Neat in the Neighbourhood: Brooklyn

A photo of a blue building with cars whizzing by out front at dusk.

It might not quite be as big as its New York namesake, but Wellington’s Brooklyn is a charming part of town set against plenty of greenery.

Words by: John Son

Photo by: Billie Knight

Nestled just south of the Wellington CBD along the city’s town belt, Brooklyn is within walking distance of the heart of the city, making it a perfect spot to explore at any time of year.

Named after that famous New York borough, the Brooklyn of Aotearoa is a far cry from its overseas counterpart. Still, it retains just enough of a Stateside flavour, boasting its own impressive Central Park and streets named after past American presidents. And for what appears at first glance to be a small and unassuming neighbourhood, there’s plenty to get stuck into here, from a bakery selling some of the city’s favourite pies to accessible day walks filled with views. Here are just some of the things you can get up to on a day in Brooklyn.

Grab coffee and breakfast

The heart of Brooklyn Village, Cleveland Street, is the perfect place to begin your day, boasting a range of fun-sized eateries that punch way above their weight. One of the most obvious picks is Jo’s Pies, a small bakery that produces what many claim to be the best pies in Wellington. They make a good point: here, you’ll find some of the chunkiest, most flavourful pies in Wellington, their crispy golden pastries doing just enough to hold the meat within. As an added bonus, there’s a courtyard out back where you can tuck into your pie and coffee. 

Just a few doors down, the colourful Caribe Coffee is another solid choice for a morning brew. The cafe uses beans sourced fresh from the Caribbean and Central and Latin America and has a tasty cabinet filled with sweet and savoury goods.

Go for a walk

The hilly streets of Brooklyn are surrounded by lush greenery and some great walking tracks. Brooklyn’s wind turbine is not only the suburb’s most famous landmark but also the centrepiece of several family-friendly walks that weave around the area. Whichever route you take, you’re in for plenty of exercise, and all paths lead to the turbine, where you’re treated to some magnificent views towards the Wellington harbour and the south coast. For something a bit more gentle, go for a leisurely stroll around Brooklyn’s own Central Park, where you’ll find gardens, natural woodland and bush, and a flying fox for the kids.

Join a cooking class

For a dining experience with a difference, head along to a cooking class at Sheila’s Indian Kitchen, where you’ll learn how to cook delicious Indian meals and get to enjoy your creations on the spot. There’s only space for a handful of people per class, ensuring an intimate experience where you can really get immersed in local resident Anu Gupta’s wealth of cooking knowledge. From curries like vegetable korma and palak paneer to classic starters such as onion bhajis, you’ll be able to whip up Indian favourites in no time. Classes take place in Anu’s purpose-built studio, where everything is provided, and are a fantastic activity whether it’s a date or a day out with friends. Bookings are essential.

Catch a movie

Keen to catch that newly released blockbuster? Why not head to Brooklyn’s Penthouse Cinema, one of Wellington’s most iconic cinemas? Since it first opened in 1939, the Penthouse has been extensively refurbished and expanded over the years while retaining its beautiful art deco character, ensuring a unique and comfortable movie viewing experience. And if you didn’t manage to grab a bite beforehand, don’t fret - the popular cafe and restaurant on site have plenty of options, ranging from snacks you can take into your movie through to hearty sit-down dinners.

Settle in for a meal

For such a compact part of the city, Brooklyn has a pleasantly surprising diversity of cuisine on offer, whether it’s a long lunch or a romantic dinner you’re after. The Salty Pidgin is perhaps Brooklyn’s most well-known eatery, drawing diners from all across the city to feast on its addictive bar snacks and exquisite dinner menu (the pides are a crowd favourite). Just across the road, you’ll find Chimichurri, an Argentinian asado restaurant that serves up meat-loaded brunches. Lastly, every neighbourhood needs at least one decent pizzeria, and Bogarts is a local favourite that serves a delectable range of slices to satisfy any palate.

Neat Wellington Places

Olde Beach Bakery

A view of the inside of Olde Beach Bakery on sunny day.
Place Kāpiti Coast Paekākāriki
Cafes key icon.

Olde Beach Bakery pumps out delicious baked goods in the heart of Paekākāriki for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike.

Coffee Supreme Midland Park

Customer reads a journal at Coffee Supreme Midland Park, Wellington.
Place Wellington
Goods key icon.

Midland Park marks new beginnings for Coffee Supreme.

Penray Gardens

A fruit and vegetable display inside a large barn.
Place Kāpiti Coast
Stay and explore key icon. Goods key icon. Wellbeing key icon.

Penray Gardens is a pick-your-own paradise located in Ōtaki on the Kāpiti Coast.

Dough Upper Hutt

Bakery interior with royal blue tiles and a cabinet filled with delicious baked goods
Place Hutt Valley Upper Hutt
Cafes key icon.

Come for the art, stay for the coffee and doughnuts at Dough Bakery in Upper Hutt – conveniently located in one of the town's most popular cultural haunts.