Taking an annual trip to the 626/OC Night Market is practically a rite of passage for anyone living in SoCal. But for a first-timer or someone who isn’t as familiar with the do’s and don’ts of a large-scale night market, it’s easy become overwhelmed with the 200 food, dessert, and drink vendor choices and the massive crowd of hungry people. So, here are seven essential tips on getting the bang for your buck and getting the full asian street market experience.
1. Get there early. Both night markets open at 4 p.m., but dinner rush is around 6-9 p.m. So to ensure that you’ll get a parking spot near the entrance and get your food without waiting in a massive line, it’s probably best if you get there at around 5 p.m.
2. Bring cash (and bring enough). The first thing that you’ll have to pay for post-arrival is admission ($3 Fridays and Sundays, $5 Saturdays), since parking is free. Each “meal” item is usually around $10, and the drinks and desserts are around $5. So plan to budget around $30 to $35 per person.
3. Wear the right clothes. Dress lightly, and comfortably– SoCal is usually in the high ’80s or ’90s mid June to late August. Also, a pro tip, wear closed toed shoes. You don’t want to get stepped on.
4. Check out all the vendors. As soon as your arrive to the market, take a walk around all the vendors. Many vendors sell the same items, but the prices can be different. So to make sure that you’re not overpaying for something, check everything out first.
5. Share. Because you yourself can only eat so much, split your food with friends! You’ll be able to try more things and spend less money.
6. Stay for the performance. On specific nights, the OC and 626 Night Markets host concert-like performances from around 6-9 p.m. at the main stage. Enjoy the good food and end your visit on a high note!