From American Pickers to Pawn Stars and beyond, America is hungry for hidden gems, and the nation’s flea markets are just the place to go digging for them. This summer, check out any of these fleas across the nation. You never know what you might find. Plus, we’ve even included a few tips on how you can haggle with the best of them. And now, America’s best flea markets, in no particular order:
1. Nashville Flea Market, Nashville, TN
As if you needed an excuse to take a long weekend in Nashville. Averaging more than 1,000 vendors, the Nashville Flea Market is loaded with reasonably priced antiques, furniture, glassware, art and more, with dealers coming from 30 states. For those looking to take home one-of-a-kind wearable Nashville souvenirs, the market’s large selection of Western ware is the way to go.
When: Fourth weekend of every month
2. Brimfield Antique and Collectibles Show, Brimfield, MA
Flea aficionados accustomed to shopping in the South or Midwest regions might find the prices at the Brimfield Antique and Collectibles Show uncomfortably high. But the selection is world class, drawing buyers from major fashion brands to cruise the aisles for inspiration.
When: May, July, September
3. Brooklyn Flea, Brooklyn, NY
Set up in a 40,000-square-foot schoolyard in Fort Greene, the super hip Brooklyn Flea features about 150 vendors. While you might not find any killer bargains among their well-curated wares (these dealers know what they have), the vintage clothing tends to be a good buy. You’ll also want to pick up something hot and delicious from one of the many food vendors.
When: Every Saturday April–November, plus additional pop-up location dates
4. Rosebowl Flea Market, Pasadena, CA
The massive Rosebowl Flea Market outside of LA features about 2,500 vendors, with a range of goods—think vintage clothes, quirky art, cowboy boots, mid-century modern designs, and plenty more. The people-watching here is just as rich, and you might even spot the occasional celebrity perusing the aisles for something one of a kind.
When: Second Sunday of the month
The Elkhorn Antique Flea Market in southern Wisconsin’s a favorite among Midwest dealers, with about 500 vendors setting up on the Walworth County Fairgrounds. Browse around for reasonably priced mid-century furniture, vintage bicycles and—because you’re in Wisconsin—loads of wall-mounted antlers, among other finds.
When: Monthly, see web site.
6. Zapp Hall Antique Show, Warrenton, TX
This popular market draws antiques enthusiasts from around the country over nine days in the spring and fall. With beautiful rolling hills as your backdrop, Zapp Hall Antique Show boasts some pretty great deals. There’s a big social component here, too, with the infamous Junk-o-Rama Prom, plus Royer’s Round Top Cafe, a beer and wine garden, and live music.
When: Late September / early October; late March / early April
Now, haggle your way to victory! A few tips to get you started:
Know your wares
If you havean idea of what you want ahead of time, price-check those want-list items on eBay before you head out. This will give you a good reference point for their value.
Know when to haggle—and when not to
Negotiating a price is par for the course at flea markets—but there are rules. Dealers say they don’t appreciate being asked for a discount on items under $10. Instead group together a couple of items and then ask for a discount on the lot.
Cash is king
Credit cards charge vendors for every transaction, so you might be able to get a better price if you offer cash.
Timing is everything
Come early for the best selection, or arrive late for the best bargains. You’ll do especially well with heavier items like furniture, which vendors would rather sell at a discount than pack up and take home at day’s end.