It’s just about that time of year again. Get ready to brave the crowds, fight through a disorganized parking lot, waste your money on a variety of cheap cell phone accessories and indulge in far too much street food, because the night markets are coming back to the Vancouver area once more. In past years, there have been at least three night markets in the area and that tradition is continuing. In today’s post, I’ll be highlighting the International Summer Night Market, located in Richmond, BC.
What Is It?
While the organizers have worked to keep the event fresh and new each year, Richmond’s Summer Night Market has remained fundamentally unchanged. It’s meant to mirror the same kinds of night markets that we find in major cities throughout Asia, particularly those found in Taiwan.
You get a number of vendors selling cell phone cases, Korean stationery, home decor items, cheap clothing, purses and wallets, and all sorts of other things, as well as a large food court area where you can indulge in some “street food.” There is also a main stage where you can enjoy a variety of performances throughout the summer, free of charge.
Where Is It?
There is ample signage in the area to direct you to the Summer Night Market, which is officially located at 12631 Vulcan Way. This is if you are on foot or taking transit. If you are arriving by Skytrain, there is a complimentary shuttle bus from the Bridgeport Skytrain station. It runs about every 20 minutes from Great Canadian Way.
If you plan on driving, the entrance to the parking lot is actually on River Road at the back of the night market. You access this entrance by driving north on No. 5 Road toward the water, turning right on River Road, and then turning right again into the parking lot itself.
When Is It?
Summer Night Market officially opens for the 2014 season next Friday, May 9 and runs until Sunday, September 14.
The market opens from 7pm to 12am midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and long weekend Sundays. Regular Sunday hours are 7pm to 11pm, which are the same hours for long weekend Mondays.
How Much Does It Cost?
In previous years, there was no admission fee for the International Summer Night Market, but you had to pay for parking (about $4). This year, that has changed.
Admission is now $2 per person, while children and seniors are free. In exchange, the Summer Night Market is now offering free parking instead. If you like their Facebook page, then you get two free entries to get you started.
Why Should I Go?
If you’ve never had the opportunity to experience something like the Shilin Night Market in Taipei, then this is going to be the next closest thing. Summer Night Market is a great way to kill a couple of hours after you’ve had dinner or, if you prefer, you can piece together your own dinner at the market by trying out a number of different snack foods. You’ll find takoyaki, dim sum, faux shark fin soup, bubble tea, and maybe even some mini donuts.
Whereas these Richmond night markets started out with a distinct Taiwanese or Chinese flavour to them, they really have expanded to include a number of different cultures. Maybe that’s why it’s the International Summer Night Market.
Do you plan on going this year? What’s your favorite part of the night market?