Rose Bowl Flea – Ready for Bargains!


It ‘s time to head to the Rose Bowl Flea – ready for bargains!


It’s that time of year again, where the weather gets better and people are out hunting for treasures. Of course, if you are in Southern California, it’s always flea market weather at the Rose Bowl. Held the second Sunday of every month, the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena is at 1001 Rose Bowl Drive. The flea market fills up with about 2,500 vendors peddling their treasures and hoards of people searching for a find! We are headed to the Rose Bowl Flea – ready for bargains!

Flea Market Pasadena

Recently Chantelle and I had the chance to visit the Rose Bowl Flea Market and bring home unique items for Bungalow 47. Even if you only go to be inspired, it’s the place to find whatever your heart desires. My favorite treasure from past visits to the Rose Bowl include my amazing vintage bread board, featured in the blog post Tray Chic. I love to check out the vintage clothing and art. Whatever you want, it is probably there.

With many opportunities for flea marketing this summer, I thought I’d share my Top 10 favorite tips for heading to the flea market.

Let the games begin!
Let the games begin!


Cash is King at the Rose Bowl Flea

Needless to say, you’ll need a little play money before you hit the market. Bring as much as you can, along with small bills so you can bargain and give exact change if possible. Be careful as to not pull out a big wad of cash to flash in front of vendors, especially if you’ve just snagged a huge deal of the day. Some big shows even have ATMs for those ’emergencies’.

With 2,500 vendors, you will be walking a ton so wear comfortable clothes and shoes and don’t spend all your dollars in the first row! There’s a lot of market to see.

Some markets require tickets to get in, so plan ahead with admission cash.
Some markets, like the Rose Bowl Flea Market, require tickets to get in. So plan ahead with admission cash.


Comfort is Key When Looking for Bargains

Dress for the weather, especially with your footwear. Nothing is worse than aching feet, so wear comfortable shoes, you will be doing a lot of walking. I also recommend wearing clothing in layers so you can peel off a jacket if the weather heats up. With glaring sun, a hat and sunscreen are always a must. It’s best to come prepared so you are not miserable the entire time.

Sometimes you just gotta take a rest.
Sometimes you just gotta take a rest.


Keep Your Eyes Peeled For Inspiration

For continued success, I tend to go to sales without a plan so I can find the thing that speaks to me. Sometimes if you are too focused on finding something specific, you will miss out on that one amazing find! Also look around for display inspiration and don’t forget to snap pictures if you can. Always ask the vendor first, or go in stealthy.

Even if you are not into vintage clothing, I always love to look at the trends. Everyone loves vintage band t shirts and there are some great vendors at the Rose Bowl.

Hmmm, now what can I do with these?
Hmmm, now what can I do with these?


Stay Hydrated so You are Ready for Bargains 

Pack your bottled water, energy drinks, and bring snacks too. Some flea markets have amazing food for sale, so definitely check out the food vendors too. Nothing will drain your energy like getting quickly dehydrated, plus you need your strength to find those bargains.

Lots of bargains to look at, where shall I start?
Lots of bargains to look at, where shall I start?


Expect to Haggle if You Dare

Vendors expect you to bargain, but try to be polite about it and only if you are truly interested. You can ask, “Can you do any better on the price?” but never insult the vendor by acting like their wares are worthless and  you would never pay their prices. If it’s too much, just walk away. Vendors are running a business and need to make a profit for all they do. But always ask about the price, sometimes you may be pleasantly surprised.

Leave your designer outfit at home if you like to haggle. 

There's always that one thing that is super cool but out of the budget.
There’s always that one thing that is super cool but out of the budget.


It’s Good to Have a Runner

Or in my case, a Rinner. Going to markets with my husband is always awesome because he’s willing to drag stuff out to the car for me. He’s good at tracking down snacks and beverages while I shop, and sometimes he can be the voice of reason. But being the smart man he is, he never tells me “No, you don’t need that”. Most of the time, I don’t, but he knows I can reach that conclusion myself.

Extra muscle is always helpful with son and husband in tow!
Extra muscle is always helpful with son and husband in tow!


Don’t Live Your Life With Regrets From the Flea Market

I think we all have been in this position before and walked away from something we really wanted, only to obsess about it for weeks to come. I say if it’s in your budget or even slightly out, it might be worth it. If it’s really special, it’s always better to buy one amazing thing that will make your heart sing and be a conversation piece. I learned this the hard way and still regret not buying a large concrete fish I was sure I didn’t need.

Is this something I gotta have? I wish!
Is this something I gotta have? I wish!


The flea market is a great place to look for antiques, furniture, tons of vintage smalls, and plenty of arts and crafts. I love the booths with MCM furniture, even though I’m currently not buying any. The Rose Bowl is a great place for interior designers because there are so many quality pieces there.

Bring a Friend to the Rose Bowl Flea

This is a delicate topic because shopping is always better with a pal but can be super annoying with the wrong person. Bring someone who has slightly different vision than you so you aren’t competing for the same items. The worst is losing a coveted item to the person you are with! Also, someone who really knows your style can point out cool stuff you may have missed while looking in another direction. Leave all complainers at home.

Chantelle and I - the ultimate shopping pair!
Chantelle and I – the ultimate shopping pair!


Be Realistic 

Remember you have to get this stuff home. If you don’t have a big car, leave that ginormous plastic giraffe behind. A tape measure is always helpful to carry with you so you don’t buy something you can’t fit in your car. Bring room measurements if you are looking for a specific area in your home. When we travel out of state and have flown to the destination, I limit myself to breakables that will fit in my carry on bag. Easily shipped items or non breakables that can fill my giant duffle are checked in baggage. Remember how I got the vintage car home?

A vendor might hold something (once it is paid for) while you shop for a bit, but you don’t want to forget where you left it. Many vendors have shops in a neighboring city, so if you see something you must have but can’t take with you, inquire where they are. They might have similar stock in their antique shops. Furniture vendors tend to have a lot more stock and may be worth finding where they will be if you really like their style.


Will this fit in my carry on? No.
Will this fit in my carry on? No.


Early vs. Late – Getting to the Flea Market

If you show up early, you get the best stuff before the crowds but you will pay for it. Vendors are less apt to deal early in the morning. If you wait until the end of the day, you are more likely to get a bargain on something that the seller might not want to pack up and take home.

However, keep an eye out for those that look like they are super hoarders and still have a packed full van. That van is still full because they highly value their items and may not want to part with them unless they get really high prices. They usually won’t bargain and are time wasters if that is what you are interested in.

If you find that special something that you might want to go back for, mark down which aisle you were in so you can find your way back!
If you find that special something that you might want to go back for, mark down which aisle you were in so you can find your way back!


After a Sunday spent at the Rose Bowl Flea, eating all the yummy food, walking til we were dead, we were still very inspired. We love antiques and vintage and seeing that whole flea style vibe is so fun. It really is a great way to spend a lazy Sunday.

Check out our vintage inspiration on our Pinterest boards.

Happy hunting, Jill


  1. Hey Ladies! Your trips look like so much fun. Are there any local (MI) markets that you would recommend? Thanks!

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