The days may be shorter, and temperatures may have plummeted - but you don’t have to book a plane ticket to ditch the chill, indulge in cosy comforts, or discover something new. You can find all the elements that make for a wonderful winter escape right here in the heart of the city.
Book a hotel
No matter the occasion for your getaway – romance, out with mates, or just because – the city centre has the hotel to help set the tone for it.
Lovers of luxe can head to the multi-award-winning Hotel Britomart. Its most recent gong was the #1 Hotel in New Zealand by Trip Advisor in the Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards 2023. With the hotel’s stunning architecture, commitment to sustainability and feted restaurant kingi right in the heart of the Britomart precinct, it’s easy to see why.
Book a stay at M Social Auckland for a modern, stylish atmosphere and a New Zealand first guest experience. If you’re craving solitude but don’t want to sacrifice room service, M Social have you covered. Their butler robot H.A.R.I can cater to your whims while you take in the stunning harbour views.
For rooms with a quirky edge and all the trimmings, head to QT Auckland. It’s right on the water and home to celebrity chef Sean Connolly’s restaurant Esther. You can even book a dog-friendly room if you can’t bear to leave your pet at home.
Wander around and rediscover your city centre
Lots of travel blogs extol the virtue of getting purposely lost to experience a city centre authentically. This approach isn’t only useful for new places – it’s a great way to rediscover familiar ones through fresh eyes. So, rug up, take a route less travelled, and explore places that feel the same, but hit different.
Explore the great indoors
Go shopping at Commercial Bay
Winter weather in Auckland can be patchy, so it’s always handy to have an indoor activity or two up your sleeve.. like refreshing your winter wardrobe! Commercial Bay has plenty to browse, from beloved local designers to international favourites there’s something for all tastes and chilly occasions.
Escape from an escape room
If you’ve pulled a group of gamers together, why not use your combined intellect, creativity and common sense to work your way out of one of Escapade's escape rooms. Pick from five themed escape rooms and decipher clues and puzzles to unlock the door in under an hour.
Wander around Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Creatively inclined folk can find new ways to experience and engage with art at the Auckland Art Gallery. It features the most extensive collection of national and international art in the country. Coupled with an ever-changing line-up of workshops, talks and more, there will be something for all tastes.
Indulge in cocktail hour
Because there’s nothing more luxurious than settling into cosily appointed surrounds while having delicious food and/or drinks brought to you on a cold winter’s night.
Quiet corners, luscious ingredients and knowledgeable staff are key to any good cocktail bar and the city centre’s got plenty! Hidden in Britomart Place is Caretaker. Inspired by a New York speakeasy, their philosophy centres around designing drinks based on your favourite flavours, making it a local favourite.
Down O’Connell Street and up a flight of stairs is Panacea. This swish secret cocktail bar only opened this year and has already scooped some epic awards. In an Auckland first, how Panacea creates its drinks is more akin to a kitchen. Fresh, seasonal produce is delivered daily, and cocktails are batch prepared, with the menu constantly being tweaked.
Snickel Lane has one for the wine lovers, courtesy of La Fuente. There’s also a small but perfectly formed menu comprising of Mexican-inspired dishes and bar snacks.
Try a special menu
Come August, Restaurant Month returns to the city centre. A must on any foodie’s calendar, this year’s programme is stacked with events, offerings, and experiences sure to surprise and delight.
There are 100+ special menus at $30, $45 and $55+ price points, plus the return of Social Hour and a brand new Sunday Lunch series. Tickets are also still available for an incredible line-up of dining event too!
Check out the menus and eventshere.
Make the most of exciting city centre events
From big stadium gigs at Spark Arena, rising stand-up comedy stars at The Classic, exclusive arts, eats and beats courtesy of Elemental and cutting-edge theatre at The Basement, lovers of live experiences are spoilt for choice in the city centre.
Celebrate women's football
Sport enthusiasts can check out the FIFA Fan Festival™ Zone down at The Cloud from July 20th. Punters will be able to experience the best in football, music, entertainment and matches on the big screen.
Get your skates on
Ice skating’s a winter-romance-movie trope for good reason, so if you’re looking for a date idea, head to Aotea Centre’s Ice Rink.
Get cosy and watch a flick
A winter evening spent cosied up at the cinema is hard to beat and in fantastic news for film lovers, the Whānau Mārama: New Zealand International Film Festival is on now until August 6! See 100+ movie screenings here.