Home to dance companies, artist collectives, hip start-ups, and more, Wellington’s Cuba Street district is bristling with creative energy. The action is centered along a pedestrian mall, a hot spot for buskers and street performers that’s lined with historical buildings and full of stylish, artsy stores, cafés, and restaurants. The Basics
Named after an early settler ship, Cuba Street has been a thriving part of Wellington’s city life since it was established in the 1840s. The main part of the street, wedged between Ghuznee and Wakefield streets, is a pedestrian mall popular with shoppers and people looking for a good meal. Many of the buildings on that part of the street were built in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The length of Cuba Street is teeming with coffee shops, brunch spots, art galleries, gift shops, record stores, fashion labels, busy bars, cheap-and-cheerful restaurants, and the city’s famous Bucket Fountain. There are also a number of laneways, alleys, and side-streets in the area—the Left Bank, Eva Street, Wigan Street—with their own exciting shops and vibes. And you can enjoy a beer or wine in nearby Glover Park, just off the Ghuznee Street and Cuba Street intersection. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- The Cuba Street district is a must for first-time visitors to Wellington.
- Night markets run on Cuba Street and the nearby Left Bank throughout the year, selling food and local arts and crafts.
- Cuba Street is largely accessible to wheelchairs and strollers, though the main pedestrian mall is paved with bricks and can sometimes be uneven.
- Wellington’s weather can be unpredictable, so wear sunscreen during summer and bring a raincoat in winter, no matter how it looks outside.
Cuba Street is centrally located and easy to get to. It’s right next to Wellington’s i-SITE Visitor Centre, and most Wellington bus routes run through Cuba Street on their way down Manners Street. Cruise passengers can catch a bus from Wellington Station, or walk for about 10 minutes from the Wellington Cable Car station on Lambton Quay.
When to Get There
The Cuba Street district is at its best during summer: Wellington weather is typically warm and sunny between December and April, making it a great place to explore morning, noon, or night. To experience Cuba Street at its most lively and artistic, visit one of the night markets on Friday or Saturday night, or during CubaDupa in late March.
Live Like a Local at CubaDupa
CubaDupa is the annual Cuba Street Festival, when the whole street closes to traffic and opens to the city for a weekend. Stages are set up all around the Cuba Street district so a huge range of local and international acts—bands, circus troupes, dance performers, DJs, and more—can offer free entertainment throughout the weekend. CubaDupa is usually held on the last weekend of March each year.