A city in transition, Christchurch is shaping up to be a vibrant and dynamic city. It is best explored by foot (or by bike) and all of these attractions are within a reasonable walking distance.
One of my favourite aspects of living in the central city is its accessibility. I ride my bike to work every day and explore the myriad of shops and cafés during my lunch breaks.
Arts and Cultural Scene
A burgeoning arts scene is integral to any great city, and Christchurch has its fair share of galleries. Get acquainted with The Christchurch Art Gallery and Centre of Contemporary Art (CoCA), which are both conveniently located on the same block and regularly host evening eventsand lectures. Alice Cinemathèque is an excellent place to see art films and documentaries that aren’t screening at mainstream cinemas. Christchurch’s crown jewel is its theatre, Isaac Theatre Royal. Restored following the earthquakes, it’s an incredible place to take in the opera, the ballet or a musical.
You’ll find a multicultural food scene all within the central city. Stop by Little High for your choice of eight world-class eateries serving up a diverse range of international cuisine. Madam Woo is a firm favourite for Malaysian-fusion. If you’re after something a bit special, be sure to book a table at Twenty Seven Steps on New Regent Street. Their locally-sourced, seasonal menu makes for the most memorable meal. The home of the flat white, there are plenty of excellent cafés sprinkled throughout the CBD. Head to Grain for expertly made All Press coffees and always changing vegetarian bowls that will make you feel amazing! If you have a sweet tooth, the (majorly Instagrammable) red velvet hotcakes at Uncommon are fantastic.
Christchurch is slowly becoming a shopping destination, particularly with the recent arrival of The Crossing. The central city has a range of local and international shops. Stop by Superette for trendy, covetable (primarily Australian) designers and RUBY for New Zealand designed garments. Ballantynes Department Store is a must when visiting Christchurch. Their contemporary lounge stocks the best New Zealand labels: Twenty Seven Names, Harman Grubiša, Juliette Hogan, Deadly Ponies. Pop by WORLD for beauty and homewares. If you’re after a bike of your own (it’s really the best way to get around), stop by Action Bicycle Club for the most stylish wheels in town. They also source highly practical and uniquely fashionable bike apparel. (no lycra!)
For a city its size, Christchurch has an above average number of boutique hotels and places to stay. Hotel Montreal’s contemporary luxury suites overlook Hagley Park. Pour yourself a drink and watch the world go by on your astroturf balcony or head downstairs for a cocktail followed by a game of croquet. For a chain experience that is anything but, Crowne Plaza offers 17 floors of rooms and sweeping views of the city and impeccable service.
I’m clearly a proponent for urban living, but there are many reasons to leave the city. Head to Sumner to clear your head and go for a swim. The seaside neighbourhood has plenty of walking tracks and Taylor’s Mistake is a local mainstay for surfers and beachgoers. Barnett Park is a a great place to spend your Sunday. Otherwise, venture to Lyttelton Port and watch the ships come in before grabbing a drink at Civil and Naval.