The decorations are up, the lights are twinkling, window displays are in full force - it's December and Christmas is all around! There is so much taking place in the city centre to celebrate Christmas and we have listed some of our favourite things to do at the weekend with family and friends. Check them out below.
First things first, get in and out with ease
Christmas shopping and all the business that the season brings can be stressful enough, so the last thing you want to worry about is where to find a convenient park or what mode of transport is best to use for your occasion - plus, how much will it cost? We've done all the planning for you with our guide to parking and transport hacks for Christmas - from hourly to all-day parking rates for the weekend to free child fares on trains and buses. For everything you need to know, click here.
Get your Christmas list ticked off in one of the unique shopping precincts
The city centre is known for it's fantastic retail offering - from Queen Street's flagships to Britomart's unique boutiques and High Street's great gift stores - there's a store to visit for everyone on your list. Check out our 2019 Gift Guides for him, her, the kids, the stockings and everything in between, plus where to find the most unique gift stores in the city too.
When it's time to take a break from shopping, there are plenty of places perfect for Christmas catch ups with friends and family. Whether you're looking for casual pub grub, something a little fancier with harbour views to match, or just some delicious cocktails to get you in the holiday spirit, there's something in the city centre to suit every occasion, group size and price point. Check out our guide to Christmas catch ups here, or if you're looking specifically for a great waterside experience, check out our guide to the best waterside dining in town.
Embrace the festive events taking place, in between shop visits or further into the evening
There is an incredible range of Christmas activities and events taking place during the week and at the weekends in Auckland city centre. Check out our top recommendations for the weekends below.
Silo Park Christmas | Silo Park, 20-23 December
Your much loved urban playground, Silo Park, is back and starting the season with 4 joyous days of Christmas festivities! Head along from Friday 20 December to Monday 23 December for some festive fun, with DJ's, food trucks, entertainment, games, and even carols for a sing-along! The Silo Park bar will be serving up delicious Christmas cheer and our mate Santa will be joining for a few hours each day. On Friday night the annual people's choice Christmas film will be playing and this year the winner is Love Actually. So grab a picnic blanket and find a spot, the screening will commence from 9pm.
A Sol3 Mio Christmas | The Civic, December 21&22
This is Sol3 Mio’s first Christmas show in two years, and the only chance to see the group together on stage for some time, with their 2020 schedules booking up quickly. Sol3 Mio will gather in Auckland on December 21 (SOLD OUT) & 22 for A Sol3 Mio Christmas, an exciting pair of shows at The Civic - featuring Christmas carols and a selection of favourites from the trio’s repertoire. Don't miss out!
A Frickin Dangerous Space-mas | Basement Theatre, 21 November - 20 December
Due to popularity, this show has added extra dates to it's season! It’s day one hundred and something of orbiting the earth and things are pretty dull aboard the International Space Station. All there is to do is eat freeze-dried space pav, hook up with each other and squabble over who deserves the highly coveted role of Captain of the ship. But, when the crew discover the hidden agenda of one of their fellow space colleagues, chaos ensues. Will this ragtag bunch of dysfunctional cosmonauts be able to perform a Christmas miracle and save humankind? Basement Theatre's annual Christmas Show is truly a must-see.
Take a trip to Smith & Caughey's Enchanted Forest, and check out their window display while you're at it.
One of the central city's most magical Christmas experiences and a festive event not to be missed, Santa's Enchanted Forest is back this Christmas at Auckland's iconic Queen Street department store. Bring the little ones in to Smith & Caughey's to explore the magical forest, see the elves scurrying about preparing for Christmas, and meet Santa Claus himself. Before or after your visit, be sure to check out their window display too, with this year's theme being The Night Before Christmas.
While you're on Queen Street, say a final farewell to Santa
He's towered over Aucklanders each festive season for the best part of six decades. But now the city's giant Santa is set to retire after one final Christmas and a fitting public send-off. The 19-metre Santa Claus, whose most recent home each festive season has been the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets in the city centre, will appear one last time from Sunday 10 November before hanging up his red coat for good on Friday 10 January. Make sure you say a final farewell to Santa this festive season and share your tributes with us by using the hashtag #FarewellSanta.
Take a Christmas cooking class | Wynyard Quarter, December 14
Jump into the celebratory season with seafood recipes designed for a relaxed meal complemented with summer produce. Enjoy fresh new ways to cook using in-season produce bringing summertime flavours into your cooking. This Auckland Fish Market Seafood School class will have you cook two delicious recipes and complete the evening with a seasonal dessert to refresh the palate and celebrate the upcoming festivities! Complimentary beverage / bubbles and antipasto on arrival. The class starts promptly at 5pm.