Come for the Food, Stay for the Mood

For three weekends each summer, the 626 Night Market, the original and largest night market in the United States, organizes the OC Night Market. As visitors swarm the admission lines later in the evening, ticket prices rise from $3 to $5 after 6:00 p.m., so be sure to show up early!

Jenny Won and Jane Zou

As the sun sets on the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, live performers, unique art from local vendors, carnival games and endless Instagram-worthy foods light up the evening, giving the OC Night Market a diverse and lively atmosphere unmatched anywhere else.

Once past the long lines at the ticket booth, the night market begins with the Art Walk, a corridor lined by artwork and merchandise of all forms and styles. At the very front of the walkway, one particular stand catches eyes: PARAKID, an ink and watercolor illustrator that specializes in both original illustrations and fanart.

“My art focuses on quiet, peaceful moments in my life that resonate with me,” Natalia Miramontes, the artist behind PARAKID, said. “I hope to connect with both people that enjoy the pop culture as I do and those who know me as an artist and relate with my original work.”

PARAKID is just one of dozens of vendors in the bustling Art Walk. The vast array of prints, clothing, jewelry, toys, candles and even soap each sport a unique, homemade touch. For some vendors, like the couple behind T.R. & Co Dainty Jewelry specializing in gemstone pendants, the OC Night Market has become a family tradition.

“We sell handmade jewelry, all made by my wife,” co-owner Maurice Bega said. “This is our eighth year here. We have regular customers that come back to us every year, and it’s wonderful to see them.”

The highlight of the OC Night Market is undeniably the food, with something for visitors of every taste. American, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese street foods range from giant potato swirls and pizza fries to ramen bowls and seafood. For the boba lover, Boba Bear sells classic milk tea and boba in eco-friendly glass bottles with steel straws, while OneZo Boba’s many flavors include Thai tea, green tea and coffee. The aesthetic foods sold at

every corner make the market a hotspot for Instagram foodies as well.

The OC Night Market truly offers something for everyone, whether it be a beautiful handmade necklace or a towering plate of barbecue skewers. For those who missed it in May, the OC Night Market will reopen June 14-16 and Aug. 23-25. An evening at the OC Night Market might leave your wallet a little thinner, but both your heart and stomach fuller.