America's Best Flea Markets

Sure, you can learn a lot about a destination by touring its museums and visiting its landmarks. But to find the heart of a place, spend a few hours at one of its flea markets. We picked the top five spots in the U.S. to get in on the action.

Where & when: Alameda, Calif.; first Sunday of each month.
What: The San Francisco skyline and the hills of Marin County serve as a cinematic backdrop for this 800-plus-vendor market on the main runway of a decommissioned naval base on San Francisco Bay. Organizers enforce a 20-year-minimum age rule for sale items, which guarantees you'll be shopping for real-deal relics (like French travel posters, Hollywood movie memorabilia, and early-20th-century Japanese pottery), not tables of tube socks and cheap electronics. The layout is clear and intuitive, with long, evenly spaced rows arranged in a grid; thoughtful touches like pushcarts for hauling heavy purchases, a porcelain-repair kiosk, and free parking with a shuttle service add to the appeal. There's even a handy printable map on the market's website.
Best shot at a bargain: Fewer sellers turn out from January through March, but those who do are often more eager to negotiate.
Gigi's find: "I grew up in Texas, where learning to play dominoes is a rite of passage. I've been collecting vintage sets from various flea markets over the years, including this one from Alameda Point."


Get Inspired with more from

Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

Budget Travel Real Deals

See more deals »


Our newsletter delivers vacation inspiration straight to your inbox.

Check Prices