Just because the sun has set doesn’t mean the party’s over. Nope, Hamilton’s just getting started. When day turns to night, the city offers an epic range of things to see and do. From tasty treats and delicious cocktails to late-night golf and fun arcades, Hamilton has got it going on. So go on, sacrifice some sleep and check out Hamilton after dark. Here are the best things to do in Hamilton at night.
Devour A Late-Night Feed
Leading the pack of the best things to do in Hamilton at night is—of course—anything involving food. A large range of restaurants are open until the late evening, serving mouth-watering dishes well after the sun has set. Hamilton also brings its A-game with options a little different to your average restaurant fare. Check out Hamilton’s Night Market at The Base on Friday nights to feast on dumplings, burgers, skewers and doughnuts. There’s also a weekly Food Truck Friday held in Whatawhata until 8pm. The food options change on the regular with everything from tacos to steamed bao buns—giving you an excuse to visit each and every Friday. Alternatively, for a total Waikato-esque meal, head to the iconic Hobbiton Movie Set for an evening banquet tour. You’ll get to Instagram your way around The Shire before sitting down to a feast totally fit for a Hobbit.
…And Save Room For Dessert
If you’re anything like us, your mantra is “there’s always room for dessert”. So, when the late-night sugar craving kicks in, treat your sweet tooth to a lil something-something from one of Hamilton’s best dessert spots. Madam Woo is open until 10pm with Portuguese custard tarts and roti doughnuts, while Gothenburg serves the likes of lemon meringue pie and crème brûlée until 11pm. Hamilton dessert favourite Iguana is open until 11pm with a dedicated dessert menu starring everything from miso panna cotta and pecan tart to choc brownie and banoffee pizza. Better yet, if you visit on a Tuesday night, desserts are just $6—score. However, the number one dessert spot has got to be Hamilton’s very own Duck Island ice cream. You’ll find their flagship parlour in Hamilton East and CBD scoop shop in Riverbank Lane—both are open until 10pm from Thursday to Saturday. Our pick? Their creamy-yet-salty roasted white chocolate miso ice cream.
Head To The Bowling Alley
You can’t go wrong with a classic game of ten-pin. No one knows this better than Hamilton’s one and only bowling alley: Bowl & Social. Located in SKYCITY, the late-night haunt is open until 10pm from Sunday to Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday. The lanes are better than your average with world-class technology, epic tunes and an on-site bar to boot. Whether it’s a romantic game for two or the start of a rowdy night out, a trip to Bowl & Social is one of the best things to do in Hamilton at night.
Win Big At The Arcade
After a game or two of ten-pin, head to the nearby Timezone. The arcade is jam-packed with interactive games including basketball (our favourite), photo booths and even virtual Monopoly. Play ‘the claw’ to win an instant prize or collect tickets and cash them in for a soft toy or chocolate bar. Trust us when we say: no matter what age you are, Timezone always delights. It’s also a fun, alternative date night with bae—just try not to get too competitive.
Drink All The Cocktails
While we’re all for breakfast mimosas, it’s not until night-time that Hamilton’s cocktail scene truly comes to life. Whether you prefer yours shaken or stirred, there are plenty of places to find a deliciously boozy cocktail in Hamilton. Sip on a drink custom-made to your preferences at Wonder Horse or overlook the Mighty Waikato as you enjoy an espresso martini at Mr. Pickles. If you value delicious eats as much as delicious cocktails, head to Banh Mi Caphe or Dough Bros. The latter is all about wood-fired pizza and classic cocktails, while the former serves Vietnamese fare alongside fragrant, fruity cocktails. To take things to a whole new level, head to Mexico with your favourite amigos and sign up for one of their famous margarita masterclasses.
…Or Go For A Beersie
If you’re less into cocktails and more into beer, visit one of Hamilton’s craft beer watering holes. At the top of your list should be one of Good George’s iconic venues. The Hamilton-born beer and cider company has seven venues across the Waikato, including the humming Little George in the heart of Hood Street. Open until the wee small hours, the bar has nine taps pouring Good George beer, cider and other hand-selected brews. Other spots for a late-night beer include Craft (also on Hood Street) and The Local Taphouse (in SKYCITY). Alternatively, check out our round-up of Hamilton’s Best Bars for all your beer, wine and cocktail-drinking needs.
Play Golf—After Hours
Don’t put your clubs away just because the sun has set. There are plenty of options for late night golf in Hamilton with a driving range, mini golf and even virtual golf on offer. Head to Lilliputt in Centre Place to try to sink a hole-in-one in their indoor mini-golf course. The Ice Age-themed course is open until 9pm from Sunday to Wednesday and until 10pm from Thursday to Saturday. Alternatively, check out Prodrive Golf’s driving range to whack a bucket or two of balls. The range is open until 7pm from Saturday to Wednesday and 8pm on Thursday and Friday. For a truly unique golfing experience, visit X-Golf Zone in SKYCITY. The golf simulator allows you to play on the world’s best golf courses including some of the best-known courses on the famous PGA Tour. The last tee time is 8.15pm from Sunday to Thursday and 9.15pm on Friday and Saturday.
Go Late-Night Shopping
It can be hard to get to the shops if you work a nine-to-five. Luckily, Hamilton’s malls have your back with late-night shopping hours. Chartwell and Centre Place stay open until 9pm on Thursdays, while The Base is open until 9pm on both Thursday and Friday nights. If you’re a sucker for Kmart and their wallet-friendly homewares, you can shop here until midnight any day of the week—it’s dangerously tempting. Malls and department stores aside, our favourite late-night go-to is Browsers Books. The shop is a treasure trove of secondhand books with shelves literally stacked to the ceiling. Luckily for us, the delightful bookshop is open until 9.30pm from Wednesday to Sunday.
Catch A Flick
In a time of Netflix and online streaming, the big screen is more special than ever—and one of the best things to do in Hamilton at night. Hamiltonians are spoilt for choice when it comes to cinemas. You’ll find HOYTS at The Base, Event Cinemas at Chartwell and both Metro by HOYTS and Lido Cinema in the CBD. However, Lido is our go-to with its luxe decor and boutique cinema vibes. It’s also known and loved for participating in film festivals including the likes of New Zealand International Film Festival and French Film Festival. The last screening time at the Lido tend to be around 8.30pm but, if you’re a total night owl, HOYTS regularly has movies kicking off as late as 11pm.
Head To Raglan For A Magical Sunset
Okay so Raglan isn’t technically Hamilton but it is part of the mighty Waikato and only a 40-minute drive away. The West Coast surf town showcases some of New Zealand’s best sunsets with dramatic orange, pink and purple skies. Pack a picnic and watch the sun sink below the horizon from the black sand at Ngarunui Beach. Alternatively, head to Raglan’s bustling wharf and pair your sunset with a delicious serve of fish and chips from Raglan Fish. This is the West Coast at its finest.