Buzzing with people, food, fashion and renowned bohemian vibes, Cuba Street is a trendy blend of Cuban spirit and New Zealand hospitality. Named after an 1840s emigrant ship, the flashy bars, retro cafes, trendy fashion outlets and outlandish street performers of Cuba Street draw many curious eyes and ears to the area year after year.
The history of New Zealand’s bohemian district began in 1840, when many of New Zealand’s earliest European pioneers arrived aboard the Cuba vessel, and established the famous Caribbean theme that still exists there today.
The distinctive bohemian culture and ambience that radiates throughout Cuba Street came after years of urban neglect, which consequently turned the area into a propagation of second-hand shops and bargain markets. This trend was further enhanced in the late-60s when part of the street was permanently blocked off and the Cuba Mall was created. Adding to the curious and kitsch atmosphere of Cuba Street is the famous Bucket Fountain. Installed in 1969, the kinetic fountain/sculpture consists of multiple vertically placed buckets that disperse water as each bucket is filled from above.
Stretching for a mere two kilometres, what the bohemian microcosm lacks in size it certainly makes up for in soul. On any day of the week you can wander to the sounds of a saxophonist performing, groove along as street buskers lure you into their dance or be whisked back to the 60s conversing with one of many hippie locals you'll encounter.
Considered Wellington’s entertainment heartland, Cuba Street delivers a charming mishmash of modern bars and retro music venues to suit all tastes. And who could forget about the food? A culinary nirvana is certainly placed to greet anyone visiting Cuba Street. From award-winning fine-dining restaurants to scrumptious burger joints and gourmet coffee bars, the cuisine of Cuba Street is anything but conventional, and that’s exactly how the locals like it.
The best and only way to view the many sights and delights of Cuba Street is on foot. Situated in Te Aro in the Wellington CBD, Cuba Street and the Bucket Fountain sit between Wakefield Street and Ghuznee Street.