TIME: The 4th dimension of community revitalization, as shown by the global rise of “night markets”.

Cities across the U.S. have been activating their vacant and derelict species with pop-up parks, farmers markets, food trucks, and festivals of all kinds.

Most redevelopment efforts focus on the traditional three dimensions of physical space. We talk of horizontal development (infrastructure vs. vertical development (buildings). This is one reason so many resident-depleted downtowns “roll up the sidewalks” after office hours. But now, smart revitalization leaders are harnessing the 4th dimension, time.

Revitalization isn’t just based on bringing dead spaces back to life: it can also be based on bring dead times back to life. Here’s a broad selection (by no means complete) of cities around the world that are using so-called “night markets” to do exactly this.

What’s especially interesting is that the presence of these evening activities often has revitalizing spillover effects. They make neighborhoods and downtowns more interesting, thus attracting new residents, who in turn attract new businesses, which attract new residents, etc.


Image credit: Fiona Storey

Queen Victoria Market is the heart and soul of Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Eat, shop, explore and discover your way through our iconic food halls and heritage Sheds where the banter is as fresh as the produce. Or simply soak up the atmosphere of the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. Their night market features street food, vintage and artisan stalls, live music, festival bars, and street performers on Wednesday nights during the summer, starting November 16.

Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market is the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere. It is both a simple yet complex space – one that proudly wears its fascinating 130+ year history on its sleeve, whilst functioning as a modern Melbourne icon, with all its wonderful multicultural diversity.

Adelaide Night Market in Adelaide, SA, Australia is a foodie and crafty market! The market is held once a month during daylight savings and is often the last Sunday of the month (unless specified) from October to March in Prince Henry Garden, North Terrace.


Photo credit: Splash Adelaide

Adelaide Night Market features the flavours of the world – some of the best street food that the city has to offer, alongside an array of artisan, clothing, jewellery, cultural goods and local gourmet produce.

The Adelaide Night Market is a place to eat, play, relax and linger – the perfect way to finish off the weekend in the city or a visit to the art gallery, museums or libraries. Soak up the colours and flavours, meet up with friends or bring the kids – fun for all the family.

Created in December 2012, Adelaide Night Market provides a platform for South Australian small and home based businesses to launch their ideas and continue to grow and develop their brands.


Photo credit: Cairns Attractions

Each night when the sun sets, Cairns Night Markets come alive in Cairns, Queensland, Australia. Featuring over seventy retail outlets and home to a myriad of food options, Cairns Night Markets are the perfect place to grab dinner and hunt for a bargain. The hustle and bustle of the market in the open air setting makes for an electrifying shopping experience.

In 1991, Hayden Redfern and Elise Warring noticed the increasing demand from tourists to purchase locally made goods so they set about creating an open air market in Cairns. The creators drew their inspiration from the open air markets in Hawaii and South East Asia, but underestimated the popularity they would have with both locals and tourists alike. They temporarily gave the space a term of six months with only 28 vendors but soon they had over 100 vendors knocking on their door.


Photo credit: Visit Derby

In Derby, England, the historic buildings and streets of Derby’s Cathedral quarter are transformed into a food-craft-arts focused party for one night, this market organised by Sheena Holland Markets which has run for three years is organising a CHRISTMAS market this year on November 17th 2016 which features a revolving cast of 80-200 traders.

Dishes from all over the world are served from street food stalls and trucks; regular options include gourmet meats, vegan and vegetarian handmade foods and cakes piled high. A market with a festival feel threaded throughout the Cathedral area of Derby’s historic buildings and streets outside in the cathedral streets, inside The Bell Hotel, market place, the market hall, Sadler Gate and this year around the cathedral. Selling handmade crafts by local Derbyshire residents and vintage clothes, accessories, arts and much more. With live entertainment the event is always held from 5 – 10pm.


Photo Credit: 626 Night Market

626 Night Market in Los Angeles is the largest night market in the U.S. On 4 weekends each summer, 75,000+ attendees and 200+ vendors flood a parking lot outside of the Santa Anita Park thoroughbred racing facility.

626 Night Market is celebrating its fifth season this summer. Get ready to enjoy the hundreds of unique vendors and attractions that make the 626 community one of the greatest in the world.

The original and largest Asian-themed night market in the United States, 626 Night Market boasts hundreds of food, merchandise, crafts, arts, games, music, and entertainment attractions in one jam-packed weekend of festivities for the whole family. 626 Night Market aims to unite and empower the community by serving as a platform for showcasing local entrepreneurs, businesses, artists, and talent.


Photo Credit: NEWaukee

NEWaukee’s Night Market is a collision of all Milwaukee, Wisconsin has to offer. The Night Market is a free, open-air market that offers a wide variety of experiences for people of all backgrounds and ages.

The Night Market features a mash up of art, craft and food vendors, live art creation, local music and a beer garden with a goal to create a free, vibrant, safe and interactive place in downtown Milwaukee for people to experience culture at night.

By visiting the Night Market you not only contribute to the local economy, but you are part of the solution to a revitalization of West Wisconsin Ave.


Photo Credit: Queens Night Market

The Queens International Night Market  is a large, family-friendly open-air night market in Queens, New York City.

Featuring independent vendors selling merchandise, art, and food and featuring small-scale cultural performances and entertainment.

All of this is designed to celebrate the rich cultural diversity and heritage of New York City and the borough of Queens.


Photo credit: Night Market Cleveland

Following Cleveland, Ohio‘s long tradition of successful neighborhood events and business startups such as Cleveland Kurentovanje,  and UpCycle Parts Shop, Night Market Cleveland is the newest in the series of events and takes on a new form as we transform your everyday experiences into night time festivities.

Night Market Cleveland is a community event that was inspired by many of the current neighborhood members who were interested in sharing their cultural heritage for all of Cleveland to experience.

As a joint collaboration between St. Clair Superior Development Corporation and Campus District, Night Market CLE become a way to highlight the cultural diversity of Cleveland’s neighborhoods, as well as create a market place to highlight the amazing local talent that the neighborhoods have to offer.

With the authentic variety of sites and sounds, this event has something for everyone to enjoy. Come connect with community, culture and creativity at Night Market Cleveland, and experience life at night.


Photo Credit: H&8th; Night Market

H&8th Night Market in Oklahoma City is a volunteer-driven not-for-profit event founded by Laura Massenat, owner of Elemental Coffee Roasters, Chef Jonathon Stranger, co-owner of neighborhood restaurants Ludivine and The R&J Lounge and Supper Club, and J.D. Merryweather, owner of Coop Ale Works, as a fun way to bring the neighborhood together and introduce Oklahoma City residents to new development in the Midtown district.

The seasonal event has become the largest monthly food truck festival in the U.S. based on attendance, drawing between 20,000 and 40,000 people each month during the 2014 season. The first H&8th was held August 26, 2011, included three food trucks and attracted approximately 200 people. The name H&8th refers to the event’s epicenter and place of origin: at the corner of Hudson Avenue and N.W. 8th Street.

H&8th has been a wonderful way for people to experience and connect with one of Oklahoma City’s most vibrant neighborhoods, which continues to grow and evolve,” Massenat said. “Our volunteer team has worked hard in the off-season to fine tune the event, to keep it fresh and new for those who have been with us since the beginning, and to increase walkability and interaction with the entire district. We’d also like to encourage people to ride their bike to the event and take advantage of the free bicycle valet service hosted by DNA Racing.


Photo Credit: Jaxsons Night Market

Jaxsons Night Market is sponsored by Community First Credit Union, and is a monthly night market for Jaxsons by Jaxsons, showcasing what makes our community unique including local farmers, local beer, food trucks, fashion trucks, craft and food vendors, live music and much more. Jaxsons Night Market is every third Thursday of the month from 5:30 – 9 p.m. in Hemming Park located in the center of Downtown Jacksonville.

Taking advantage of Florida’s warm climate, Jaxsons Night Market is the only uninterrupted, year-round night market held in the U.S.


Photo Credit: Night Market Philadelphia

In 2010, The Food Trust created Night Market Philadelphia to bring communities together and celebrate the joy of food. Modeled after similar markets in Asia, it was planned to be a lively gathering with delicious food, locally crafted beverages, outdoor seating and live music.

Today, Night Market isn’t just a busy night for food truck vendors—it’s an opportunity for local entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and build a lasting customer base. As part of a larger effort to create a local healthy food economy in the region, the event was created with four main goals in mind:

  • Attract visitors from all over the city and surrounding areas
  • Provide residents with a unique venue to enjoy freshly prepared foods
  • Support local food entrepreneurs
  • Showcase the quality and diversity of ethnic foods in Philadelphia

Over the past five years, Night Market Philadelphia has become an institution by enlivening communities, empowering entrepreneurs and creating culinary destinations. “Here’s how it works: Take a commercial corridor, line it with food trucks, cut off through traffic, and wait for the masses to arrive,” said Jake Blumgart in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Looking forward with the support of community partners such as South Street West Business Association, Mt. Airy USA, and Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, Night Market can continue to serve as a conduit to community development by expanding its reach to support even more local food entrepreneurs, celebrate diverse neighborhoods and serve as a model for organizations across the country.

Located just north of downtown within the Frogtown neighborhood of Saint Paul, Minnesota, accessible via the METRO Green Line light rail system, lies a five block area named Little Mekong.


Photo Credit: Little Mekong Night Market

Working with local artists, business owners and neighborhood residents, the Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA) drastically revitalized Little Mekong through a combination of façade improvements, public art installations, public realm enhancements and business recruitment/cultivation/incubation initiatives.

One of the most well-known of these initiatives, is an annual two day event celebrating the unique food, artisans and performance artists of local Southeast Asian-descent called the Little Mekong Night Market.


Photo Credit: Convoy District Partnership

The San Diego Night Market is an annual celebration of Asian culture, food and live entertainment in San Diego, California’s Convoy District.

The Convoy District is the largest Asian Pacific American neighborhood in San Diego County, and the Convoy District Partnership has organization the night market.

The Convoy District is an emerging cultural, dining, and innovative economic hub, and the San Diego Night Market returns for its third tasty showcase of unique, mouthwatering food and diverse, modern performances.

This open-air, urban experience is inspired by the lively night markets found in large cities throughout robust Asia.

From boba drinks and specialty tofu, to ethnic goods and apparel, new and experienced Night Market Goers will discover over 30 vendors selling Asian-inspired street food and merchandise. Centralized within the event will be a performance stage featuring cultural and modern dances, bands, live DJs, and unique entertainment you won’t want to miss!


Photo Credit: Sauced Market

Sauced Night Market is a roving nighttime bazaar in Chicago, Illinois.

It brings together emerging culinary talent and independent artisan makers selling artsy wares under one roof – one of the few night markets held indoors.

Sauced is a roving night market dedicated to emerging culinarians, artists and an evening of food, art and debauchery. Sauced pops up from the underground once a month to make Chicago nights more interesting.


Photo Credit: PDP Night Market

PDP Night Markets in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is a quarterly program of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

PDP Night Markets turn parking lots into an awesome outdoor pop-up shopping market and festival for one night, three times per year. They are filled with food, cocktails, beer, music, jewelry, apparel, photography, art, accessories, home decor and more from some of Pittsburgh’s best local independent vendors. Night Markets are a stop on the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Gallery Crawl.

Feature photo credit: NEWaukee

See related article on American night markets with many more photos in Modern Cities.

See Queen Victoria Market & Night Market website.

See Adelaide Night Market on the Splash Adelaide website.

See Cairns Night Markets on Cairns Attractions website.

See Derby Night Market on the Visit Derby website.

See 626 Night Market website.

See NEWaukee Night Market website.

See Queens International Night Market website.

See Night Market Cleveland website.

See H&8th website.

See PDP Night Market website.

See Sauced Night Market website.

See Little Mekong Night Market website.

See San Diego Night Market website.

See Jaxsons Night Market website.

See Night Market Philadelphia website.

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