If there’s anything better than finding a good deal, it’s the search that leads up to the finding. And there’s nowhere better for searching out special things at awesome prices than flea markets and swap meets. Garage sales are all well and good, but they don’t hold a candle to the bustle of a proper, established market.
Flea Market Finds
I’ve had the privilege of visiting flea markets in several states and have found some of my favorite possessions at these places.
The lime-green dresser in my bedroom came from a swap meet in Florida. I dug up the painting that hangs over my mantel—a portrait of a sea captain smoking a pipe—at a flea market in Illinois. The set of silver teaspoons I use to stir in my sugar every day was provided by a lively market in Texas.
In each case, I had to search through mountains of other things to find these treasures. If you’re someone who considers that kind of excavating a waste of time, these markets aren’t for you. But if you’re like me—delighting in the hunt, thrilled by the savings on amazing finds—you might just find your new hobby the minute you step into your first swap meet.
Here’s a list of some of the neatest swap meets and flea markets around the country, sure to entice bargain hunters from coast to coast.
Orange County Market Place – This weekend market in Costa Mesa offers all sorts of entertainment along with the shopping.
Mile High Market Place – Held in Henderson, this is the Rocky Mountain region’s largest year-round, open-air market.
Daytona Flea and Farmers Market – This serious market was voted one of the “Top 5 Markets in the Country” by USA Weekend.
Aloha Stadium Swap Meet – In the town of Aiea, 20 minutes from Waikiki, this is Hawaii’s largest open-air flea market.
Shipshewana Auction and Flea Market – Founded in 1922 as a livestock and cattle market, this market in Shipshewana is now the Midwest’s largest outdoor flea market.
New Orleans French Market’s Community Flea Market – This “open-air shopper’s paradise” is not only historic, but open every day.
Lafayette Jockey Lot – In the heart of Cajun country, this open-air market features more than 500 booths.
Brimfield Antique Show and Flea Market – The booths at the Brimfield Antique Show and the Brimfield Flea Market combine to form the largest open-air antique show in the country.
GreenFlea Market – GreenFlea has been offering wares in the open air for a quarter-century between W. 76th and W. 77th Streets on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
Brooklyn Flea – A newcomer to the market scene, Brooklyn Flea was founded in 2008 and is held at four locations: Fort Greene, Williamsburg, Smorgasburg, and Central Park.
Treasure Aisles – One of Ohio’s largest markets, this “Barrrgain Hunters Paradise” has a pirate theme that will (might?) amuse the whole family.
Traders Village – Houston’s premier flea market has thousands of shops covering 100+ acres.
First Monday Trade Days – One of the largest flea markets in the country, this event in Canton was founded 150 years ago as a market for horses and livestock.