Five Christchurch City Councillors are to visit San Francisco later this month to learn about the city's recovery from the devastating earthquake which struck the city in 1989.

Deputy Mayor Ngaire Button and councillors Jamie Gough, Aaron Keown, Tim Carter and Jimmy Chen will leave for San Francisco on May 16 and return on May 22.

Each have chosen to pay for their expenses including accommodation and meals, and Air New Zealand has gifted free airfares.

The delegation will meet former San Francisco Mayor Art Agnos, as well as experts and key stakeholders on a variety of subjects including urban design, public transport, housing reconstruction, restoring business confidence and tourism recovery, building code and building resilience, liquefaction, private sector partnerships and governance.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker, who is not joining the delegation, said the trip will give councillors a valuable insight into how San Francisco, which like Christchurch suffered so much damage in an earthquake, has rebuilt to a standard which earns acclaim worldwide.

"Nothing compares with seeing first-hand what works and talking face-to-face with those who played a major part in the recovery. I would like to thank Air New Zealand and also the City of San Francisco for their generous support to our Council," Mr Parker said.

Up to five members of the Canterbury Business Recovery Group have also been invited on the delegation and they will be required to pay for their own travel and expenses.

Air New Zealand is also offering to fly four councillors to Melbourne to study urban regeneration. The councillors and the timing of this delegation has yet to be determined.

"Melbourne is a city which also has so much to offer us from its experience in urban regeneration," Mr Parker said.