Plan a trip or stay in the city centre on the second to last Friday before Christmas and enjoy late night shopping hours plus special pop-ups and activations including live music, street performances, complimentary food and drinks and of course to top it all off, the Christmas Light Show In Te Komititanga. See our tips to making the most of it all below.
Start with an afternoon drink on the waterfront
There's nothing quite like a festive drink in the sunshine so why not grab a cocktail by the water in between shopping and checking out all the activations! There's plenty of places to choose from at Viaduct Harbour and Wynyard Quarter including Casa Bacardi, a pop-up in Wynyard Pavilion. As part of the pop-up, Wynyard Pavilion is also hosting Summer Bacardi Sessions - ticketed events taking place every Saturday until January 22 with DJs, a mojito on arrival and delicious Caribbean cuisine to be enjoyed throughout including Cubano & Fries, Fried Coconut Squid, Ceviche and Dulce de Leche Donuts.
Don't miss musicians and performers as you move around
From live jazz to Caribbean beats, human flowers and more, keep an eye out for live artists popping up on city centre streets, sure to add a smile to your face and some upbeat atmosphere as you move around. The line-up changes every week. Click here to see the full programme.
Venture in to Queens Arcade for those hard to buy for
Struggling to tick off the last of your Christmas shopping list? Whether you're looking for gifts for beach goers, foodies, fashion lovers, that person that has everything or a secret Santa idea, Queens Arcade is one of the city centre's best little secrets and a true shopping gem with institutions like Marbeck's Records, there's also the chance to win a $500 shopping spree - just head to their Instagram page to enter now.
While you're on Queen Street, don't miss an iconic window display
Did you hear the news - Smith & Caughey's has joined the hallowed ranks of Macy's in New York and Selfridges in London for having one of the most incredible Christmas window displays from around the world! This year's display - The Fairies' Night Before Christmas has been ranked 5th in the top seven Christmas window displays to visit around the world by the international travel website, Travel Awaits - so a visit to check them out is a must.
Take a picture with giant decorations on display
Te Komititanga, the public space between Britomart and Commercial Bay that also connects Queen Street to the waterfront is full of festive cheer with a range of giant decorations on display including giant baubles and an illuminating light forest. Take some pictures before heading in to Commercial Bay for more Christmas activations inside.
Late nights, live music, free G&Ts, snow cones and fun for the kids
Full of incredible international stores as well as New Zealand retailers, Commercial Bay doesn't just have great shopping options this Christmas. There's also Santa's Mail Machine open until 8pm, for posting your wishlist to Santa and watching it shoot through the three-storey mail machine, live music on the Ground Floor and at Public Bar and free snow cones to enjoy while moving around. Plus, check out the brand new Hendricks x Green Door Pizza pop up and get a a complimentary G&T when you buy a slice of pizza. Oh - and we still haven't even mentioned that Commercial Bay will be open longer (until 9pm) from December 16 - 23 (excluding Sunday December 19, open until 7pm).
Enjoy late shopping and live music at Britomart
Britomart's stores and boutiques are also open on December 16, 17 and 23 with live music sessions in Takutai Square from 5.30pm - 7pm. What's more, when you shop or eat at a Britomart venue this festive season, you'll go in the draw to win a two-night stay at The Hotel Britomart plus a $500 Britomart Black gift card. Simply scan the QR codes on the counter cards in each boutique or eatery.
Stay for dinner
You'll probably be hungry with all the shopping and sightseeing so make plans to have a dinner break at one of the many great restaurants near by. Check out our top recommendations for where to celebrate the season here now.
Catch the light projection at the end of the night
You'd be silly not to head back to Te Komititanga to end (or continue) your night by catching the Christmas Light Show, on from 8.45pm. The large scale projected light show will illuminate the entire Chief Post Office (CPO) spanning 55 metres wide and 32 metres high. The magical adventure begins in the heart of the city, before traveling by magic stardust to the North Pole and into Santa's Workshop. Along the way, dance with mischievous elves, watch as toys and presents are made and wrapped, and spot Santa's sleigh as he wings his way to the Southern Hemisphere, spreading some much-needed Christmas joy in his wake.