Is there any difference between go to the city centre and go into the city centre? For example:

I am going to go to the city centre tonight.

I am going to go into the city centre tonight.

By the way is it idiomatic to just say to/into the centre? For example:

Would you like to go to/into the centre tomorrow?


2 Answers 2


As you say, "go into the centre" is idiomatic. As a native British English speaker, this is what I am most used to hearing and what I would say myself.

Normally you would say that you go to somewhere specific; while we go into an area.

"Go to the centre" sounds like you are going to the 'dead centre'; that is the precise central point of something. A "city centre" is not necessarily the central point of a place, but is what we call the main business and commercial area of a city. As you are entering an area rather than going to a fixed point, it makes sense to say "into".

  • I disagree, there is a subtle difference between into and to in terms of the action and in most cases "the city center" is said to be gone "to" not "into". Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 11:28
  • @SovereignSun There is a difference, I thought I'd explained that? The difference is idiomatic, you won't necessarily get that from a dictionary.
    – Astralbee
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 11:36
  • I could and I would prefer to know of such a difference in place of the OP. Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 11:41

For me, the two sentences demonstrate two differnet approaches.

to go to

means to go until one sees/meets/experiences someone or something, while

to go into

rather highlights crossing (kind of) a border/barrier and entering an area.

I would generally use the first option - just in analogy to to the cinema, to the zoo. And, please, consider the famous supporter of my view: Santa Claus, who always comes (i.e. goes - from his point of view) to town.

I would use the second option specifically to highlight a zone border or a barrier like in Don't let us go into the city center. The car park is much more expensive there.

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