The Pietermaai District is a must-visit destination for nightlife, entertainment and fine dining. Night owl’s or early birds will both find this colourful area constantly bustling with activity making it a mecca for music lovers and people looking for some late-night revelry. During the day, the district retains its funky vibe and is a perfect place to meet local artists and neighbourhood characters. Its allure draws people of all stripes including businessmen, artists, students and travellers. Boutique hotels, small shops, cosy little cafés and top-rated restaurants are all nestled together, most of them housed in stunning architectural wonders. Best of all, the neighbourhood is highly walkable and perfect for exploring at a leisurely pace.
Originally a residential neighbourhood, Pietermaai owes its existence to a lack of space within the city walls at the beginning of the 18th century. It’s widely believed that the area was named after the Dutch captain Pieter de Meij. The suburb attracted wealthy merchants resulting in
impressive mansions built in the Dutch architectural styles of the 18th and 19th centuries. Soon theatres and small artisanal businesses added to the neighbourhood’s appeal and still serve as inspiration for the lively atmosphere the area is known for today. Unfortunately, Pietermaai was
slowly taken over by drug peddlers in the late 20th century. Residents retreated indoors and wealthier families moved to safer parts of the island. Remnants of that period are still visible here and there, but most of the derelict structures have been restored and modern buildings now occupy
previously vacant lots. Today the district is home to trendy lounge areas and is dotted with boutique hotels, restaurants and bars, a perfect combination of both old and new.