The best outdoor food destinations

Return to these street markets, fleas and alfresco food courts all summer long.

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  • Photograph: Noah Devereaux

    Smorgasburg

  • Photograph: Courtesy Dekalb Mark

    Dekalb Market

  • Hester Street Fair

  • Photograph: Lizz Kuehl

    Rockaway Tacos

  • Copyright: Randy Duchaine, Photograph: Randy Duchaine

    New Amsterdam Market

  • The High Line

Photograph: Noah Devereaux

Smorgasburg

The High Line

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Critics choice
  • Free

This elevated park has pimped out its food and drink offerings since opening in 2009. Tourists and locals strolling along the former freight railroad path can sip coffee from Blue Bottle and snack on frozen treats from People’s Pops and La Newyorkina. This year, new vendors to hit the High Line include Bark Hot Dogs, an open-air wine café from Terroir, and Northern Spy Food Co., which will be slinging pork sticky rolls, soups and salads.

  1. Washington St, (at Gansevoort St)
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Rockaway Beach and Boardwalk

  • Free

Gastronomes now outnumber surfers at this breezy weekender destination. Led by the beloved stand Rockaway Taco, the boardwalk has become a serious draw for food lovers, with more than a dozen seasonal concessions that set up camp at 106th, 97th, 96th and 86th Streets. This summer, newcomers like Steve’s Ice Cream and Lobster Joint join returning vendors such as Rippers, a burger-and-dog place run by the Meat Hook and Roberta’s.

  1. Boardwalk between Beach 86th and Beach 106th Sts, The Rockaways, Queens.
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Smorgasburg

Roughly 100 vendors gather at Brooklyn Flea’s weekly culinary bazaar, hawking kitchen utensils, artisanal pantry items and plenty of ready-to-devour goodies. You’ll recognize some of the stalls from the regular flea market (Asia Dog, People’s Pops) and the neighborhood (Blue Bottle Coffee Company, Bep); new vendors in 2012 include Japanese-inspired Takumi Taco and Baby Got Back Ribs. The market also hosts a monthly event series in conjunction with the Brooklyn Kitchen.

  1. The Williamsburg Waterfront, 110 Kent Ave at North 8th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
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Hester Street Fair

Hester Street Fair and Hester Nights

The third year of this outdoor market, co-organized by MTV News correspondent SuChin Pak, is the most ambitious yet. The summer bounty includes arepas from Vendy Awards finalist Patacon Pisao and artisanal grilled cheeses from Little Muenster, as well as a rotating collection of more than 20 stands each weekend. And now, midtown workers can get in on the action at the brand-new Hester Nights, when vendors journey to Sixth Ave to sell after-work treats on Thursdays.

  1. Saturdays: Hester St at Essex St; Thursdays: Eventi Plaza at the Eventi Hotel, 851 Sixth Ave between 29th and 30th St
  2. Saturdays: 10am–6pm; Thursdays: 4–9pm

Dekalb Market

  • Price band: 1/4

More than 20 permanent food merchants and another 20 weekend additions—including Robicelli (cupcakes), Maharlika (Filipino street food) and DUB (meat pies)—operate out of repurposed shipping containers on this one-block lot. You’ll need to wade through the industrial maze of vendors touting antiques, clothes and jewelry to find the central beer garden. But once you’re there, you can swig New York craft brews, such as Sixpoint Sweet Action, on shaded communal picnic tables.

  1. 138 Willoughby St, (at Flatbush Ave Ext), 11201
More info

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