What's On

21 Epic Things To Do In Auckland This Weekend

By Alice Rich
1st Dec 2022

It’s officially the Silly Season—we’ve made it! And while you could opt to run around frantically trying to put the tree up and get all the pressies sorted, a better plan would be to relegate all that festive admin to future you and live it up this weekend instead. 

To sweeten the deal, there’s a load of fun things to get amongst like a merry mystery in a mall, potential for a steamy moment in the museum, a party inspired by the death of a stone fruit, a taste of Albania, cardio treats, a palace made of gin (sort of), the Santa Parade revisited, free gelato, a Middle Eastern street soiree, a close encounter with a celestial body, and more. 

Here are 21 epic things to do in Tāmaki Makaurau this weekend.

Friday 2 December

Deck The Halls With Loads Of Laughter

Get ready to jingle your bells, Basement Theatre’s highly-anticipated annual Christmas show is back and runs all the way until 23 December. This year the festivities are brought to life by Heartthrobs, some of Tāmaki Makaurau’s most hilarious improvisers led by Brynley Stent, Alice Canton and Rhiannon McCall, and featuring a different celebrity guest each night. Who will save Christmas before the mall closes? Watch, spellbound, as these talented artists SLEIGH the night.  

Meet Barbs

Auckland Museum’s getting steamy with the arrival of Barbara, a female T. Rex skeleton set to pair off with the hyper rare male T. Rex, Peter. Promising to be “the envy of every museum around the world” get yourself along for a peep, armed with a whole lot of woahhh. Barbara will be with us until the end of 2023 so you can expect bones on bones for quite some time. What a time to be alive. 

Dance Yourself Clean 

Peach Pit diner and bar has bitten the dust and if that makes you want to throw a full-on tanty channel those feels into some sick moves instead. The crew’s throwing a party at none other than Soap Dancehall to celebrate the years that were, complete with an array of talented DJs and $6 Happy Hour bubbles from 9-10pm. Yep, this is not a drill.

Soak Up Albanian Culture 

Hailing from Kosovo, Vesa Luma is an Albanian pop music icon and she’ll be gracing the Ponsonby Social Club for one night only. Come through for sensational beats, traditional Albanian fare like qebapa (sausage) or qyfte (burger), and good vibes. Vesa will be followed by Bobby Brazuka and Corysco. 

Sort Your Christmas Shopping, Stat

Sleigh bells are ringing at the Ellen Melville Centre Maker’s market. Hosted by Studio One Toi Tū, there’ll be a whole host of arty gifts on offer, from super sweet kawaii-style bits and pieces from Beesebubs to cool sneaker-themed goods from South Side Visuals, and everything in between. Swing by Freyberg Place from 4-8pm, shopping bags at the ready, to get amongst, or check out the other rad markets taking place this weekend. 

Feast On Tāmaki Makaurau’s Tastiest Food Trucks

The Food Truck Collective is slingin’ all your fave eats this weekend so head along to Point Chevalier Community Centre. The lineup includes Mama’s Donuts (F.Y.I. these are utter indulgence), Tokyo Street ramen by the mighty Miso Ra, cocktail-inspired smoothies by Smoothe Operator and moreish Spanish fare by Paella Pan. Get it.

Saturday 3 December

Make Like Forrest And Run

Running—torture or treat? If you fall into the latter category, you might just love joining the Roam crew for a scarper this Saturday. Runners will meet at the Auckland Domain Grandstand for a 9am start before embarking on a 6-8km run. The mahi completed you’ll get to sample a brand new range of hydration products, and score a load of goodies to take home with you. Not bad, Roam, not bad at all. 

Listen Into Some Very Earthly Bants

TEDx stans will want to nab a ticket to Down to Earth, the latest TEDxAuckland event, taking place at the ASB Waterfront. A response to the global shift of looking to space to solve our climate, social justice and human rights issues, expect an inspirational arvo of new perspectives and scintillating discussion with Irina Miller, Quentin Atkinson, Raj Nair, Sean Gourley, Walter Lim and Wendy Zhou. 

Spend The Evening In A Gin Palace

Put on your party pants and leave your worries behind, easing into the weekend with GIN PALACE - DJ Peter Urlich Dayparty. Taking place at the Viaduct’s VYC you’ll be treated to a gin cocktail on arrival, light canapés, good vibes and sweet, sweet tunes with DJ Peter Urlich on the decks. 

Sunday 4 December

Say Ho, Ho, Ho… Again!

If you missed out on the Santa Parade last weekend (or just refused to go on principle given it was November), embrace the festivities this Sunday with the Ellerslie Santa Parade. In its 24th year, and complete with face painting and candy floss, the parade kicks off at 11am.

Swan Around [The] Hollywood 

For a Sunday with a bit of a twist, gad about at The Hollywood Sunday Sessions from 2pm and revel in a trifecta of music, food and film. Test out the newly renovated beer garden (we hear there’s even a putting green) and kick back with DJ Mr Crawley on the decks followed by live music from Buzz Moller, Rita Mae and Fessh. Round up the evening with the 1986 horror/sci-fi Deadly Friend. 

Bask In The Sounds Of Summer

Another great option for living it up on Sunday is the Steinlager Summer Sessions. With Dick Johnson on the decks and special deals on icy cold Steinlager Ultra Low Carb, not to mention the lip-smackingly good Fish & Chippery on site to keep you fuelled. If this sounds like a bit of you, head to Wynyard Pavilion from 4-8pm. Entry is free. 

Hit The Streets 

Serving Middle Eastern and Israeli taste sensations, Ima Cuisine is upping the ante this weekend with a rip-roaringly good shindig they’re calling the Sababa Street Party. Head on down for mouthwatering delights, top-notch drinks, a market (Christmas shopping, anyone?) and music by DJ Gabriella Gonzalez, Shovaav and Kra Koto Kra. Entry is free. 

Savour A Cheeky Afternoon Delight

Sunday’s looking peachy with East Street Hall’s Afternoon Delight outdoor dance sesh from 4pm. Get ready to cut some shapes with CC:DISCO! alongside residents Frank Booker and Flamingo Pier. As a bonus, East Street Hall’s decked out with a glasshouse meaning you can shake your tail feather, regardless of the weather. Sound like a bit of you? Rally your dancing crew and cop a ticket or five. Lush.  

Treat Yourself With Kindness

If you’ve had a bit of a rough week, or maybe you’re working through something at the moment, you might like to head on over to the Ellen Melville Centre this Sunday. From 11am-2pm every Sunday anyone in need of a chill space can hang out and chat to one of the team members over a cuppa, for free. All are welcome.

All Weekend

Indulge In Free Gelato

Island Gelato Company is opening its fifth store in Mission Bay and to celebrate they’re giving out free scoops this Saturday and Sunday. Pop along between 11am and 2pm to wrap your mouth around this summery goodness, and maybe even score a voucher for Best Ugly Bagels, Allpress Coffee and, you guessed it, more free gelato. Delish.

Get A Glimpse Of Mars In All Its Glory

Stargaze from 1-8 December and you might just notice that Mars has got a little extra. The red planet will appear 26 times brighter and much, much larger than ever before as it chasées into view, a mere 81 million kilometres from Earth. Best viewed at around midnight, if you’ve got a telescope handy, you should be able to make out Mars’ polar ice caps. Now, that’s cool.

Shake That Thing

If you were that kid who was always trying to shake their hips like Shakira, your prayers have been answered. Enter: a weekend-long series of movement boot camps and workshops at Empire Studios. Step and shimmy your way through Bachata Sensual, Bachata Dominican, body movement combos, Cuba Son partnerwork, and salsa. Rad. 

Stumble Upon A Relic Of The Past

Take a wander along Queen Street and you’ll likely discover an impressive glass orb. The WW1 Memorial Beacon was first lit on 17 December 1915 to represent a safe journey home for our troops who were being evacuated from Gallipoli. Recently restored using 3D modelling tech, the structure stands tall once again, in striking remembrance of those gone before.

Be Awe-Inspired By The Art Of Black Grace ⅕ 

If you think you know immersive events, think again. The Art Of Black Grace ⅕ is a mesmerizing dance experience that’s part performance, part exhibition, and part archive. Step into a massive 360-degree structure lined with LED panels and prepare to be blown away. We don’t want to give too much away but rest assured you should definitely get yourself a ticket and then pop along to Wynyard Quarter’s Karanga Plaza between now and 10 December. 

Get Your Fix Of Frida 

If you haven't heard, artworks by Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera are at the Auckland Art Gallery in a spellbinding exhibition called 'Art & Life In Modern Mexico'. Cast your eyes on over 150 artworks by cultural icons Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, including Kahlo's stunning self-portraits, and learn all about their drive to articulate a new Mexican art. Alongside beautiful paintings, you can expect drawings, murals, photography and work by other leading artists.

Want to get a head start on your Christmas presents after all? Check out our jam-packed Christmas gift guides. 

Image credit: East St Hall. 

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

You May Also Like