Explore Auckland’s city centre this summer

Publish Date : 26 Jan 2023
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Auckland’s city centre is a place of lights, art and action, and warm evenings are the perfect time to take it in. Make a date with friends to discover what’s on offer.

Head to the flicks 

One of Silo Park’s most beloved events is back. Silo Cinema sees the area transformed into a movie theatre, outdoor restaurant, bar and epic evening picnic spot all in one. Always a great vibe, the events begin at 5pm and the films start after dark, projected on the silos. Screenings can attract up to 3000 guests, so arrive early and pack a picnic, blankets and camping chairs. Enjoy live music and interactive art installations, and admire the sunset before the movie begins. Visit silopark.co.nz for details.

Across the region, gather with friends and whānau for a picnic and movie under the stars at our free Movies in Parks events. From animated kids flicks to recent blockbusters, we’re putting on a magical movie night for the whole neighbourhood.

Watch a movie at Silo Cinema this summer

Watch a movie at Silo Cinema this summer

Choose your own adventure

Exploring the city centre can take you on a journey through Auckland’s cultural, maritime and social history. If you’ve got an hour to spare, go on the ultimate adventure from Silo Park all the way up to Karangahape Road. Start at Wynyard Quarter’s Amey Daldy Park – once an industrial site, now an urban greenspace named after early suffragist Amey Daldy. The park was recently recognised for excellence in urban design, and is home to a 12m-high mural by mana whenua artists Janine (Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara) and Charles Williams (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāpuhi) called Mai i ngā maunga ki te moana (from the mountains to the sea), honouring native birds such as tarāpuka (black-billed gulls) and kuaka (bar-tailed godwits).

Take the adventurous godwits’ lead and head east across Viaduct Harbour, past Queens Wharf and along to Te Komititanga at the bottom of Queen Street. Hire a bike or scooter and take Queen Street’s new Waihorotiu path, named for the historic stream that still flows underneath. The path is marked with symbolic wayfinding patterns that tell the story of the place while providing visual cues to keep you safe. 

Explore Queen Street this summer

Explore Queen Street this summer

Soak up the atmosphere

Karangahape Road was recently named ‘the world’s sixth coolest street’ by Time Out, but locals have long known it as one of the hippest spots in Aotearoa. Very much the bohemian heart of the city – a neighbourhood with character, history, diversity and fun – Karangahape Road is also one of the most colourful locations in Tāmaki Makaurau, from the rainbow crossings celebrating Auckland’s LGBTQIA+ community to the multicoloured bus shelters which symbolise the pāua eyes of Māori carvings. 

As evening arrives, Karangahape Road hits its stride, with a constantly evolving restaurant scene, dive bars, underground music venues and nightclubs. Time your visit to coincide with the monthly First Thursdays event, featuring music, markets, food and installations up and down the strip, or take yourself to Anti-Valentine’s on 14 February to celebrate love through comedy, spoken word performances, tango and light art.

The Kōrimurimu artwork along the city's waterfront

The Kōrimurimu artwork along the city's waterfront

Hang out at the gallery

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki has been in prime position at the edge of Albert Park since 1888, and as well as displays of local and international art, there are many spaces to enjoy.

Check out the sculpture terrace on the top floor for one of the best free views in the city. There’s seating overlooking the park, so bring some snacks (they can only be opened once you’re outside). To purchase food, coffee and wine, head to the cafe on Level 1. Visit aucklandartgallery.com to find out what’s on.

Art is everywhere

Public art takes many forms, and throughout Auckland you can find sculptures and installations woven into the fabric of our city. Visit the Auckland Public Art / He Kohinga Toi website at aucklandpublicart.com and use the available map to discover more than 180 creations, with dozens to encounter in the city centre alone. Search by artist, method or area, or allow the site to see your location and find art that’s near you.

Creativity can also be found within the infrastructure of Tāmaki Makaurau, with Māori design at the heart of projects across the city. Downtown at Te Wānanga next to the ferry terminal, the balustrades mimic oversized kina and the timber handrails have been engraved with designs by artist Reuben Kirkwood (Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki). Take a moment to admire the sky above and sea below on Kōrimurimu, Tessa Harris’ (Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki) interactive installation of flax-like woven green safety webbing that has been secured across an opening in the deck.

Get down and boogie

If it’s tunes you’re after, swing by the band rotunda at Auckland Domain on 14 January for a jazzy afternoon with The Con Alma Big Band and Goldsmith Baynes. Or head along to Albert Park on 11 February for a celebration of reggae, electronica and pop featuring local artists Rubi Du, Huia, Speech Act Theory and more. These are just two of the 17 events taking place as part of Music in Parks, from 14 January until 26 March. Check musicinparks.co.nz for the full schedule. 

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