Soak up the vibes at Melbourne’s original Summer Night Market
There’s something about summer that brings out the best in all of us, whether it’s the longer days, rejuvenating sunshine or simply the chance to get out and socialise more. And while Melbourne thrives all year round, it really comes alive in summer in a burst of events – and one of our favourites is back.
The Summer Night Market has returned to Wednesday nights with a bang and crowds are flocking to browse a maze of street stalls – well over 100 in total – peddling hot food from around the world, divine desserts, handmade jewellery, unique fashion, charming homewares and plenty more. When you’re done agonising over what to sample and perusing the wares, enjoy live entertainment from some iconic local and international acts.
Opening times and how to get there
The Summer Night Market is held at the iconic Queen Victoria Market and runs every Wednesday from 5pm to 10pm until 11 March. The massive venue is just 15 minutes’ walk from Fraser Place Melbourne: head east down La Trobe St until you hit Elizabeth St, take a right then turn left down Frankl St. Continue straight until you hit the Queen Vic and you’re there.
Food and drink
If there’s any excuse to head to a market, it’s to pig out at some incredible street food. The Summer Night Market is as good as it gets with hot, cold, sweet and savoury cuisine from all corners of the globe. And if you’re after anything vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, halal or lactose free, don’t stress – there’s always something for you to tuck into. Here are just a few of our favourites:
- Hawaiian Shaved Ice -– Cool off with a classic and colourful Hawaiian dessert.
- El Rincon – Mouth-watering traditional paella done right.
- Macaron de Paris – Gourmet handmade macarons? Yes please.
- Mimmo’s – Sweet brioche doughnuts weren’t good enough for these guys, so they added artisan gelato.
- Tasty Suya African BBQ – Take in the scents from the grill and you’ll be sold.
- Miss Wonton – Western and eastern cuisine collides in these delectable wontons.
- 400 Gradi – Award-winning Napoletana pizza. Simple, but oh so effective.
- Taki’s Balls – Hot doughnut balls made fresh and covered in Nutella, wafer and other toppings. Need we say more?
- Little League – Excellent coffee to enjoy as you rest your legs, made by the crew behind the League of Honest Coffee.
- Market Espresso – Because one coffee stand is never enough. Pick up some specialty beans and make some more at home!
- Mörk – Not satisfied with being the kings of dark drinking chocolate, Mörk made a chilled version and it might even be better.
- Ronnie Z and the Fabulous Juice – Juices, soup and acai bowls served out of a 60s caravan decorated with tropical paraphernalia. Enough said!
Once you’ve filled your belly, it’s time to burn through some of that energy so you can go back for seconds. The Summer Night market is far more than a foodies paradise with a wide range of shops selling everything from candles to home decor. They’re best explored at your own pace, but here’s a few we can’t get enough of:
- Boorak – Embrace your vintage side with beautiful bags made from brass and vegetable-tanned leather.
- Stella Artglass – Trash or treasure? These clocks, cheese platters and other objects are all made from upcycled beer, wine and spirit bottles with a stylish flair.
- Melbourne Modernist – Browse artistic, strongly evocative photos of Melbourne with vibrant splashes of colour and personality.
- Legendary Aussie – Quality handmade beard oils, lip balms, aftershaves, colognes and perfumes. Treat yourself.
- Melbourne Candle Company – Everyone loves candles, but this team adds a unique twist with each product being inspired by a historical part of Melbourne complete with a map wrapping.
It sure is tiring browsing so many stalls, so why not take a seat and kick back to some live music? An incredibly diverse billing means there’s plenty of variety, from DJs and cover bands to jazz, folk and flamenco. It’s the kind of place where you’re likely to encounter an instrument you’ve never heard of from a country on the other side of the world, so it’s worth reserving a table in advance to ensure you get the full experience. There’s even a pop-up night volleyball court, because why not? Watch the pros put on a show before challenging your friends – after all, you need to work off all that food you just ate.