I toyed around with the title of this post a bit. Do I say these are simply my favorite flea markets? Are they the ones you “absolutely need to see?” Yes and YES! The truth is, these are just about the best dang flea markets around – and I should know; I’ve shopped a lot of flea markets in my day.
Have I been to all of the flea markets in the world? Well, no. Have I been to all of the ones I am recommending? You bet! I’ve been to many, many more markets in my lifetime and there are others I would suggest – but these are THE BEST ones out there. They are markets that I’ve actually planned international vacations around.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m located in Philadelphia and only one of these markets is in my town. The rest are scattered across the globe – in other states or countries. If you’re still working on planning your summer vacation, put these markets on your “must see” list; I promise you that they won’t disappoint.
1. Brimfield Antique Market – Brimfield, MA
This is largest antique market in America, showcasing 5,000 dealers in 20+ fields. The town of Brimfield opens itself up for the market 3 times each year – in May, July and September. I have visited numerous times and found that May is when “the getting is good,” though the weather can be fickle. The hotels can book up months in advance so be sure to book quickly. You’ll find anything and everything here. You name it, Brimfield has it!
2. Rose Bowl Flea Market – Pasadena, CA
I shopped The Rose Bowl during a visit to see friends in LA – and boy oh boy had I been looking forward to it! You need to purchase a ticket for admission, but it’s totally worth it. There are lots of amazing vintage furniture, decor items (like a whole tent of brass objects) and even clothing. Like most markets, it’s best to get there first thing in the morning. Lots of “LA types” may be looking for the same thing as you and when there is only one…
3. The Paris Flea Market – Paris, FR
Let me start by saying, being able to shop this vintage market was a dream come true. I had many coworkers visit and shop Paris’ markets during my time running The Found Objects Department at Anthropologie. I had always been dying to go, so when I started planning a trip to Paris, the market was first on my list. There are many facets and fields to this market – with vendors in tents, shops and even storage lockers. The prices are steep, but the pieces are truly one-of-a-kind!
4. Clover Market – Chestnut Hill, PA
So there are a few good markets in Philadelphia, but Clover Market stands out to me the most. There are a good amount of crafts mixed in with the vintage items – which I truly don’t love. I have a few favorite vintage vendors who set up shop consistently – enough that if you aren’t into the crafts you can just walk by those tents. This market moves its location throughout its open season, so it’s not always in Chestnut Hill (but never too far from it). It’s worth looking up and traveling to its location if you’re on the hunt for weathered antiques and items with historic Philly charm.
5. Brooklyn Flea – Brooklyn, NY
Just as you would expect, Brooklyn has a great flea market scene. The Brooklyn Flea is a bit more curated than what you might expect from your typical flea market. You can meet local makers, selling their handcrafted goods. There’s a variety of special goods – like shibori textiles and live edge tables mixed in with original artwork and vintage treasures.
6. Raleigh Flea Market – Raleigh, NC
This market surprised me. I was visiting Alex’s hometown one weekend, when we were just starting to furnish our first house, and made a plan to visit The Raleigh Flea Market. To be honest, my expectations were low – but, man, was I in for a treat! The market was larger than I expected and filled with more treasures than I could’ve imagined. This location just so happens to be where I found my first piece of stranger art!
7. Portobello Road Market – London, UK
Antique shopping in London is a real treat. I am utterly obsessed with the “British vintage” vibe. From what I read, I expected this market to be more of, well, a market. In actuality, it’s a street of a bunch of vintage store fronts. Once we became aware of this, we just bipped and bopped in and out of whatever shop looked the most appealing. We wound up stumbling upon the most amazing British sporting goods shop and selecting some vintage goodies that now sit on our living room coffee table.
These photos are all from last month’s trip to Brimfield. I’ve been half a dozen times now and It’s the market I would recommend most of all. There is just SO MUCH STUFF. There’s no shortage of amazing finds – we always walk away with something – and I’m sure you will to.
Where your favorite places to shop antiques located? Are they in your state? Another country? Sound off in the comment section below and happy hunting!