The Clock Tower District has often seemed like the unpopular kid at the Waterfront club. A small shopping mall with a few tourist-oriented stores and couple of restaurants – hardly seemed worth the effort to walk ALL the way from the enormous, bursting-with-energy Waterfront hub.

But the Husband persuaded me that there was a new playground right next to the restaurants so we decided to try the “other side” of the Waterfront for lunch this past weekend. And I’m so glad we did!

Three things really stood out for me as reasons to venture across the swing bridge to the Clock Tower District:

1. The view

Quite picture-postcard, I thought. This is a great spot from which to get a sense of the size and activity of this working waterfront area.

2. Lunch with space for kids to play

We had the yummiest burgers at Tribakery, sitting a few footsteps away from where my photo of the play area was taken. Tribakery is also a great spot to grab coffee and a croissant or other baked treat. A few steps away is a newly-opened Cape Town Fish Market; both restaurants have an outdoor seating section from which you can watch the kids play.

One caveat: this is not an enclosed play area, so you do need to keep an eye out that kids don’t go wandering, especially the littler ones. Tribakery also has a little fish pond which doesn’t look particularly special – unless you’re a toddler, in which case it’s a magical pool to dip your fingers in and can keep you entertained for quite some time.

Both restaurants are also great options if you don’t have kids with you, and the Clock Tower area is large and uncrowded enough that other people’s children won’t be right on top of you.

3. The Swing Bridge of course!

There’s just something really fun about watching the bridge open and close for boats that want to pass. And Poppet certainly had a great time waving and shouting at passing boat passengers.

Other attractions at the Clock Tower District that we didn’t explore this time around:
– Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island: catch the ferry to this historic island from this point – a really worthwhile trip that I really need to do again.
– the little mall is very tourist-oriented, and also has a Vida E for coffee pit stops.
– Chavonnes Battery Museum: ruins of the Cape’s old sea defenses – haven’t been in myself – let me know if you have and what you thought.
– there is a small jetty for seals, but I’ve found this to be a bit hit-and-miss – sometimes a few seals waddling around which the kids enjoy, other times empty or one sleeping seal and the kids are unimpressed.

So whether you’re a tourist looking for a lunch spot before or after a Robben Island trip, or a local looking for a new perspective at the Waterfront, the Clock Tower District is a great option.