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.

Pho­to by Jil­lian Miller Pho­tog­ra­phy

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.

Pho­to by Nan­cy Zhou

Foodie Finds

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.

Local Design

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!)

Outstanding Accommodation

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.

Beautiful Beaches

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.

About the author: Vanes­sa Ortyn­sky aims to show­case the city’s best food­ie, cul­tur­al, and artis­tic finds on blog Prairie Girl Mus­ings and Insta­gram account, @vanes­saortyn­sky.