post off: where are your favorite flea markets?

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It’s spring, so my thoughts turn to, “Where can I buy cool, kitschy stuff that I don’t (necessarily) need?” Ah, the season of the outdoor antique show—I’m not talking flea markets selling big box store closeouts; I’m talking entire fairgrounds of vendors offering everything from Pee-wee Herman dolls “mint in box” to vintage Bertoia chairs. Two exceptional fleas near my hometown of Cincinnati are Kentucky’s Burlington Antique Show—where a friend scored the weird and wonderful fake food and doll heads from old store window displays—and the Tri-State Antique Market in Lawrenceburg, IN. Since moving to Seattle, I’ve become a regular at the Fremont Sunday Market (Open year-round!), but I’m itching to find the really big shows. So out with it—where’s the best outdoor antique show in your neck of the woods? And what’s your favorite thing you’ve found there? — Mary T.

From our partners

I really love the huge, amazing Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena–I’ve found some amazing stuff there, especially vintage clothes and jars of pretty buttons. It’s the second Sunday of every month, rain or shine. Melrose Trading Post in LA is also good, it’s every Sunday, and much smaller.

Since I’ve moved back to Portland I’ve been thinking that the one thing that’s missing is a great flea market! If there’s one within a couple hours of the city I’d love to hear about it…

I’ve never been to Stormville…but I hear it’s quite the mecca. Other than that…The Coxsackie Antique Center and The Ravena Barn are favorites…and located in my beloved upstate New York. The Red Hook/Rhinbeck area is my favorite for tag sal’ing.

I haven’t been to the Chelsea Flea Market since it moved out of Chelsea and up to Hell’s Kitchen. It just seems wrong to me. LOL

ellobie in Chicago

Not having a car makes flea markets kinda hard to attend on a regular basis, BUT the best flea market I’ve ever been to was in Hawaii. I was on vacation, staying with military friends who were stationed on Oahu. All week, my friend Jen kept preventing me from lingering too long at the shops and boy, was I thankful. On the next-to-last day, we headed to the football stadium and it seemed like there were thousands of stands. Everything we’d seen all week long was available – at 1/2 the cost – plus things we hadn’t seen. It was fantastic – jewelry, fabrics, knick knacks… Every few yards was a coconut stand where they had whole coconuts floating in coolers of ice water. It was the perfect snack for walking around the miles of booths. There weren’t too many vintage booths, but plenty of kitsch. If you ever visit Oahu, you’ve GOT to go!

The best and biggest one in Texas is Roundtop. It takes days to see everything. Click here to see everything I bought when I went this spring http://blackeyedsuzies.blogspot.com/2007/04/my-round-top-treasures.html . The next show is in October and I’ll be back there again! I heart flea markets.

There are so many amazing flea markets in my neck of the woods… the southwest coast of British Columbia. If you ever come visit Vancouver or Victoria, here is a list of markets to see:

The Vancouver Flea Market is awesome-
http://www.vancouverfleamarket.com/Auction/Home.asp

As is the 21st Century Flea Market on Commercial Drive in Vancouver-
http://www.21cpromotions.com/flea_market/index.html

The outdoor Richmond Night Market is always full of eclectic items-
http://www.richmondnightmarket.com/

Portobello West is a wicked outdoor artisan market in Vancouver-
http://www.portobellowest.com/

Government Street Market in Victoria is my seasonal fav-
http://www.pin.ca/market/

Great bargains can be had at the Swap & Shop in Victoria-
http://www.pin.ca/speedway/default.htm

Of course, I love this time of year for garage sales!!
The annual “Garagellenium” in Oak Bay, Victoria BC has the bestest finds (a rather well-off community with wicked spring-cleaning deals). I always look forward to this event every June! Guaranteed treasures to be found!

Soooo…. that’s my list for my “community”.

I hope to visit some of your locations to experience your fav flea markets…

Happy treasure hunting!
Tara (:

Pasadena City College, the first Sunday of each month. Easier to navigate than the Rose Bowl, and better prices too.

In the Chicago area, the Kane Country flea market is one of my favorites. It’s not the cheapest in the world, but they have good stuff and great fair food. I remember also loving the flea market in Sandwich, IL about another 30 miles west of Kane County. I also haven’t been there in a long time, but will return in a couple weeks.

Hello! The Fremont flea market here in Seattle is fun and often has great stuff, but the items can be overpriced, so folks should be prepared to negotiate. : ) Local garage sales are everywhere and are also excellent, plus several community organizations and many churches have excellent flea markets for just a weekend all spring/summer/early fall long. seattle.craiglist.org often has ads for them.

There are a some great thrift stores also: the usual Good Will (by the sports stadiums south of downtown), Value Village on Capitol Hill (Lake City’s so-so). My favorite is the Lifelong Thrift store — it is excellent.

There’s also a swap meet every other week in Monroe. I’ve never been so I have no idea what it is like. I bet there are more options in Tacoma and perhaps in Everett, and in Bellingham.

Manhattan has a famous flea market that I cannot recall the name or location of. But there are tons of little flea markets all over Brooklyn and Queens that take place in churches etc that are a mixture of new items and interesting vintage items.

In the San Francisco bay area the biggest and the baddest is the Alameda Flea Market. It’s held just across the Bay Bridge on an old Alameda Naval Base and has at least 800 vendors. A really good chunk of my apartment furnishings and accessories come from there.

http://www.antiquesbybay.com/

It’s massive…wear your sneakers. It’s held the first Sunday of the month.

I agree with Lindsay the Roundtop Flea Market between Austin and Houston is amazing. I go for 3 days straight every April and October and do not get to see everything. This summer I am going up to Massachusetts for Brimfield which I hear is the largest flea market in the country.

Are there any websites that round all this stuff up? There should be…

And does anyone know of any listings of international flea markets? I’m going to be in Croatia next month and I don’t ahve the foggiest idea how to find flea markets/second hand stores while I’m there…

salley

The State Fairgrounds Flea Market in Raleigh NC is a great find. Not as big as the others mentioned, but a treasure trove of great old southern finds- pie safes, old furniture with hand-hewn nails, great costume jewelry, old linens, mid-century dealers, etc. And the best thing about it is how cheap it all is. At least half the furniture in my house is from there. And its right next to the Dorton Arena, a hallmark of modern architecture and home of the Carolina Rollergirls!

While we are not a flea market, we do have a crazy assortment from glow in the dark virgin Mary and Jesus to toys from the 50’s and 60’s. All our stuff is new and people spend hours just walking around sometimes. We have two stores, one on Haight in San Francisco and one on Park in Alameda.

http://www.shophappytrails.com

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Russell

I love, love the Orange County Outdoor Flea Market at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Middletown New York. A true bargain hunter’s paradise.

Tiffany S.

I got spoiled by so many flea markets in LA (Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Long Beach, Santa Monica). I did Brimfield one year with my mom, but didn’t get much out of it. Here in Seattle, it’s not quite the same (Fremont doesn’t even compare), but I’d be interested to check out Monroe which is about 40 minutes from North Seattle. I’ll definitely have to check out Alameda sometime. My wallet has been happy than I’m not a flea junkie anymore!

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Have to say ditto on the Pasadena City College flea–great prices, plus there is a family there that sells fantastic baked goods out of the back of their car. Long Beach flea is wonderful too, but so huge that it takes a real commitment to get through it. I live in a city now with no flea market–boo hoo.

I love Zerns in Gilbertsville PA and have since I was a kid. I don’t live in PA anymore but every time I make it home, a trip to what my family always called “The Sale” is on the schedule. Amish families selling homemade ice cream and jams, Italian meat and cheese stands, Homemade pies and my favorite-Chicken livers in Butter that you get a little cup of and eat with toothpicks! Heart stoppingly yummy. Plus, stalls with PA old timers selling everything under the sun. I’ve gotten vintage Christmas ornaments, leather coats, old cameras, 50’s furniture…I love this place!

http://www.zerns.com/

Jen

In Chicago, I love the Sandwich Antiques Market best of all, I always find something great.

http://www.antiquemarkets.com/

The Kane County Flea Market was already mentioned above, but there is also the Chicago Antiques Market. It’s good if you don’t have a car to get out to Sandwich, but it’s basically the same vendors with the prices upped and a more expensive entry fee.

http://www.chicagoantiquemarket.com/

I have to second those votes for Round Top in Texas. I go twice a year for 3 full days and I still don’t see everything. I flew all the way to Massachusetts for the Brimfiels flea market and could have found better things an hour down the road at Round Top. I always try and hit the Rose Bowl and Melrose flea markets when I’m in Los Angeles.

the 3rd weekend of each month in Belleville IL. at the Belle-Clair Exposition Center and fairgrounds . it’s big .

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here are a few Southern California faves of mine – the Glendale Community College in Glendale, CA has a flea market once a month and I have walked out with paintings for a buck! also, Silverlake Art Craft and Vintage is every Sunday in LA and while it’s small, there’s some true talent out there!

Amasa

I found an absolutely fantastic Garage Sale that is held all year round (weather permitting). This guy (its a single man operation) guarantees everything you buy for 7 days (buy it, change your mind, take it back, money back in your pocket), everything electronic and appliances are guaranteed 30 days and he shows you it works before you take it. Here is the absolute fun part…he takes trades. You bring him stuff in exchange for what you think what you want is worth. I got rid of my usable junk in exchange for what I needed. He has also been helping out the unemployed this way and also will barter time for what is needed. There is a young couple I know that received a refrigerator for giving him a few hours of doing dishes and unpacking boxes of stuff coming in. He has everything from the very old to the very new (items that are in unopened packages…even a double oven that came out of a new house but the new owner wanted stainless steel instead of black plastic panels. He also exchanges merchanidise that didn’t sell with merchandise that the store owner thinks will sell. He keeps a list of what people are collecting or want and notifies them when it comes in. I am fortunate this is in my neck of the woods. It’s worth the trip. ALSO, if you have a business (yard sale, flea market, antique store, etc.), and you decide to come to this area for a vacation, it’s tax deductible if you do business with him. He said the furtherest customer he has is in Texas. Once a year they bring a load from their antique store and exchange it for some Virginia antiques to take back to Texas. Their timeshare at Mount Massanutten is tax deductible.

He is located at 9328 Spotswood Trail (Route 33), in McGaheysville, Virginia. Right across from Mount Massanutten’s Four Season Resort in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

Kneetoe

I know this post is kind of old, but I just stumbled across it — I am surprised there are a couple of Seattle folks on here who seem to be unaware of the Lakewood Starlight Swapmeet http://www.starliteswapmeet.com/

It fluctuates between pretty good and awesome. I have gotten bunches of strange stuff there — a life-sized foam injected model of a Labrador Retriever, moose antlers, Fonzie paint-by-number paintings, and belt buckles, just to name a few things. You can get cheap landscaping plants from canceled construction projects, every kind of power tool and hand tool you can imagine (some are even maybe not stolen!) The people watching is of course the best.

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Gladys Gravyboots

I’ve lived in the Sky Valley (of which Monroe, WA is a part) for over a decade & would like to say don’t bother with the Monroe swap meet! It used to be OK, but is just plain lame these days: full of garage sale rejects & over priced. If you’re in the area, stop by (it runs every weekend), but don’t make a special trip, you’ll just be disappointed.
However! Every-so-often, the Evergreen State Fairgrounds hosts the “World’s Largest Garage Sale” and that IS worth the trip.
My Auntie lives on the Longbeach Peninsula & each Memorial Day weekend, there is a Peninsula-wide Community Yard Sale. A few hours drive from Seattle, but worth it. Mill Creek (north of Seattle) also has an annual community sale, but I’m not sure which weekend it is…

The best flea market I´ve ever been in my life is in Paris. It is a must see ,no doubt about it, it is also the biggest of all. Le Marché des Puces is fantastic, it has antiques and a lot of different stuff. It opens only in the weekends.