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Growing the night time economy

Auckland city centre's night time economy is valued at about $450m a year and it's got significant potential to grow further. We've started exploring how best to support this growth by commissioning research, trialling late night events and meeting with industry representatives and businesses.

Late night retail

Hospitality and entertainment are crucial to the city centre's night time offering but they are not the only factors to consider. Looking at other major cities around the world with buzzing night time economies, a common feature is late night retail and extended shopping hours.

In December 2018 we held a Late Night Christmas event which saw more than 100 stores along Queen Street, High Street and Britomart stay open from 5pm - 9pm for last minute Christmas shoppers while the area came alive with more than 70 street performances.

Our pedestrian counts showed that foot traffic in the city centre during the event was up 20% compared to the same time the previous year while our on-street survey revealed that in addition to enjoying the street performances, nearly 40% of people were also visiting retail stores that evening. 

“Events like [Late Night Christmas] add a real level of surprise and fun to the city experience – and Aucklanders are more than ready for night retail.” - Alchemy Equipment, High Street 

The trend towards later hours is growing in the city centre, especially close to the train, bus and ferry transport hub around lower Queen Street – with many stores already regularly open until 7 or 8pm.

Late night events

The more the city centre is viewed as a vibrant, safe place to visit at night, the more likely it is that people will want to spend time here ‘after hours’– and more people in the city is good for businesses. Heart of the City invests in events and projects each year to help make this happen. 

Late Night Art - As part of our long standing partnership with Artweek Auckland, we work together to bring a number of arts programmes to the city centre each year. A highlight is our Late Night Art event which brings thousands of art lovers out into the city centre's streets and galleries after hours for a night. Find out how our 2018 Late Night Art event went

Restaurant Month - Having established itself as a well-loved feature of Auckland's culinary calendar, our annual Restaurant Month is designed to promote the city centre's vibrant dining scene and encourage people to get out and about in August, a traditionally less busy winter month. Find out more about the 2019 event or read how the 2018 event went

Queen Street Lights - We’ve added to the night time ambience of the city centre’s golden mile with coloured tree lights that can be programmed for special occasions and linked up with other feature lighting across the city. Find out more here.

Late Night Christmas - More than 100 stores along Queen Street, High Street and Britomart opened their doors from 5pm -9pm for last minute Christmas shoppers at the inaugural event in 2018 while more than 70 street performances lit up the streets. Find out more here

We conducted a survey that told us four out of five Aucklanders think events like Restaurant Month, Artweek and Christmas are important for a vibrant and successful city centre.