6 Ways to Celebrate Valentine's Day in Christchurch

Close up of wine glasses on a table.

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.

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.

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.

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.  Scope a cool indie film or one of those newly announced Oscar-nominated movies at Lumière Cinemas located at The Arts Centre. You can even grab a pre-drink in their warm and inviting Bijou Bar

Exterior of Lumiere cinema at The Arts Centre.

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. Perhaps venture out to New Brighton to experience the relaxation and warmth of  He Puna Taimoana's five luxurious hot pool complete with plunge pool, steam room, and rejuvenating sauna. 

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 has a mighty-fine set menu for $75 per person. Wine lovers will delight in the European bistro culture at Earl, while Twenty Seven Steps offers fine dining cuisine without the pretentious atmosphere. 

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 Londo, a cool new addition to the city featuring an interesting array of wines and plates. 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.

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 extensive cocktail menu featuring a ‘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 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.

Neat Christchurch & Canterbury Places

Whisky Galore

Assistant helping customer at Whisky Galore.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury

Whisky Galore's commitment to providing New Zealand’s most unique whisky experience is beyond compare.

Black Estate

View out of window at Black Estate, North Canterbury towards vines.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Restaurants icon

A winery, tasting room and restaurant, Black Estate is famous not only for its organic and biodynamic wines but its refreshing approach to food.

Little High Lanes

View of a laneway with buildings on both sides.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury
Bars icon Cafes icon

Little High Lanes is an eclectic blend of food, fashion and industry.

Henry Trading

Anglepoise lamp with candles stocked on the shelves at Henry Trading, Lyttelton.
Place Christchurch & Canterbury

A must-visit spot brimming with homewares and more made by good people.