Food halls are great -- too bad they're INSIDE! It's spring and that means it's time to start eating outside in NYC. Here are our favorite food fairs, festivals and experiences that go down outdoors.
Packed with hungry visitors each weekend, Smorgasburg is the crown jewel in the outdoor dining marketplace. Many of the vendors here go on to brick-and-mortar restaurants. Smorgasburg is held Saturday in Williamsburg and Sunday in DUMBO. Many favorite vendors will be back this year, but the new crop looks promising, too.
The High Line
Walking The High Line is pretty great. Walking the High Line with a delicious treat is amazing. The food vendors on the former elevated train track cum park have been delighting visitors for years and have included Blue Bottle Coffee, La Newyorkina fruit pops and The Taco Truck. This year there will be a new vendor up on the Line: La Sonrisa Empanadas. Grab one and see the whole thing, which extends from Gansevoort Street all the way to 34th Street. All food kiosks are open from April 25 - Nov. 2. Terroir at The Porch, a full-service cafe, opens May 1.
LIC Flea & Food
Long Island City's outdoor flea market, LIC Flea & Food, opens its open-air headquarters again on April 9 at Fifth Street and 46th Avenue. Home to plenty of vintage clothing and furniture sellers, unique food booths like the Rib in a Cup and many themed weekends, LIC Flea & Food is also a great spot to take in gorgeous cityscape views. There are lots of eats, from the Bao Shop to Chuta Madre! and this year, there will also be beer from only Queens breweries. HGTV's "Flea Market Flip" has also been known to film here, so get your haggling skills ready for a potential brush with fame.
Mad. Sq. Eats
Mad. Sq. Eats returns to Madison Square Park on May 1. This seasonal outdoor food bazaar is open daily from 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. through May 28 and features pizza from Roberta's, lobster rolls from The Red Hook Lobster Pound, rice balls from Arancini Bros. and new this year: Bombay Sandwich Co., Uma Temakeria and more. The stands return for a second installment Sept. 4 - Oct. 1.
Red Hook Food Vendors
The Red Hook Food Vendors will return for their 41st season on Saturday, May 2! Down at the ballfields in Red Hook, by Clinton and Bay streets, get pupusas, elotes and much more on either Saturday or Sunday from April through October. If you haven't been, make a day of it in Red Hook. There's so much to see and eat.
Hester Street Fair
This LES outdoor market is one of the most popular in the city. Offering more than just food, the Hester Street Fair features vendors selling homemade wares in addition to eats. It's open every Saturday starting April 25 and running through October on, you guessed it, Hester Street!
Governor's Island is one of the best places to visit in NYC during the warmer months. There are so many things to do, from biking to historic tours to eating! Last year, the vendors including lots of delicious eats. We're not sure who will be back this year, but we're looking forward to it. The season begins May 23.
Queens County Market
This pop-up market celebrates all the wonderful foods of Queens. Since the Queens County Market started in April 2012, this roaming event has put on monthly events to promote Queens neighborhoods as well as eating and drinking local foods. The first event of the season will be held on Sunday, May 3 at the Queens County Farm Museum.
Vendy Plaza launched its first season in the fall and will be back in May for the summer! The city-run market, run by the Street Vendor Project, which also hosts the Vendy Awards each year, features the vendors who win the top prizes at the Vendy's as well as some of the Red Hook Food Vendors. The plaza is located at La Marqueta, 116th St. and Park Ave. More Info
While not a food hall per se, the Long Island City beer garden and events space Studio Square has lots of outdoor picnic tables for eating and drinking beer with friends. They host soccer game viewing parties, concerts and much more in the 30,000-square-foot space. The amount of space there is pretty unheard of in NYC, so this is a great place to have a party. All food is made in-house. 35-33 36th St., Long Island City, 718-383-1001, studiosquarebeergarden.com