Wellington has just been voted the most livable city in the world. No one is surprised (but maybe a bit smug?). So I thought that in today's blog post I would pay homage to a place which is as Wellington as you can get - Newtown.
Newtown has been, and remains, one of the coolest places in the coolest little capital.
Newtown has continued to make my life as I've grow older. It's a playground for food and drink, sometimes art and always people watching. Businesses have come and gone, but some seem there forever - Jimmy's Fruit Mart, The Rice Bowl, Mediterranean Food Warehouse and Planton just to name a few.
Newtown's strength is it is that part of Wellington, maybe bar Cuba Street, where it feels like anything goes. I love the vibe of the place and am seriously thinking it would be a cool place to raise a family one day.
While I didn't grow up in Newtown, it has always had a strong presence in my psyche, even when I didn't know what it was. I feel like I first remember Newtown like it was a dream. People walking, busily down the street, the smell of spices, colour and grit. Newtown was a feeling.
Some of my earliest memories were of going to the park for athletics day, always a mixed experience. I was in Year Three when I had my first one, and I still remember worrying dreadfully because my mum told me she would come in the morning and she arrived in the afternoon instead. With not a great deal of Athletic skill on my part my main memories are the long jump, which I enjoyed, and buying 50c Jucies which I sucked on for hours. I also remember visiting the Zoo as a child, although those memories are quite hazy.
It was in Newtown that I attended my first ever 'grown up' party when I was 17. At that age, I worked at WORLD on Saturdays and my friend Mel invited me to her 23rd Birthday. I felt incredibly young and 23 felt incredibly old (haha). I was so nervous I asked my 22 year old PE teacher what to do. I simply wasn't ready for this next step in life! She advised me that when you were out of school, age didn't matter so much. I should, like Cinderella going to the ball, go to Newtown to the party. I managed to rope in my friend Hayley, who proved the perfect partner and is now an actress - exactly what I needed. Someone who could fake it until they made it. When we arrived at the address, it was an old door factory (of course). We walked towards the entry when low and behold Hayley knew someone at the door - her brothers friend, Tim Shann. From there, everything was cool. I still remember the thrill of being told "You don't seem 17." Ah, such innocence.
SHOP THE POST
As an adult, I've been visiting many of Newtown's awesome spots ever since. Here are some of the coolest places I love (and you love) in Newtown, Wellington:
1. Frank's - 5 Riddiford Street Newtown - For delicious coffee and eats.
2. People's Coffee - 22b Newtown Ave - Fairtrade coffee at its best. Awesome minimalist atmosphere and some of Wellington's best barristas.
3. Planet Spice - 128 Riddiford Street - A warm and unpretentious establishment with some of the best curry in Wellington.
4. Cafe Laz - 121 Riddiford Street - An authentic Turkish kebab house with great and filling food. Highly rated by locals.
5. The Ramen Noodle Shop - 191 Riddiford Street - One of my favourite places to eat in Wellington, everything here is fresh, flavoursome and moorish.
7. Wellington Zoo - 200 Daniell St, Newtown - Red Pandas. Meerkats. Nuff said.
8. Pranah - 120 Riddiford St - This is a fully vegetarian café with some MASSIVE servings and really really yummy food.
9. Opportunity For Animals -162 Riddiford Street - They definitely have some of the coolest clothes in any Wellington op shop. Its amazing!
10. Black Coffee - 133 Riddiford Street - With delicious coffee and treats, AND an art gallery - this place is an all in one! It's super hip and comfy. Plus! Last time two readers, Hannah and Olivia went they gave them a couple of Jaffas with their coffee! Win!
12. Good Boy Sammies - 181 Riddiford Street - I have no idea where this place is but YOU GUYS recommended that it would be worth adding. They do vegan and vegetarian sandwiches, amongst others.
13. Mediterranean Foods - 42 Constable Street - A place to go for those who have a passion for all things Italian. Importer of tasty treats. Read my blog post I wrote about their special charity lunch here.
14. Moon Bar - 167 Riddiford Street - A perfect place to hole up for the evening, and drink craft beer while listening to live music. I really wish I came here more!
15. Bebemos - Corner of Riddiford Street and Hall Street - A cool relaxed bar and eatery where you can enjoy a great courtyard. Love it!
16. Death Ray Records - 3 Wilson Street - Where you should go if you want to lose hours getting lost in brilliant music.
17. Cicio Cacio - 167 Riddiford Street - My favourite Italian in Wellington hands down. Amazing authentic food and real Italian vibes.
Right - now I am super HUNGRY. Home to cook dinner. Have a good weekend guys! Thank you to @nu_filo, @neekie89, @nessiagiant and Hannah and Olivia for your top tips!