Where to Stay in Christchurch (2019 • COOLEST Areas!)

An excellent restaurant scene, interesting museums, plenty of beer gardens and surrounded by nature, Christchurch is a small city that packs a big punch.

But New Zealand’s third largest centre is a massive and sprawling city, so choosing the right area to stay in is very important. That’s why we put together this in-depth guide for where to stay in Christchurch.

This guide was written by travellers for travellers. It lists the best areas to stay in Christchurch and organizes them based on interest.

So whatever you are looking to do, you’ll be able to find the perfect place to stay in Christchurch.

Get ready for some exciting recommendations – and even a hidden gem or two – as we jump right into where to stay in Christchurch, New Zealand.

 

Quick Tips – Where to Stay in Christchurch

  • Where to stay in Christchurch first time – Inner City
  • Where to stay in Christchurch on a budget – Inner City
  • Best area to stay in Christchurch for nightlife – Riccarton
  • Coolest place to stay in Christchurch – Merivale
  • Best neighbourhood in Christchurch for families – Sumner

 

In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:

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Inner City
Christchurch Central – also known as the Inner City – is the heart and soul of the city. It is situated at the geographic centre of Christchurch and is packed with top restaurants and trendy bars, as well as world-class museums, historic landmarks and cultural institutions.
Places to Visit:
  • Experience New Zealand’s rich cultural and natural history at the Canterbury Museum.
  • Visit the unique and striking Cardboard Cathedral.
  • See excellent exhibitions at the Christchurch Art Gallery.

 

Where to Stay in Christchurch

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in Christchurch.

 

Best Hostel in Christchurch: Foley Towers

This, in our opinion, is the best hostel in Christchurch. It is located in the bustling Inner City and is close to a great selection of restaurants, bars, shops and top tourist attractions. This quiet and laid back hostel offers comfortable beds, two kitchens, gardens, laundry and so much more.

If you love hostels, you should check out our list of the coolest hostels in Christchurch!

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Best Hotel in Christchurch: Parkview On Hagley

This excellent four-star hotel is our choice for the best hotel in Christchurch. It is situated in lively and vibrant Riccarton and is surrounded by the best nightlife, restaurants and shops in the city. This hotel offers luxurious rooms with stunning views, as well as tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a beauty centre.

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Christchurch Neighbourhood Guide

Quick Summary: The Best Places to Stay in Christchurch

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Inner City

  • Christchurch Central – also known as the Inner City – is the heart and soul of the city. It is situated at the geographic centre of Christchurch and is packed with top restaurants and trendy bars, as well as world-class museums, historic landmarks and cultural institutions.
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Inner City

  • In addition to being the tourist, shopping and cultural hub, the Inner City is also our pick for where to stay in Christchurch on a budget. Here you’ll find a high concentration of backpacker hostels, as well as boutique hotels, rustic lodges and affordable motels to meet any traveller’s budget.
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Riccarton

  • Riccarton is a charming neighbourhood located directly west of the city centre. It is separated from the Inner City by Hagley Park and boasts a quintessential university district vibe and feel.
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Merivale

  • Situated north of the city centre, Merivale is an attractive neighbourhood close to the heart of Christchurch. Although predominantly residential, this suburb is home to a large selection of chic boutiques, stylish cafes, and trendy bars and restaurants.
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Sumner

  • Sumner is a delightful seaside suburb set approximately 15 minutes southeast of Christchurch’s city centre. It is a friendly and tranquil town that offers a different pace of life to the city. Here you can enjoy scenic walks on the beach or relaxing hikes in the hills.

 

Christchurch is a lively and vibrant city that keeps a relatively low profile. Despite being the largest city on New Zealand’s south island, it’s often overlooked in favour of modern and cosmopolitan Auckland and the capital city, Wellington.

There’s plenty to see and do in New Zealand’s third largest city from indulging in delicious cuisine and enjoying a pint on a sun-soaked patio to experience the rich history and culture that Christchurch has to offer.

The city covers an urban area of more than 607 square kilometres and is home to more than 400,000 people. Christchurch is divided into 72 distinct neighbourhoods, each packed with interesting attractions and outstanding activities.

This article will walk you through Christchurch’s best neighbourhoods organized by interest.

At the heart of the city is Christchurch Central – or the Inner City. A bustling and buzzing suburb, this is the best area in Christchurch to stay in if you’re interested in history, culture, food and fun.

Set to the west of the Inner City is Riccarton. This lively and boisterous neighbourhood is home to the University of Canterbury and is one of the best places in Christchurch to stay in for nightlife, drinking, dining and after dark fun.

Travel northeast from here and you’ll arrive in Merivale. One of the coolest places to stay in Christchurch, Merivale is an attractive neighbourhood with a great selection of boutiques, eateries and cafes.

And finally, head southeast of the city to the seaside suburb of Sumner. An idyllic oasis, Sumner is an excellent place to stay if you’re looking for outdoor adventures, surfside fun, or a relaxing break at the beach.

Still not sure which is the best area in Christchurch to stay in? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

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Christchurch’s Best Neighbourhoods to Stay in

In this next section, we’ll take a look at the best neighbourhoods to stay in Christchurch. Each is a little different from the last so be sure to read each section carefully and pick the one that best meets your travel needs.

 

#1 Inner City – Where to Stay in Christchurch for Your First Time

Christchurch Central – also known as the Inner City – is the heart and soul of the city. It is situated at the geographic centre of Christchurch and is packed with top restaurants and trendy bars, as well as world-class museums, historic landmarks and cultural institutions. Because there’s so much to see and do, the Inner City wins our vote for where to stay in Christchurch for your first time.

The Inner City is also our pick for where to stay in Christchurch for one night because it’s compact and walkable, which means you’ll be able to check all the top sights off your list with relative ease.

Inner City, Christchurch

 

Things to See and Do in Inner City

– Experience New Zealand’s rich cultural and natural history at the Canterbury Museum.

– Visit the unique and striking Cardboard Cathedral.

– See excellent exhibitions at the Christchurch Art Gallery.

– Catch a world-class performance at the Isaac Theatre Royal.

– Immerse yourself in wonderful works of art at The Arts Centre of Christchurch.

– Dine on delicious New Zealand dishes at Fiddlesticks Restaurant & Bar.

– Sip cocktails and enjoy the view at Engineers Bar Gastro Pub.

– Grab a pint and enjoy a fun afternoon at Smash Palace.

– Dine on flavourful Asian fusion at King of Snake.

– Drink urbane and snack on great food at O.G.B.

 

Best Hostel in Inner City: Urbanz Christchurch

This beautifully renovated hostel is one of the best places to stay in Christchurch. It is situated in the Inner City and is close to popular bars, restaurants, shops and landmarks. They provide spacious rooms with large, comfortable beds, as well as a kitchen, lounge, and free wifi.

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Best Hotel in Inner City: Fino Hotel & Suites

The Fino Hotel & Suites is our pick for where to stay in the Inner City. It is in one of the best areas to stay in Christchurch for sightseeing, dining, shopping and nightlife. Guests can enjoy luxurious and well-equipped rooms as well as free wifi.

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Best Hotel in Inner City: Hotel 115 Christchurch

Because of its great location and excellent amenities, this is one of our favourite hotels in Christchurch. Rooms are equipped with flat-screen TVs and a variety of modern features. Guests can also enjoy plenty of eateries, bars and shops within walking distance.

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#2 Inner City – Where to Stay in Christchurch on a Budget

In addition to being the tourist, shopping and cultural hub, the Inner City is also our pick for where to stay in Christchurch on a budget. Here you’ll find a high concentration of backpacker hostels, as well as boutique hotels, rustic lodges and affordable motels to meet any traveller’s budget.

Christchurch is often referred to as the “Garden City” and nowhere is this more evident than the Inner City. Lush gardens and verdant parks are dotted throughout the district giving the bustling downtown core a refreshing breath of air.

The Inner City is also the best area in Christchurch to stay in if you love to eat. Here you’ll find incredible restaurants serving up cuisines from around the world.

Inner City, Christchurch

 

Things to See and Do in Inner City

– Take a moment of silence at the 185 White Chairs Earthquake Memorial.

– Marvel at Victoria Clock Tower.

– Go for a stroll down New Regent Street.

– Hop aboard the heritage Christchurch Tramway.

– Stand at the centre of Cathedral Square.

– Cross the Bridge of Remembrance.

– Visit the Antigua Boatsheds and go punting on the Avon River.

– Tickle your taste buds with a range of flavours at Pot Sticker Dumpling Bar.

– Sink your teeth into one of the best burgers in Christchurch at Bacon Brothers.

– See flora and fauna from New Zealand and around the world at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

– Wander through beautiful Hagley Park.

 

Best Hostel in Inner City: Foley Towers

This is, in our opinion, the best hostel in Christchurch. It is located in the bustling Inner City and is close to a great selection of restaurants, bars, shops and top tourist attractions. This quiet and laid back hostel offers comfortable beds, two kitchens, gardens and laundry facilities.

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Best Hotel in Inner City: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch

Located in the city centre, this hotel is close to everything – bars, restaurants, shops and attractions – you name it and you can walk to it! They provide a variety of great features, like a coffee bar, sauna, and beauty centre. The rooms are comfortable, spacious and air-conditioned.

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Best Hotel in Inner City: BreakFree on Cashel

BreakFree Hotel is one of our favourite Christchurch accommodation options. This stylish three-star hotel provides large rooms with air conditioning and modern amenities at an affordable price. It is in an unbeatable location in downtown Christchurch with shops, nightlife and sightseeing nearby.

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#3 Riccarton – Where to Stay in Christchurch for Nightlife

Riccarton is a charming neighbourhood located directly west of the city centre. It is separated from the Inner City by Hagley Park and boasts a quintessential university district vibe and feel.

Following devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011, many retail and commercial enterprises moved to Riccarton. Today, this suburb is an important hub for shopping and is home to many local boutiques and a massive mall.

This neighbourhood is our top pick for where to stay in Christchurch for nightlife. Thanks to its lively student population, Riccarton is where you’ll find bustling bars and energetic pubs, as well as a great number of hip and trendy restaurants.

Riccarton Christchurch

source: Iain Fergusson (Wikicommons)

 

Things to See and Do in Riccarton

– Explore beautiful parklands and lush gardens of Riccarton House.

– Excite your sense at Nobanno.

– Grab a bite at Dimitris Greek Food.

– Indulge in fresh seafood at Dux Dine.

– Snack on a savoury and satisfying meal at the Golden Fish Bar.

– Hunt for treasures at the Riccarton Rotary Sunday Market.

– Chill out with a few drinks at the Volstead Trading Company.

– Eat incredible sushi at Cookai Japanese Restaurant.

– Enjoy drinks, food and a welcoming atmosphere at Fox & Ferret.

– Feast on pizza, pasta, and more at Trevinos Bar & Restaurant.

 

Best Hostel in Riccarton: Jailhouse Accommodation Christchurch

This awesome hostel is located in the nearby suburb of Addington. It is a short walk to Riccarton and some of the area’s most popular bars, restaurants and shops. This hostel is quiet, comfortable and clean. It offers spacious rooms with free towels, wifi, and on-site bike hires.

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Best Motel in Riccarton: Golden Star Motel

The Golden Star Motel is an excellent place to stay in Riccarton. It is a short walk from the Railway Station and allows for easy access to bars, shops and restaurants. Each room comes complete with air conditioning, a refrigerator and satellite TV. Guests can also enjoy free wifi throughout the property.

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Best Hotel in Riccarton: Parkview On Hagley

This four-star hotel is our top choice for the best hotel in Christchurch. It is located in lively and vibrant Riccarton and is surrounded by the best nightlife, restaurants and shops in the city. This hotel offers luxurious rooms with stunning views, as well as tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a beauty centre.

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#4 Merivale – Coolest Place to Stay in Christchurch

Situated north of the city centre, Merivale is an attractive neighbourhood close to the heart of Christchurch. Although predominantly residential, this suburb is home to a large selection of chic boutiques, stylish cafes, and trendy bars and restaurants. Because it offers such a great alternative to the mainstream city centre, Merivale is our pick for one of the coolest places to stay in Christchurch.

Merivale is also one of the best places in Christchurch to stay for history buffs. Thanks to its narrow lanes and historic cottages, this area of the city has been turning tales and sharing stories since the 19th-century.

Merivale, Christchurch

source: Annette Teng (Wikicommons)

 

Things to See and Do in Merivale

– Eat fresh local fare at No.4.

– Listen to live music and dine on flavourful Spanish plates at Vesuvio Jazz and Tapas Bar.

– Indulge in Japanese fare at Ace Wasabi.

– Sip a glass of wine as you savour tasty dishes at Saggio di Vio.

– Excite your senses with pizza, pasta and mouthwatering desserts at Tutte Bene.

– Enjoy a range of dishes at Jimmy’s Restaurant and Bar.

– Choose from a selection of beers at The Brewers Arms.

– Feast on steak at Carlton Bar & Restaurant.

– Kickstart your day with an amazing brunch at Strawberry Fare.

 

Best Hostel in Merivale: Kiwi Basecamp

This is one of our favourite hostels in Christchurch because of its great location, friendly atmosphere and it’s FREE pasta bake. Guests of this hostel can enjoy high-speed internet and brand new facilities. There’s also plenty of boutiques, eateries, banks, supermarkets, and tourist attractions nearby.

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Best Hotel in Merivale: Ashford Motor Lodge

The Ashford Motor Lodge is our top pick for where to stay in Merivale. It is comprised of 22 air-conditioned rooms that are each outfitted with refrigerators and microwaves. This property also offers guest access to a gym, swimming pool, sun deck and beauty centre.

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Best Hotel in Merivale: Milano Motor Lodge

This four-star lodge is in an excellent location in Merivale. It is close to chic boutiques, stylish bars, trendy restaurants and cosy cafes. This property has 14 comfortable rooms and provides free wifi, a luggage service, and an airport shuttle. A satisfying breakfast and laundry services are also available.

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#5  Sumner – Where to Stay in Christchurch for Families

Sumner is a delightful seaside suburb set approximately 15 minutes southeast of Christchurch’s city centre. It is a friendly and tranquil town that offers a different pace of life to the city. Here you can enjoy scenic walks on the beach or relaxing hikes in the hills. Because this is such a great place to slow down and get back to nature, Sumner is our top choice for where to stay in Christchurch for families.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn to surf, Sumner is one of the best areas in Christchurch to stay in. This calm coastal town has a great selection of surf shops and schools where you can rent equipment and learn to hang ten.

Sumner, Christchurch

 

Things to See and Do in Sumner

– Swim, play and lounge on stunning Sumner Beach.

– Enjoy an elegant meal at Clink Restaurant and Bar.

– Lace up your boots and go for a hike in Clifton Hill.

– Check out the twisty tunnels and rope swings at Brownlee Reserve.

– Take a ride on the iconic Christchurch Gondola.

– Marvel at the view from the top of Port Hills.

– Indulge in a delicious breakfast at Joe’s Garage Sumner.

– Excite your sense at The Headless Mexican.

– Feast on burgers, fries and seafood at The Village Inn Sumner.

– Eat great local dishes at Ocean Café & Bar Scarborough.

 

Best Bed and Breakfast in Sumner: Abbott House B&B

This fantastic bed and breakfast is located just steps from the beach and is conveniently located for sightseeing in Sumner. It provides comfortable accommodations and each room has a kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave. There are also laundry facilities, luggage storage and babysitting services available.

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Best Bed and Breakfast in Sumner: Le Petite Hotel Christchurch

Le Petite Hotel Christchurch is centrally located in Sumner. It is close to popular sightseeing attractions and there is a range of cafes and restaurants nearby. Guests can enjoy charming rooms with wireless internet access and coffee/tea facilities. A continental breakfast is also available daily.

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Best Motel in Sumner: Sumner Bay Motel

The Sumner Bay Motel is our top recommendation for where to stay in Christchurch with kids because of its great location and spacious rooms. This property offers comfortable apartment accommodation. Each room comes with a kitchenette as well as a DVD player. They also provide laundry facilities, free wifi, and highchairs for tiny travellers.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Christchurch

Lively, vibrant and bursting with charm, Christchurch is an amazing travel destination. It boasts a vast array of historical and cultural attractions as well as world-class restaurants, eclectic bars, and cosy cafes. Plus, thanks to its seaside location, visitors to Christchurch can enjoy all the perks of a city break and a seaside holiday all rolled into one.

In this guide, we’ve looked at the best areas to stay in Christchurch organized by interest. If you’re still not sure which is 100% right for you, here is a quick recap of our favourite places.

Foley Towers is the best hostel in Christchurch because it is located in the city centre and is close to popular tourist attractions, eateries, boutiques and bars.

Another great option is the Parkview On Hagley. Situated in energetic Riccarton, this is our favourite hotel in Christchurch because it offers luxurious rooms with stunning views and a range of excellent features.

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers – check it out here, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

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