I love HGTV. Let me rephrase that: I’m addicted to HGTV! I keep hoping that the team from Love It or List It will redo my house. Alas, it doesn't seem imminently likely. But another show that I've really gotten into lately is Flea Market Flip. If you haven’t seen it, the show pits two teams against each other who are tasked with finding flea market pieces, DIYing them with a new, refurbished look and selling them. Now, I'm not really in the market to start a DIY business, but the show has definitely piqued my interest in flea markets. So I decided to scour all the flea markets in the DMV to see who has the best home goods, clothing and accessories (even if they need a little TLC) in order to make your flea market hunting all the easier. Happy Hunting!
The Flea Market at Eastern Market: Open every Sunday year round, this oldie-but-a-goodie just celebrated its 34th anniversary. The experience is about shopping, sifting through troves of unique finds such as antiques and collectibles as well as local handmade artisan products, and even international wares from five continents! Though not the largest flea market (70 vendors), it’s one of the most diverse in the nation. It was once voted second best in the world by the Huffington Post. According to the flea market operator, it has also served as an incubator for many small businesses. Some have settled in the Flea Market neighborhood and another became a large chain jewelry store that operates all over the country. Plus, the Historic Eastern Market has food merchants and a separate outdoor food court by local food vendors for you to enjoy after you work an appetite treasure hunting!
Georgetown Flea Market: The Georgetown Flea Market (open Sundays only, year round) began in 1972. It has a little bit of everything -- antiques, collectibles, art, decorative arts, linens, lace, vintage clothes, ivories, chandeliers, lamps, old toys, dolls, antique tools furniture, rugs, pottery, china, jewelry, silver, stained glass, books and photographs.
MarketSW: Make it an evening of shopping fun at MarketSW. Come at night (4 -10 p.m.) on the second and fourth Fridays of every month from May 12 through October 27. You’ll find a mix of art, crafts, handmade jewelry, accessories, bath/beauty, vintage and antique, furniture, furnishings, as well as specialty food items. It’s billed as an evening of art, food trucks, live music and performances, plus there's a beer garden and cigar lounge.
Arlington Civitan Flea Market: Open the first Saturday of each month, some might call it a flea market, but realistically it’s the area's largest garage sale -- literally, it spans four levels of an actual parking garage! A little advice from me to you: get there early and be ready to dig!
Bethesda Farm Women’s Market: Started in 1932 by farmers’ wives selling baked goods and produce, it’s the oldest market in the area. It’s open year round indoors on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays focusing on food. On Sundays, the building is closed and the Sunday Flea is open in front on Wisconsin Avenue where you’ll find jewelry, apparel, collectibles, antiques and posters.
Tips Before You Go
- Dress in layers.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Take cash, even though many have mobile credit card readers, some are cash only and you don't want to leave disappointed.
- Eat before you go and carry snacks and water if you are super serious about your thrifting and don’t want to wait on lines by food trucks or food stands.
- Take a tape measure, and if you're looking for a specific piece of furniture, write down the dimensions of your available space.
- Bring a color swatch if you're trying to match or coordinate something.
- Arrive early since you don’t want to be disappointed that things are picked-over or gone.
- Bring heavy-duty totes to carry home your finds, or some people bring a little wagon to carry their finds from place to place.
- If you're buying big items/furniture, make sure you have a vehicle it can fit in
- Do haggle, nicely.