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Food & Drink

Night markets return in Chinatown, downtown and Sunset District this year

A person juggles clubs at a vibrant outdoor market with colorful tents and festive attire.
Sunset District resident Steve Gehrman juggles pins during the Sunset Night Market in 2023. The event is set to return this year. | Source: Joel Umanzor/The Standard

Multiple night markets are set to take place across San Francisco this year, building on the momentum from last year’s popular events, which attracted massive crowds.

The Chinatown night market will return first—starting March 8, it’s scheduled for every second Friday of the month till November. Held on the iconic Grant Avenue under the festive lanterns, the event, organized by the nonprofit BeChinatown, will offer traditional Chinese foods along with activities.

Last year, BeChinatown launched this event during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, drawing thousands of visitors to the historic neighborhood.

Visitors at Chinatown Night Market event learn about Chinese calligraphy on September 29, 2023.
Visitors at the September 2023 Chinatown night market learn about Chinese calligraphy. | Source: Courtesy Evan and Josh Wong

Another major night market series, the Sunset Night Market, is expected to return in June or July, according to Supervisor Joel Engardio, who represents the district and led last year's highly successful event.

Engardio said the city is in the process of selecting vendors and proposals to host the night market, and he’s expecting three separate night market events throughout the second half of the year, possibly on Irving and Noriega streets. 

“We want to focus on food,” Engardio said. “We want the attendees to have the experience just like when you go to the night market in Taipei.”

Sunset’s event will likely have on-site cooking, while Chinatown’s market has only pre-packaged food.

People in traditional Indian attire are dancing joyfully at night on a city street.
A popular Bhangra-themed dancing event is expected to breathe life into downtown San Francisco. | Source: Courtesy Odell Hussey of Non Stop Bhangra

The Indian-themed dance party, the Bhangra and Beats Night Market—also a smash hit last year with over 10,000 participants—will come back on May 10, with three other events scheduled in July, September and November. The event, part of an effort to breathe life into downtown, will cover three blocks around Battery and Clay streets in the Financial District and will provide a space for family-friendly activities, food, retail and music.

Other night events planned for this year include the First Thursday Art Walk and the Undiscovered SF Filipino block party in SoMa.

The city is funding some of the night markets, including the Sunset Night Market and the Bhang and Beats Night Market.

“Night markets are an opportunity to showcase San Francisco to the region, uplift our neighborhoods, and welcome new visitors,” the Mayor's Office said in a statement. “These investments are crucial to celebrate the diversity of the city while contributing to our economic vitality.”

Han Li can be reached at