Auckland is popularly known as the "City of Sails" because the harbour is often dotted with hundreds of yachts and has more per capita than any other city in the world, with around 135,000 yachts and launches. Around 60,500 of the country's 149,900 registered yachtsmen come from the Auckland Region. Viaduct Basin also hosted two America's Cup challenges (2000 Cup and 2003 Cup), and its cafes, restaurants, and clubs add to Auckland's vibrant nightlife. With the sheltered Waitemata Harbour at its doorstep, Auckland sees many nautical events, and there are also a large number of sailing clubs in Auckland, as well as Westhaven Marina, the largest of the Southern Hemisphere.
High Street, Queen Street, Ponsonby Road, and Karangahape Road are very popular with urban socialites. Newmarket and Parnell are up-market shopping areas, while Otara's and Avondale's fleamarkets offer a colourful alternative shopping experience. Newer shopping malls tend to be outside city centres, with Sylvia Park (Sylvia Park, Auckland City), Botany Town Centre (Howick, Manukau City) and Westfield Albany (Albany, North Shore City) being the three largest.
The Auckland Town Hall and Aotea Centre host conferences and cultural events such as theatre, kapa haka, and opera. Auckland also boasts a full-time professional symphonic ensemble in the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.
Many national treasures are displayed at the Auckland Art Gallery, such as the work of Colin McCahon, while many other significant cultural artefacts reside at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, the National Maritime Museum, or the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). Exotic creatures can be observed at the Auckland Zoo and Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World. Movies and rock concerts (notably, the "Big Day Out") are also well patronised.

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