Where to Dine Outside in Christchurch
Whether you’re looking to settle in for an evening of people watching or prefer to enjoy your long black in solitude, keep scrolling for where to find outdoor dining in Christchurch
Words by: Ashlyn Oswalt
Ahh, the glorious joys of a lazy afternoon lunch, cocktail in hand, sitting in the summer sun. Christchurch is celebrated as the garden city after all, and relishing in the hidden verandas, patios, and balconies are summer’s sweetest pleasures. As Christchurch grows, more outdoor places are added to the list, making this city a lovely place to dine al fresco.
172 High Street, Christchurch Central
A true Christchurch institution, Smash Palace is the place to be on a sunny day. When the owner’s original pub fell down during the earthquakes, they decided to open another place, so people could gather and be a part of the new Christchurch. Smash Palace is that place, essentially a bus bar parked in a courtyard, serves up delicious burgers and a rotating tap list. Although the area surrounding is now being redeveloped, the location allows for patrons to take a step back into time, post-earthquake, and watch the city rebuild. As if you needed another reason to go, they also host dance parties (to a wide selection of records) in the courtyard on weekends. You’re welcome.
Lyttelton Coffee Co.
29 London Street, Lyttelton
The back balcony of Lyttelton Coffee Co. is the perfect place for an unobstructed view of the harbour. You’ll find yourself sipping on long blacks and chomping down avocado toast while watching the ships come into port. If you’re lucky enough to grab a front table on market day, you’ll be tempted to spend hours people watching, listening to live music, and enjoying the mammoth menu that the cafe offers.
314 Cashel Street, Christchurch Central
If you don’t know where Smokey T’s is, just follow the smell of BBQ to the edge of the city. From there, let your tastebuds guide you on what to order (pro tip: everything) and then find a spot at their upstairs bar, offering a unique view of the Port Hills. If there’s a better way to enjoy a heaping plate of BBQ, we don’t want to know about it.
The Craft Embassy
Level One, The Terrace, 126 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central
If you want to see what The Terrace is all about but aren’t ready to get amongst the hubbub, we suggest an outdoor table on Craft Embassy’s balcony. You’ll look down from your sheltered (great for a rainy day!) spot onto The Terrace’s most popular spots, offering a safe distance to people watch with a craft pint. We highly suggest settling in for a session - their rotating taps are sure to make any beer aficionado swoon.
23 Worcester Blvd, Christchurch Central
The Astro Lounge is part of Christchurch mainstay Cook 'N' With Gas, and acts as the perfect place to settle into after-work drinks on a Friday. Soak in the live music, fairy lights, and cushy couches, all while perusing the extensive drinks list. This secluded courtyard is flanked by large trees and greenery, making you feel miles away from the city centre.
30/28 Cathedral Square, Christchurch Central
OGB sits opposite the Cathedral and is a beacon of live music, speak-easy style drinks, and high-class service in an oft-forgotten city corner. Their large patio features heaters and blankets for chillier nights, but if there is live music or a warm breeze, be sure to get there early - those seats fill up fast!
The Last Word
31 New Regent Street, Christchurch Central
Located on New Regent Street, The Last Word is an impressive whisky bar with an equally impressive and knowledgeable staff. From their mid-century modern furniture to their cosy, just-like-grandma’s knitted blankets, the extensive whisky menu (and plenty of other libations!) won’t be the only thing keeping you warm. The street front spot allows you to people watch and be a part of all the action.
Under the Red Verandah
29 Tancred Street, Linwood, Christchurch
A fan favourite for brunch, Under the Red Verandah feels like you’re on your auntie’s patio. Set in a gorgeous suburban backyard with wooden pergolas, wisteria, and plenty of toys for the kids, you’ll find yourself mentally moving in. If the scenery isn’t enough to tickle your fancy, the menu boasts Kiwi classics like posh beans, big breakfast platters, and other delicious items. Bring the family, doggos included, and enjoy a hearty meal and delicious coffee in the secluded garden spot.
Image from utrv.co.nz
Sign of the Kiwi
Summit Road, Governors Bay
A great place to treat yourself after walking the Harry Ell, the Sign of the Kiwi is another great Christchurch institution. Perched on Dyers Pass road, the little cafe offers one of the best views of both the Banks Peninsula and Christchurch. Grab breakfast, coffee, or even an ice cream at this adorable establishment and take in the sights - on a clear day you can even see the snow capped Southern Alps!
Image from signofthekiwi.co.nz
Corner of Worcester Boulevard &, Montreal Street, Christchurch Central
The perfect place to meet up and savour a drink in the city, Fiddlesticks offers great views of the Art Gallery and plenty of opportunities for people watching. With outdoor seating spilling out onto Worcester, you’ll enjoy the sights of Christchurch’s tram, all while sipping from an extensive wine list.
1 Hereford Street, Christchurch Central
Cosy, historic, and sophisticated, it’s hard not to instantly fall in love with Cellar Door. Nestled into the historic Arts Centre, you’ll sip and dine amongst heritage brick buildings and gaze out into the grass courtyard. With a wine list several pages long and a menu that’ll make a Michelin starred chef blush, we can’t think of a single reason why you’d only have one drink.
3 Garlands Road, Woolston, Christchurch
What could be better than great beer, wood-fired pizza, and a covered outdoor patio? Nothing, we say, which is great news for The Brewery, Cassel and Sons’ bar and restaurant. Located in the Tannery’s brick building and smack dab next to Blue Smoke’s gig space, you won’t feel miles away from the city in this suburban hub. The large outdoor space has a great communal feel and the removable sides of the large tent mean that even in inclement weather you can enjoy the fresh air. Did we mention this one is dog-friendly, too?
Image from cassels.nz/brewery-bar/
Unit 2/1091 Ferry Road, Ferrymead, Christchurch
If you’re looking for a spot a little further afield from the city centre, try Evil Genius. Their courtyard is filled with cosy lights, making a picture-perfect setting for watching the sunset over the estuary. The only tough decision you’ll have to make here is what almost-too-pretty-to-drink cocktail you’re going to order.
96 Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central
A place made for the sunny summer days, Riverside Market leaves you spoiled for choice with outdoor spaces. Enjoy the rooftop views and modern chinese eats from Midnight Shanghai, or park yourself at the picnic tables for a feast from El Quincho or Herba Gourmet. For scenery that will make you feel like you’re in the centre of a major city, look no further than a spot in the brick alleyways while chowing down on a Shaka Bros burger, we swear the scenery will make you feel like you’re in the centre of a major city.
Governors Bay Hotel
52 Main Road, Governors Bay
A short jaunt outside of the city centre will take you to the Governors Bay Hotel, but the scenery will make you feel like you’re on a bonafide getaway. Enjoy the sun soaked deck with vast waterfront views and the Port Hills, or relax on the lawn furniture set amongst the surrounding native trees and rose garden.
39 Norwich Quay, Lyttelton
Enjoy fresh seafood from boat to plate while taking in the expansive views of Lyttelton Harbour with a cold brew in hand. With plenty of heaters and a covered deck, you can happily enjoy this laidback eatery during most months of the year.
2 Rue Jolie, Banks Peninsula
This gem is a bit of a drive from Christchurch, but we couldn’t resist adding it as a go-to outdoor dining destination. At Ma Maison, you come for the waterfront views, but stay for the glorious seafood and fresh produce, sourced locally whenever possible. You’ll be glad you made the trip.
Want more of our favourite Christchurch recs? Check out how we’d spend 48 hours in the Garden City.
5 Places to Find the Best Craft Cocktails in Christchurch
We've done the legwork and narrowed down the best spots to sip a flawless craft cocktail in Christchurch’s CBD.
Where to Dine as a Big Group in Christchurch
It can be hard to find a place to grab a bite when you're going out as a gaggle. Don’t despair! We’ve rounded up some of the neatest places to hit when your numbers are looking more like a football team than an intimate table for two.
How to Spend the Perfect Night Out in Christchurch CBD
Here's your guide to the Christchurch CBD after dark.
6 Ways to Celebrate Valentines Day in Christchurch
While Valentines 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.
Christchurch Holiday Shopping Guide
Shopping local is a treat this year with so many offerings around Christchurch. Make a day of it and revel in the diverse range of shops, price points, and offerings, all while supporting the spirit of Ōtautahi.
9 New Discoveries in Ōtautahi
After all that 2020 has been, we couldn’t be happier to welcome this new crew of hospitality venues to Ōtautahi.
9 of the Best Plant-Based Eateries in Christchurch
With options ranging from casual cafe grab-and-go options, to full sit down dinners, it’s never been a better time to explore your plant-based options in Christchurch’s food scene.
The Neatest Campgrounds in Canterbury
Whether you’re a seasoned camper or are only just getting into the thought of ‘roughing it’, Canterbury is spoiled for choice with the neatest campgrounds.
11 Walks to Do in Canterbury (And Where to Reward Yourself After)
Now’s the time to get out and explore all Canterbury has to offer, both in the outdoors and the towns that make this region so special.
Explore New Zealand's most beautiful street
A stroll down colourful, pedestrianised New Regent Street in Christchurch will instantly transport you to a bygone era.
Where to shop for Mother's Day
Just one day of the year feels inadequate to celebrate all of the things our wonderful mums do. But since there is just one day and it’s this Sunday (10th May), you’d better make it a goodie.
What to eat in Level 3 lockdown - Christchurch
The long wait is over! Level 3 has arrived and with it a host of exciting takeaway and delivery options from some of the Garden City's finest eating and drinking establishments.
The best brunch in Christchurch
Brunch enthusiasts, rejoice! Neat Places has compiled your weekend hit-list for the best brunch in Christchurch. From the caffeine hit to the perfectly poached eggs, you'll find somewhere just right for that next weekend brunch outing.
Head to any of these Christchurch locations for parent and kid friendly experiences sure to delight on all levels.
Leading the way Sustainably
Check out these sustainability-focused businesses for your next purchase.
Two left turns from the city
This innovative and quirky accommodation features my favourite cornerstones of New Zealand culture: a DIY attitude, top notch Kiwi hospitality and an authentic focus on sustainability.
The best porridge around
Porridge is everywhere - luxury, next level porridge, that is. Find out some of the top spots around Christchurch to get your fix.
Christchurch's neatest food halls and collectives
It's cold outside, and winter has come. With the rainy days camped in for a few months, what better time to visit the best food halls and collectives in Christchurch?
Where to find the best coffee in the Salt District
Head to the Salt District for your coffee fix. We guarantee you'll find your next local.
Best suburban cafés in Christchurch
There’s nothing quite like the comfort of your local neighbourhood café where familiar faces greet you from day to day and your regular order can be placed with a mere nod and a smile.
Where to get the best green smoothies in Christchurch
Healthy, filling, nutritious, energising, the green smoothie is one craving not to feel guilty over.
Best Fried Chicken in Christchurch
We've scoured the city to find the best places to get your hands on the finger lickin' good stuff.
Where to find the best sushi in Christchurch
Whether you’re in the market for a classic avocado California roll, a seared beef nigiri or a vege-stuffed inari sushi pocket, Christchurch’s sushi options will not disappoint.
Cafes open on a Sunday
There’s no bigger bummer than a well earned weekend off rolling round and discovering your favourite cafe is closed.
Five of the best: where to fill your own beer
Bring your own bottle? How about filling your own bottle - of delicious, fresh craft beer, that is.
Sharing is caring. The best places for shared plates
Whoever first coined the phrase “sharing is caring” was clearly a good person to head out to dinner with.
Neatest places for an ice cream
On a hot day in Christchurch, there’s no better way to cool down than with a delicious iced delight.
Cafes with free WIFI
A necessity in homes, workplaces and public spaces – but wifi connections in cafés, bars and restaurants can feel few and far between.