11 unique L.A. flea markets to check out during your next treasure hunt
Intensely independent, L.A.’s flea markets are not just about shopping; they are also an immersive experience where you’ll encounter everything from spectacular people-watching at Melrose Trading Post to dancing at the Black Market Flea in South Los Angeles and downtown Los Angeles.
The range is impressive: In addition to the well-known Rose Bowl Flea Market, which has been running for more than 50 years, you can score sequined Pierre Cardin jackets from the 1960s at the monthly Pickwick Vintage Show at Row DTLA, vintage furnishings and hot rod magazines at the Long Beach Antique Market and African baskets and glass beads from Ghana at the Santa Monica Airport Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market.
From Long Beach to Ventura, we’ve selected our favorite flea markets for those looking for vintage clothes, home decor and antiques. As with our other Los Angeles guides, including the best gift shops, plant stores, nurseries and pot shops, this is not meant to be a definitive roundup. If we missed your favorite outdoor market in L.A., let us know. Send a quick line and photo to [email protected] and we may check it out to add to our list.
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Black Market Flea
Featuring more than 60 vendors, expect handmade clothing, small-batch apothecary items, vintage goods and dancing to music spun by local DJs. Since opening in June, the market has proved popular and tickets often sell out in advance. It’s a good idea to purchase tickets ($10) on Eventbrite or show up early. Keep an eye on its Instagram account, @blackmarketflea, for future dates.
Long Beach Antique Market
Held the third Sunday of every month at Veterans Memorial Stadium, 4901 E. Conant St., Long Beach. $10 for general admission, 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. $15 for early admission, 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. Children under 12 are free.
Los Feliz Flea
The company that produces Los Feliz Flea, Odd Market, also does events on the grass next to the Autry Museum of the American West in Griffith Park. Those events, known as Odd Nights at the Autry, had been on hiatus for the last two years but resumed in April and are set to continue through September on the third Friday of every month. The event runs 5 to 10 p.m. and typically features 18 food trucks (arrayed like a big circle of Conestoga wagons), up to 80 craft booths, inflatable rides for children, two live bands and a bar. Sometimes there’s museum access as well.
Melrose Trading Post
Pasadena City College Flea Market
Pickwick Vintage Show
Once inside the monthly outdoor market, you’ll find 45 local vendors offering racks of vintage clothing, accessories and jewelry ranging from colorful crocheted vests from the ’70s to sequined Pierre Cardin jackets from the ’60s.
Highlights on a recent visit included a full-length dress composed of appliqued daisies paired with a flower jacket, vintage denim, a fur-trimmed peignoir, delicate white bohemian cotton dresses, a metallic jumpsuit and lots of Pucci-like prints.
If you’d like to try something on, there are full-length mirrors and blue-and-white-striped changing rooms throughout. After shopping, grab some Japanese fried chicken at chef Kuniko Yagi’s Pikunico or stop for coffee and avocado toast at Go Get Em Tiger.
The market opens at 10 a.m. for early buyers and noon for the rest, and it closes at 4 p.m. Limited tickets, from $10 to $20, are available at the door; but it’s best to buy tickets in advance as time slots may sell out.
Rose Bowl Flea Market
Santa Monica Airport Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market
Park (blessedly easy to do), pay your $5 admission fee (kids are free) and stroll through a wide assortment of vendors selling everything from African textiles and shabby-chic housewares to midcentury furniture and home accessories (the bags of scalloped linen doilies were a hot seller on a recent visit). You never know when you might discover a gem among one seller’s heirlooms, such as some Sascha Brastoff ceramic plates.
Although the market is popular with interior designers, it also offers a surplus of vintage fashion — handmade hats, jackets made from crocheted granny squares, tribal dresses and Native American jewelry. You’ll also find several plant sellers, including rare succulents and pottery at the Succulents and Cactiholic Shop. The market is at 3223 Donald Douglas Loop South, Santa Monica, and costs $5 to enter.
Silver Lake Flea
In addition to Carhartt jeans and handmade jewelry, you’ll find vintage sunglasses and band T-shirts (Pennywise, Black Sabbath, Siouxsie and the Banshees among them).
The free market at 1925 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, is surrounded by inexpensive street and city lot parking and is a short walk to Echo Park Lake if you’re up for a post-shopping excursion. Food trucks are known to stop by; otherwise there are plenty of dining options within walking distance on Sunset Boulevard.
Topanga Vintage Market
The market uses a simple formula for success, Rotblatt said. You won’t find food booths, new items or “junk” — it only permits food trucks selling prepared foods, vendors selling “vintage” items at least 20 years old and arts and crafts sold by the vendors who made them. These include Aaron Voronoff Trotter, who sells decks of playing cards illustrated with sketches he’s done while visiting cities all over the world, or Hollywood couple Rodney Eastman and Angela Monzon, owners of Deep Cuts (@deep_kuts) who found a set of 1910 Library of Natural History books stacked by their storage unit dumpster one day. The books were crumbling but their black-and-white illustrations were so exquisite that the couple carefully cut out and framed them.
Shoppers don’t get tickets to enter, just stickers that feature goofy sayings such as “I have a hoarding disorder” or “Old is the new young,” Rotblatt said. “We want shoppers to start off with a smile on their face and make this a really fun event.”
Ventura Wednesday Swap Meet
The market, run by SNA Estate Sales & Auctions, opens at 7 a.m. and by midmorning, the vendors have begun joining the customers, checking out competitors’ offerings through closing at 2 p.m. They greet one another like old friends, sharing gossip in the vintage world while casually eyeing wares and politely stepping aside when it looks like someone is going to make a sale.
It costs $2 to enter this swap meet at the Ventura County Fairgrounds at 10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura, where you’ll find clean, ample restrooms and plenty of free parking. And since you’re shopping on a Wednesday morning, it has that nervous, thrilling feel of skipping school to go to the circus. There are vegetable stands at the entrance, along with a man who sells plants and fruit trees, and then the market opens up to what feels like acres of open-air stalls.
Some items look a little worse for wear, like one man’s hodgepodge of garage-sale tools, kitchen equipment and stained Ugg boots. But then a display of 1990s action figures takes your breath away.
Food trucks are intermixed with vendors selling jewelry and rare books and old fur stoles. At a recent market, one stall had a pile of scooters and musical instruments, another an inviting display of vintage furniture, complete with an old Victrola record player and wooden rocking horse. In short, come expecting to find something you can’t live without.