Phenomenal fare and drool-worthy desserts aren’t the only delights luring locals and visitors to the Gold Coast’s burgeoning night market scene.
These twilight gatherings reflect the city’s unique and contemporary vibe by serving up a culturally-diverse atmosphere that’s buzzing with funky live music and free entertainment.
These hugely popular alfresco gatherings are fast becoming the venues of choice for families wanting a night out with friends all while listening to great music, tantalising their taste buds and exposing their kids to a little culture and fun.
And with the Gold Coast’s enviable climate making it possible to be outdoors year-round, it’s not surprising night markets are popping up across the region.
Seven of the best night markets on the Gold Coast
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights
Each week thousands of people pour through the doors of this enclosed precinct to get their live music fix, hang with their mates and indulge themselves with their favourite food or beverage. Just 10 minutes from Broadbeach and 5 minutes from Burleigh, this venue attracts people of all ages and stages, especially mums and dads looking for a night out at a place where children are welcome.
Event manager Kath Gourley says Miami Marketta appeals to people of all ages and in addition to being a night market, it was an arts precinct and a live music venue where ‘the young crew’ can see their favourite bands. “Older crew can get their foodie on and enjoy fare from all around the world and sip and enjoy a world class gin in our Gin Parlour,” she says.
One from the Designer Collective Markets, StrEAT feast brings you live music, makers market, free kids entertainment and loads of Food Trucks! Browse the market stalls then settle in for a night of great food and music.
A new kid on the night market scene, Gather and Feast in Carrara beside Metricon Stadium is a free offering by Designer Collective Markets. Event managers Matt Whalley and Kat Creasey say they’re hoping to become a regular event in 2020 and hope locals will get behind the market. Targeted at families and including a free jumping castle, it features more than 20 food trucks, an array of handmade, designer and vintage stalls as well as live music, a pop-up bar and onsite parking.
“There aren’t many family-friendly night markets where people can picnic on the grass, grab a beer or wine and just relax. We always try to steer away from rush-in rush-out markets and we encourage people to bring their rugs and camping chairs and settle in for a night of live tunes, free kids fun and delicious food,” Ms Creasey says.
Prominently placed next to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on the southern end of the Gold Coast, this free market pops up on a Friday afternoon and offers 28 different types of fare and sprinkling of craft stalls. Plenty of free off-street parking until 9pm, live music and undercover eating areas ensures this night market attracts up to 2000 people most weeks.
Run by veteran market conveners Terri and Kerry Askew, the Sanctuary Markets are also a drawcard for international tourists with many beach resorts using it in their marketing material. Mr Askew says the fully-licensed venue serves up Burleigh beers, Sirromet wines and a variety of international foods such as Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese, Brazilian, Turkish, Venezuelan, South African and Chilean. It also features a fresh produce market specialising in Asian greens and Australian Seafood.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights
A unique offering smack bang in the middle of a Burleigh Heads industrial estate, owner Michael Salay says this market aims to provide customers with fare that is ‘not market stall food but more like satellite restaurants with the most amazing BBQ dished at a reasonable price’. Families with kids are embraced and a range of dietary requirements are catered for.
With a focus on music that people can relate to, as well as original sounds to help support the local live music scene, BBQ Bazaar has seating for more than 600 but recently hosted 700 during an 80s-themed night. Formerly a heavy machinery workshop, the venue is a foodie’s paradise that offers free and ticketed events.
Showcasing fine food inspired by tastes from across the globe, these markets operate on The Boulevard of the Emerald Lakes complex, behind Emmanuel College in Birmingham Road. As well as selling fresh local product and boutique arts and crafts, this market is fast becoming ‘the’ place for locals to meet on a Thursday to enjoy the live entertainment and international cuisine.
Originally more of a farmer’s market, the Emerald Lakes Twilight Market has grown to become a complete alfresco gourmet shopping experience with an international ambience. Homemade crafts as well as Australian and New Zealand seafood, grain feed and hormone-free meats and free-range eggs are on offer. Each week new stalls offering homemade goodies and crafts are opening up.
Wednesday, Friday and Sunday
Arguably the Gold Coast’s most popular night market, a massive 5500 people flock to the beachside venue every night; that’s more than 860,000 each year. Boasting 100 stalls with an eclectic array of goodies on offer, the Surfers Paradise night markets have been operating for 25 years, mainly to serve tourists.
Beachfront markets manager John Noble, of Surfers Paradise Alliance, says the markets didn’t really have much other competition because nothing much was open when it was. “We’re a family market and probably get more families through than anything else. Also, because we’re a holiday destination a lot of people get home from a day at the up the mountain, the theme parks or shopping centres and then want something to do at night instead of just sitting in their hotel room,” he says.
Looking for something fabulous to do on the Gold Coast? Check out our Events page to find a festival, market or show happening near you!