It's Friday, folks, which can only mean one thing. Yep, you guessed it, we've got another impressive 'My City' instalment to drop. Today we're in Auckland, New Zealand, with sneakerhead and all-round cool guy, Dan Pantoja, as he shows us his favourite burger spots, the best places to chill, the must-see shops and where to hang out with your friends. So without giving too much away, let's hand over to Dan...
And if you've missed any of our other 'My City' guides you can see them all here.
1. Better Burger
Some say that it's the "closest thing you can get to New York Burgers." I guess that's another way of saying that their burger is really good, huh? Personally, I think their burgers are the best in Auckland City. At Better Burger, their menu only consists of four types of burger. No dwelling over the menu; straight-forward and easy. When I go here, I usually get the double cheese burger combo which comes with fries and a soda/milkshake. The burgers are always well made: the patties have good flavor and the ripe tomatoes are nicely mushed into the creamy sauce without making the burger buns soggy. Their burgers aren't the only great thing about this place. This all-american style burger spot is an absolute feature in the trendy Britomart precinct. I just really love the concept, the execution and groove it brings. Honestly, this is the perfect place for a quick bite anytime of the day and or night. Okay, now I'm hungry.
2. Albert Park
I chose Albert Park because this place is very nostalgic to me. This is one of the few places I went to when I first moved to New Zealand and since then, its been my go-to place whenever I feel like relaxing and killing time during my Uni breaks. To be fully honest, there is really nothing "special" about the park, but the simplicity of it and the fact that its close to the city centre is what made me like this place. You will almost always see something interesting happening there like people doing yoga, people relaxing on the lawns and kids taking a dip in the fountain during the summertime. I also recommend walking through the park on your way to the Art Gallery as you get a much better feel for how the architecture of the more recent parts of the gallery have been designed to blend into the park itself. Oh and if you are lucky enough to be in Auckland for the Chinese Lantern festival, the park is the venue for this event and it is spectacular. So be sure to check that out!
3. High Street
If you're into fashion or just shopping in general, then High Street is the place to be! I don't remember a time when I went to the city and I didn't go through this street. Its a personal "must go" for me. There's lots of little designer shops and independent retailers selling local and imported brands, with plenty of cafes, bars, restaurants and takeaway places to eat at along the way. My favourite places on High Street have to be Loaded and Area51. Also not to be missed are Tatty's, Fabric and The Shelf. On a nice day, a chill out by the fountain and the dude with the bird on his head in Freyberg Square is perfect. Lastly, I like going here because I see so many well dressed/cool people strolling around the area. In short, the place is my source of fashion inspiration.
4. Takutai Square
In my opinion, the transformation of this area has seriously improved Auckland, and Takutai Square is a big part of that. This area used to be a pretty crappy, car park/nothing area, and now it's one of the best places to chill in the city. With a huge range of shops, bars and restaurants forming its border, there are plenty of reasons to visit and even more to stay. Even if you don't buy anything, I would say its a perfect place to chill. During weekdays; lunch hours, it is packed with workers enjoying their lunch on the grass, bean bags, or picnic benches. There is often events going on there (like live music, Farmer's Market and an open air film screening) especially during the summer time. I remember, one of the times I went there, they had a DJ playing, which added to the relaxed vibe of Takutai Square.
5. Tyler St Garage
I've only been here a handful of times but my experience in Tyler St Garage was really good that it made my top 5. Tyler St Garage oozes coolness. The industrial styled bar and eatery has a fantastic food and drinks menu with an atmosphere to match. The large open space downstairs is perfect for meeting up with larger groups of friends and on the last Saturday of each month, the place is used to host the Art and Design Market Day where you can find art prints, cushions and other textiles related stuff. My favourite thing about the place is the rooftop bar. Its got a pretty awesome view of the docks and harbour. It doesn't matter what time of the year, this is one of the best places to hang out in Auckland.