Last Sunday, James and I went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market for the very first time!  J did some research and decided that we should go at 5AM to get the “good stuff”.  He had already napped during the day, so he just stayed up.  I slept for about 2 hours before he woke me up at 4:30AM to go.

We got there when it was still pitch black, making it hard to take photos (shivering in the cold didn’t help either).  The photo above is when we first arrived at the gate and James is holding his VIP pass – it costs more to get in there early.  He had his shopping cart ready to pick up some goodies!

It was dark and empty.  Vendors were just arriving themselves and the buyers that were there THAT early were “expert” buyers.  They knew exactly which vendors to go to and what to look for.

The photo above was pretty much the only photo I got in the dark.  Behind these sailboats (to the right) is the line of cars & vans of vendors just coming in to set up shop.

We walked by a tray of golf balls autographed by famous golfers, actors, etc.  I took the photo for our friend who came with us, but he had to go back to his car (and eventually went home) to pick up more clothing to wear.  Tip if you’re going really early (esp. in January):  wear layers.  It is c-c-c-old in the morning!  Wear a hat, gloves, sweater, and jacket!  The day will slowly warm up and if it’s a nice LA day, you’ll be in a t-shirt by late noon.

Rows and rows of vendors.  We spent 6 hours there!..and we only saw the vintage sections, we didn’t even get the chance to go to the “new items” area!

A huge pile of clothes!  ..didn’t really see anyone dig into it though.

This photo is for my sister-in-law who LOVES Snoopy!

I thought this feather hat was quite intricate and interesting.

A teepee!!! I totally want a teepee! It would go great on our patio. ;P

James was hunting for a new jacket.  He made me take photos of him trying them on because a lot of the vendors didn’t have mirrors.  He had to rely on the photos and on me to tell him if I like the jacket (on him) or not.  I decided to “collect” the photos. ;D  I didn’t like any of the ones in the photos above – too short, too wide, and ..doesn’t he have 10 shirts like that one??

Tried to capture just how big this flea market is.  There’s an arroyo that runs through the parking area of the Rose Bowl, which is pretty much where the vendors set up.  On the side of the arroyo where I’m standing from is just for the vintage clothing area, where we spent half of our time.  If you can see across the way, you’ll see all the tents and vehicles that stretch across and all the way to the stadium for just the vintage section..and then there are vendors inside for new items, which we didn’t even get to see!

I thought the print on this sweatshirt was really cute. 🙂

Another jacket that J liked.  It’s a shooting jacket and he ReeEeeally wanted it, but where was he going to wear that to?? ..and I thought the sleeves were too short – but maybe that’s so that you don’t get your sleeves caught on your gun??  I must say it was really well made and of great quality.  ..and no, the jacket is not crooked.  The right shoulder had thick padding to rest your gun.

This is something I would love for our patio too – a fishie candle-holder!

This would make a great display table if you had a shop or pantry table for the kitchen.

I thought this mannequin head was so cute!  Went really well with the hat they put on her.

This was fu-Reakie!

Cool old canisters and containers.

I really didn’t like this one!  What do YOU think??

He pretty much dug through every single jacket & coat rack.  He REALLY wanted a jacket!

FINALLY!  A jacket we both liked!  SOLD! ..and J is a happy camper because he’s been wanting a varsity jacket for a little while now. ;D

The Rose Bowl Flea Market isn’t just about shopping, it’s an event!  By the time we were leaving, there were clowns at the gate juggling, riding a unicycle, and walking on stilts!  The crowd going in was ridiculous and when we got to the parking lot and saw the massive amount of cars, we were glad we got there early! OH!.. Last tip: REMEMBER where you parked your CAR!  Pay very close attention to that!  The parking lot is huge and there are a lot of cars!

Now that you’ve gone through my photos, which, by the way, I did not take a lot of considering the amount of things that we saw, I’ll let you know what our experience was and what I’d suggest.

  • DoN’T go at 5AM!!! .. unless you’re one of those “expert” buyers and know exactly where you’re going and what you’re looking for.  Vendors aren’t even fully set up at that time and you’re going to waste time going back to the empty spots that you’ve missed.  Go when there’s light!..but don’t get there too late either.  James and I left around 11AM and the parking lot was PACKED!
  • As mentioned before, dress in layers.  Remember that you’re going to be outdoors the whole time and if you’re there early, you’ll be out in the cold.
  • Don’t go thinking that you are bargain shopping or that you’ll snag a priceless vintage piece for close to nothing.  These vendors are there ALL the time and know their stuff!  They know what’s rare, unique, and they know their prices!
  • They offer VIP parking, but it really isn’t necessary… and again, remember where you park your car!

We came out with a planter, J’s varsity jacket, and some shell buttons and 2.5 yds of fabric for me.  I really wanted to find some vintage patterns, but only found 2 vendors with patterns.  Hopefully I’ll find some more the next time we go.

I hope you get the chance to check out the Rose Bowl Flea Market.  It’s on the 2nd Sunday of every month at the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CA.  Check out their website for more info!  ..and let me know what you get! ;D