This year take a merry little afternoon to head into the city centre and enjoy the unique retail offering and festive atmosphere on offer in 2021. Auckland city is abuzz with Christmas spirit, so check out our list below and join in with the magic. Remember, be safe when you are out and about: wear a mask, keep a 2 metre physical distance, scan in using the QR code, and regularly sanitise your hands.

magic mail machine

Jingle all the way to Commercial Bay

Start your merry little afternoon at Commercial Bay for a range of boutiques and stores full of great gifts for loved ones. From international flagships to New Zealand boutiques on Little Queen Street, shop 'til you drop and get two hours free parking when you spend $50 or more. Once you’ve finished with the stores, check out the Magic Mail Machine back for another year, where you can drop a letter and watch as it shoots through the maze of clear tubes directly to Santa himself! Stay tuned for new details on this year's Magic Mail Machine coming soon. 

Baubles in Te Komititanga

Take pictures with the giant baubles in Te Komititanga 

Right before or after your Commercial Bay shopping experience, you're in for a treat when you arrive at Te Komititanga - the new public square at the entrance to Commercial Bay, connecting Queen Street to the waterfront. Get your camera out for a festive photo with the giant bauble decorations, with the tallest reaching 6 metres in height! 

Light Forest

And you can't miss the Light Forest display too

No matter what time of the day you visit, this Light Forest display in Te Komititanga is sure to wow and makes for another great photo opportunity. If you're in the area again one evening then even better - watch them illuminate and glow after sunset.

Britomart Pavillions

Dance and prance around the open air Britomart Pavilions

Set under a picturesque canopy of fairy lights, The Pavilions house a selection of retailers and eateries with easy access to the Britomart Transport Centre and Britomart Carpark. If you're buying for the fashionistas in your life, there's Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper, Kathryn Wilson, Kate Sylvester, Allbirds, Juliette Hogan, Fabric and more, or grab a homewares gift at Wonder Journal, Jo Malone London or Kikki K.

High Street shopping

Ho-ho-hop towards High Street 

There's something for everyone in the High Street District - from homeware stores to on trend footwear, clothing boutiques and excellent eateries for a bite to eat or drink to take away. With recently widened footpaths, there's also more space for you and others to get around. Some great stores worth a visit include Unity Books, Shut The Front DoorPauanesiaCrane BrothersAesop and Ruby.

Christmas in the city centre

Credit Sacha Stejko

Dash through a laneway 

Head to Queen Street via Vulcan Lane to check out the Christmas doves and globes adorning the laneway before a visit to beauty stores like Sephora or Mecca, arcade institutions like Marbecks Records and Pat Menzies and of course iconic department store Smith & Caughey's - more on that below!

Smith & Caughey's Christmas windows

Image credit: @smithandcaugheys via Instagram. 

Smile at Santa with Christmas all around at Smith and Caughey's 

The iconic department store that is Smith & Caughey's is a must-visit at Christmas time, stocking three levels of the world's best brands. Not only that, at Christmas time it is rife with festive activations and installations that are a must-see. Pay Santa a visit at Smith and Caughey's Enchanted Forest (booking only this year) or see beautiful hand painted moving puppets and twinkling lights in this year's window display that goes by the theme of The Fairies' Night Before Christmas - a truly Kiwi story. And we can't forget their dedicated Christmas Shoppe inside, where you can stock up on all the best decorations to deck your spaces out at home! 

Island Gelato

Finish by rockin' around the waterfront 

Cup or cone is the only difficult decision you have to make at Island Gelato Company. Unwind from a busy summer afternoon with your favorite gelato down by Auckland’s spectacular waterfront. Weekly specials and a constantly rotating variety of full bodied, low fat, low sugar, goodness awaits. 

Then take home a takeaway!

Last updated: 25 December 2021