6 Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day in Christchurch

While Valentine's Day may be considered a polarising holiday, we’re not ones to pass up an excuse to get out into our fair city alongside someone we love.

Close up of wine glasses on a table.

Words by: Caitlin Brown

Photos by: Nancy Zhou

Whether you’re jonesing for a daytime date at an art gallery or looking for a little more adventure (bouldering, anyone?), we've rounded up six neat ways to celebrate Valentine's Day in Christchurch--none of which include a dozen roses or heart-shaped boxes of chocolate.

Painting from CoCA.

Browse the galleries and museums

Christchurch Central City

Christchurch may be a modestly-sized city, but it’s no slouch when it comes to galleries and museums. Browsing a new gallery exhibit or learning a new factoid about Canterbury’s history makes for great conversation. Head to the Christchurch Art Gallery for a wide range of historical and contemporary works, or take a jaunt to Fiksate where they showcase urban art. Finish off the day at CoCA which features contemporary selections in a sleek and modern space. If history is more your thing, stop off at the Canterbury Museum, which is home to a mammoth 2.3 million-object collection, and regularly changing exhibitions.

Outdoor cinema with audience.

Catch a film

The Arts Centre, Christchurch Central City

Dinner and a movie may sound like a cliche, but it doesn’t have to be. The Art Centre’s Outdoor Cinema event invites movie-goers to stretch out on the lawn with a scoop of gelato for a Valentine’s Day flick--a foolproof way to impress your partner. If a cool indie film is up your street, opt for an evening at Lumière Cinemas, where you can grab a drink in their warm and inviting Bijou Bar

Bouldering wall at Uprising.

Try something new

Christchurch Central City

Why not ditch your usual rituals and step outside of your comfort zones together this Valentine’s Day? Head to Uprising for a day of bouldering, or slow down for some tranquil flotation therapy at Cloud9. If you’re keen for something crafty, you can’t go wrong with a workshop at Rekindle. This Valentine’s Day they’re offering a Spatula Carving Workshop suited for beginners--the perfect prelude to dinner.  

Plates of food on counter.

Delight your taste buds


An evening spent with a notable chef is an ideal way to ring in just about any occasion. Inati’s inventive plates are made to share, while Gatherings will feature a special set $65 menu just for Valentine’s Day. Wine lovers will delight in the European bistro culture at Earl, while Twenty Seven Steps offers fine dining cuisine without the pretentious atmosphere. If you’re a foodie who’s in the mood to splurge, the Trust the Chef menu at The Monday Room is an experience that can’t be beat.

Wine flight glasses on a table.

Take a wine tour through Christchurch

Christchurch Central City

There’s no need to trek to a vineyard for a quality wine tasting when you can arrange your own right here in the central city. Start your vino tour at Alfred, a fashionable wine bar featuring an extensive array of interesting and natural wines. From there, make your way to Salut Salut--a charming space tucked inside The Welder, and inspired by Spain’s communal Tapas Bars. Finish out the evening with a wine flight on Cellar Door’s patio, surrounded by gorgeous architecture that’s steeped in history.

Close up of man making a cocktail at Pink Lady.

Imbibe with swanky cocktails

Christchurch Central City

If spirits are your preference, paint the town red while sipping on craft cocktails in Christchurch's CBD. For drinks with a view, head to the Pink Lady, which boasts a watermelon chilli margarita and ‘Ginger Gin’ made with gin sweet vermouth, pink grapefruit, lemon, ginger, and aged barrel bitters. While you’re out and about, journey to New Regent Street for a martini at gin gin’s lively new space, or choose from over 320 whiskies available at The Last Word. For a speakeasy vibe, head underground to the late night cocktail bar Austin Club, where you may need a password to get in, but you’ll be greeted with dazzling cocktails and good-time swing.