[Original article by Patricia Huang]
We’ve noticed that a lot of our attendees who don’t have the best time at our night markets are those who come completely unprepared or with different expectations. After going through all the Yelp reviews and blogs, we’ve compiled a list of 14 tips and tricks for our event-goers that’ll help them have a good time. Please share this with your friends in preparation for the upcoming 626 Night Market events this summer!
Tips & Tricks for A Smooth Time at 626 Night Market
1. Don’t like crowds? Arrive early.
The dinner rush is usually 6–9pm. Arrive before or after to avoid the longest lines. (If arriving super early, bring an umbrella or some kind of sun protection so the late afternoon summer heat is more tolerable.)
2. Navigate like a pro. Download the 626 Night Market iPhone app.
The map is GPS-enabled so you know exactly where you are and where your favorite booths are located. An Android version is coming soon later this summer.
3. Bring cash.
Most food vendors only take cash while merchandise vendors are much more card-friendly. You can find ATMs located throughout the event (labeled in our maps).
4. Average food expenditure is around $20 per person.
The person with an average appetite spends around $20 for 3-5 different food items. The major perk for that price is that you get to pick and choose any of the hundreds of food items available in one place, plus enjoy free entertainment!
5. Parking is free! Kids under 6 years old also enter for free! 🙂
This specifically applies to 626 Night Market at Santa Anita Park.
6. For maximum comfort and leisure, bring these items.
Comfortable shoes (for standing in lines), sunblock, picnic blanket (for the nice grassy areas), a bag (to hold all the food and goodies), and even an umbrella for shade.
7. Tremendous food choices can be overwhelming at first visit.
Look through the directory on the 626 Night Market iPhone app, on the website, and posters peppered throughout the venue for the full overview. Ask around or utilize social media (see Tip #14) such as Instagram to find what’s buzzing.
8. Strategy 1: Divide and Conquer
The best strategies we’ve seen so far is to come in a big group, tackle several booths at once and re-group to share the items together. Lots more food to try, less wait times.
9. Strategy 2: Time Surf
Come early for the uber-popular food items first while there’s little to no line, then take your time trying the other food vendors. You can have it all!
10. Don’t be intimidated by long lines. Many of them go at a good pace.
Different vendors have different line rates. Feel free to ask people in line to gauge the real wait times. Also, there are plenty of vendors with shorter to no lines who are all worth trying. Maybe you’ll find the next food hype?
11. More seating are found in merchandise and entertainment areas.
Food areas can get packed during dinner rush so it’s optimized for standing and walking only.
12. Stinky tofu.
Some love it, some hate it. If you’re the latter, breathing through the mouth can help.
13. See something that needs our attention? Flag down a staff member or volunteer.
Your safety and well-being is our number-one priority. 626 Night Market staff members can be found patrolling at all times to ensure everything is going well (we’re wearing special event t-shirts and lanyard badges). For non-urgent issues, we have plenty of volunteers around who can help!
14. Follow 626 Night Market on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date event information.
Our social media is active at all times during the event, providing live important event updates such as how crowded it is, which entrances have shorter lines, which parking lots may be full, etc. If you have any issues, comments, or concerns (or just want to send us some love), tweet @626NightMarket and #626NightMarket to get your comment seen and addressed.
Did we miss anything? Leave a comment below if you have any additional tips or thoughts. Have fun and meet you at the night market!