The Super City and new entertainment precincts are among the reasons Auckland has been named one of the world's most liveable cities in an international survey.
Up four places from last year, Auckland ranked ninth in London magazine Monocle's urban quality of life survey.
The city broke into the top 25 in 2010 when it ranked 20th.
Zurich in Switzerland was number one, while two Australian cities are also in the top 10 - Melbourne and Sydney were the sixth and eighth most liveable cities.
Five other European cities are on the list and Tokyo rounds out the top 10.
Super City Mayor Len Brown said Auckland was on its way up.
"Our consistent gains across a number of international quality of life surveys are a strong indication that Auckland is fast becoming the one to watch."
The magazine says Auckland's elevation is because of changes made in the 18 months since Mr Brown's election.
In particular, the magazine acknowledged the first Auckland Plan which strives for a more exciting city with better urban design and waterfront connections.
The magazine also praises city public transport initiatives, business-friendly environment and multiculturalism. The mayor is in the top 10 local government leaders.
Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said the accolade should not mask problems that still need to be addressed.
"The impact on our reputation is extremely positive - but then most New Zealanders would agree with that.
"What we are missing is an Auckland that is a great place to work and which offers career choices for the talented people that are being educated here but leaving because of a lack of opportunity," he said.
WORLD'S MOST LIVEABLE CITIES
Source: Monocle magazine