Cape Town City Hall and Grand Parade

Cape Town City Hall and Grand Parade

Built in 1905, the old City Hall in Darling Street is a mixture of Italian Renaissance and British colonial architecture. It is located on the Grand Parade to the west of the Castle of Good Hope and is built from honey-colored oolitic limestone imported from Bath in England. The 60m/200ft high bell-tower, with a carillon installed in 1923, was modeled on London's Big Ben. The City Hall was the last major Victorian building to be erected in Cape Town

City Hall and Grand Parade lie side by side, both the subject of ‘imminent transformations’, which date all the way back to 2002 and have as yet to come to fruition. Today the city hall is home to the world-renowned Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. This is the performance venue by the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra. Concerts are held every Thursday evening and sometimes on Sundays.

The City Hall's carillon was installed as a WW1 war memorial, with 22 additional bells being added in 1925 with the visit of the Prince of Wales. Magnificent and imposing, the City Hall commemorates Kind Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, with its mosaic floors, marble staircase, stained glass windows and specially designed organ with 3165 pipes.

In the olden days, military parades often took place on the Grand Parade, the expansive square in front of the City Hall. Nowadays, street markets are held twice a week where vendors sell new and used clothing. Marketwomen stand behind thick fabric bales negotiating prices with their customers and there is a smell of fried fish and flowers.

Visitors can experience this only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. At other times the parade is a huge parking lot, although not very pretty it is very useful, as you will find.

On February 11, 1990, only hours after his release from prison, Nelson Mandela made his first public speech after his release from the balcony of Cape Town City Hall. Most recently, the Grand Parade hosted 100 000 spectators who watched the 4th Homeless World Cup soccer event.

The City Hall no longer houses the offices of the City of Cape Town, which are located in the Cape Town Civic Centre. The auditorium is regularly used for concerts, while the City Library was recently moved to the adjacent Old Drill Hall. The future use and restoration of the City Hall is in 2009 under review by the City of Cape Town.

Contact Cape Town City Hall and Grand Parade

Visiting Address: Darling Street, 8000 Cape Town South Africa
Tel: +27 21 465 2029
City of Cape Town official website:
Cape Town Tourism Official Website:
Cape Town City Hall