In my first Los Angeles Weekend Guide I let you in on a little secret, Southern California has amazing vintage markets where you can find the coolest and most unique products. Today I am dedicating a post to one of the most fabulous and manageable markets, The Long Beach Antique Market. I say manageable because you can easily complete this market in an afternoon as opposed to some of the larger ones where you really can’t see everything in a day.
The Long Beach flea market is located in Long Beach, California, one of my absolute favorite cities. It takes place the third Sunday of every month at Veteran’s Stadium which is right near the Long Beach Airport. One of the many reasons I love this market is the selection. There is a really good representation of all types of products so whatever you are looking for, you are likely to find it here. There are booths with vintage clothing, accessories and jewelry. There is home decor including pillows, rugs, furniture and artwork. There is tons of vintage merchandise particularly from the mid century era. There is also a ton of random stuff that you didn’t know you needed until you saw it and had to have it.
You can arrive for early admission between 5:30 am and 6:30 am and the price will be $12 per person or you can arrive during general hours from 6:30am to 2:00pm for $7. If you’ve never been to a vintage market before, lets start at the beginning with my advice on how to have a successful trip.
#1 Know When To Go: It gets really hot here in Southern California so if you are planning to go during the months of July through October, I recommend getting there early in the day. There is nothing worse than fighting the mid day crowds in triple digit temperatures. The upside to that is, the best merchandise is there first thing in the morning. Most of the designers and shopkeepers get there extremely early to snag the best stuff. During the winter and spring months from November to June the temperatures can be much less oppressive so it isn’t as imperative to get there early. That is unless you are on the hunt for a specific or popular item, then you will want to get there as early as you can.
#2 Be Prepared: Make sure to bring your own bags because most vendors will not provide you with bags and you want to make sure your treasures make it home in one piece. Having heavy canvas bags with you helps you be prepared for anything you might find and have to have. If you think you might be interested in larger or heavier items I highly recommend bringing a cart or a wagon. My best friend gave me a cart like this one from Amazon and it has saved me on numerous occasions. Whether I have purchased heavy objects that I can now easily wheel out to my car, or larger pieces of furniture that I can balance on the top of the cart, you have to be prepared. It’s all fun and games until you fall in love with something and have no way to get it out to your car.
#3 Dress Comfortably: This one is important. Odds are you will be walking around for a few hours and lugging lots of treasures with you. Comfortable shoes are a must and I do recommend close toed shoes as well. You will probably find yourself digging through treasures at different booths and you will be happy that you aren’t stubbing your toes everywhere you go. I also recommend bringing a comfortable, lightweight purse like a cross body. Even better, fanny packs are back in style! They’re calling them belt bags now but basically they’re fanny packs and they’re perfect for hands free shopping. Check out this cute one from Target that I love!
#4 Bring Cash: Some vendors will take a card but the majority of the vendors take cash only so come prepared!
#5 It’s OK To Make An Offer: At first you might feel a little awkward making an offer on something for lower than the ticketed price, but what I’ve found over the years is a lot of vendors build a little extra wiggle room in the pricing because they expect customers to make an offer. Sellers will usually tell you right away if the price is firm and generally in those circumstances I don’t try to push it. For the most part though, almost everyone has flexible pricing. I usually offer anywhere from $5-$10 less depending on the price of the item. If you are buying multiple items from the same seller that helps and you can make an offer for the pair or group of items together. The more you go you will start to recognize what different things should be selling for and you’ll be a pro at the flea market in no time.
#6 Remember Your Favorites: Many of the vendors return to the market each month so if you find a booth that is just your style and you want to visit again, make sure to get their card or write down their booth number. I have booths that I’ve been visiting and buying from for years. It’s really fun to develop relationships with the sellers because they will give you a heads up if they have something you’ve been on the hunt for before it hits the market.
That is my advice on how to have a successful trip to the market! If you have never attended before, I highly recommend making The Long Beach Antique Market your first. Check out the photos below for examples of the type of items you can expect to see at the market. Above all, expect the unexpected. You really never know what you might come across and the thrill of the hunt is the best!