Embrace the festive season with our need-to-know guide on all the best Christmas-inspired events taking place in the city centre.
Late Night Christmas
Late Night Christmas is returning to the city centre on December 19, with over 140 stores now confirmed as open late, and 90 street performances taking place throughout the evening bringing about the most incredible atmosphere as you go about your last minute shopping. Even if you're finished crossing off your list, head along with friends, colleagues or the kids and make the most of this free street festival!
Santa's Enchanted Forest at Smith and Caughey's
Many families head into the city centre specifically for this, it's almost a right of passage and a magical Christmas tradition that shouldn't be missed for little ones during the festive season. 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 - we highly recommend booking for this event to avoid the queues.
Four days of Christmas celebrations take place at Silo Park on the waterfront from December 20-24. Whether you're looking for a fun date-night idea or a family day out, head here for live entertainment, to meet Santa, delicious food from the various food trucks and of course the annual Christmas film, chosen via a People's Choice vote.
Markets, lights and more at Victoria Park
Every Thursday in December the iconic Victoria Park Market (VPM) will light up the yuletide season with family focused European style Christmas markets complete with festive lighting, food and craft stalls, Santa’s grotto and open air performers. Featuring the tallest chimney in Auckland, the historic site will be home to Santa and his helpers; and the chance for kids - young and old - to be photographed with Santa.
Take to little ones on a ride to the Caribbean for this festive concert courtesy of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and hear all of your Christmas favourites such as ‘Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer’ and ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ with the tropical twist of steel pans! The orchestra will be joined by talented steel pan artists The Panimals with the steel pan being the national instrument of Caribbean islands Trinidad and Tobago as well as the iconic instrument used in the beloved The Little Mermaid movie soundtrack.
For a traditional Christmas experience, Join Auckland Choral to celebrate Christmas with the magic of Handel’s Messiah, a spectacular musical performance that is guaranteed to give you goosebumps. Handel confidently announces the birth of Christ with a radiant section that quotes St Luke’s gospel, ‘For unto us a Child is Born’. Then there’s one of the most famous pieces of choral music, the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’, and ‘The Trumpet Shall Sound’.
Head along to one of the city centre's most spectacular and beautiful churches to join in their traditional services. A great one to take the kids to is their Children's Nativity Service where Christmas carols will be sung and the telling of the Christmas Story will take place.