Anyone who has ever spent extensive time in the Bay Area has probably noticed that San Francisco is home to numerous flea markets. While each flea market has its own season and spirit, being prepared is key for all treasure hunters. Some flea markets are right in the city, while some bigger ones are across the bridge. Before getting behind the wheel, remember to bring cash and this exclusive guide to the top 5 flea markets in the Bay Area.
Treasure Island Flea Market
The monthly market from Treasure Island might be considered the most popular one (thank you, Muni ads). They have different themes for every month, and it has been a tradition in the Bay Area for a while. There are a vast number of vendors selling clothes, toys, shoes, handmade soaps, household supplies and furniture. This flea market is also the best location for you to expand your imagination. Every time we check out this event, the vendors’ creativity always amazes us. You will see some terrific music speakers made from wood and elegant handmade wine cases. Another great thing about this flea market is its large size, which provides a big enough area for shoppers to hang out after shopping. The food trucks are various and diverse, and stretch as far as the eye can see. Lastly, you don’t have to carry a lot of cash while shopping there, because most of vendors accept credit cards. There is also a new cashless express line which allows you to pay for entry with your credit cards. What are you waiting for? Clear your schedule this July 25th and 26th for the event this month.
Every last weekend of the month, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Cost: $3 admission, kids 12 and under free.
Berkeley Flea Market, Berkeley/East Bay
While you can find a lot local stuff in other flea markets, the Berkeley flea market brings more international collections. Overall, the international vintage vibe adds to this location a positive energy. There aren’t so many vendors, yet the items are exceptional and trendy. You will find a lot of African art and also an eclectic mix of hippy styles. The drumming and live music is a great treat for shoppers to experience while stopping for a break. You can bargain here, as some of the vendors are willing to have the best deal with you. The location is also very convenient thanks to Ashby BART station.
Every Saturday & Sunday 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM | FREE
Alemany Flea Market, San Francisco
This venue is definitely a treasure trove for San Franciscans because there are so many diamonds in the rough. Classy and antique are the best adjectives to describe this flea market. Likewise, it offers a large number of vendors and items. You should expect to see a wide variety of antiques here, which are sometimes dirty and other times virtually untouched. The fun part of going to flea market is hunting, isn’t it? Before going to the market, you should grab something to eat because there are very limited food options.
Every Sunday: 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM | Cost: FREE
Laney College Flea Market
Of course, Oakland locals will rate this venue the best of the area. This is not a place for you to hunt for antiques or vintage finds, but it is full of used electronics, refurbished household appliances and a lot more. You will be able to get some Raiders jerseys or Oakland sportswear for a very good price. Also, this is the place for you to develop your bargaining skills. Also notable its food vendors. There are some delicious Mexican meals worth trying after a couple of hours of hunting and negotiating. Parking is not a problem there, so don’t worry and get your bag ready for a nice Sunday.
Every Saturday and Sunday: 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM | Cost: $1, kids 12 and under free.
Alameda Point Antiques Faire, Alameda/East Bay
It would be a big mistake if this guide did not cover the flea market at Alameda. You should expect to spend at least a couple hours exploring this fair, since it is really gigantic. There are hundreds of vendors, selling all kinds of things. You can find everything there, from furniture to clothes, jewelry, handmade items, art and more. A vendor selling a fancy chandelier could be right next to a small store of succulents. Just like other big flea markets, there are also a large number of excellent food trucks for your break between shopping. The huge parking area is definitely a big bonus of this venue.
First Sunday of the Month | 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM | Cost: $15 from 6-7.30, $10 from 7.30-9, $5 after 9AM
By Phuong Pham
Phuong Pham is a Vietnamese MBA graduate and fell in love with San Francisco at first sight. She has a sense of curiosity about everything, and lives to nourish her passion for travel, languages and food. She writes about the little things that she finds interesting in her personal blog, “The dreamer’s wild tales”.