Things To Do

50 Of The Best Things To Do In Auckland

By Alice Rich

People dance at Morning People, one of the best things to do in Auckland.

While JAFA's may be the brunt of jokes for those south of the Bombay Hills, we think living in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland is pretty damn rad. Whether it’s our ability to complain relentlessly about Auckland traffic, our love affair with a great coffee (or anything with avocado or halloumi), donning activewear with no plans of sweating, and how someone always knows someone who knows someone making The Bachelor winner our worst kept secret… this fine city is a gem of a place to live.

There’s no shortage of things to do so it’s with great difficulty (and lots of fun) that we at Urban List have created our list of 50 things you should do if you live in Auckland. 

Party First Work Later

Follow Morning People to be the first to know when the next hottest morning rave drops. Featuring New Zealand’s top DJs plus bottomless Altezano Brothers Coffee, Club Mate and free fruit, there’s no better way to start your day.

Feast On Food Trucks

Every week the legends at the Food Truck Collective pop up at a local park or gig and sling the tastiest fare around. Keep an eye on their socials for all the juicy deets.  

Get Cultured… In A Car Park

If you’re after shows brimming with original, local, disruptive and boundary-pushing work, Basement Theatre’s the place for you. And yep, you’ll find it in the car park behind the Auckland Town Hall.

Consume, Consciously

If you’re in need of a gift for someone special or you want to treat yo’self, we highly recommend Crushes on Karangahape Road. For all the NZ-made, ethical, and vintage goodness you desire.

A tile reads 'there's no shortage of great ways to spend your time when you're in Tāmaki Makaurau. Here are just a few of our fave things to do when you need inspo

Pop Some Tags

On that note, if you’re a bit of an op-shop fiend, you’ll want to bump these mackin’ thrift shops to the top of your list.

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Get Inked

Arm tattoo of a three-faced woman by Tattoo Gold, getting inked is one of the best things to do in Auckland city. Image credit: Tattoo Gold /  Instagram

Immortalise all the memories you’ve made in Tāmaki Makaurau by having one of our expert local tattooists gun an ink effigy onto your favourite body part. 

Make A Thing

Working with your hands is said to relieve stress, and it’s also really good fun. Whip up mouthwatering pasta from scratch, throw some clay or learn how to forage in a native forest. Check out all the best workshops here

Get Them Talons Did

If giving your nails a glow-up with gorgeous colours and glitter doesn’t count as self-care, we don’t know what does. Luckily, Tāmaki Makaurau is home to some of the best nail salons around.

Hit The Road

One of the best things about Auckland is how close it is to so many different adventures. Find inspiration with 8 of the best day trips then get ready for a roadie. 

Sleep In The Open Air

Sometimes a day trip won’t cut it and for those times you need reliable, atmospheric campsites to while away your evenings. Luckily, there are loads to choose from—here are our top camping spots

Jazz Hands At The Ready

A tray of delicious cocktails on a tray at Caretaker, one of the coolest things to do in Auckland. Image credit: Caretaker / Facebook

Beloved speakeasy, Caretaker, hosts live jazz every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night from 9pm. Entry is free but you’re definitely going to want to drop some dollars on their iconic cocktails. 

Laugh, A Lot

Stay at home and binge the witty NZ-made YouTube channel Viva La Dirt League filmed in iconic locations like Woodhill Forest and Howick Historical Village. If you like them, subscribe and show them some love by supporting the team through Patreon. 

And Laugh Some More

If laughing until you cry sounds like a bit of you, you’re going to love The Classic. Auckland’s premier comedy club serves fresh laughs every week. Go along on Wednesday night to score 12 comedians for just $15. 

Step Right Up

Dodgem cars, carousels, VR games and more. Get up to mischief at Archie Brothers Cirque Electriq—a circus-themed arcade-meets-bar hidden away in Westfield Newmarket. Psst, love secret worlds? You’re going to want to check out all of these too. 

Help A Kitty In Need

 Foster a cat or kitten with Lonely Miaow. Landlord not keen on the idea of a new furry friend? You can still support this worthy cause with a donation.

Art Up Your Child’s Pose

A silhouette of someone doing yoga in front of a lit stained glass-style piece of artwork at the Auckland Art Gallery, definitely one of the best things to do in Auckland. Image credit:  Auckland Art Gallery / Facebook


If you like your yoga with a twist of something a little different, pop along to the Yoga and Art Immersions at the Auckland Art Gallery every Sunday from 9-10am.

Putt Like The Mini-Golf Pro That You Are

Nothing says ‘besties’ like trying to out-putt each other on a wackily-themed mini-golf course in the middle of a bar on the Viaduct.

Release Energetic Blocks

If you’re feeling stagnant or otherwise inhibited, give your vitality a boost with a flower essence made just for you by Amber and Gold.  

Fling Some Paint

Speaking of art, hit up a wine and paint party and you’ll have a ball getting jovial while you create an absolute masterpiece.

Get Filthy

Filth creates legendary parties and safe spaces for people who identify as QTBIPOC. Sound like a bit of you? Follow their IG for deets on their next event.   

Get Rollin’ 

Legs wearing a pair of white roller skates with blue laces, a great thing to do in Auckland. Image credit: Laura Stanley

Chuck on a pair of roller skates and have a go at roller derby. They’re a diverse, welcoming lot at Auckland Roller Derby so you know you’re in good hands.

Enjoy Dinner And A Drag Show

Caluzzi Drag Cabaret has been serving drag realness for as long as we can remember. Sitting on Karangahape Road’s main strip, Caluzzi is a fabulous night out, every time. 

Delight In Films, Old And New

Grab your spoon and head to The Hollywood’s somewhat monthly screening of The Room (affectionately known as the worst film ever made) or drop into one of Tāmaki Makaurau’s other groovy boutique cinemas

Go On A Progressive Dinner

 Here in Auckland have an abundance of amazing bars and restaurants so don’t spend your night at just one of them! Line up a bunch of your favourites and hop from one to the next sampling drinks and nibbles along the way. 

Take A Trip To Waiheke

A trip to Waiheke is an absolute must. And whether you spend a day or a weekend, it feels like relaxing in another world, but it’s only a ferry ride away. Waiheke may be famed for its wineries but there are loads of other epic things to do in Waiheke that aren’t drinking wine

Do Good On Beautiful Motutapu

A takahē on Motutapu Island, volunteering here is one of the best things to do in Auckland.  Image credit:  Motutapu /  Website

Volunteer with the Motutapu Restoration Project and spend a day on the island planting trees, controlling weeds and working in the nursery. If you're lucky, you might even spot a takahē. 

See A Show Under The Stars

The Civic was built way back in 1929 and has been treating us to wonderful shows ever since. It’s clever floating ceiling design, studded with stars, recreates the Southern Hemisphere night sky taking your theatre experience to the next level. 

Get Some Soul Guidance

 If you’re struggling with a tough decision—maybe you’re on the fence about a situationship, are tossing up job prospects or are just feeling a bit aimless—book into The Haus of Spicy Tarot for an intuitive tarot reading with Amanda Grace. 

Revel In Nostalgia

Every Aucklander has felt that thrill when they hear the sound of Greensleeves and it escalates as the vehicle of magic comes closer and closer. Don’t be shy to channel your inner child and sprint out the door, barefoot, and chase down Mr. Whippy

Get Eyes Deep In Ice cream

Drop everything—Tip Top does factory tours. Watch the glorious ice cream-making process, get treated to a behind-the-scenes video and, yes, taste it. It’s every kiwi kid’s dream, and it can be yours, too, for just $8.

Did We Mention Ice Cream?

A hand holds a cone with a double scoop of strawberries and cream ice cream by Duck Island. Image credit:  Duck Island Ice Cream / Instagram

It’s always the right time for ice cream and Auckland is #blessed to have the coolest ice cream and gelato shops. Gluten-free, vegan, cone, cup—it’s all here, baby. 

Head to Holey Moley 

 Holey Moley is the Viaduct’s very own multi-sensory labyrinthine mini golf course and bar aaaand private karaoke lounge. Need we say more?

Learn To Fly

Yearn to feel the wind beneath your wings? Now you can. Link in with Blue Adventures and get skilled in kitesurfing, wing and foil boarding (among other adventure sports) or go skydiving

Drive Like Dom and Letty

Unleash your inner speed demon at Hampton Downs. Choose from a supercar fast dash, V8 hot laps or jump into a mustang and live that Fast & Furious fantasy. 

Go Full Trolley

Experience the Trolley Derby at Culprit. Four ever-changing seasonal bites and a choice of main. Always delicious, always local. 

Paddle To Rangitoto

Another great thing to do in auckland - a group of kayakers paddle around in the water off Rangitoto Island. Image credit:  Fergs Kayaks / Website

Sign up for a guided sunset kayak tour to Rangitoto with Fergs Kayaks. The self-acclaimed ‘date to make the producers of The Bachelor swoon’ is sure to amaze, and if you get the taste for kayaking you might just love Vector Wero.

Snap Up A Bargain At Auckland’s Best Markets

Now more than ever it’s important to support local businesses. Luckily, Auckland’s home to a tonne of wonderful, vibrant markets, both night and day. 

Treat Your Ears To the APO

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra puts on breathtaking classical music concerts and events all year round featuring both traditional and new works. Get yourself a ticket and prepare to bathe in Auckland’s very own classical sound bath. 

Swing A Sword

Auckland has a swords club and they run ‘intro to fencing’ courses every term. Sign up, pop on some trackies and get ready to relive your favourite pirate clashes, just maybe leave the rum and parrot at home.

Dip Into St Kevin’s Arcade

Whether you’re looking for a bargain buy, hangry AF, are ready to party or just want to kick back, St Kevin’s Arcade has it all. And once you’ve had your fill, check out the rest of the Karangahape neighbourhood being sure to meander down Cross St and Beresford Square. 

Bliss Out With A Spa Treatment

A person receives an enzyme treatment from Ikoi Spa, one of the best spas in Auckland. Image credit:  Ikoi Spa / Website

Commit to self-care and gift yourself some zen. We love all of these boujee establishments. 

Visit A Bird Sanctuary

Tiritiri Matangi Island is a wildlife sanctuary home to rare and endangered species like tuatara and takahe. Jump on the ferry, breathe in the fresh air and walk amongst these incredible creatures. 

Discover Spoken Word

Slam is where elements of rap, hip-hop, storytelling, and theatre collide in a thought-provoking performance and we’re here for it. JAFA Poetry Slam is Auckland’s regular poetry slam series, serving the slam every fourth Wednesday of the month at Cityside in Mount Eden. 

Huck Axes 

There’s just about nothing sweeter than hurling an axe at the wall which is why we can’t get enough of Sweet Axe and why we’re obsessed with their axe-throwing league. 

Play Cake or Death

Vanquish zombies while indulging in a slice of cake at Auckland’s best board game cafes. Packed with all your faves—like Catan, Exploding Kittens, Love Letter, Terraforming Mars, Ticket To Ride and more—this could become your new regular hangout. We love Cakes n Ladders and Dice & Fork

Eat Cake

Lime green plant-based cake by Neat. with the words “Birthday Bitch” piped in icing.  Image credit: Neat / Instagram

Speaking of cake, if you’re looking for a lil’ treat order yourself something delightful from The Caker or Neat. Beautiful and delicious, both of these rad establishments are also excellent on the dietary requirements front so everybody can have their cake and eat it too. 

Race Dragons

If your gym routine’s feeling a little flat, joining a dragon boating team might be just the thing to spice up your fitness. With no prior experience necessary, this is a great, accessible and fun sport for all.

Relax With A Good Book

We live in a world where it’s possible to carry whole libraries around in our pocket and that’s pretty amazing but nothing beats the smell of a new book. Treat yourself to an IRL page-turner from one of Auckland’s best bookstores

Have A Pancake Party

Auckland has a sweet collection (see what we did there) of pancakes to stick your fork into. Whether you’re after savoury, fermented or cute-as-a-button, these Auckland cafes have you covered. 

Have A Staycation

Sometimes we want to get away but the thought of traffic and hours on the road is anything but appealing. For those times, book into one of Auckland’s best hotels and live your most luxurious life right here in Auckland city. 

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Main image credit: Morning People | Facebook

Urban List Best Of: has our highest stamp of approval—curated lists of the very best recommendations for you to eat, do, see, buy or book, carefully chosen by our Editors.

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