From Maori cultural performances to dinner with a twist; in a place like Christchurch, it’s practically a given that no single night will ever be quite like the next.
Christchurch doesn’t go to sleep when the sun goes down. In fact, nighttime is when this New Zealand city shows its most enchanting side. Culture Trip has selected 10 great nocturnal activities to help you experience Christchurch like a local.
A trip to the movies in Christchurch isn’t always conventional. Head along to Deluxe Cinemas for a night out with just the right amount of sophistication. Cheese platters, rolled ice creams and craft beers are some of the gourmet items you can snack on while you ease yourself into this independent movie theatre’s massive seats. For something with a vintage vibe, try Alice Cinemas. Along with its unique Wonderland- and Egyptian-themed theatres, this luxurious venue also doubles up as a DVD rental shop with an impressive collection of retro films, cult classics and arthouse titles.
Isaac Theatre Royal in August 2015 | Isaac Theatre Royal in August 2015
Since putting on its first performance in 1908, Christchurch’s Isaac Theatre Royal has become the local go-to for live theatre, ballet, musicals, comedy acts and so much more. Architecture enthusiasts will also adore the recently restored building and its remarkable Edwardian style features. For local plays and casual laughs, hit up The Court Theatre. Along with being New Zealand’s largest theatre company, it’s also the home base for Scared Scriptless – the country’s longest-running, late-night sketch comedy show.
Christchurch Art Gallery at night | Christchurch Art Gallery at night
If you didn’t have enough time to explore Christchurch Art Gallery during the day, there’s always the nighttime tours. These are held every Wednesday, when the gallery is open until 9 p.m., and are completely free to join. Late-night tours usually last around 45-50 minutes and offer plenty of insight into the gallery’s expansive collections and exhibitions.
Dining room in Ferrymead Heritage Park, Christchurch | Dining room in Ferrymead Heritage Park, Christchurch
This one’s ideal for those travelling in large groups. Enter Ferrymead Heritage Park in the late hours of the night to become a part of an unforgettable whodunnit adventure. Christchurch’s Murder Mystery Dinner is arguably the most elaborate interactive theatre experience of its kind in New Zealand, transporting its participants back to 1968 for the grand opening of a new Victorian era theme park where they will have to solve the murder of the event’s curator. Bookings are essential for this activity and dressing up is highly encouraged.
Tramway Restaurant, Christchurch, New Zealand | Tramway Restaurant, Christchurch, New Zealand
For a dinnertime tour that offers a unique perspective of inner-city Christchurch, book a table at the Tramway Restaurant. With a leisurely 2.5-hour ride that begins and ends at Cathedral Junction, this 36-seater colonial style tram takes sightseeing to a whole new level. The restaurant’s four-course menu changes according to what’s in season, providing a taste of the freshest New Zealand ingredients, as well as showcasing an assortment of locally produced wines and ales.
Ko Tane at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve is the only Maori cultural exchange of its kind in the South Island. Along with providing insight into the country’s history, culture and indigenous traditions, Ko Tane tours also consist of traditional hangi dinners and nighttime shows. Traditional songs and kapa haka performances are all part of the experience and some tour packages include guided kiwi wildlife encounters.
For a fun, budget-friendly group activity with a competitive edge, make your way to Xtreme Entertainment Garden City for a couple of rounds of tenpin bowling. Every Friday and Saturday night from 9.pm., the venue offers two After Dark games for NZ$10 per person; those popping in from Monday to Thursday can enjoy unlimited bowling sessions from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. And if you need to fuel up before, during or after your game, there’s a licensed cafe on the premises offering plenty of food and drinks to keep the crowds content.
Love your trivia? Then gather up some friends to test your knowledge at one of Christchurch’s many weeknight pub quizzes. On Monday evenings, head along to Pedal Pusher in Addington for its popular 7 p.m. quiz, as well as some Mexican delicacies – the venue’s “Mexi-Monday” nights conveniently fall on the same day. Armadillos in Sydenham is a good go-to for quiz nights on Tuesdays. On Wednesdays Monza Sports Bar, located upstairs at Christchurch Casino, becomes a trivial haven where teams of four to six people can battle it out for a selection of prizes.
If you want to spend the night listening to some great sounds, Christchurch is the ultimate place to do it. Venture into Strange’s Lane for the crooning jazz tunes at Orleans, or watch an array of local and international acts as they grace the stages of Strange & Co. Head to Boo Radleys on Wednesdays for their open-mic nights, or make your way to the nearby Little Neighbourhood Garden Bar for their regular live music and karaoke sessions.
Relish in Christchurch’s buzzing night life
The great thing about Christchurch is that its nightlife is incredibly diverse. St Asaph Street is the party hub where you’ll find some of the city’s best dance joints. Poplar Lane is an awesome place for a casual night out sampling some cool cocktails or craft beers. Victoria Street offers a bit of everything from edgy cocktail haunts and bustling Mexican bars to low-key pubs and eateries.