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7 reasons why Wellington is NZ's coolest creative hot spot

From awe-inspiring exhibitions to Instagrammable sights and inventive culinary delights, creativity can be found in every corner of New Zealand's capital of cool.

1. We're New Zealand's festival city

Wellington boasts a year-round line up of colourful and creative festivals that transform the city into a vibrant and artistic playground. During the cooler months, the city heats up with Wellington Jazz Festival and the New Zealand International Film Festival. Eat, drink and be Welly with us at Visa Wellington on a Plate, an epic winter-warming two-week celebration of all things food and beverage - or find your new favourite beer at Beervana, NZ's national beer event. Don't forget World of WearableArt ™ Awards Show which dazzles and delights with its unique fusion of fashion, art and theatre, or one if the city's iconic events, CubaDupa. 

CubaDupa Festival

2. We've got galleries galore

With over 55 galleries throughout Wellington, it’s easy to get your culture fix.  Toi Art at Te PapaCity Gallery and New Zealand Portrait Gallery are all free (except for occasional special exhibitions) and must-visits, within an easy walk of one another. The city also hosts a shedload of smaller dealer galleries such as {suite} and Enjoy, or collaborative spaces like Precinct 35, a design store and art gallery that shares a space with Milk Crate café. 

Just a short drive from Wellington city, The Dowse Art Museum is another free public gallery sure to intrigue with its striking contemporary exhibitions. 

WREDA Precinct 35 46
Precinct 35

3. Not to mention our Oscar-winning wizards

As soon as you arrive at Wellington Airport you know you’re in the centre of Sir Peter Jackson’s and Sir Richard Taylor's Oscar-winning creative empire. Mammoth Middle-earth installations greet you in the arrivals hall, as you head to collect your bags. 

Movie-making craftsmanship meets innovative museum storytelling at Gallipoli: scale of our war at Te Papa. You can also discover how it’s all done on a behind-the-scenes tour of award-winning Weta Workshop while movie magic can also be found on the city streets thanks to installations created by Weta.

Te Papa Gallipoli
Gallipoli: The Scale of Our War | Te Papa

4. We're home to amazing arts institutions

As the cultural capital of New Zealand, Wellington is home to major national arts companies, including the internationally acclaimed Royal New Zealand Ballet, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Footnote New Zealand Dance

We're also spoilt for choice when it comes to theatre, with contemporary playhouses like BATS and Circa and classical theatres like the Opera House, all offering quality live performance. Thanks to these celebrated institutions, you can catch a top notch musical, dance or theatre production in Wellington almost every night of the year. 

Jazz Festival Opera House
The Opera House

5. You’ll find artistic inspiration around every corner

Wellington’s streets and laneways are sprinkled with inspiring and thought-provoking art and sculptures. Follow the trail of concrete poetry around the waterfront on the Writers Walk, and stumble upon Instagram-worthy artworks around the city including the iconic Bucket Fountain, Solace in the Wind and Shark Wall. 

Check out our blogger Josiah's guide to some of the city's awesome street art.

Egmont Street art
Hannahs Laneway

6. Our cuisine is collaborative…

Creativity and collaboration are key to Wellington’s culinary scene. Wander down Hannahs Laneway and stop by Wellington Chocolate Factory for peanut butter raspberry bar, made in collaboration with their neighbours, Fix and Fogg. Or on your way to the waterfront pick up a yuzu olive oil gelato from Gelissimo, made with fresh citrus-infused oil from over the hill in the Wairarapa region

Wellington’s culinary scene is at its most creative every August during the epic 17-day foodie festival Visa Wellington On a Plate, which sees unique collaborations as restaurants are challenged to create set menus, burgers and cocktails showcasing local ingredients.

Hannahs Laneway fix and fog
Fix & Fogg | Hannahs Laneway

7. …and so is our craft beer

Hunt down a thirst-quenching collaborative brew from one of our famed craft beer brewersGarage Project’s Hops on Pointe is a mighty fine brew made for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, while new bar and restaurant Husk is home to both Choice Bros brewery and Karamu coffee roasting, marrying Wellington's famous coffee and craft beer beautifully.

garage project
Garage Project

Time to plan a Wellington visit?

Scope out more must dos, browse and book accommodation, search Wellington’s sights and activities, see what events are coming up, have a nosy at all the incredible bars and restaurants, and start planning your trip.