healthy food-wise.
Rosebank is the art hub of Johannesburg, with the Everard Read Gallery, the Goodman Gallery for contemporary African art, Art One Sixty, David Krut Art projects, Gallery 2, Artspace Gallery and the Kim Sacks Gallery all clustered around Rosebank and nearby Parkwood. In the Rosebank Mall is the Cherie de Villiers Fine Art Gallery.
Established in 1886, the Wanderers Club is a South African sporting institution located in Illovo, a five-minute drive north of Rosebank. The gracious club welcomes guests and has numerous affiliate sports clubs, including cricket, rugby and athletics.
Melrose Arch is a secure lifestyle “citadel” located northeast of Rosebank, in the upmarket suburb of Melrose, that includes hotels, commercial space and exclusive residential apartments. Shopping for techno-toys and international fashion brands, then socialising in the European-style outdoor piazza is de rigueur for its trend-conscious clientele.
Travel south, away from Rosebank, along Jan Smuts Avenue and you’ll arrive at Johannesburg’s National Zoological gardens in Forest Town. Go check out the magnificent predator enclosures, parlez with some polar bears, and don’t miss the seals that deserve an Olympic medal for water ballet for their quicksilver antics in and out of the water.