As a former self-diagnosed shopaholic now turned “normal” shopper who is always on the look out for deals, checking out the Rose Bowl Flea Market has been on my to-do list for a while.
Last month I finally set aside a Sunday specifically for the trip over to Pasadena to experience the flea for myself.
It started like any other gloomy June day in L.A., but as I drove inland and headed up the 110 through the Arroyos the gloom burned off and the sky transformed into a beautiful, bright blue.
Once I parked my car I recounted my (reasonable) budget, recited my pledge not to spend too much, and off I went.
This is what I saw…
So basically this is what you see after paying $15 for the VIP parking at the Rose Bowl. It’s definitely a good thing to bring lots of cash.
There is also plenty of free parking (though further away), but if you plan on buying a fair bit of stuff, it’s worth it to be closer.
The Rose Bowl actually has a page with public transit recommendations if you’d prefer not to pay for parking.
Shopping is fun (for me at least) but you have to pay an admission fee to go to the Flea Market.
Admission varies by time:
- Preview VIP admission From 5:00am – 7:00am is $20.00 per person.
- Early bird admission from 7:00am – 8:00am is $15.00 per person.
- Express admission from 8:00am – 9:00am is $10.00 per person.
- General admission beginning at 9:00am is $8.00 per person.
Children under 12 are admitted free with an adult.
The line wasn’t so bad, I think I waited for 2 minutes max.
The admission tickets are pretty cool and have a vintage vibe to them. Also, getting a $2 bill was pretty neat, don’t judge me but I have never owned one before so I may have been a tad bit excited about it.
Most of the stadium is open once you enter. This is were many sports events are held, it’s so weird seeing a sports arena so empty but cool nonetheless.
Vendors sell everything from clothes to rugs, antiques, vintage and new items too.
According to the official websit, they average something like 2,500 vendors and 20,000 buyers each month.
When browsing through some of the different shops and booths I saw a few cool things and many oddities as well.
The picture above shows one of the many vintage Western themed sellers. They had old nails from the 1700s and other knick knacks.
Shopping really is a mini cardio workout, especially if its in an open air stadium like the Rose Bowl on a really hot Sunday afternoon.
Thank goodness for Freshers frozen lemonade beverages, it was so refreshing and worth every dime.
I walked around the Rose Bowl and the theme of vendors changed every few feet from new items, to used, art related, used again and antique then it repeated again until I reached the entrance where I started the whole experience.
If I didn’t murder succulents like I have in the past, I would have purchased several gorgeous ones from the flea market.
One thing I noticed form the all the “pro” Flea Market shoppers, bring your own reusable bags and if you’re a serious shopper then bring a cart or wagon to haul all of the neat purchases you will make. Wish I had thought of that…
Then again, good thing I didn’t bring my own… otherwise the budget might have gone out the window.
After all of the shopping and going around the entire Rose Bowl twice, chatting with a few people and finding things to purchase or take pictures of, nothing was as odd as the two headed rabbit display sold by a local Pasadena shop that also had jewelry made of insects.
This was by far the busiest and most crowded booth I saw at the entire Flea Market. I made the mistake of stopping by to take pictures and check-out the weird stuff, which resulted in my phone being stolen.
I ended my shopping excursion several hours after arriving. The flea market is pretty cool and fun but definitely set a budget before going!
As a reminder, the Rose Bowl Flea Market is held every second Sunday of the month.
For more information, check out the flea market page on the Rose Bowl stadium website.