The Best Markets in Christchurch, New Zealand

© wai yee thang / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Elena Alston
25 September 2020

New Zealand’s Christchurch is a city that’s been through the mill – and which then rebuilt the mill. Following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes that wreaked chaos on the city, Christchurch showed its resilience at an astonishing rate, and is now a colourful, chaotic metropolis once more, complete with brand-new architecture to enjoy. But signs of the city’s heritage remain – including these traditional markets, recommended by Culture Trip’s local insiders.

Riverside Market

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Riverside Food Market, Oxford Terrace, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch, Canterbury Region, New Zealand
© Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy Stock Photo

If the weather is iffy, head to Riverside Market, a fully enclosed warehouse open seven days a week. Vendors focus their creative efforts on selling products made in New Zealand, so it’s the best spot to get your mitts on those Kiwi originals. You’ll find anything from cushions with whacky prints to jars of artisan jams and peanut butter. Foodies, take your pick: South Indian dosas, Thai green curry, ramen, organic smoothies and golden-crust pies beckon. Recommended by local insider Ashley Owen

Christchurch Farmers' Market

Farmers' Market, Authentic
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Set in the lofty grounds of Riccarton House, an Edwardian heritage site built for a prominent family who settled here from Europe, the Christchurch Farmers’ Market has been in place since 2003. Local farmers flock here every Saturday to set up shop, enticing visitors with a wide array of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, olive oils, luxury chocolate and baked goodies. If the food and location aren’t enough to cut your lie-in short, maybe the live music will be. Recommended by local insider Ashley Owen

The Riccarton Market

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People at the Riccarton outdoor market in the grounds of  Riccarton House, Christchurch, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand.. Image shot 2011. Exact date unknown.
© Jinny Goodman / Alamy Stock Photo

What started off as a modest car boot sale in 1989 has blossomed into New Zealand’s largest outdoor market, with more than 300 stalls and 10,000 visitors every week. Open every Sunday, this upscale market boasts a more jovial flair than in its heyday, with live music performances, face painting and a bouncy castle. Bargain hunters rejoice: you can still expect to hand over a just few dollars in exchange for those second-hand goodies, but the more ambitious shoppers can also root around for antiques, exotic plants and beautiful clothing. Recommended by local insider Ashley Owen

The Nifty Markets

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Held monthly, The Nifty Markets is a hip, creative venture hosted by small businesses looking to trade second-hand clothes and other ethical goods including plants, jewellery and embroidery. Vendors share a common goal: making sustainable fashion that’s affordable, ethical and fun. Read: scruffy clothes are cool. The market takes place – confusingly – in a barber’s shop. Don’t worry, you’ll understand when you get there. Recommended by local insider Christine van Til

Friday Street Food Market Cathedral Square

Market, Street Food
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This market has wheels – literally. Every Friday, dozens of food-truck vendors park in Cathedral Square to churn out tasty treats by the dozen. There’s every cuisine imaginable – dim sum, Korean barbecue baps, mince patties and Malaysian noodles and burritos. The only real drawback is deciding what strikes your fancy and beating others to the punch. Recommended by local insider Christine van Til

Lyttelton Farmers' Market

Farmers' Market, Market, Street Food
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Lyttelton Farmers Market, Oxford Street, Lyttelton, Lyttelton Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand. Image shot 2010. Exact date unknown.
© Greg Balfour Evans / Alamy Stock Photo
If you’ve got the time, head to Lyttleton on Saturday for a bucolic affair. Lyttelton Farmers’ Market is one of the most popular of its kind among locals, as farmers sell the very best of their fruit and vegetables, free-range eggs, freshly baked bread and an assortment of cheeses so varied it would any fromagerie to shame. The produce here gives new meaning to the term breakfast of champions. Recommended by local insider Christine van Til
These recommendations were updated on September 25, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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