Summer is here and Christchurch is looking oh so good in its golden filter. The sun is shining a light on all the best bits of the city you may have missed during the cooler days. Take your time looking around every corner and get to know the best summertime spots of the city to spend alone or in the good company of friends, little humans, four-legged friends and other halves.
New Regent Street brunch with best buds
There’s no better place to see Christchurch wake up than surrounded by friends in the pastel Heritage setting of New Regent Street.
Stop in for breakfast at The Caffeine Laboratory, sitting on the corner of the street at the Gloucester Street end. The coffee here is good – and made extra summery with the additional options of cold brew and affogato (it may be early but don’t let that stop you). Breakfast is an all-day affair and options range from traditional eggs or porridge to vanilla cream soaked French toast and a wholesome charred greens salad, depending on what your body is calling out for. Nab a table in their street-side courtyard or head upstairs for a window view of the heritage world below.
With every craving met, you can now feast your eyes on what’s waiting down the rest of New Regent Street. It won’t take long for each member of the gang to fall under the street’s charm, with its range of gift and homeware stores, jewellers, well-known cafés, bars and restaurants as well as friendly – and sometimes a little magical – street dwellers.
Solo summer shopping and self-pampering in the BNZ Centre
While you veer away from New Regent Street and the crew disperses, a walking route of rich visuals awaits. Pass by the grand Isaac Theatre Royal before crossing through Cathedral Square to marvel at the new Tūranga and the raw contrast of the old Cathedral. Street art and quirky pre-quake innovations such as the life-size chess board will make you stop and stare, until you eventually make it to the BNZ Centre on Hereford Street.
Here, modern laneways are home to florists, boutique coffee shops, designer brands, nail salons, hairdressers and more. Make sure you stock up on your summer reading at everyone’s favourite independent bookshop, Scorpio Books, and pick up goods from locally-made designers at HAPA. With so much on offer, you’ll be breezing through your Christmas shopping list with plenty of time to get your nails and hair done.
Summer holiday lunching for the whole family
If you’re pushing a pram or herding a group of cheeky young’uns, get to know some of the central eateries becoming every parent and babysitter’s best friend during the summer holidays. These places have nailed the balance of sunshine, space and food offerings to accommodate fusspots as well as their minders who may fancy something a little more exciting than ham and cheese.
With a whole 21 hectares’ worth of garden space to explore, the Botanic Garden’s Ilex Café is an ideal place to take children with bucket loads of energy or a little one who needs rocking in the fresh air. A whole section dedicated to kids is available on the menu, featuring the Botanic Kid Pack made up of a sandwich, piece of fruit, cookie, yoghurt and juice.
Little High Eatery’s modern food court offers a little bit of everything, from handmade burgers and fries, sushi, dumplings, wood-fired pizza and more – with options to suit the pickiest of the lot, it’s unlikely anyone will throw a wobbly here. For a fun treat, Lower 9th’s American-style diner with curly fries, waffles, burgers and milkshakes will score you big ‘cool parent’ points and healthy fish and chips from Herba Gourmet’s food truck at the 03 Eatery is a quick and delicious street-side option.
Dog-friendly central city digs
There are a range of hospo folk getting every tail in town wagging, as they open their space up to accommodate four-legged locals.
If you’re a dog owner looking for a coffee fix and somewhere to settle for an hour or two of work, coffee roasters at C4 Coffee have free wifi as well as plenty of room in the sun and shade for your friend to sit, lie down and play dead. Cultured pooches will love the surroundings of The Arts Centre’s café, Bunsen, while hipster hounds are very welcome to join their owners for a boogie at Smash Palace.
Picnic date in the park
Slap on a hat and some block, pack a rug, fill the car with someone special and swap your beach and countryside picnic surroundings for the city.
Put your smorgasbord skills to the test and head to The Curator’s Deli at The Arts Centre to stock up on an abundant selection of authentic Spanish delicacies. Artisan products ranging from cured salami and chorizo to olives and cheeses will set the foundation for a romantic Mediterranean-style platter. If you’re lacking a bit of DIY inspiration (or feeling nervous to impress), Curator’s Deli cabinet of fresh ready-to-eat food is just as good an option, as well as Japanese fare from Zen Sushi and Dumplings next door and The Rolling Om’s food truck for fresh wraps.
Transport your delicious bounty to The Botanic Gardens and unroll your rug on the riverbed for an unbeatable alfresco feast for two.
This feature is collaboration between Neat Places and ChristchurchNZ #explorechristchurch