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photo illustration of flea market items on a price tag with a bright yellow background.
(Jim Cooke / Los Angeles Times; photos by Luis Sinco)

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 lisa.boone@latimes.com and we may check it out to add to our list.

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Laneya Christine Johnson displays her handmade teddy bear thigh high boots at the Black Market Flea.
(Rah-San “Sage” Bailey)

Black Market Flea

Downtown L.A. Flea market
This monthly flea market and community gathering offers fashion, food and handmade goods created by Black people. As Image beauty editor at large Darian Symoné Harvin writes in her profile of founder Mayah Hatcher, the flea has “become a kind of connective tissue for Black-owned fashion in the city.”

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.
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A woman shops for antiques at at an outdoor swap meet
(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Long Beach Antique Market

Long Beach Flea market
For 40 years, “Long Beach Flea,” as it’s better known, has been a wonderland for serious treasure hunters. The most dedicated among them arrive at Veterans Memorial Stadium, the market’s home base, at 5:30 a.m., ready to push their carts and lug their wagons through the aisles and aisles of stalls before the crowds swarm in. They know there are gems to be found and deals to be made (price negotiation is still welcomed by many vendors). Although many vintage markets have become more curated (read: Instagram-ready), Long Beach Flea remains a weird and wild grab-bag. You might find an assortment of Midcentury Modern furniture next to a stall filled with 1970s rotary phones next to a vendor selling rare curiosities such as an Alcatraz sign, old state park maps and a 1959 copy of “The Complete Book of Hot Rodding.” And that’s the fun of it.

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.
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A woman inspects a cowboy boot at an outdoor flea market
(Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times)

Los Feliz Flea

Los Feliz Flea market
The free market, which offers as many as 190 vendors on a blacktop outdoor area of Marshall High School, features several food trucks, DJ music and a certain ’70s vibe, from the poster graphics to the wide selection of T-shirts from the classic-rock era. Vintage clothes, art and ironic detachment are dominant elements; one vendor posted a sign promoting “pants that will make people say: Wow! That person must have a lot of sex!” Another vendor offered close-up portraits of eyes — just the iris. Several vendors said they appreciate the mellow attitude of buyers and vendors alike. The dog-friendly market (so long as they’re leashed) runs Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Marshall High School, 3939 Tracy St., Los Angeles. There are two free parking lots on Griffith Park Boulevard but many buyers wind up parking on surrounding residential streets. If you go that route, be careful — those streets can be narrow.

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.
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Kimonos at an outdoor flea market
(Adam Tschorn/Los Angeles Times)

Melrose Trading Post

Fairfax Flea market
This flea-market-meets-people-watching spectacular occupies the Fairfax High School parking lot at the corner of Melrose and Fairfax avenues every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. In addition to a curated selection of old and new apparel, accessories, arts and crafts and furnishings that skews heavily toward the Y2K-meets-L.A.-streetwear aesthetic, there’s a fleet of food trucks and a live-music stage that gives the whole affair a festive feel. With acres of cheap sunglasses, racks of hand-crocheted vests, tie-dyed workwear jackets and reissued vintage concert T-shirts and table after table of bath salts, middle-finger candles and oddly shaped area rugs (including — but not limited to — a crushed can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, a carton of oat milk or Ryan Gosling’s head), there’s something to surprise and delight almost everyone. Some of our favorites from a recent visit include Patchy Patchenstein’s acres of iron-on patches (our favorite depicts one slice of bread saying to another: “Without you I’d be toast”), embroidery hoops decorated with plant-focused Scrabble-tile sayings like “Soilmates,” “Grow With the Flow” and “Botany Plants Lately” (by IssaEmbroidery) and a stall called 1 Off Project where you can bring your own garments (or dig through a bin) for an on-the-spot screen-printed upgrade. (Pro tip: Since there’s frequently a line at the main entrance on Melrose, head for the one off Fairfax, which is often less congested.) Tickets are $5 (with $2 booking fee if purchased online).
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Pasadena City College Flea Market
(Brittany Levine Beckman/Los Angeles Times)

Pasadena City College Flea Market

Pasadena Flea market
Be prepared to haggle — and to hoof it. You’re more likely to hear the hundreds of vendors rattle off possible prices than to see tags on the bits and bobs spread out across three campus parking lots on the first Sunday of every month from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Although sprawling, this free flea market has more breathing room — and less variety — than its cross-town counterpart at the Rose Bowl. You’ll find home decor (with a smattering of furniture), Goodwill-style clothes and the occasional oddity at PCC. Amid the tables full of knickknacks, I recently spotted a framed corsetry course diploma from 1915, a pink poodle rocking horse, vintage typewriters, old dolls fit for a student horror film, Lego figures, video game controllers, used skateboards, Buddha statues, ’70s Penthouse magazines and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Doc Martens. One of the shopping lots is indoors and features several vinyl-record vendors, a few of whom will accept trades and chat about partying in Hollywood in the ’70s. The only food and beverages available are from a Jones Coffee Roasters truck and a vendor selling hot dogs, tamales and agua fresca. Parking is a breeze in Lot 5, a multilevel structure on South Bonnie Avenue between East Colorado and East Del Mar boulevards, but be prepared to walk several minutes through campus to the market in Lots 1, 3 and 4. Parking is $2 (cash or card) but don’t bother waiting in line to get a parking permit in the car lot. There are yellow permit machines inside the shopping area too. Leashed dogs are allowed, and you’ll see plenty on-site, along with shoppers towing granny carts and wagons.
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A woman looks through clothes on a rack
(Lisa Boone/Los Angeles Times )

Pickwick Vintage Show

Downtown L.A. Flea market
You get a sense of what awaits you before you’ve even left the parking garage at Row DTLA as stylists, costumers and designers decked out in vintage finery and Telfar bags return to their cars with bags jam-packed with vintage finds. (Others sit at the entrance and wait for assistance.)

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.
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People shop for antiques at an outdoor flea market
(Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times)

Rose Bowl Flea Market

Pasadena Flea market
It’s big, old and one of a kind, dating back more than 50 years, and it essentially fills the Rose Bowl’s parking lot in Pasadena on the second Sunday of every month from 5 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event draws as many as 2,500 vendors and 20,000 buyers and browsers. Its largest area is devoted to antiques and collectibles, followed by vintage clothing and related items. There’s also an area earmarked for arts and crafts, other areas set aside for new merchandise and a food court near the entrance. Service animals allowed. The flea market, which costs $12 to enter or $20 for admission between 5 and 9 a.m. (children under 12 free with a paying adult), is at 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena. Tickets must be purchased online. There’s free parking south of the Rose Bowl parking lot and a VIP lot closer to the sales area that’s $15.
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Blankets and carpets from Africa at an outdoor stall
(Lisa Boone/Los Angeles Times)

Santa Monica Airport Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market

Santa Monica Flea market
This dog-friendly market, held on the first and fourth Sunday of every month from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the parking lot at the airport, is well organized and eclectic and offers plenty of room to move.

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.
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People shop for clothes at an outdoor market
(Lisa Boone/Los Angeles Times)

Silver Lake Flea

Echo Park Flea market
This “cuter, smaller” version of the Melrose Trading Post, as it bills itself, is a lot less overwhelming to park, browse and shop. Staged in the parking lot of the historic Taix French restaurant, the outdoor market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers a wide variety of products, including inexpensive indie streetwear priced as low as $10, jewelry, small-batch candles and vinyl records.

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.
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Shoppers view tiny figurines for sale at an outdoor market
(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times)

Topanga Vintage Market

Woodland Hills Flea market
Lori Rotblatt and Patrice Curedale were single San Fernando Valley moms with a passion for art and vintage when they started this market in 2012 with 50 vendors in the Westfield Promenade parking lot in Woodland Hills.Ten years later, the market is flourishing in its “forever home,” the parking lot of Pierce College (Victoria Boulevard and Mason Avenue in Winnetka), on the fourth Sunday of every month from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., with more than 200 vendors and around 3,500 visitors. Admission is $5; children 12 and under enter free.

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.”
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Items for sale on a rug
(Jeanette Marantos/Los Angeles Times)

Ventura Wednesday Swap Meet

Flea market
Remember the camaraderie of high school, when, for better or for worse, everybody knew everybody else? That’s how this market feels, like a comforting stroll through familiar corridors, with vendors who greet you — and each other — warmly.

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.
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