Local flea markets offer serendipitous steals to shoppers

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It is no secret that Los Angeles boasts a wide array of flea markets, distinctive for their goods, customers and locations. But the markets, much like their wares, can be hidden gems tucked out of sight from even the most vigilant shopper. From a parking garage market in Pasadena to an elementary school lot in Silverlake, these indie markets are excellent spots to spend a hot weekend afternoon.

Pasadena City College Flea Market

For music and antique junkies looking to add to their collection without breaking the bank, the Pasadena City College (PCC) Flea Market showcases a plethora of hidden treasures. Every first Sunday of the month, hundreds of vendors attract customers to their incredibly diverse stands, both on the large campus and inside the three-story parking structure.

Each floor has its attractions: the underground first floor is home to a variety of antique furniture, house plants, home decor, comic books and old-fashioned toys. The second, ground-level floor contains endless racks of vintage clothes, unconventional jewelry, instruments, photo prints and other unique finds. The third and final floor is a music lover’s dream, complete with hundreds of CDs, bootleg concert DVDs, original band shirts and posters and rare singles and LPs.

For customers hungry after hours of exploring, the flea market now features food trucks to curb those pangs as well. Best of all, admission for the PCC Flea Market is free, so visitors can spend their money on unique finds instead of an entry fee. Shoppers looking to expand their music selection, decorate their home or just stand out from the crowd with one-of-a-kind clothing and accessories should look no further than the PCC Flea Market.

Next Flea Market: Dec. 7, 8 a.m.– 3 p.m. on 1570 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena.

Melrose Trading Post

Set aside at least three hours for a trip to the Melrose Trading post; any less, and you will spend your days dreaming of the stands you never got to explore in this seemingly endless market. Boasting over 200 vendors, it is a treasure trove of bargain finds both old and new.

Those looking to stock up on layers for the winter will appreciate the abundance of old military jackets and leather cowboy boots for sale. Customers hoping to decorate their dorm should spend extra time at the front of the market, where vintage trinkets can be bargained down to student-friendly prices. Just remember that bringing cash is a must, as many vendors will not accept cards and admission is $2.

Shoppers dedicating the bulk of their day to scouring the market should also take advantage of the food trucks and stands parked toward the back. From organic, vitamin-enriched hot chocolate to spicy Indian curries, there is enough culinary variety to please the diverse crowd this market draws. And it definitely attracts a crowd—the market gets packed by mid-afternoon and parking fills up fast, so be sure to arrive early to claim a spot.

The Melrose Trading Post is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays, at 7850 Melrose Avenue.

Silverlake Flea

Off the corner of Sunset Boulevard’s seemingly endless stream of cars lies the quaint and quiet Silverlake Art, Craft and Vintage. Only beginning its fifth year, the flea market’s cozy and communal atmosphere appeals to vendors and buyers alike despite its small size.

A group of about 20 vendors set up shop behind the Micheltorena Elementary School, laying out tables of old-fashioned knick-knacks or clothing racks stuffed with colorful shirts and dresses. Many of the vendors specialize in vintage clothes, some even dating back to the 1920s, but there are also those who sell handmade leather products, succulents or dessert-shaped soaps. Food vendors like Coolhaus and The Breakfast Truck line the street bordering the main entrance.

Several customers have reviewed the market negatively online, complaining about its lack of vendors or attendees. But the budding flea market has promise, according to the vendors who return every month to sell their goods.

“This fair is a good fair, and it has potential,” vendor Mariana Desousa said. “It’s a great location and it’s free, which is not true of a lot of other places.”

Desousa is one of the many vendors to frequent the flea markets across L.A., including those in Venice and Santa Monica. Although Silverlake does not rival these markets in size, its eclectic collection of vintage items make it a worthwhile trip.

Silverlake Art, Craft and Vintage is open the second Saturday of every month, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1511 Micheltorena St.