Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, is known for its vibrant food scene. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there are plenty of family-friendly cafes and restaurants in Wellington that cater to all tastes and budgets. From cosy brunch spots to elegant dining destinations, there’s something to please everyone. In this article, we’ll explore the best family-friendly cafes and restaurants in Wellington, so you can plan your next family outing with ease.
Take the whānau to the Sunday morning Harbourside Market and let everyone choose their own breakfast while enjoying the stunning waterfront and nearby playground. With offerings of fresh produce, food trucks and live entertainment there is something for everyone. Running from 7:30am – 1pm in Winter and 2pm in Summer Harbourside Market is the oldest and most popular market in Wellington. The market is located on the corner of Cable St & Barnett St beside Te Papa.
In the heart of the city is Hannahs Laneway, home to some of Wellington’s favourite artisan products and the perfect way to spend a few hours tasting, trying, eating and exploring. There’s a range of artisan makers and bakers for the whole whānau to sample. Grab a slice at Pizza Pomodoro, offering up fresh and flavourful pizza straight from the wood-fired oven. Finish the day off at your bar of choice; head to Golding’s craft beer bar for some of the freshest brews in town, or Wellington Chocolate Factory for a bean-to-bar chocolate experience.
Scorch-O-Rama is a prime example of a spot where you’ll sit back and say to yourself, ‘you really can’t beat Wellington on a good day’. It’s a bright and bustling café on the shoreline of Miramar Peninsula’s Scorching Bay, and perfect for a brunch or afternoon snack with little ones in tow. Their brunch menu is excellent, dedicated children’s’ menu has all the favourites, and their coffee is the perfect mix of strong and local. Sit inside the café or opt to be seated across the road with the sea lapping the shore beside you (both sides are pram-accessible). If it’s a sunny day, get your order to go and enjoy the sandy beach and perfect grassy picnicking area just a stone’s throw away, and tire the kids out with some salt water paddling.
The Southern Cross Garden Bar and Restaurant is incredibly family and child-friendly and puts on an impressive array of activities for the little ones and their grown-ups throughout the week (including free massages for stressed-out parents – bliss). Their weekend family-friendly brunch is legendary – a kids’ activity station is set up offering free face-painting and colouring-in activities, allowing parents to enjoy their long black and scrambled eggs. The Cross has a great children’s’ menu that’s always available, as well as a great adults’ menu, too. With an array of indoor and outdoor spaces. The Cross is a place that people of all ages can enjoy.
Parrotdog welcomes both two and four-legged children, and is the perfect seaside spot for snacks, pints and pool. There’s a lot you can do at the relaxed brewery bar a street back from Lyall Bay beach: surfers can turn up in jandals with a board under one arm, and dog walkers can take their pooches inside and cool off with a local beer. Parrotdog Brewery situated very close to the airport, and it serves comfort food to wash down with beer, and holds quiz nights, Wednesday burger nights, taco Friday, and monthly live gigs. It’s a place with the mantra “come as you are’’. “Come as you are is about being a bar for everyone.
A Wellington favourite since it first opened in the 1990s. One Red Dog specialises in family-friendly pizza and pasta. The restaurant’s waterfront location at Queens Wharf makes it a popular place for a pre-show meal. With service that’s laidback while still professional, One Red Dog is the kind of place you can take the kids and relax. There’s a special kids’ menu that includes a ‘make your own pizza’ where ingredients are brought to the table and your mini Massimo can create their own culinary masterpiece. There’s plenty of delicious options on the ‘adult’ menu to keep the grown-ups happy, too.
Picnic is the café in the Wellington Botanic Garden, surrounded by trees and right next to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden. It’s a beautiful nature escape with the convenience of a café, surrounded by the sights and smells of hundreds of native plants and gorgeous flowers. The sparrows darting around outside and inside the café are an endless source of entertainment for babies, and plenty of outdoor seating means bigger kids have space to play. If you’re keen to explore the 25 hectares of gardens on offer, they’ve got kids’ picnic boxes (and caffeine for the parents) to takeaway. Wander through stroller-friendly paths, feed the ducks at the fully-fenced pond, have a snack under a sheltered tree, or set them loose in the fenced toddler area within the bigger playground.
Spruce Goose began life as an airport terminal building and for more than 50 years was the home of the Wellington Aero Club. Now a popular seaside café, bar and restaurant with sweeping views of Lyall Bay and Wellington Airport – people of all ages are entranced by watching the surfers, waves and planes coming and going. After a walk or swim at Lyall Bay, this laidback and colourful eatery is the perfect place to head with the whole family for a meal or a snack.
Caffe L’Affare is a bona fide Wellington institution: a gigantic café and coffee roastery with a come-one-come-all vibe, going strong since 1990. It’s pram-friendly and there’s a dedicated play area to keep the kids entertained. It’s also unfailingly busy, so any little people noises will blend in with the cheerful hum of conversation. Grab a fluffy for your mini, and something stronger for yourself, and enjoy the hospitality of patient and friendly staff. There’s good shopping nearby, too: Moore Wilson’s has a brilliant toy department, Nature Baby has stylish organic baby gear, and Good Books has a cosy kids’ corner.
The café on the ground floor of Te Papa Tongarewa is as kid-friendly as it gets. There’s lots of high chairs and a big play area, cleverly positioned at the far end of the room so other punters won’t trip over the kids as they play. It’s the perfect pre or post museum spot to refuel the whole family. When you’re done, head upstairs to explore the museum: Te Taiao Nature is always a hit, and StoryPlace hosts three 45-minute sessions every weekday, with stories, music and play.
So thick you can stand a spoon up in it, Scopa’s hot chocolate is part comfort, part dessert, and 100% delicious. It’s the perfect thing on a chilly afternoon or to round out an Italian feast at this favourite Wellington restaurant on Cuba Street. Made with melted chocolate and cream, this hot chocolate is pure indulgence and will not disappoint sweet-toothed chocolate lovers.
Wellington has a diverse range of family-friendly cafés and restaurants that are sure to delight both adults and children. Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, there are plenty of options to choose from when visiting Wellington with children. From cosy cafés to elegant restaurants, you’ll find something to suit your taste and budget.
Find out more about visiting Wellington with children in our free guide.