The Garden City's slow but steady rebirth is welcomed by Megan Singleton.

I'm back in Christchurch for what has become an annual visit since the earthquakes. There are a lot of empty spaces and buildings in the CBD that still need to come down, but some very cool things are happening too. Here are five reasons to go now:

1. The Terrace

Fans of The Strip will be thrilled to know that one of the first hospitality spots to be rebuilt is the newly-named The Terrace. But in the words of Steve Austin, it'll be better than before. The Terrace is a new concept of terraces being built into the river bank, opening the area up as an outdoor space for events and socialising, while new bars and restaurants take up their post again.

2. The Tannery


This new Victorian-style arcade shouts Sydney in the middle of Woolston. It's a bit of a drive to get to, but once here you could spend all afternoon. Cassels Brewery has been open for a couple of years, and offers wood-fired pizzas and boutique beer. The original tannery, built around 1870, is a treasure trove of local boutiques, artisan producers, health and homeware stores.

3. C1 Espresso

When the original C1 was damaged and thieves tried to make off with his espresso machine, owner Sam Crofskey cornered them and made them carry the heavy item to his new building, unless they wanted to explain their new acquisition to the Thin Blue Line. Today, C1 Espresso is in the original Post Office building with quirky touches that have piqued the interest of international media - namely the way he delivers sliders through ceiling tubes to your table.

4. Victoria St

If you're looking for a bar crawl with some great restaurants thrown in, Victoria St is open for business. New bars are opening all the time including three from local hospo legend Tony Astle whose King of Snake has now been joined by The Dirty Land cocktail den, which adjoins Mexicano's in the old Chinwag Eathai building.

5. New Regent St

This colourful 1930s street has just reopened after being lovingly restored and re-tenanted with cafes and boutiques. The tram runs through it from the Botanic Gardens and outdoor furniture is made from salvaged floor timber. A happy splash of colour amid the surrounding grey reconstruction.

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