A shopper's guide to the Rose Bowl Flea Market

Everything you need to know to shop the Rose Bowl Flea Market like a design star is in our essential guide
Rose Bowl Flea Market
Photograph: Rozette Rago Rose Bowl Flea Market
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The Rose Bowl Flea Market is all about superlatives: It’s one of the largest, oldest and most famous flea market options in Los Angeles and maybe the whole country, not to mention one of the most Instagrammed locations in L.A. Approaching all that can be daunting, so arrive with cash, comfortable shoes and plenty of time. You’ll find plenty of antiques and vintage items from every era, alongside crafts, clothes and unexpected treasures, all mixed up with no particular rhyme or reason, which, we happen to think, is all part of the charm. It may not be as organized as the best antique stores or stores for vintage clothing, but that's fine with us. 

When does the Rose Bowl Flea Market happen?

The market’s 2,500 vendors set up on the second Sunday of each month. For 2017, that means the remaining dates are May 14, June 11, July 9, August 13, September 10, October 8, November 12 and December 10. Shoppers can peruse between the hours of 5am to 4:30pm.  

How much do tickets cost?

Ticket prices vary based on how early you want to arrive. The pros typically pay the premium to get in earlier in the morning, before the crowds pick over the goods. Tickets sold between 5 and 7am are $20, 7 to 8am is $15, 8 to 9am is $12 and from 9am until 3pm, when ticket sales end, tickets are $9. All tickets are sold at the Rose Bowl box office and are not available for advance purchase.

Where does the Rose Bowl Flea Market take place?

The flea market sets up in a sprawling ring around the outside of the Rose Bowl Stadium, not on the athletic field itself. As soon as you approach the area, you’ll be guided to large parking areas (much of it free, though you’ll pay to park extra close) and ample signage will direct you to the market entrance.

Do you have any tips for shopping the market? 

Well, we don't, but Ivy Alphonse of SGV Pickers does. “Follow your favorite vendors on Instagram and comment as soon as you see something you want so we know to hold it for you," she says. "The best items get sold to dealers before the market even opens.” 

Two vendors to seek out

Photograph: Rozette Rago

SGV Pickers

For mid-century mod

This husband-and-wife duo have been bringing some of the best mid-century modern furniture and décor to the Rose Bowl for years. They scour sales and shops across the region to select only prime pieces to set out on market day, making them a favorite of busy interior designers and collectors who don’t have time to sort through a sea of questionable pieces.

Photograph: Rozette Rago

Ostok Mapeme

For crystals straight from the source

Durango, Mexico, is home to world-famous mines and, while they produce a variety of interesting minerals, the workers mostly concentrate on extracting gold and other commodities for export. Salvador Ramirez went back to his hometown to work directly with those miners to give them a second source of income, collecting beautiful semi-precious crystals and stones that otherwise fall by the wayside. He brings specimens up to L.A. to sell at the market to geology enthusiasts and New Age healers alike.  

Want to make a day of it in Pasadena?

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