Spring has sprung, the sun is shining and the easing of alert levels means retail and public facilities are reopening from Wednesday November 10. It's time to reacquaint yourself with the places you've missed in the city centre, while discovering some of the things that have popped up - like artist installations and Christmas decorations - while you've been away. Check out our itinerary for an afternoon outing below.
Start at 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 Door, Pauanesia, Crane Brothers, Aesop and Ruby.
And while you're in the area, be sure to stop and check out the art installations on display for Artweek - on Durham Street East, the Freyberg Steps and Khartoum Place.
Venture down a laneway to reach Queen Street
Queen Street is also undergoing some transformations, with widened footpaths, planting and street furniture, making for a nice open-air experience for your first visit back to the city centre. Now that we're finally able to get back into stores, top up your beauty supplies with a visit to stores like Sephora or Mecca, venture into the arcades for institutions like Marbecks Records and Pat Menzies and of course iconic department store Smith & Caughey's who also now have their Christmas decorations on sale and spectacular 2021 Christmas windows on display!
Explore designer boutiques in 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. Check out the latest collections at Zambesi, Karen Walker, Trelise Cooper, Kathryn Wilson, Kate Sylvester, Allbirds, Juliette Hogan, Fabric and more, or grab something new for home from the precinct's newest addition, Wonder Journal. The Pavilions are also a perfect place to perch with a takeaway bite to eat from places like The Store, &Sushi or Daily Bread.
Head back towards Te Komititanga and Commercial Bay
You're in for a treat on your first visit back to Te Komititanga - the new public square connecting Queen Street to the waterfront. Check out a series of illuminated lightboxes on display for Artweek as well as giant bauble decorations and a light forest display to add festive cheer to the space for Christmas.
Once you've taken in the spectacles, make your way to Commercial Bay for more retail therapy! As well as a fantastic range of New Zealand stores in the Little Queen Street laneway, the international retail offering is not to be missed with stores like Kate Spade New York, DIOR Cosmetics, Tommy Hilfiger, Scotch & Soda, Sandro and Maje. Check out our article from earlier this year on 12 things we love about the precinct.
When you're finished shopping, grab a takeaway from Harbour Eats and enjoy it perched on deckchairs laid out in Te Komititanga.
Take a stroll along the waterfront
Head out towards the water to Te Wānanga - the stunning new public space to relax on the water's edge. If you're an active relaxer, grab an ice cream to take with you as you stroll further, passing the Viaduct before reaching Wynyard Quarter and Silo Park. Check out the ice cream spots you shouldn't go past here. An afternoon well spent!
Parking in the city centre is a lot cheaper than you think! From free valet parking when you shop at Commercial Bay to $2 per hour rates, get clued up so you can enjoy more while you're here.
See our comprehensive list of city centre carparks by location, plus the rates here now. Whether you're coming in during the day, evenings or weekends - we've got you covered.