Whanganui, a UNESCO City of Design, is a vibrant blend of heritage and modern creativity.

Take part in a glass-blowing workshop, stroll through its streets to visit galleries, or catch a live music performance on the weekends – whatever your interests, there's something for everyone in Whanganui.

If you want to experience the city’s creative scene, here’s the top ten activities.

1. Watch glass art in action

New Zealand Glass Works - Te Whare Tūhua o Te Ao(opens in new window) is a dedicated glass art centre, featuring demonstrations, exhibitions, and workshops. Its open access studio welcomes top glass artists throughout the year.

3. Explore the regional museum

The Whanganui Regional Museum(opens in new window) plays a vital role in the city's cultural identity, showcasing the region's cultural and natural history through its extensive collection of over 100,000 items, ranging from Māori artifacts and colonial-era objects to natural history specimens and geological formations. The museum's Taonga Māori collection is one of the largest and most significant collections of Māori treasures in the country. 

4. Catch a live gig

Royal Whanganui Opera House(opens in new window) and the Musician's Club host nationally renowned performances, including opera and classical music concerts. Bars like Porridge Watson and Frank showcase local and touring acts, providing a platform for emerging artists and open-mic nights. 

5. Go for a heritage walk

Victoria Avenue is one of New Zealand's most beautiful main streets, enriched with numerous heritage buildings showcasing the city's coloial past. Don't miss the iconic Durie Hill Elevator, leading to the stunning Durie Hill War Memorial Tower, which offers panoramic views of Whanganui and its surrounding natural beauty.

6. Watch a theatrical performance

Whanganui has a thriving theatre scene. The Royal Opera House(opens in new window) is a prominent venue, offering a variety of productions throughout the year. In addition to the Opera House, the city boasts two local theatres, the Wanganui Repertory Theatre(opens in new window) and Amdram(opens in new window), the oldest Amateur Dramatic Musical Theatre in New Zealand, which both showcase a range of theatrical performances, from classics to modern plays.

7. Celebrate local literature

The city's love for the written word is evident in the bi-annual Whanganui Literary Festival(opens in new window), where literary enthusiasts come together to celebrate their passion for literature. For book lovers, Paige's Book Gallery(opens in new window) is a treasure trove of literature, offering a wide range of books and a Book Club programme that caters to avid readers and aspiring writers.

8. Experience the creativity at art events

The Whanganui Artists Open Studios(opens in new window) is a noteworthy event, where visitors can get a glimpse into the creative process of local artists and learn about their inspirations and techniques. This annual event provides a unique opportunity to explore the city's art scene and meet the talented artists who call Whanganui home. 

9. Discover street art

Take a leisurely stroll through the city's streets and alleys to admire the captivating murals that adorn the walls. The street art has been curated through Whanganui Walls(opens in new window), a previous street art festival. From large-scale murals to intricate stencil work, Whanganui's street art scene adds a contemporary and urban flavour to the city's creative landscape.

10. Discover more creativity via the Coastal Art Trail

The Coastal Arts Trail in Whanganui offers a glimpse into the lives and inspirations of local artists and creatives. Explore unique galleries, attend diverse workshops, and immerse yourself in the rich cultural community. There are over 25 galleries and studios to visit, showcasing a diverse range of art forms and styles. Check out the Coastal Arts Trail website to see them all.

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