Studying abroad in a city like Auckland was a new experience for me.  I’m not from a big city, nor have I really spent a lot of time in big cities so it was a little out of my comfort zone.

If you’re like me and haven’t spent much time in a big city,  you might think it can be hard to find the cool places, right? The best spots to eat and the most awesome places to hang out might seem like they would be difficult to find, but don’t worry because I have some suggestions for you!

Auckland Sydline by Alexander DiMeo
Photo by TEAN Alum Alex DiMeo, College of Charleston who studied abroad in Auckland.

Mezze Bar was one of the places we ate when my study abroad group arrived. It’s a cafe-type restaurant that serves mostly Spanish food. We tried a bit of everything and the food was really good. The atmosphere was vibrant and the staff were friendly. I would recommend going there.

cc license, Takeshi Ito
cc license, Takeshi Ito

Giapo is a classy and quite fancy gelato place. They top off each cup with cute decorations, so it is definitely Instagram-worthy if you are into that. The only drawbacks are the price and it can be busy at times, but the line goes pretty quickly and the staff are really kind. The best part is they let you try every flavor before you buy. One time I went with some friends and didn’t even get a scoop of my own, but I did get to try all the delicious flavors. Seriously good. If you ask me, it is very well located and generally cute and trendy.

Photo by Lauren Legorrec, University of Southern California who is currently studying abroad in Auckland.
Photo by Lauren Legorrec, University of Southern California who is currently studying abroad in Auckland.

No. 1 Pancake is right on the corner of Wellesley and Lorne Streets in the city center. If you want a good quick, cheap food, it is the place to go. It always has a few people waiting outside, but all the food is made to order so it’s hot and fresh. It is Korean style pancakes with flavors like beef, chicken, and ham, all with cheese, or chocolate or cinnamon sweet pancakes.

La Cigale French Market is a bustling market for your French needs. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s not exclusively French foods but there is a lot of French produce, especially patisserie, cheese, crepes, etc. Other things sold there were soaps, jewelry, smoothies, and honey. They even had a live music performer, which I really liked. You could just sit on the side, enjoy your food, and listen to the music.

Photo from the La Cigale French Market by Lauren Legorrec, University of Southern California.

The Domain is a beautiful park. It is an excellent place to go running if you are visiting the city and want a safe place to run. It also has some nice places for a picnic. It is the largest park in Auckland, complete with a winter garden, fish pond, museum, and café. Although the Museum will cost you to enter. I think it would be great for kids and adults alike. It provides a nice space secluded from the noise and bustle of Auckland.

Photo of the Auckland Domain by Lauren Legorrec, University of Southern California.

Lastly, Oh Calcutta made the list for METRO’S Top 50 Best Asian Restaurants. It has incredibly delicious Indian food. With high ratings and positive reviews, it did not disappoint. My flatmate said it is hands down the best Indian food she has ever had. The restaurant is open to the street and has a great atmosphere with outdoor seating available.

If day trips are more your thing, our group went to Waiheke Island, which is really nice. It has a beautiful beach, small wineries, and a lot of art galleries and craft stores to check out.

Waiheke Island
A beautiful day at Waiheke Island

The last activity I would suggest doing, is walking to Mt. Eden. You can do a coast to coast walk that goes up Mt. Eden, which is the highest natural point in Auckland and is actually a dormant volcano. After a long day of hard work and some serious walking, word is there exists some shopping in the village with some local cafes.

Michelle Dukette is TEAN Alum and student at University of Rhode Island. She studied abroad with TEAN in Auckland, New Zealand