Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city, and therefore offers all the entertainment amenities one would expect from a major population centre. While the pace of the city is definitely relaxed compared to New York, London or Paris, there is no shortage of things to do in your free time.
If you like to dine out, the central city and surrounding areas offer a huge array of restaurants, pubs and cafes representing every taste and price range. The Auckland region also contains the wine-growing areas of Kumeu, Waiheke Island and Matakana/Warkworth, so great food and wine are never far away.
Live music buffs can get their fix at a wide range of pubs and bars, clubs and theatres. When the weather warms up, there are outdoor concerts and music festivals all over the region. The waterfront’s Vector Arena is a large venue that hosts the biggest rock and popular music acts from around the world. There are also dance clubs, after hours clubs and comedy clubs – and even a casino downtown. Gambling is legal in Auckland, so many neighbourhood clubs offer “pokies,” or slot machines.
For those looking for a bit of culture, Auckland has a symphony orchestra with over 80 players, and is home to the New Zealand Opera. Ballet companies are showcased downtown at Aotea Centre’s ASB Theatre and the Civic Theatre. The Edge and the Silo Theatre are also popular venues for live performances. And for art lovers, there are many galleries and museums both in the city and the surrounding suburbs.
Cinema buffs can find movie theatres in or close to every neighbourhood – many in multiplexes with 10 or more screens. Auckland cinemas show everything from homegrown films to international favourites to Hollywood blockbusters. The city also hosts an International film festival in the winter.
For sports fans, there is professional rugby, basketball and netball, as well as the occasional tennis and/or golf tournament.