A Guide to Shopping and One of a Kind Fashion in Christchurch

Interior image of the fashion and homeware store Indigo & Provisions.

Christchurch is a city known for its many incredible cafés, greenspaces and close proximity to day trips and adventures throughout the region. However, now the city is also gaining a reputation for its emerging shopping offering, particularly in the central city, where there are many districts and laneways to discover. 

Whether you enjoy spending hours moving leisurely from shop to shop, browsing, selecting and heading back to the car, arms laden with bags, or you’re more someone going in with intent, speed and efficiency, there’s the kind of retail therapy you want to indulge in.

With so many options, from luxe designer labels both local and international, to a department store institution, to second-hand finds and homeware goodness, it’s all here in Ōtautahi Christchurch and waiting to be explored.

View from the top of the stair case looking down into the centre of the crossing.

Enjoy browsing the laneways of The Crossing

The Crossing is both historic and relatively new to the shopping scene in Christchurch. The laneways and buildings that make up this precinct have been the subject of significant restoration following the earthquakes, and what has emerged is the retail heart of the city.

There are the colourful hues and playful outfits of New Zealand fashion brand RUBY, the luxe and visually-pleasing homewares of A&C Homestore and the cosy yet elegant knitwear of Perriam that instantly transports you to the high country of Otago. Add to the mix Colony, a family-owned and operated business that specialises in all things honey, plus fashion favourites Workshop and Witchery, and you can quite easily find something for all your purchasing needs.  

Shelves on the wall at Fances Nation filed with homewares goods.

The Arts Centre / Te Matatiki Toi Ora treasures

A Christchurch shopping guide would not be complete without a mention of the Arts Centre - a place where local craft makers and independent boutiques are supported and celebrated.

Starting on the ground floor of the Old Boys High building, if you’re in need of a sweet treat to get going pop along to The Fudge Cottage, an Arts Centre stalwart, where there are always new flavours and goodies to try.

Head on upstairs and take your pick of stores up here.  For beautiful homewares and unique gifts pop into the calm serenity that is Frances Nation, and if you’re in the market for a new outfit with a difference try Indigo & Provisions. Or for a purchase supporting a purpose, visit Rekindle, a workshop space for local craft practitioners, where there is a small section selling various items. There’s always something unique at The Arts Centre and always a story to go with it.

The centre of five lanes where people are sitting at tables under umbrellas.

Five Lanes for literature and gifts

Five Lanes is one of the more recent additions to the city centre’s post-quake shopping scene. Alongside a whole host of food outlets, there is a diverse range of retailers dotted around the laneways and courtyards. It’s the location to head to if you’re in need of a gift.  No matter who you are buying for, chances are the present you are looking for can be found here.

Make a beeline for Hapa, thoughtfully curated and with a particular focus on elevating the use of Te Reo Māori, this store proudly supports local design. Next head to Scorpio Books, one of the city’s most loved independent book stores - it’s quite easy to lose several hours in here browsing the rows of books and specialty magazines. And if that wasn’t enough, for any little people in your life there is Scorpio’s younger sibling of sorts - Telling Tales, a children’s bookstore. Specifically designed with young minds in mind, sparking imagination and delight for all who visit… even the adults!

A shelf in the middle of the store displaying different sneakers.

The gems of High Street

Looking for guaranteed success on your shopping trip? Then look no further than the finest High Street has to offer - bonus they all happen to be next door to one another. First visit Infinite Definite, a local favourite for New Zealand and international fashion labels. Plus it has a beautiful aesthetic, so it’s a visual dream to wander around the store.

If you are interested in sustainable and second-hand fashion, Recycle Boutique is the spot for you.  There are always incredible finds amongst their racks. And then it’s onto a dreamy shoe shopping experience at Head Over Heels, where they stock classic designs alongside more fashion-forward options, something for every taste and preference.

A gold sun glasses rack with a circle mirror.

Cashel Street institutions

Cashel Street has long been the hub for retail therapy in Christchurch’s central city. Like Ōtautahi itself, its been through many lives and iterations, rebuilding post-quake and now being as busy as it has ever been.

One of the most iconic shopping destinations in the entire city calls Cashel Street home and that is, of course, Ballantynes. This beloved department store was first established in 1854 and is known for their impeccable service.  It is also the place to go for top brands and high-quality pieces.

Diagonally across the street, you’ll find Superette, now in its 20th year.  This New Zealand-founded style destination keeps going from strength to strength and always has the latest fashions in store. Switching gears from trends to tipples, is The Juniper Collective, a gin boutique that at any given time has 150 types and labels available. Sample and sip as you shop, learn about the different gins on offer and enjoy the minimalist design of the store. 

A lady shopping looking at racks of clothing in riversides Shopology store.

Riverside Market shopping surprises

Surrounding food mecca Riverside Market, you will find cute lanes that are home to some of the best shops in the city centre. Stop off in the market for a coffee or lunch, then head outside and wander along perusing, browsing and hopefully taking home some brilliant buys.

If you love finding items that are locally sourced and unique, go to Shopology, where owners Sally and Sarah focus on stocking items that are made with love and care. Nearby is homeware heaven, Abode, where the Danish concept of Hygge (the feeling of being cosy), is present throughout the store. And if you’re looking for a gift or memento made by local craftspeople, then make sure to visit the Beehive Collective. Other retail hotspots in this area to check out include New Zealand outdoor label Alchemy Equipment and the self-described emporium of the alternative, Cosmic.

Lady looking down at draws of unique pieces of jewellery.

Boutiques for one-of-a-kind pieces

There are always going to be special boutiques and galleries you make a special journey for and are 100% worth it. One such store is Henry Trading over in Lyttelton, where local makers and creators are celebrated. You will want to set aside plenty of time to look around here, and be prepared to leave with something special for yourself or someone else - it’s an amazing spot for finding a gift.

Heading back towards the city centre, you’ll come across The National on Moorhouse Ave. This dealer gallery specialises in showcasing contemporary jewellery, as well as sculptural ceramics, glass and object-based works. It certainly isn’t like any regular shopping experience you are used to! 

A lady in all black clothing looking through the clothing racks at Plume Christchurch.

Salt District Sophistication

Contemporary, stylish, en vogue… these are the words that come to mind when thinking about the retailers of the Salt District. This vibrant city centre neighbourhood is eclectic and full of life, so it makes sense that the shopping on offer here is too!

Walk through the front doors of PLUME’s boutique and you’ll instantly be taken by how effortlessly cool everything is, from the store’s design to the labels carried here. WORLD is much the same, a masterclass in how to curate a brick-and-mortar shopping experience and showcase the best in New Zealand design.

And at KILT, locally designed and made garments that can slot in effortlessly into your wardrobe, are the name of the game. Sidestepping fashion, the district is also home to the likes of Ride on Super Sound, celebrating the nostalgia of buying music in person, and flower guru, Bunch Floral. So set aside a morning or afternoon and explore.

Looking down the middle of the Tannery with massive glass windows for the celling.

Step back in time at The Tannery

Whilst it may not technically be in the city centre, we couldn’t exclude The Tannery from a Christchurch shopping guide. It is a prime example of remarkable restoration. 

What once was a series of industrial buildings, has been transformed into a popular retail and hospitality destination. From the charming red brick exterior to all the beautiful and intentional details inside, retail therapy doesn’t get any better than at The Tannery. For fashion from highly coveted brands such as Assembly Label and Caitlin Crisp, go into Uncommon Shop, who also offer personalised style and fitting advice. If you’re searching for some new denim in your wardrobe, then you have to visit EnCompass where they have an extensive selection and impeccable service.

At Good Folk, the focus is on high-quality goods made with care and natural materials, their space making you feel calm and relaxed. There’s also the surf experts at Sadhana, homewares heaven at Hapa and second-hand goodness at Recycle Boutique. Top off the shopping trip with a pastry from Bellbird Bakery and that is one successful outing in our book.