News | 16 January 2024
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Pōneke parklets: Your guide for the summer

Get ready to relax and soak up the vibes in the city’s thriving parklets this summer.

People sitting at tables on Dixon Street,
Parklets along Dixon Street.

Since 2021, cool little spaces for eating, drinking, playing and relaxing have been popping up across Wellington city. Also known as parklets, these spaces take a ‘people first’ approach to urban design which emphasises quick, low-cost, and scalable projects that make creative use of existing space and help build a sense of community. 

As summer rolls around and the beautiful long, warm days return to Wellington, the city’s 15 parklets are just waiting to be enjoyed, whether you’re savouring your morning coffee and Danish, grabbing some lunch after a morning exploring, or sharing some al fresco tapas with friends. From Oriental Parade to The Terrace, parklets boost the vibrancy of the city and make Wellington the creative and thriving place we know and love. 

Where to find parklets across the city 

  • Babaili Malatang: 45 Dixon Street – Take a break from the shops and grab a delicious bite to eat at this Chinese street food hotspot 
  • Mexico: 41 Dixon Street –  Celebrate the vibrant and fresh cuisine of Mexico
  • Aye! Empanada: 236 Oriental Parade – Melt in the mouth empanadas (and more!) at this beachside eatery 
  • La Cloche: 26 The Terrace – Beautiful French pastries and your favourite hot beverage to get your day off to a great start 
  • Eva Beva: 31-35 Dixon Street – Step into one of Wellington's coolest dive bars for a tipple or two
  • Vinyl Bar/Shady Lady: 66 Courtenay Place – Visit this retro nightspot in the heart of the CBD
  • The Champagneria: 8 Courtenay Place – After work drinks and fun in the sun at this colourful Courtenay parklet 
  • Nolita: 203 Cuba Street – Plant-based Italian delights at this Cuba Street restaurant 
  • Ernesto’s: 1 Grey Street – A fusion of classic American bistro, Cuban, Carribbean and regional Americas cuisine
  • Stuff Ltd: 10 Brandon Street – A spot for you to park up your bike or have a rest in the sunshine
  • Swimsuit Cafe: 38 Dixon Street – Stop in for a delicious coffee and sweet treat
  • The Tasting Room: 2 Courtenay Place – Head to the Tasting Room bar and restaurant for good times, great food and fantastic range of beer, wines and spirits
  • Pho Viet: 40 Dixon Street – Vietnamese house and street food made the traditional way
  • Bicycle Junction: 1 Marion Street – Not just a bike store, but a cafe too! The menu is stacked full of fresh, quality, locally sourced eats ‘n treats with great coffee
  • The Old Quarter: 39 Dixon Street – Fresh vietnamese fusion restaurant in the heart of the CBD.

Parklets have proven to be successful for both businesses and the community since the early pilots, in 2021, as part of Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency’s Innovating Streets project.

Parklet on the side of the road with people eating outside.
Ernesto's on Grey Street.

 Quick to set-up, easily adapted and flexible in their design, they’ve enabled businesses to trial and test ‘living and breathing’ spaces and gather feedback on how they are used and how they could be adapted. 

Steve Drummond from Ernesto’s on Grey Street is enthusiastic about the many great benefits the parklet has brought to the community and the surrounding urban area. 

“Our parklet has been a game-changer for us and the community. It provides a unique and vibrant space for city workers and residents to relish the sun and fresh air while enjoying their meals. The popularity soars, especially on sunny days, fostering a lively atmosphere and encouraging people to socialise outdoors. 

“What sets the parklet apart is the spontaneous interactions it facilitates. Guests often engage with friends and colleagues passing by, turning the dining experience into a social affair. This dynamic environment not only creates a sense of community but also adds to the overall charm of the city.” 

Group of people sitting in outdoor seating.
Aye! Empanada on Oriental Parade.

Steve isn’t the only one who recognises the power of parklets for the city. For Amed from La Cloche (The Terrace), their parklet adds a sense of life to street spaces that would usually be reserved for cars – plus it’s good for business. 

"It can definitely promote business because it's the first thing passers-by see, so it reminds them to just stop and have a quick break and a cheeky almond croissant. 

“With summer in full swing, we’re looking to renovate the parklet a little and possibly add more plants and vibrancy so that our customers can have a nice slice of nature in the middle of what’s arguably the busiest area in Wellington," says Amed.

Parklet outside of a restaurant.
The Champagneria on Courtenay Place.

And for businesses, especially those that have a small floor space or are relatively new, parklets can bring a whole host of benefits, says Charlotta Heyd, Project Manager for Urban Regeneration. 

“The parklet makes their whole business visible on the street. It highlights their offering. In such a compact city, we don’t have a lot of room to work with, so using some of that space in a flexible way that’s also temporary is really important.” 

If you'd like to know more about parklets and how to apply for one, visit our webpage.