On the first Sunday of every month, more than 12,000 vendors and shoppers gather at the peninsula of Alameda for the largest flea market in Northern California. The Alameda Point Antiques Faire hosts more than 800 dealer booths filled with exotic treasures such as vintage dining sets, rusty locks and freaky porcelain dolls. This antiques fair holds true to its title: all items sold must be at least 20 years old.
Vendees can expect to find a wide selection of vintage home decorations, clothing, furniture, jewelry, art, pottery, books, records and collectibles varying in price from $1-$600+.
With thousands of bits and bobs to scavenge through, it is hard to avoid shopper’s fatigue. Here is a compilation of tips and tricks that will allow you to score a total win at the Alameda Flea Market.
What to do
Have a goal: head into the fair with an idea of what you are looking for. If there is something specific, know the market value of the item(s) to avoid paying a higher price than what something is worth.
Shop booths: if you are unsure about an item, write down the booth number so you can come back to it when you have made up your mind. However, know that the item is fair game to other shoppers once you have set it down.
Bargain hard: oftentimes, vendors will try to sell their highest bid to vendees, even if it may be unreasonable.
Know your budget and do not be afraid to bargain a price that you are not truly pleased with. Worry not, most vendors are flexible with their pricing.
What to pack
Cash: bring small bills and change, as some booths only take cash.
Water: It is important to stay hydrated when you are walking for hours under the sun.
Quick snacks: although there are plenty of food trucks lined up along the sides of the market, trail mix and energy bars will come in handy when you are busy hopping from booth to booth.
Measuring tape (with measurements)—if you plan on buying furniture.
What to wear
Layers: located by the water, the venue is very cold in the morning. However, later on as the sun comes out, it can get pretty toasty. Dress in layers so you can adjust to the weather throughout the day.
Comfortable shoes: by the end of your shopping adventure, your feet will be begging for a massage.
Wear appropriate walking shoes to avoid having to forcibly cut your market trip short because you cannot walk any further.
Other important facts
Admission prices start at $15 per person in the first hour and a half of the fair’s opening and drop to $5 after 9 a.m.
Entrance to the fair is not allowed after 3 p.m.
Admission is free for all children under 15 years of age with a parent —underclassmen, make sure to get to the flea market for free while you still can!