How to Spend the Perfect Night Out in Christchurch CBD

Here's your guide to the Christchurch CBD after dark.

The Christchurch CBD is full of places to enjoy a night out. From dining out on one of New Zealand's most beautiful streets to imbibing while surrounded by architectural history, there's no telling where your night can lead. (But don't worry--we've got plenty of suggestions.)

Whether you prefer a modern rooftop or an underground speakeasy; are jonesing for live theatre or are always down for live music; want to gaze at amazing artwork or just be surrounded by it; there's tons to discover long after the sun sets in Christchurch.

The Christchurch Arts Centre exterior.

Head to The Arts Centre.

Christchurch CBD

You'd be remiss to think The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora can only be enjoyed by day with it's  repertoire of events, concerts, cafes and shops in full swing. In fact, there's much fun to be had at the former Canterbury College campus by twilight.

Nestled within the West Lecture Block of the beloved Christchurch Arts Centre, you'll find Lumière, an arthouse cinema and mecca for cinephiles. The two screen cinema (lovingly named Bernhardt and Bardot) show a boutique line-up of local and international film a far cry from your regular Hoyts offering.  So settle in with a crafty or a cocktail courtesy of Bijou (their in-house bar), soak up the vintage ambiance and be prepared to be transported for an hour or two.   

Cellar Door is on-hand with a tipple if the movies aren't your thing. Here, the focus is on approachable wine drinking, seasonal fare and free flowing conversation. If you're feeling indecisive, Cellar Door’s wine tasting flights are high quality, great value and downright fun. 

view of the bar and Christchurch's Port Hills at The Pink Lady.

Take a quality bar crawl.

Christchurch CBD

The city is alive with a burgeoning bar scene so why not take a stroll around the CBD to sample a few. We suggest you start your bar stroll at The Craft Embassy, with thirty taps of craft beer, great wines, and beautiful views of the Avon.  

Next up is the rooftop bar at Muse Art Hotel, Pink Lady.  Be sure to arrive just before sunset as you’ll be treated to stunning views of Ōtautahi. The sundowners from the Pink Lady see warm pastel hues blanket the Port Hills, coastline, and city streets. The cocktails won’t disappoint either. 

Once you’ve finished your cosmo, meander to Hali for some tasty paua and pork croquette and maybe another cocktail.  Finish up, as every good night should, at Smash Palace for a cold craft brew and a satisfying burger.

Just remember to keep your water intake up.

Exterior view of the Christchurch Art Gallery.

Late night Christchurch Art Gallery visit.

Christchurch CBD

Head out to Christchurch Art Gallery on a Wednesday evening (open til 9pm) and indulge in the city’s treasury of art in a different light during the gallery’s Late Night Tour. The tours begin at 7:15pm, and there’s no need to book and are free of charge.

After an intake of culture, find your way to the elegant Universo housed within the gallery for a glass of wine or a creative cocktail. This is a place of distinct bohemian feel within a sophisticated environment, complimented with impeccable table service.

If you fancy venturing outside the gallery, cross the road over to Fiddlesticks and soak up the ambiance in front of a roaring outdoor fire or join friends in one of their intimate dining spaces.

Man playing guitar on stage at Bar 12.

Tap your toes to some live music.

Christchurch CBD

There's nothing quite like a toe-tapping, hip-shaking, hootenanny on an evening out. If this sounds like music to your ears, we thoroughly recommend heading to 12 Bar to get your live music fix. On Friday and Saturday nights, they have stellar live acts where you can expect to hear blues music alongside a bit of funk and soul. They’re dedicated to this feel good, beer-in-hand type of music and acts have included the South Street Trio, Matt Hall, Wolf Belly and The Penny Blues Band. 

There's also neighbouring Space Academy and Dark Room for more live music, too.  

Wine, dine, and enjoy the show.

Christchurch CBD

Transport yourself back in time on New Regent Street-a pedestrian laneway lauded as one of New Zealand's most beautiful streets. Take your pick from the outstanding menu at Twenty Seven Steps, authentic Italian cuisine at Francesca’s Italian Kitchen or the great bar menu at neighbouring O.G.B., which is just a hop, skip, and a jump away.

Follow dinner with a show at the beautifully restored Isaac Theatre Royal. With the quantity and quality of performances on offer, beautiful bar areas and the architecture to take in, there is no excuse not to visit this Christchurch gem.

Finish the evening with a whisky or a delicious cocktail at The Last Word or gin gin, then get your sweet fix at Rollickin’ Gelato

If there’s still life left in you, head over to the Dance-O-Mat or Margaret Mahy Family Playground to burn off extra energy (and witness the playground being taken over by adults after dark).

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