At the time of this writing the “mother of all American night markets” remains the 626 Night Market in Arcadia, California. It is claimed by the organizers to be America’s largest night market and is undisputedly one of the most popular in the country.
Named for the 626 area code that serves California’s San Gabriel Valley area, the 626 Night Market was inaugurated as America’s first night market in 2012 by Taiwanese-American businessman Jonny Hwang, the 626 Night Market was inspired in large part by the Shilin Night Market in Taipei, Taiwan, and was created in large part to bring the Asian night market experience to the USA.
Just like the night markets of Asia that inspired it, the 626 Night Market features over 200 stalls and vendors offering cuisine of every kind ranging from Chinese to Vietnamese and even Brazilian. There are stalls selling arts and crafts of every kind, live performances, and various other spectacles, such as the giant glass of boba tea that appeared there during the August 2013 market!
In February of 2016, 626 tried a new concept: A ticketing system that allowed customers to pay a single ticket to try samples of food from as many vendors as they wanted (including some fairly famous chefs from TV) rather than paying per vendor, as well as the entry fee. This is a very interesting concept as far as markets go!
Since its creation, the 626 Night Market has spawned two spin-offs: The OC Night Market, which is held at the OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, and the DTLA Night Market at Staples Center in downtown LA.
Also since it debuted to the public in 2012, the 626 Night Market has drawn in many thousands, if not millions of visitors. This is a far greater success than anyone could have imagined possible for an Asian-style night market in the USA.
The 626 Night Market is generally held for three days every month during the summertime.
Night Market Location:
- http://www.626nightmarket.com/ (Homepage of the 626 and OC Night Markets.)
- https://www.facebook.com/626NightMarket/ (The 626 Night Market’s Facebook page.)