The nightlife lover in you is going to be happy to know that there is usually a party somewhere in JoBurg, no matter which district of this big city you find yourself in. For those of you who have already heard about the city's reputation for crime, it would be a shame for you to blanket every neighborhood with this generalization; sure, there are some pretty rough places (like Alexandra), but for every one of these, there is a neighborhood where your only worry will be how you're going to get any sleep before morning.
North of city center is the upmarket neighborhood, Sandton. This will be one of the nicest areas you'll encounter coming from the airport; the majority of establishments can be found between Grayston Drive and Katherine Street, including quality clubs like Icon and Taboo, as well as bars like the very cool Baron and Rocket Bar. Further north, the Rivonia neighborhood (still a part of ritzy Sandton) also has a number of more sophisticated establishments, although they are a bit more spread out. Witkoppen Road is your best bet here, with a few high-end joints like Cafe Vacca Matta and Billy the Bums. The Manhattan Club, located on Wessels Road, is arguably the biggest name in the area and is known for its 8 bars.
Head west to Melville for a sense of the trendy without the snobbery that may come with the previous two neighborhoods. Take a walk along 7th street and you'll get your fill of cafes, lounges, and bars meant to appease the nearby student population. Ratz and Six are great places to grab a drink and join a packed house to chat with the locals. There are also some decent bars in Braamfontein, as well as in Rosebank, particularly around Jan Smuts Avenue.
A hot spot close to downtown is the Market Theatre complex in Newtown, while jazz aficionados should try The Bassline and beer history lovers should try the SAB World of Beer. The best places to catch live music are at Back2basix in Westdene and Roxy's Rhythm Bar in Melville, while if you're looking for a wide variety of entertainment, try one of the local casinos (Montecasino in Sandton and Gold Reef City just off of the M1 southwest of city center), which also have nightclubs and other drinking establishments on site.
See? Johannesburg actually has a lot to offer as long as you know where to go and which places to avoid. For further information, consult our activity pages and start your itinerary today.