Wellington Art & Culture

Wellington has a way of sparking the imagination. With museums, art galleries, a vibrant live music scene and more, Wellington is the perfect place for culture hounds.

Visual art lovers will have plenty to explore in Wellington. The city's many art galleries showcase works by local and international artists. Wellington also has Te Papa, New Zealand's national gallery, which displays fascinating cultural relics.

Looking for more unique things to do in Wellington? Depending on the season, you might be able to stick a festival or two on your itinerary. Consider the artsy New Zealand Festival, the eclectic NZ Fringe Festival, the World of WearableArt Awards Show and heaps more besides.

Here's a guide to soaking up Wellington's local culture on your next trip.

Image: Jo Moore Photography for Te Papa


  • Te Papa Tongarewa is the top museum in town. New Zealand's national museum houses an amazing collection of Māori artifacts and the national art gallery.
  • Wellington Museum highlights Wellington's maritime history. Be sure to catch the excellent documentary, Wahine, about a local ferry disaster.
  • Film fans can't miss Weta Workshop, the special effects studio behind The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit and more. Take a studio tour to learn how movie magic gets made.

Image: World of WearableArt Awards Show

Art Galleries

  • City Gallery Wellington showcases world-class exhibitions of contemporary art from the North Island and beyond.
  • Each year, the World of WearableArt Awards Show (WOW) happens next to the Wellington Museum. This on-stage extravaganza features wearable art by New Zealand and international artists.
  • The Dowse Art Museum displays New Zealand art, design and crafts. There's always something interesting in the temporary exhibition hall.

Image: Pivot Photography for WellingtonNZ.com

Arts & Music

  • Is the sun shining? Skip the art gallery and go sightseeing on the city streets. You'll see murals, sculptures and graffiti as you explore.
  • It's no surprise that artsy Wellington has an awesome live music scene. If you're planning a trip, see who's playing at Bodega, Meow and San Fran.
  • To peek into Wellington's past, take a tour of Te Wharewaka o Pōneke, aka Wellington Harbour. You'll learn all about the history of Wellington from a Māori perspective.

Created in partnership with Discover Wellington