Celebrate Culture With These Unforgettable Pop Ups Around The World

Pop-ups offer a fun and spontaneous opportunity for people to have unique experiences in fashion, food, art, music and more.  Traditionally, these events utilize empty shops or spaces for performances, exhibitions or restaurants, sometimes bringing life back into areas of town that might have been forgotten.

The informal nature of these spontaneous shops often make these events a social occasion, strengthening the local community.  They could last for a few hours, a few weeks or in some cases have gained enough popularity to become permanent fixtures.

Epicure & Culture has collected some of the best pop-ups worldwide featuring everything from temporary exhibits honoring hot dogs to street parties to surprise dinners at random outdoors locations at a hotel in the Maldives.  All these pop-up events occur over an extended period of time, or seasonally so you have more than one opportunity to take advantage.

Pop Ups

Al Fresco eating in Maldives. Photo courtesy of Six Senses Laamu

1. Mystery Al Fresco Dinners (The Maldives)

Each Saturday at the upscale property, Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives, Chef Martin offers an out of the ordinary, personalized pop-up dinner. Six to twelve guests can make a reservation but with no idea where they will be dining or what the theme will be. The morning of the event, guests will receive an invitation, revealing the secret location and theme, which changes every time. Guests may find themselves having street-food inspired dinner on an impromptu cinema on the beach, eating Mediterranean in the wine cellar blindfolded, or munching on fish and chips with local beer pairings in the middle of an organic garden. Depending on the menu the price range is $115 to $130.

Hot dog fest in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Foodseum.

Hot dog fest in Chicago. Photo courtesy of Foodseum.

2. Interactive Exhibits Commemorating Chicago’s Signature Bite (Chicago, Illinois, USA)

Chicago’s first museum dedicated to food, Foodseum opens its doors as a three-month pop up on Saturday, September 19 at Block 37, 108 N. State St. The first exhibit, “The Hot Dog and Encased Meats of the World,” appropriately pays tribute to its hometown. Since food is such an important part of the human existence, Kyle Joseph, the executive director thought it would be important to provide some insight into what’s behind it all. Foodseum aims to engage visitors in interactively exploring food through smell, touch and taste, in the hopes of build a community that will support the eventual opening of a permanent location. The temporary museum will run until December 20, 2015.

Pop Ups

Mingling at the gallery. Photos courtesy of Conception Events

3. Intimate Interactions With Artists (New York City, USA)

Join Conception Events for memorable, bimonthly pop up art events in New York City and around the world. Their happenings showcase art, design, photography and film in a variety of informal locations where collectors can meet and purchase direct from the artist, avoiding heavy gallery commissions. The nights feature the popular “Art Clash” where guests paint onstage in a race against the clock. A full bar and music will keep attendees entertained until late. Past performances have included an all female Brazilian drum group and Philadelphia-based rock band, Skyline Beat. You can find these events at diverse and fun locations throughout the Big Apple including TriBeCa Cinemas, Warehouse Spaces and various bars and restaurants — although these events have started “popping up” in Miami, Philadelphia and the United Kingdom.

pop ups

Epicure & Culture editor Jessica Festa at a Musical Pairing event in NYC

4. Music & Food Pairing Dinners (Assorted USA Locations)

Are you a foodie eager to take dining to the next level? Musical Pairing may be exactly what you need. Join Barbara Warner, classically trained chef, owner and author of the book series “Musical Pairing: The Art of Harmonizing Music to Your Meal” for pop up dinners around the country.

Barbara teaches a simple mathematical formula and process behind Musical Pairing in a theatrical meal. Dinners are typically held in existing restaurants with a BYOH (bring your own headphones) twist. Familiar foods are typically chosen so attendees can recognize how music elevates the dining experience.

If you would like to attend a Musical Pairing dinner, upcoming 2015 dates include October 2, October 22 and November 5 in Manhattan. Also check out the Musical Pairing app to create your own tunes tasting menu at home.

Pop Ups

Foothill dinner. Photo courtesy of P.O.P. Art theatre

5. Food Hall (Johannesburg, South Africa)

Food Hall is a quarterly pop up dining experience produced in collaboration with POPArt. The events are designed to bring together a diverse group of strangers with stories to share over an exotic meal.  These quarterly events are sometimes themed, and always in an interesting urban setting usually near the hip, happening, artsy area of the Mahoneng Precinct.

This pop up evening of eating, drinking and general fun has a set menu, set price and restricts attendance to a small group.  This ensures interaction among guests who are the kind of people who can talk while getting the last shred of pasta onto their fork.

Pop Ups

A stall at the  market.  Photo courtesy of Camana Bay.

6. Pop Up Farmers Market (Grand Cayman, Caribbean)

On Grand Cayman one can head to Camana Bay, a vibrant, 600-acre mixed-use development, to celebrates all that is grown and made on the island at its weekly pop-up Farmers & Artisans Market. Every Wednesday at noon along The Paseo, you can find an array of local purveyors offering products and experiences specific to the area. Visitors can stock their cabinets with locally grown fruits, vegetables and farm goods as well as specialty foods and handcrafted products. Throughout the afternoon, the festivities pick as more artisans join to infuse the market with entertainment. You will find live music as well as to craft and cultural demonstrations of thatch weaving, rope making, conch blowing, soldier crab racing and traditional games, until 7 pm.

Pop Ups

Pop Your Shop Event in LA. Photo courtesy of Pop Your Shop.

7. Pop Your Shop (Malibu, California, USA)

Los Angeles-based *Pop Your Shop* offers a seasonal shopping, wine and music experience at the Rosenthal Winery in Malibu, California. You can find them 12-6 PM every other Saturday afternoon from mid April through the beginning of September to prepare you for festival season (Coachella), POPping all the way to Labor Day.

J.D. Luxe Mobile Boutique, the first mobile shopping truck to hit the streets of L.A., provides fashion and accessories for visitors to peruse. Break up shopping with sipping Rosenthal wines, listening live music by local bands, munching on food truck meals, grape stomping and more. Each weekend has a theme and the participating brands are chosen accordingly.

Jump Up. Photo courtesy of Susan Mills.

Jump Up. Photo courtesy of Susan Wall.

8. Jump Up, Pop-up Street Festival (St. Croix, US Virgin Islands)

Caribbean locals love to dance, but here they often refer to this favorite past time as a “jump up.” Jump Up is a quarterly, pop-up street party in Christiansted, the main town of St. Croix. This tradition started as a way to boost the economy and spread island cheer but has continued as one of St. Croix’s favorite social events for locals and visitors alike. Christiansted comes alive with music, dancing, food, drinks, street vendors and shops staying open late. Mocko jumbies — costumed dancers — jump around the streets in six-foot stilts navigating crowdsy. Jump Up occurs four times per year, each with a special theme: Valentine’s Day in February, St. Croix Triathlon in May, Alexander Hamilton Day in July and a Holiday celebration in November.

Pop Ups

Dessert Pop Up at Troy Boston rooftop.  Photo courtesy of Modern Gramma.

9.  Dessert Tasting Parties (Assorted US Locations)

Are you someone who wants to fast forward through dinner to dessert? Chef Justin Burke-Samson will help you do just that through his Modern Gramma dessert pop ups, started in Boston. Typically set on a luxury apartment rooftop, diners savor one sweet treat after another.  Multi-course menus are inspired by Chef Justin’s grandmother’s recipes, with a contemporary twist included. Now he’s taking these popular events across the country, beginning with New Orleans on September 8 before heading on to North Carolina and Los Angeles. 

What pop ups have we missed? Please share in the comments below.

By Katie Foote

Also Check Out:

Explore With Conscious: Travel Gadgets That Give Back [Blog Inspiration]

Girl Meets Voyage Travel Wallet [Travel Style]

Bucket List Festivals: The 100 Best Festivals In The World by Jacqueline Boss [Must-Reads]

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Katie Foote may be a physicist by trade but she travels the world any chance she can get. After four years of semi-nomadic life as she finished her PhD, she's recently moved to Auckland, New Zealand. Despite beginning a more traditional life, she has insight on how to travel the world on a graduate student budget (cheap!), explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and authentically experiencing new places by connecting to locals. When she's not doing physics or globe-trotting, she likes to swim, do yoga and hike (or "tramp" as they say in New Zealand). Check out Katie's blog to follow her adventures around the world.

1 Comment

  1. Katie,
    We are going back to Grand Caymen in a couple of weeks – I will be sure to check out the Farmers and Artisan Market on Wednesday! Thank you for sharing! Love and jugs, Aunt L

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