Parkhurst is a quaint, hip residential neighborhood in the north Johannesburg suburbs of about 4000 residents in Gauteng Province, Region B, South Africa. Nestled between Victory Park and Parktown North, Parkhurst is bustling with friendly people, sidewalk cafes and shops, designers and decor dealers, antique stores, and a strong sense of community led by the Parkhurst Village Residents and Business Owners Association that takes pride in its village-like atmosphere. The town is just north of Joburg, closely linked to Rosebank and Jan Smuts Avenue.
History and Lifestyle
Parkhurst was founded as a rural farm project in 1904 by the African Realty Trust. It has steadily gentrified since the 1960’s as its older houses were renovated and retouched with tasteful and trendy modern flair. Many of Parkhurst’s residents today are small business owners, fashionable socialites, and independently minded folks who enjoy working from home, strolling the quiet streets, and living in peaceful seclusion from the hustle of the larger and busier suburbs. Dwellings are attractive and diverse, ranging from modern to eclectic to “old world” charming.
Parkhurst residents work together to maintain their unique identity and the environmental quality of their neighborhoods. Zoning ordinances provide for clean streets and manicured trees, policies against the placement of unsightly street signs, and numerous parks within and surrounding the suburb.
A conscious effort to be make Parkhurst a “green” area is underway that encourages energy efficiency, low pollution, and respect for both public and private property. This community has succeeded in nurturing a one off living experience only to be found in Parkhurst, so much so, it even has a reputation for being one of the best places in central South Africa for trick-or-treating on Halloween!
Things to Do in Parkhurst
A typical day’s activity in Parkhurst might include taking a walk in the dog-friendly Verity Park, spotting celebrities lounging at the sidewalk restaurants along 4th Avenue, window shopping, viewing a variety of show houses and beautiful gardens, strolling along the Braamfontein Spruit, stopping by the library to borrow a book, video, or jigsaw puzzle, or sampling local delicacies like home-made honey and rusks. The truly adventurous visitor can go about trying to solve this riddle: What street in Parkhurst is called “Joburg’s most secret place?”
Residents can visit the Parkhurst Recreation Centre to hear interesting seminars and take educational courses during the week, while children benefit from a variety of excellent Montessori schools and Parkhurst Primary. Small clinics, spas, and pharmacies support the daily health and lifestyle needs of the community. Open basketball and netball courts are available here and there for residents interested in recreational sporting and friendly competition. Nearby, green spaces like Emmarentia Dam and the Botanical Gardens provide escapes into nature.
Parkhurst loves to put on a good show. The Strada Peroni Street Fair dishes out an authentic Italian style dining extravaganza in March. The Pirates Rugby Club hosts the Jozi Tens in Autumn. Community groups organize special events throughout town on occasions like Human Rights Day, Mandela Day, Youth Day, and Heritage Day.
The festive but low-key attitude of Parkhurst combined with its swank cafes and restaurants, fashion boutiques and art galleries, stylishness and gay-friendly nature may be one reason why celebrity sightings are rumored to be occurring here with increasing frequency, including most recently the likes of George Clooney, Usher, and Serena Williams.
Several internationally recognized dining establishments are popular, most of them along Parkhurst’s main drag of 4th Avenue. These include the legendary New York/London style deli, George’s on 4th, the heartwarming Bistro Vine, the Full Stop Café with its fantastic wine list, the Attic with its vintage appointment and delectable fusion cuisine, Ruby Sushi, Possum’s Bistro, Mugg and Bean, and many others.
One of the more fun and unique must-see establishments in the heart of Parkhurst is Jacob’s Pop Up Café, where they serve free coffee and Oreo cookies while patrons play their favorite board games.
Some of the finest shopping and day trips are to be had within a few kilometers of Parkhurst, such as the upscale Hyde Park Mall, the massive Cresta Shopping Centre, Wanderers Stadium, Parkview Golf Course, the Johannesburg Zoo, Zoo Lake, and The Barnyard Theatre Cresta.
Visitors can sample the chic rustic lifestyles enjoyed by Parkhursters at a number of magnificent Bed and Breakfast Inns, guest houses, and bungalows like the Windmill House, Hlala Panzi, and Bride House.
Climate and Travel
At 1,584 meters elevation, Parkhurst enjoys the same temperate climate as Johannesburg. The summers are warm to hot with occasional rain storms while the winters are tolerably chilly, just enough to need a light jacket, (which only allows the locals to show off their fashion sense). Enough rain falls between November and January to maintain the colourful greenery while July through August is dry.
Getting to Parkhurst is easy, since it sits directly above the Johannesburg metro area, and 4th Avenue plugs into the main arteries feeding all of the northern suburbs. Leaving Parkhurst is difficult, because most people want to stay as long as they can in this delightful, modern hideaway.