The official Richmond Night Market website is pretty much useless as it provides next to information about anything. When you load it up, you get bombarded with incredibly annoying music that automatically plays in the background, not to mention the cheesy color scheme and logo that looks like a Crayola box just threw up all over your computer screen.
As a public service to any people living in the Greater Vancouver area, or anyone looking to visit Vancouver over the course of the next few months, I thought I’d put together a short guide that will prove useful to anyone looking to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Richmond Night Market, which is located at the same spot as it was last year: near Vulcan Way and Sweden Way in Richmond, behind the Home Depot. Parking is accessed via River Road (take No. 5 Road northbound from Bridgeport and hang a left on River Road). Ladies and gentlemen, here is your definitive guide to the Richmond Night Market.
10 Things You Must Know About Richmond Night Market
- Hours of Operation: The Richmond Night Market is open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at approximately 7pm. On Fridays and Saturdays, the market is open until midnight, whereas it closes at 11pm on Sundays. If it’s a holiday Monday — like Labour Day in September — the market will also be open, following normal Sunday hours.
- Open until October: The festivities started on May 18th and will run until October 8th of this year. It is largely a summer event, but it extends well into what we would normally consider autumn.
- Paid Parking: The official night market parking lot, as mentioned above, is accessed via River Road and provides spaces that are by far the closest to the actual market. It’s not exactly cheap, though, at $5.50. Organizers have been known to increase price as demand increases; in prior years, parking was only $2. Some of the neighboring businesses on Vulcan Way and on No. 5 Road have opened up their lots to the public and they typically charge about $4 to park for the night.
- Free Parking: Free parking is much more difficult to come by. Some people have been known to park at the parking lot in front of Home Depot, Future Shop, McDonald’s or IKEA, but there is a distinct possibility that your car will get towed. “Legal” free parking can sometimes be found along the street on Vulcan Way as well as the streets that flank IKEA. Do not park on the gravel path along River Road as the tow truck company frequents that strip.
- Merchandise: In terms of the products you should expect to find at the night market, you’ll find a fairly large variety, but most of the cheaper variety. Electronics booths will sell you cheap MP3 players, blank DVD-Rs, and other computer accessories. Ladies can find inexpensive jewelry, purses, and other fashion accessories. Cheap clothing, random trinkets, and car accessories can also be found.
- Bargain Hunting: Even though you are at the Richmond Night Market, you still have an opportunity to “shop around” because many of the booths offer similar, if not identical items. You can oftentimes approach a booth owner and tell them that the other guy is selling the same item for less, getting some sort of discount. Getting a bargain is most effective when you buy more than one item, because shop-owners are less inclined to negotiate if you’re only spending $5 with them.
- Avoid the Crowds: The market is popular for a reason and it gets very crowded at the peak times. I encourage you to go EARLY rather than LATE, because not only are you more likely to find free parking, you’ll also get to avoid the bulk of the crowd. Sunday evenings are also typically slower than Fridays or Saturdays. If you can really hold out, wait until the weather isn’t quite so nice, because fewer people will go.
- Don’t Walk on River Road: This is especially true during the heat of the summer, because the road is flanked on either side by stagnant water, resulting in a lot of maggots, flies, mosquitoes, and other critters that make for a very unpleasant stroll.
- Food: Easily the biggest attraction at the Richmond Night Market is not the fake LV bags or the cheap Chinese-made electronics. No, my friends, it’s all about the food at Richmond Night Market. It started as having mostly Chinese dishes like dim sum, imitation shark fin soup, and Taiwan-style bubble tea, but it has quickly expanded into gyros, Japanese takoyaki, and Korean rice rolls. I’d personally stay away from the “stinky tofu”, but that’s a personal preference.
- No Promises: No returns, no exchanges. As soon as money changes hands, the product is yours forever, whether it be a new bonsai tree or a new wallet. Don’t ask for a receipt, because you’re not going to get one. Don’t ask about warranty, because there isn’t one. You’ll also notice that tax has been “included” in all pricing.
I hope this guide has been helpful. Happy shopping! (and eating)