In the earlier iteration of my weblog, I had a page entitled The Thrifty Guide. It was basically a list of a few flea markets and some thrift stores I frequented when I lived on the west side, along with some commentary and details. I’m going to start it again here, and just add to it when I have time, starting with the local Los Angeles flea market calendar. Or, my calendar, anyway.
first saturday – john muir art + antique fair
When I lived by the beach, I tried to never miss this market; it was small but always had some reliable bargains. Admission was $1 a few years ago, but I’m not sure what it is now. 9-3pm. Corner of Ocean Park and Lincoln in Santa Monica.
first sunday – pasadena city college
This is probably my favorite market (although I haven’t had the best of luck in the last few months) because it’s big enough to find something great, but small enough to get through in a morning. Park in the PCC garage and you probably don’t have to pay – I say “probably” because the signage has been confusing in the past, warning us that we needed to pay for parking but also pointing us toward machines that didn’t see fit to take our money. At any rate, it’s only $2 or $3, and there is no other admission fee. Get there early. The market opens at 7am, but you can usually sneak in at 8 or 8:30 and still find some treasures. PCC students sell coffee and other drinks, along with some decidedly non-vegan snacks. A few good clothing vendors, lots of collectibles, some furniture. Don’t follow the google directions – park in the garage off Del Mar. This market is rain or shine since a large portion of it is inside a parking structure.
Here are some things I have seen there:
second saturday – venice high school flea market
Like the John Muir fair, I haven’t been here since I moved from the west side to midtown a couple years ago, but I liked to stop by here regularly. I believe admission is still free, and parking is free. Located at (duh) Venice High School, which is an interesting relic in its own right.
second sunday – (sigh) rose bowl flea market
Okay, I know a lot of people go to the Rose Bowl. This does not make it right. Here is a list of things I like about the Rose Bowl: it’s huge, so the sheer volume of things makes it likely to find something; parking’s not that bad; it does have some good furniture sometimes; it’s a flea market. Here is a list of things I do not like about the Rose Bowl: it’s huge, so you can barely get through half of it before you want to punch someone in the face or collapse in an exhausted heap or both; parking kind of sucks; you have to get there before 7:30 to avoid punching someone in the face; you have to pay at least $8 to get in, and more than that if you get there at a reasonable hour; it’s so crowded with people that by 8:30 you’re having to push your way through the aisles; it’s really hot in the summer; it’s a tourist attraction so prices are sometimes higher than they might be at a less popular market. Instead…
every sunday – melrose trading post
This is my every week, neighborhood market. It’s small, so I often walk away empty-handed, and that’s perfectly fine. It’s great for clothing, if you’re the kind of person who was too small or unborn to remember the 80’s but wants to dress like some kind of Flock of Seagulls groupie. I’ve found some wonderful scarves, lamps, drawings, rugs, and general housewares here, including The Greatest Thing I’ve Ever Found, which will be written about at a later date. I digress. Admission is $2, or $1 with this coupon. Perfectly cool to get there 9 or after. Free parking.
third sunday – long beach antique market
I lurve this market, despite the $5 admission. It’s totally worth it as long as you get there before 8am – 7:30 is even better. This is a great market for furniture, hardware, and better collectibles (a lot of my Fiesta has come from here), and, like PCC, is big enough to find something but small enough to get through in a morning. Lots of industrial and midcentury modern styles. Parking is easy IF you use the secret parking – the garage off of Lew Davis, not the open air lot off Conant (it’s free). Don’t bother getting there after 8:30 – shortly after that the line starts trailing down the block and it can reach Rose Bowl proportions. Sometimes it’ll also be held on a 5th Sunday. I have seen here:
(I could here mention the Santa Monica Airport antique market, which happens the first and fourth Sunday of the month, but I went a few times and didn’t like it at all. People were snooty and prices were high. If you want to give it a shot and let me know I’m wrong, go for it.)
Also worth mentioning is the Torrance Antique Street Faire, which is held on the 4th Sunday. I’ve only been there once and had a great time – it’s cool because it’s on a street where there are several antique stores, and they open early for the market.