Richmond used to be home to Metro Vancouver’s two largest night markets – the Richmond Night Market and the Illumination Summer Night Market.
As of 2018, however, only the Richmond Night Market still exists. The Illumination Summer Night Market had its final year in 2017 and is no longer in operation.
Richmond’s Asian Night Markets
One of the city’s markets is the giant and very vibrant Richmond Night Market. Its rival was the smaller yet original Illumination Summer Night Market.
If you want to experience one of the most amazing Asian-style night markets outside Asia, then you’ll definitely want to visit the Richmond Night Market. It’s absolutely worth standing in line and the nominal charge to get in.
Richmond Night Market
The Richmond Night Market is definitely a “best place to be in Vancouver.” Located at 8351 River Road in Richmond and boasting over 1 million visitors per year, the Richmond Night Market is the largest night market in North America.
The Richmond Night Market is a great venue for tasty take-out Asian foods, cheap Asian-made products and people watching. It’s an amazing place for the senses with all its sights, sounds, crowds and delicious smells.
Open weekends beginning at 7 pm from late spring until around Thanksgiving in October, the Richmond Night Market has been operating for over a dozen years and is host to over 250 food and retail stalls.
This market is close to the Bridgeport SkyTrain station on the Canada Line and entry is only about $4 (and free for seniors 60+ and children 10 and under).
In 2018 the Richmond Night Market runs from May 11th until October 8th (so from the Mother’s Day Weekend until the Thanksgiving Weekend).
Tips and Advice
Below are some suggestions to help you make the most out of your visit to the market.
TIP #1: Get to the market early to find parking and minimize the time you have to wait in line to get in.
TIP #2: If you plan to go multiple times, or you’re in a large group and the lineup to get in is huge, buy an Admission Zoom Pass for $25. It allows admission for you plus anyone you want up to seven times without having to stand in the main lineup at the entrance.
So essentially the Admission Zoom Pass costs slightly less per time than regular admission, but on a good day it can save you 20 minutes or more in line. Zoom Passes are sold at the main entrance as you approach the market from the parking lot, and they are valid for the entire season and are completely transferable.
Click Richmond Night Market for more information.
Illumination Summer Night Market
Located just down the way at 12631 Vulcan Way (behind Home Depot) in Richmond, this night market used to be open from 7 pm every weekend evening in the summer, from the beginning of May until the second weekend in September.
2017 was the Illumination Night Market’s last year of existence. As of 2018 it is no longer running.
When it was in operation the market was similar to the Richmond Night Market, but a bit smaller, less crowded and slightly cheaper to get in. It also wasn’t quite as easily accessible (although there were free shuttle buses from the Bridgeport SkyTrain Station).
The Illumination Summer Night Market was Richmond’s original night market, and was once named “One of the Top 4 Night Markets in the World” by Travel and Leisure Magazine.
In its heyday it was probably over twice its present size. In more recent times, however, it was smaller than the copycat Richmond Night Market, and usually less crowded.
TIP #1: If you like walks or bike rides, and you’re heading out to Richmond anyways, maybe combine a visit to the Richmond Night Market with an afternoon trip out to Steveston Village, recognizing of course that the village can be quite peaceful whereas the market generally isn’t.
For details about other similar places, including the night market in North Vancouver, check out Vancouver Night Markets.