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In Vancouver, there is so much to do in the summer, from exploring Stanley Park or one of the incredible beaches to gorgeous hikes and fun tours. If you’re staying in the Vancouver area, you certainly won’t run out of things to see and do…or eat!
The Richmond Night Market is the perfect place to go if you are looking to taste delicious food and check out some retail vendors during the summer in Vancouver, BC.
The Richmond Night Market is the largest Night Market in all of North America! A visit here is a great way to cap off a relaxing day by the water or can even be a good way to finish off a hiking weekend in the wilderness. It’s perfect for kids with lots of fun rides, but also a must for any foodie!
Whenever we happen to find ourselves in the Vancouver area in the summer, this Night Market is on our to-do list, and it should be for you too! Many people come all the way to Vancouver specifically to head over to this market. It’s that popular, and in my opinion, it is one of the best things to do in Vancouver!
Like anything, you can do some preparation ahead of time to make the most of your experience. I visit the Richmond Night Market on a regular basis, so I have a bunch of tips and tricks to share with you.
Below, you’ll find 15 things that you should know before you go to the Richmond Night Market. I hope this will help you plan your visit and know what to expect when you get there!
Things to Know About the Richmond Night Market
1. About the Richmond Night Market
The Richmond Night Market is an event that is often compared to a festival or carnival. But it only runs during the summer months in British Columbia – from the end of April to the first week of October (dates change slightly every year).
The market’s first year was in the summer of 2000 and back then, it was a much smaller event. Now, this market sees around 1 million visitors each year and takes up 18 acres of land in Richmond, Vancouver!
There are about 80 vendors and over 500 types of international food items available. In general, the cuisines here are typically Asian, but there are also lots of other vendors selling food from around the world.
You can expect to grab food (good luck deciding what kind!), Asian goods, knick-knacks, jewelry, artisan goods, and SO much more! There are also tons of rides and carnival games for the children (or adults), so it’s a really fun night out.
This is truly one of the best ways to experience all of the vendors in the Vancouver area and get a sense of what the region has to offer.
Related read: Keep that food coma going by heading on a food tour in Vancouver!
2. Where is the Richmond Night Market?
The Richmond Night Market is located in the sub-city of Richmond, around 25 minutes (without traffic) from Vancouver city center. It’s also only a 10-minute drive, or 14 minutes by public transportation, from the Vancouver International Airport.
For visitors to Vancouver, the location of the market is convenient, and I personally never drive and instead use public transport to reach the market.
3. How do you get to the Richmond Night Market?
While it is quite possible to drive to the Richmond Night Market, you may be surprised to know that public transportation is a much more popular option.
Even though it may take a few minutes longer (depending on where you come from), you can easily take the train right to the market. In fact, when traffic is bad, you could even end up saving yourself lots of time.
Taking the Canada Line on the Skytrain, you’ll get off at Bridgeport Station, which is located just a block away from the Richmond Night Market. On market nights, just follow the crowd out of the station to the market – it’s very easy to find, and there are traffic controllers who work for the market who can point you in the right direction.
The train runs all night, so there is no issue if you decide to stay at the market until close. From downtown Vancouver, the journey is two zones which means your ticket from anywhere, regardless of how many trains you take, will cost $4.45 each way.
If you are not a huge fan of public transportation for any reason, you can always call a taxi or Uber. From the city, this should cost around $30 CAD.
For those who want to drive, it will take around 25 minutes to reach the market on Saturday and Sunday. However, if you choose to visit on Friday, the afternoon traffic can dramatically increase your travel time. Parking is also a whole other story…
4. Is there parking at the Richmond Night Market?
On that note, if you still want to drive your car, you may want to know about parking.
Parking at the Richmond Night Market is available and free, but that is not the only factor to consider.
While there is parking available, it is limited and VERY popular. It is best to either arrive early or really late into the night. Otherwise, avoiding parking is going to be your best bet. The traffic into the parking lot is also a pain so I highly advise taking the train if you can.
5. When is the Richmond Night Market open?
The Richmond Night Market is open from Friday to Sunday weekly from the end of April to mid-October (exact dates change every year).
On Friday, the market is open from 7 pm until midnight. On Saturdays, the market opens at 6 pm and closes at midnight. On Sundays, the market opens at 7 pm and closes at 11 pm.
The Richmond Night Market is also open on select Monday nights on long weekends as well as extended days around Canada Day, which you can check out on their website.
Because it’s open for a few months, there’s no rush – you can easily come back more than once because there are so many vendors to visit!
6. How much does it cost to go to the Richmond Night Market?
Parking may be free (if you can find a spot), but what can you expect to pay during the rest of your trip to the market?
For general admission, the ticket is $7 CAD for anyone from 8 to 59 years of age. Children under 7 and seniors over 60 are free.
If you want to buy a Zoom Pass, which we will talk about a bit later, that will cost $35 CAD but includes entry for 6 visits – either six people all at once or individual visits. Hang tight for a bit; we’ll get into explaining that pass soon.
The cost of food is not included since there are so many different vendors that have varying food types and pricing. Most food items tend to be $8-$15 CAD, which is standard for other markets, fairs, festivals, and similar events. Say you enter and get some food; you’ll want to expect to pay around $30 to $40 CAD a person by the time you’re done.
Of course, buying any products from non-food vendors will also cost money, but that can be determined by you and your budget.
Related read: If you’re traveling to B.C. on a budget, there are plenty of free things to do in Vancouver!
7. Can you pay with cash and card?
While we might all be used to carrying cards or even paying with a tap of our phones, this is somewhere you want to be prepared to bring cash.
The Richmond Night Market is almost entirely cash only, and this includes entry to the market. Therefore, I strongly recommend bringing cash with you. There are a few ATMs on the property, but they often have long lines and always have a fee.
I always head to the market with around $100 CAD between Bailey and I. That is always more than enough. If you want to purchase the Zoom Pass, bring a little extra.
8. Is there a line to enter the Richmond Night Market?
On the note of lines, expect to wait quite a while to enter the market during its first few operating hours.
After 8 pm, lines will thin out a bit. Before 8 pm, you’ll often wait at least 30 to 45 minutes to enter. If you want to avoid the line, you can pay for a Zoom Pass, which offers a skip-the-line benefit.
What is the Zoom Pass, you may ask?
9. How does the Zoom Pass work?
The Zoom Pass or Express Pass is essentially just a multi-entry pass that lets you skip the line. If you plan to arrive in the first few hours of the market, this can be a game changer!
It works for multiple entries and multiple people, depending on how you split up the pass.
The pass allows six entries, so you could use one Zoom Pass for six people to enter on one night or split the entries up over multiple visits. It really has no limits, and it’s just a card that the staff punches a hole in.
Zoom Passes cost $35 CAD, and they last all season, but they won’t carry over to the next year.
When you look at an adult general admission for $7 CAD and see that the Zoom Pass is good for six entries, that breaks down to just under $6 CAD an entry.
So, the Zoom Pass is something I really recommend if you are going to come back, have a big group, or just want to be able to skip the line easily! You can even find a few other people at the market and enter together on one zoom pass. We do this all the time!
Remember, you need to purchase the Zoom Pass in cash and they have workers selling them outside the market.
10. What types of food can you buy at the Richmond Night Market?
When I say that the food options at the Richmond Night Market are plenty, I mean it. The representation of so many international foods is incredible.
Looking for dessert? You can try anything from jiggly pancakes and ice cream puffs to bao bites and mochido (mochi donuts.) The variety of creative, delicious Asian food is certainly not lacking, and that’s just the start!
Rolled gelato, mini mochi French toast, beavertails, and crepes are some other dessert items to keep an eye out for.
Grab some onigiri, crispy chicken skin, Japanese-style skewers, dim sum, Korean BBQ, and a whole host of other Asian main dishes before or after dessert- no judgment here!
I found that the main dinner items at the market are Asian-inspired, and there are so many countries and regions represented in the food that you can get at the Richmond Night Market.
Los Andes serves South American-inspired drinks and is a great place to grab some tizana or fresh fruit salad.
Fruit tea, milk tea, boba, freshly squeezed lemonade, and even a stand with all mango-inspired drinks are available to quench your thirst while you eat lots of great dishes.
You’ll have to decide for yourself what to order; it’s part of the fun, but rest assured that there is a food item for anyone here. Some of my personal favorite items include the fried chicken taco, deep-fried squid, and all the desserts!
11. What other events and activities are at the market?
Food may be a big part of the Richmond Night Market, but I enjoyed so many other things while I was there.
There are very talented performers that vary from week to week but always put on a good show. From dancers to magicians and martial arts shows to live music, it’s worth sticking around after you’ve eaten all the food you can try.
There is even an entire section of fair games that kids and adults will love.
Whether you feel like sitting and chilling or walking every inch of the market, you’ll end up with many options of ways to spend your time.
12. When is the best time to visit the Richmond Night Market?
The later you can head to the Richmond Night Market, the better. I found that the market gets less busy as the night goes on, and families often thin out as kids need to home to go to sleep.
If you arrive any time after 9 pm, you’ll ideally be able to avoid lines upon entering and once you get inside the market.
I like this time of night because there are still enough people around to make it fun, without feeling like you are stuck in too large of a crowd. Overall, there will be fewer crowds and more opportunities to explore the whole night market.
With that said, I do enjoy going early too. Although busy, I can get myself to the market for an early dinner before heading into the city or catching up with friends.
It really doesn’t matter which day you visit the market – every day is busy.
13. Can you bring pets to the Richmond Night Market?
Luckily, the Richmond Night Market is pet friendly! There is no need to leave your dog at home thanks to this outdoor festival’s open policy on bringing pets.
Pets are not allowed in the Food Court portion of the market, but not to worry. You’ll find that there is a designated Dog Play Area so that your furry family member can play while you enjoy some food.
The allowance is one dog per couple or family, so it could get tricky if you have two or more pets that you hope to bring along. Otherwise, your dog can certainly tag along and will be allowed in the general areas of the market that don’t sell food.
The only thing I would mention is to ensure your dog can handle large crowds. There is often not a lot of room to walk, and you’ll find some sections are shoulder to shoulder.
14. Can you buy alcohol at the Richmond Night Market?
No, they do not serve alcohol at the Richmond Night Market.
You should expect this to be a popular and family-friendly event with lots of great food and vendors, just no alcohol.
Not to worry, though! As I mentioned above, there are so many yummy drink options to choose from. You’ll forget that alcohol was even in question.
15. Is visiting the Richmond Night Market worth it?
In a word, yes!
The Richmond Night Market is hands down one of the best things to do in the city. Even if you’re planning how to spend one day in Vancouver in the summer, I hope that you get a chance to check it out on your next visit.
Hopefully these tips help you feel prepared to make the most of the night market. When in doubt, take the train, grab a Zoom Pass, and try at least three types of food. That’s my recipe for success, right there.
Where to Stay in Vancouver, Canada
If visiting the Richmond Night Market is in your plans, you’re going to need a great place to stay. Especially if you’re planning to stay until the market closes at midnight, it’s nice to have a place lined up to crash at once you’re done.
Vancouver is one of the most popular cities to visit in Canada. So that means accommodations book up super fast – especially in the summer. Make sure you book early to get the best rates and your pick of hotels.
Check out our complete guide on where to stay in Vancouver or grab a room at one of our favorite hotels and hostels in the city.
The Cambie Hostel Gastown – This budget hostel is an overall good budget choice. The location is in the heart of Gastown and close to lots of bars and restaurants and attached to the hostel is a very lively bar too. Rooms are clean but the bathrooms are a little cramped. It’s perfect for backpackers on a budget and is considerably cheaper than others offering comparable quality. Grab a room here through Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.
Times Square Suites – For a beautiful hotel close to Stanley Park you can’t go past the Times Square Hotel. It’s very hard to fault this hotel and the location is perfect. It is a good mix between being affordable as well as a very nice hotel.
Hyatt Regency Vancouver – For those wanting the perfect location halfway between Stanley Park and Gastown, the Hyatt Regency is a perfect choice. As you can imagine, it’s a luxury stay in a large hotel chain that is highly reviewed!
Other Things to do while you’re in Vancouver
Vancouver is a city filled with tons of things to do and see. So while you’re here, be sure not to miss some of the top attractions and activities:
- Whale Watching – Whale watching in Vancouver is super popular, and for good reason! Set off from the city on a half-day on the ocean looking for whales. If you’re lucky, you might even see Orcas (also known as Killer Whales.) This whale-watching tour is a ton of fun, and at only about $200 CAD it is good value too!
- Hiking – There are a ton of amazing hikes in and around Vancouver. Challenge yourself with the famous Grouse Grind, wander the trails near the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, or even drive towards Squamish and do The Chief.
- Ride in a Seaplane – One of our favorite memories in Vancouver was riding in a seaplane. Taking off and landing on the ocean is super exciting, and then the views from the air are breathtaking. This seaplane ride lasts for 20 minutes and costs $160 CAD. It departs and returns to Coal Harbour in downtown Vancouver. The best part is that seaplane tours in Vancouver operate all year round, so even if you’re visiting Vancouver in the winter you can take to the sky!
- Eat ALL the food! – Vancouver is a foodie destination. Showcasing cuisine from all around the world in top-rated restaurants, you really need to make an effort to eat out a few times while in Vancouver. For breakfast, Jam Cafe or Medina are our go-to’s. For Asian cuisine, you can’t pass up Minami for sushi or Danbo for Ramen. You can also join this highly-rated food tour that takes you to some of the city’s best restaurants in the area of Gastown.
- Explore Kitsilano – One of our favorite areas in all of Vancouver is Kitsilano. This suburb is super trendy and has many cute stores, cafes, and restaurants that are well worth checking out. On top of that, Kitsilano Beach is one of the best beaches in Vancouver and the perfect place to relax. It’s also our favorite place to watch the sunset.
Thanks for reading!
Vancouver in the summer is one of the best destinations in Canada. Whether you are on a Vancouver honeymoon, a hiking trip, a road trip from Whistler or live in the city, there’s always something to do. I hope now the Richmond Night Market is on your list for a great way to spend an evening while you’re here.
For more ideas on the best places to visit in BC, check out our other in-depth travel guides for Canada. Let us know if you found this guide to the Richmond Night Market helpful and leave us a comment below about your favorite part of visiting.