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What Is A Summer Night Market?

Long twilights and warm weather do leisurely after-dark shopping and eating an excellent way to while away an evening. So, in partnership with MINI, we've rounded up the best markets to get a more-ish meal, buy some unusual trinkets and even see a dog show – all after dark. But, of course, when the days get longer, we tend to take as many activities as possible outdoors. Night markets combine some of the best of those outdoor elements: delicious food eaten on the street, usually with music pumping in the background, certainly with a group of your friends. 

In Melbourne, Australia, night markets are a fun tradition that includes shopping, eating, and frequently live entertainment. With the warm, breezy weather in summer, these night markets offer a chance to get outside and enjoy the seasonal charm. Night markets highlight food trucks, local artisanal crafts, and fashion, although each Market has a slightly different vibe. Check out these memorable night markets throughout the city of Melbourne, and map out which one to hit upon your adventures there. So have a drink, do a little shopping, and just be outdoors. Here’s a list of Melbourne, Australia's top six best night markets.

Curated List Of The Best Night Market In Melbourne

Queen Victoria Market, Vic

The Vic Market was a pioneer of Melbourne’s night markets, and its summertime after-dark offerings are as strong as ever. However, the focus remains very much on food: this year, there are 55 food and beverage stalls, with bites as diverse as West African suya (meat skewers), Hawaiian shaved ice and, um, “Taki’s balls” (which on inspection prove to be salty chocolate doughnuts). In addition to dinner, more than 100 stalls sell art, crafts, design, homewares, etc.

Given that Queen Vic is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere, space isn’t exactly at a premium, which means that as well as the shopping on offer, there’s scope for a whole bunch of other activities. The night market goes out of its way to create a party atmosphere –bands play every week, and there’s a bar promising “giant pink flamingos, desert plants and a drinks menu that includes gin cocktails ... and cider-spiders”. There’s even a pop-up beach volleyball court because why not.

This is where you want to go when you want to embark on a gastronomical adventure. This night market has every food experience you seek – from African curries to fine wines. Locals and tourists alike are raving about this Market’s wide array of international cuisine. Like they say on their website, “you come for the paella, and you stay for the sangria“. If you are not looking to stuff yourself, though, the Queen Victoria Summer Night Market is still worth a visit. With over 200 stalls, there will be plenty to see (and buy) like clothes, shoes, and souvenirs, among other crafts. This night market in Melbourne is open on Wednesday nights. This year, it will kick off on the first week of November and run through January of the following year.

South Melbourne Night Market

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Focused on fine food and wine and trendy fashion, the South Melbourne Market is a place to see and be seen. Running each Thursday evening from January 10th to February 28th, the South Melbourne Market is a buzz-worthy hang out on a warm summer’s Night. Always feel free to join in on the festivities, as each Thursday night highlights a different musician. Fun food specialities such as tiramisu in a cup or the Happy Camper Pizza served out of an RV embodies the Market’s summer spirit. Enjoy fun activities like getting a henna tattoo, shopping for a fresh bouquet, or dancing the night away.

Night Noodle Market

The Melbourne Night Noodle Market, which happens each November, is a tribute to Asian food stalls. Bringing the delicious smells of soba noodles, dim sum, bao, and more to Melbourne, it’s a feast for the senses. Set in the Birrarung Marr neighbourhood, this noodle market delights both young and old. Unique touches like a kombucha bar (bottomless kombucha!), and activities such as paint and sip sessions, make the Melbourne Night Noodle Market extra special. There is no entry fee, and the Market is cash-free, so be sure to bring your cards.

The Strand Night Markets

The Strand Night Markets have all the traditional delights of a night market – lively ambience, fantastic people, beautiful location, and good food. However, what makes it special is its offering of unique gift items. You will surely find something you have never seen before, from colourful home decor to handmade jewellery. Another reason you will love spending the evening here is the cool breeze. Strand Park is close to the bay, so you are in for a refreshing night walk. The Strand Night Markets is held on the first Friday of every month.

Plant 4, Sa

The former Clipsal complex in the Adelaide suburb of Bowden is a poster child for the virtues of urban renewal. The development has reinvented the 10-hectare site as a sustainability-focused residential district, and the old metal workshop building is now home to a market hall. This summer, the hall hosts night markets on Wednesday and Friday evenings. As with the day market, the stalls are largely focused on food, although there are also “gift maker” stalls selling art and crafts. In addition, there’s a “kid's zone” (where adults can presumably leave their kids), a bar (where kids can presumably leave their adults) and various other entertainment options. On the latter front, Wednesday nights are for acoustic music, while on Fridays, there’s a DJ to bring the party vibes.

Night markets or night bazaars are street markets that operate at night and are generally dedicated to more leisurely strolling, shopping, and eating than more businesslike day markets. They are typically open-air markets popular in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and Chinatowns in several other world regions.

When tourists come to night markets, they may discover something special. If they like some goods, they can spend a little money to get them. To sum up, people can get many things in the night markets, where they can buy traditional and foreign objects and enjoy various kinds of foods.

The Valiant Night Market is essentially a pop-up shop for all things Valiant skins. The shop appears every month without warning, generating a lot of excitement online among dedicated fans.

A street market is an outdoor market traditionally held in a market square or in a market town and often held only on particular days of the week. Similar markets, or bazaars, can also be found in large enclosed spaces instead of on the street.

Based on the dates of Night. Market's past appearances, it looks like Riot opens the Market's doors every two months. However, this can change by the event schedule or seasonal holidays, meaning it might be a decent idea to keep an eye on VALORANT's social media accounts.

FAQs About Summer Night Market

Mt Gravatt Street Food, Qld

This is an event devoted to the kind of food you buy on a stick, in a cone or a small cup – a.k.a. the best kind of food. It takes place every Saturday night from 4 pm to 9 pm at the Showgrounds in the Brisbane suburb of Mt Gravatt – the same place that the popular Mt Gravatt Farmer’s Market kicks off the next morning. The street food market has been running here since 2016 and attracts food trucks all around Brisbane and the Gold Coast. On a given evening, there could be up to 60 to choose from; the result is that Mt Gravatt is fast turning into a foodie destination – on Saturday nights, at least.

Inglewood Night Markets, Wa

As boasted on the website, the night markets in the Perth suburb of Inglewood have “become synonymous with #nocookmondays”. And, in fairness, opting out of cooking is made a whole lot easier if you can just wander down to the Market and pick from 50 stalls offering ready-made options from around the globe. As a bonus, because the stalls are set up along busy Beaufort Street instead of in a bespoke market space, they also weave through and interact with the permanent shops and restaurants that line the street. The entertainment on offer includes the Fr'Inglewood program, which sees acts performing abridged “tasters” of their Perth Fringe World shows. In a unique (and rather lovely) touch, the market organisers also go out of their way to be dog friendly, explaining that “we LOVE a good dog show now and then”, and their stalls include “specialty vendors to cater to your fur babies”.

Macarthur Night Markets, NSW

It seems no-cook Mondays could also become a thing in Campbelltown, at least on the first and third Monday of the month – because that’s when Macarthur Night Markets promise to “make Mawson Park a foodie haven”. The park lies in the heart of the city, a couple of minutes’ walk from the railway station, and makes a suitably picturesque location for an event that’s become hugely popular since its launch in 2017. The roster of vendors changes from week to week, with different food trucks arriving each time, so check the Facebook page to see what's on offer.

Coburg Night Market

What’s better than unwinding on a Friday evening in the summertime with a little music? The Coburg Night Market offers a fresh lineup of artists each Friday evening from late November through December. Though 2018 ran for only four weeks, this Market is organized by the same group of people who spearhead The Queen Vic Summer Market and are a skilled team who continually improve the Market. With 85 stalls and counting, local crafts, arts, vegan and vegetarian-friendly options abound. This budding night market is rising, blossoming with each added year.

Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets

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Walk out your big dinner and do some bargain hunting at this amazing spot that is so close to the beach. Stretched along the coast are some 120 stalls offering fashion accessories, artwork, photographs, and other handcrafted items that you would love to take home. Best of all, you will get to enjoy your shopping along with the upbeat, live music that is almost always present there.

Winter Night Markets

For thirteen weeks, the Winter Night Market will be the perfect mid-week escape from Melbourne’s chill gathering of more than 30 global street food stalls and festival bars, as well as 50 speciality stalls and artisans. Night Market-goers can wander the historic sheds and delight in the smells, sounds and tastes of winter before taking a boogie at the silent disco then settling in to enjoy the rotating weekly schedule of live, local entertainment.

Mid-season, the Winter Night Market will come to life with the Christmas spirit in July. For five weeks, guests will be transported to a winter wonderland, with an impressive snow machine and Christmas decorations hung throughout the Market. In addition, Melburnians will be encouraged to embrace the Northern hemisphere’s love for ugly Christmas sweaters with weekly giveaways to those rocking the funniest prints. A must-attend winter event for locals and visitors of all ages, Winter Night Markets see a wide variety of mouth-watering street eats.

The Rocks Markets

Situated between two of Australia’s most distinguishable landmarks, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, the Rocks Markets are an attraction itself. Two separate (but celebrated) market events are held in this same area. First is the Rocks Fire Water Night Markets, which run in winter. They serve freezing patrons with mulled wine, chocolate-dipped strawberries, and even some Thai food in takeout boxes. The second event, the Rocks Markets by Moonlight, on the other hand, happens in the summertime. Like the wintertime event, people come here for food. It has a party-like atmosphere where people are pumped up by the live music, great food, and cold beer.

Cairns Night Markets

There is something for everyone at the Cairns Night Markets. From locally-sourced crops, gorgeous leather goods to delectable Japanese crepes, you will have a good time filling your tummy and your shopping bags here. In addition to the 130-stall, air-conditioned centre, there is also a 200-seat food court where you can eat in comfort. Up and running since 1991, this place is showing no signs of slowing down and continues to attract tourists year in and year out.

Chinatown Night Market

Two words: oriental delight. When you want to soak up on Asian culture and goods, the Chinatown Night Market is the place to be. Apart from the usual market fare of affordable clothing, fancy jewellery, and beauty products, you will also find a dragon beard candy maker, a fortune teller, and some tattoo artists. And of course, no Asian-themed market would be complete without food. Here, you can sample authentic Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Japanese, and Indonesian cuisine. The atmosphere here is very slow and relaxed, yet vibrant and lively.

Conclusion:

Running for twelve seasons, the event grew from a small, twilight fashion and craft market to a highlight on Melbourne’s summer event calendar, with thousands of people visiting each year to socialise with friends, shop, enjoy free, live local music and of course, eat, with a growing selection of delicious street food and gourmet eats on offer each year. While an incredibly successful and loved community event, it no longer aligned with the changing objectives and priorities for the Market and its traders and had reached a point where future growth was limited and costly due to physical space constraints.

Seasonal celebrations, festivals and events that bring together our community are part of South Melbourne Market’s DNA. So rest assured, they’ll be back when safe to do so, with the focus being on supporting and celebrating the wonderful small businesses that make our Market so special. Our thoughts are with the event industry, artists and performers at this time, who continue to feel the impact of cancelled events due to COVID-19 this year. However, to all of you, our partners, suppliers, traders and of course, our wonderful Market community, we promise to be delivering fabulous events throughout 2021 and beyond, so stay tuned. So start packing for your next trip to Melbourne with Pickyourtrail! Do not miss out on the things to do in Night markets by selecting from the wide range of customisable Australia packages available and have the time of your life in this wonderful abode.

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