Unique spaces in the city centre provide more opportunities to linger, attracting different age groups at different times of the day through the seasons.

Great Places’ are the great social spots in Nelson’s city centre where people meet, catch-up, enjoy lunch in our great weather, and recreate. Places where people linger longer and enjoy the unique city experience Nelson offers.

There are several currently recognised hot spots in the city centre, such as the Cawthron Steps, old Bank Reserve or Maitai riverbank outside River Kitchen. While the permanent closure of Upper Trafalgar Street has seen a 1200% increase in pedestrian activity, Council hears from citizens and businesses that there needs to be more places like these, well distributed across the city.

A growing worker and resident population will demand more social spaces offering greater appeal to people across a wide age range. Consider the range of uses a great place might see on a weekday: morning spaces for sunrise yoga or boot camps, mid-morning for office coffee breaks, lunch spots at midday, spaces for youth to congregate after school and spaces for city residents to walk through in the evening.

A ‘Great Place’ combines a number of different layers to become ‘great’, including being near heritage, a unique vista, water you can touch or hear, public art for participation, the laughter of children, the sound of music, the aroma of fresh food or coffee roasting.


  • Places for respite

The city needs to offer places where we can escape the hustle and bustle of people moving between shops and meetings, or to catch your breath between appointments.

  • Places for socialising

City centres are places where we bump into friends, family and colleagues. ‘Great Places’ offer the opportunity to turn those chance encounters into a proper sit down and catch-up.

  • Places for watching city life

What attracts people to the city centre? Other people! Having ‘Great Places’ throughout the city provides opportunities to observe public life: people moving, people eating, people meeting and people performing. Public life is the strong pulse of a great city.