WORD Finder – Things to do in Christchurch when you are here for WORD Christchurch Festival 2021

WORD Christchurch's 2021 festival has been postponed until later in the year due to Covid-19 restrictions. Dates and times mentioned in this post are no longer current.

Here are some hot tips - for visitors, and locals too. Places to check out when you are here for WORD:


University Book Shop

The University Book Shop's Pene Whitty and amazing team will be at WORD with a motherlode of books by Festival writers. And bonus - you can get your books signed after most events.

UBS University Bookshop stall at The Piano
UBS University Bookshop stall at The Piano. WORD Christchurch Spring Festival 2020. Friday 30 October 2020. Flickr IMG_2591

There might be more book-related goodies on offer, last year I bought a choice Bibliophile pin, and before rainbow library card socks.

Best Books

Local purveyors of fine books Best Books will have a stall at the Function in the Junction, a Green Lane Market across Gloucester St inside Cathedral Junction

The market will be on Friday 27 August between 5pm and 9pm, & on Saturday 28th of August, 10am to 2pm.
Like Best Books on Facebook.

The Function in the Junction will also feature Slow Fashion, Ethical Arts & Crafts, Locally Grown Plants, and Music and Live Performances.

More central city book venues:

  • Pop into our central library Tūranga. There are lots of WORD events on here, but you can also avail yourself of books, mags, free wifi, and all the accoutrements of a world-class library. Check out the Discovery Wall to take a look at Christchurch past and present.
  • The glorious bookshop Scorpio Books is in the BNZ complex at 120 Hereford Street. Browse to your book-lovin' heart's content.
  • The very cute caravan Custard Square bookshop parks up at the Arts Centre. All books are $5. On my last visit, I bought 2 books by Raymond Briggs.
  • Far out grooviness abounds at Ride on Super Sound up above Smash Palace, they sells comics as well as music. As recommended by RNZ's own Charlotte Ryan. Features art by my fave Ghostcat.


Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Hellzapoppin'!: The Art of Flying Nun (starts 21 August)

Celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the founding of Flying Nun Records in Ōtautahi Christchurch, Hellzapoppin’! brings together original artwork and design, film, record covers, posters and photography from some of New Zealand’s favourite bands. From rare collectible records and vintage posters to original artworks and paste-up designs, this exhibition explores the art and artists behind the music.
More exhibitions at Christchurch Art Gallery

Street Art

Christchurch street art is eyecatching. If you spot something on your travels, your go-to resource is Watch this Space - a crowdsourced map of street art spots, past and present. It might also give you ideas of street art you want to find. 


Here are my personal picks:

  • Foundation Cafe at Tūranga. They do the best-ever chocolate fudge cake (dubbed Nanna's fudge cake by the supercool & friendly staff). Their cheese scones are famous. My other recommendation is a plate of fried cauliflower florets.
  • Food trucks in Cathedral Square on a Friday. I love Lucky Ninja chips and chicken.
  • The Last Word in New Regent Street - my favourite cocktail there is called the Last Word. It's wonderfully medicinal tasting.
  • Escarto Espresso in Cathedral Square (great coffee, wonderful people, and they use Whittakers Dark Ghana in their hot and iced chocs - yum).
  • Icecream and gelato - Vanilla Ices in Victoria Square, Rollickin' Gelato in New Regent and Cashel Streets, Utopia Ice on High Street, Cherry Garcia at Ben & Jerry's in Riverside Market.
  • Riverside Market has lots of options for meals and yummy stuff (I am partial to the $3 sammie at Aha bakery - cheapest lunch ever!) Dimitris is famous for its souvlaki.
  • Boxed Quarter on the corner of St Asaph and Madras has a stellar lineup - glorious pastas at ChiChi Kitchen, yum Korean street food at Steampunk Laboratory, lots of delish options here
  • Little High Eatery - my faves are Bacon Brothers Burnt Broccoli and Base Woodfired Pizza (the St George).

More to do in Christchurch

If you want to explore more things to do in Christchurch, try:

Share YOUR faves

Ōtautahi locals and visitors, share your picks - what are the places & things you recommend? Share in the comments, or email us and I will add in your suggestions!

Previous Picks

I've traditionally done this blog post for writers and visitors to Christchurch, highlighting stuff to do and see while in town for WORD. Take a trip back in time; it's quite a fun guide to clock the Chchchanges:

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