When shopping at Beverly Center, the Grove, the Galleria and even Downtown, you can come up on some pretty exciting finds. Sales, must-haves, and essentials are ripe for the buying. But, you wanna know what the mall doesn’t have? Treasures. Yeah, I’m talking about those patina’d keepsakes, that pair of owl bookends from 1966 that hang proudly on your apartment wall, maybe even the original Lou Reed’s Transformer LP, or the pair of sick vintage platform kicks that you paid almost nothing for. You know, the ones that make you feel like a member of the Bee Gees? (C’mon—you love it.)
And the mall definitely doesn’t have a bizarre photo album of someone else’s great grandpappy’s 90th birthday party—if you’re into that sort of thing. But, never fear! Treasures lurk almost everywhere in LA at some of the most incredible flea markets and swapmeets. From community college parking lots to the antique-lover’s dreamland, these magical markets and meets are thee place to be for scoring cold, hard treasures every month, weekend, and even on the daily in Los Angeles.
Rose Bowl Flea Market
The biggest and most grandiose of all the Los Angeles open air markets would have to be the Rose Bowl. So much, so that when you say, “I’m going to the flea market,” people automatically assume it’s this one. It’s large, long, and could take you several hours to walk through. Anyone who can hit every alcove and nook of this swap meet in one go deserves a medal. That’s how huge it is. You’ll find shops of all kinds, from maritime memorabilia (shells, coral, etc) to antique limited print lithographs. The Rose Bowl Flea Market is the real deal when it comes to having an Antiques Roadshow type of experience. The only downside? Admission is steep at a whole $8, but it’s an incredible market. If you want to really beat the crowds at this market, VIP admission and skip the line pricing are also available.
PCC Flea Market
We’ve already mentioned the Rose Bowl Flea Market, and I wholeheartedly condone your patronage to such a time-honored and legit incredible market, but let’s just say you don’t want to drop $600 on an armoire from 1890 in mint condition. For argument’s sake, you’re looking for a discounted (or very well-loved) vintage drawer chest, for around $50-100 instead; you will find this here. You’ll also find repeat sellers with rotating goodies, from low end luggage to unique, ages-old heirlooms.
Melrose Trading Post
Some really unique sellers flock to Melrose Trading Post, and some pretty hefty crowds too. Why? This market is one of the best flea markets in the country. It could be the varied offerings at each seller’s spot, from vintage fashion and antique decor to strange oddities and eclectic art, that keeps people coming to this open air bazaar, or it could be the half-farmer’s market, half swap meet feel to the gathering that entices just about every kind of shopper. So, you may wanna head here right at 9 AM opening to beat the crowds.
LACC Swap Meet
Every Saturday & Sunday
If one man’s trash is your treasure, this might be your new secret spot for securing the goods. Expect to score some serious steals on incredible finds here. You’ll have to wade through low end bargain sellers to get to the vintage and antique treasures. And then, once you find ’em, you’ll have to really dig. But, you could wind up paying next-to-nothing for quality goodies if you know how to spot ’em. But you totally do, you treasure hunter, you.
Situated in the heart of Silverlake, this open air market is filled with highly curated treasures, trendy mid-century furniture, strange artwork, and more. Don’t expect to walk away with a steal, as pricing in this marketplace can get pretty steep. You can expect to walk away with some really beautiful clothing, jewelry, decor, and treasures, however.
Long Beach Antique Market
Rated as one of the best markets in the US, the Long Beach Antique Market is the place to go if you want the Rose Bowl Flea Market inventory at nearly half the price. Tons of sellers haul items of the same quality, or even better than the Rose Bowl to this market. It’s outside of LA which helps deter the crowds, and helps you get to those goods without nearly the competition.
Los Angeles Harbor College Swap Meet
Whether you’re looking for something old or new (at a great price), LAHC Swap Meet’s got it. It’s off the beaten path, so discovering something truly remarkable is definitely par for the course. This is a great open air market to hit up if you’re not looking for anything particular, as this marketplace is home to all types of vendors that sell everything from cell phone accessories, makeup, and off-price goods to garage sale-style lots and estate heirlooms.