Child-friendly places to eat
Whether your little ones are babies, toddlers or full noise kids, these eateries have got great childrens' (and adults') menus, nearby activities, and patient staff
In the heart of the city is Hannahs Laneway, home to some of Wellington's favourite artisan products, and the perfect way to spend a few hours tasting, trying, eating and exploring.
There's a range of artisan makers and bakers for the whole whānau family Māori | Noun to sample. Head to Fix & Fogg for toast like you've never seen it, Leeds Street Bakery for the best salted caramel cookie you'll ever eat, and Pizza Pomodoro for fresh and full-of-flavour pizza straight from the wood-fired oven. Finish the day with your bar of choice; head to Lashings brownie bar for sweet treats, or Wellington Chocolate Factory for a bean-to-bar chocolate experience.
497 Karaka Bay Road, Karaka Bays, Wellington
Scorch-O-Rama is a prime example of a spot where you’ll sit back and say to yourself, ‘you really can’t beat Wellington on a good day’. It’s a bright and bustling café on the shoreline of Miramar Peninsula's Scorching Bay, and perfect for a brunch or afternoon snack with little ones in tow.
Their brunch menu is excellent, dedicated kids’ menu has all the favourites, and their coffee is the perfect mix of strong and local. Sit inside the café or opt to be seated across the road with the sea lapping the shore beside you (both sides are pram-accessible). If it's a sunny day, get your order to go and enjoy the sandy beach and perfect grassy picnicking area just a stone's throw away, and tire the kids out with some salt water paddling.
Southern Cross Garden Bar Restaurant
39 Abel Smith Street, Te Aro, Wellington
The Southern Cross Garden Bar and Restaurant is incredibly family and child-friendly and puts on an impressive array of activities for the little ones and their grown-ups throughout the week (including free massages for stressed-out parents - bliss).
Their weekend family-friendly brunch is legendary – a kids’ activity station is set up offering free face-painting and colouring-in activities, allowing parents to enjoy their long black and scrambled eggs.
The Cross has a great kids’ menu that’s always available, as well as a great adults’ menu, too. With an array of indoor and outdoor spaces, The Cross is a place that people of all ages can enjoy.
One Red Dog
56 Customhouse Quay, Wellington
A Wellington favourite since it first opened in the 1990s, One Red Dog specialises in family-friendly pizza and pasta. The restaurant’s waterfront location at Queens Wharf makes it a popular place for a pre-show meal.
With service that’s laidback while still professional, One Red Dog is the kind of place you can take the kids and relax. There’s a special kids' menu that includes a 'make your own pizza' where ingredients are brought to the table and your mini Massimo can create their own culinary masterpiece.
There’s plenty of delicious options on the ‘adult’ menu to keep the grown-ups happy, too.
Wellington Botanic Garden, 101 Glenmore Street, Thorndon, Wellington
Picnic is the café in the Wellington Botanic Garden, surrounded by trees and right next to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. It's a beautiful nature escape with the convenience of a café, surrounded by the sights and smells of hundreds of native plants and gorgeous flowers.
The sparrows darting around outside and inside the café are an endless source of entertainment for babies, and plenty of outdoor seating means bigger kids have space to play. If you're keen to explore the 25 hectares of gardens on offer, they've got kids' picnic boxes (and caffeine for the parents) to takeaway. Wander through stroller-friendly paths, feed the ducks at the fully-fenced pond, have a snack under a sheltered tree, or set them loose in the fenced toddler area within the bigger playground.
30 Cochrane Street, Lyall Bay, Wellington
Spruce Goose began life as an airport terminal building and for more than 50 years was the home of the Wellington Aero Club.
Now a popular seaside café, bar and restaurant with sweeping views of Lyall Bay and Wellington Airport – people of all ages are entranced by watching the surfers, waves and planes coming and going.
After a walk or swim at Lyall Bay, this laidback and colourful eatery is the perfect place to head with the whole family for a meal or a snack.
27 College Street, Te Aro, Wellington
Caffe L’Affare is a bona fide Wellington institution: a gigantic café and coffee roastery with a come-one-come-all vibe, going strong since 1990.
It's pram-friendly and there's a dedicated play area to keep the kids entertained. It's also unfailingly busy, so any little people noises will blend in with the cheerful hum of conversation. Grab a fluffy for your mini, and something stronger for yourself, and enjoy the hospitality of patient and friendly staff. There’s good shopping nearby, too: Moore Wilson’s has a brilliant toy department, Nature Baby has stylish organic baby gear, and Good Books has a cosy kids’ corner.
Te Papa Cafe
Te Papa, 55 Cable Street, Te Aro, Wellington
The cafe on the ground floor of Te Papa Tongarewa is as kid-friendly as it gets. There's high chairs galore and a big play area, cleverly positioned at the far end of the room so other punters won’t trip over the kids as they play. It's the perfect pre or post museum spot to refuel the whole family.
When you're done, head upstairs to explore the museum: Te Taiao Nature is always a hit, and StoryPlace hosts three 45-minute sessions every weekday, with stories, music and play.
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