Beginning in the nineteenth century, Trade Days were small-town markets that would take place when a circuit judge would stop in a town. While court was in session, people would stream in to do business, including some trading. This is the origin of many Texas flea markets, where today you'll find a wide array of antiques and other bargains. You'll find fabulous fleas all over the state—Texas can feel like one big "Antiques Road Show!"
Market hours have been held at Traders Village on Saturdays and Sundays since 1973. Conveniently located close to DFW Airport for those who want to shop 'n fly, the market boasts that you can find anything you want here—from paperclips to bulldozers. And if you're up for some banter with a friendly vendor, you'll likely come away with a treasure and a bargain, too. The Village also has rides and a nearby RV park.
This flea market is considered the granddaddy of all Texas fleas—and some say it is the oldest continuous flea market in the country. (Confusingly, it's not held on the first Monday of the month, but from sun-up to sundown from Thursday to Friday before the first Monday of every month.) Over 100 acres of land are flea territory here, with buildings like the Old Mill Marketplace, The Village, and The Dog Alley sheltering vendors selling everything and anything under the sun. The Canton Marketplace building is home to more than 300 vendors who proudly display finds with a particularly Texan country western feel, so if you're in the market for a new pair of cowboy boots (and who isn't?), this specific building is the place to go. The market is also rife with pure entertainment: free concerts, wine tastings and street food from all over Texas make a day out shopping here into a holiday.
Fort Worth's long running Cattle Barn flea market at the indoor Will Rodgers Center has sadly closed, but the Henderson Street Bazaar, an outdoor covered flea market held every day on—you guessed, it—Henderson Street, is still up and running. The Bazaar is known for eclectic clothes offerings, so on any given day you can end up with a belly dancing costume, a brand new pair of cowboy boots or a pair of designer Calvins from the 1980s. Locals say there are still bargains to be had, so get to looking.
Opened way back in 1978, Bussey's Flea market lives up to the sound of its name with a bustling business of over 500 vendors selling antiques, china, gently-used designer purses, knick knacks, jewelry, toys--even cigar store Indians' have been known to be found. Vendors sell both in and outside (the market is located in San Antonio's Schertz Park), and there's food galore to enjoy along with your purchases, including Texas treats like corn dogs, syrupy snow cones, and hand-dipped Bluebell Ice Cream. About 12,000 to 16,000 happy shoppers come to this flea market every weekend, but experienced buyers say there are still deals to be had—so don't be afraid to bargain.
Fifteen miles northeast of Dallas, and now a thriving part of the DFW metroplex, Garland is perhaps best known as the city that's home to the Resistol Hat Factory—the place that made J.R. Ewing's ten gallon hats. You just might find some vintage Resistol toppers at the Vikon Village Flea market, an indoor market that has both central heating in the fall and winter, and air conditioning in the warmer months. The 150 vendors, plus free admission and parking, make spending hours combing through bric-a-brac and baubles a pleasure. Come away with treasures like Bakelite bracelets and antique radios, and then take in a show at Garland's Plaza Theater (seen here), a landmark Art Deco performing arts facility where your goods will likely look right at home.
This is the biggie—think the Woodstock of Antique Markets. Twice a year, for about a week in the fall and again in the spring, Texas Antiques Week comes to a series of towns in rural Texas. Round Top, Warrenton, Carmine, LaBahia, Fayetteville, Burton, and Oldenberg host over 60 antique, decor, collector and fashion shows under tents and out in fields. Some of the show's names are as colorful as the stuff you'll find there; "Clutter," "The Chicken Ranch," and "Granny McCormick's Yard" are just a few. One of the highlights of the show, which is as social as it is mercantile, is the "Junk-o-Rama Prom,” hosted by a vendor by the name of "The Junk Gypsy." Revelers wear their best Texan finery, and glitter and sequins abound. Backed by live music to strut your stuff to.
Five miles east of IH35 in Austin, the Austin Country Flea Market has the distinction of being number 8 on the Travel Channel's "Top 10 World's Best Flea Markets," as well as being one of the oldest and biggest in the Central Texas region. There are over 300 vendors here, as well as live (some say "rowdy") music every weekend. The market has covered, paved walkways, plus some sellers of awesome tacos and other Tex-Mex fare. Fans cite the huge variety of stuff on hand here--you can sometimes find gila monsters and other reptiles in with the crafts, baubles, clothes and religious items. Cash only; bartering is cool, too.
Buchanan's has been a flea market institution at the Dallas Fair Park since 1995, even hosting famous dealers like "Moe" (Morris Prigoff) from "Storage Wars: Texas." It was voted "Best Flea Market" by the Dallas Observer in 2007, and is now back at its original location after a brief hiatus outside of town. Although the big museum pieces that the market used to show are harder to find, more and more local dealers are finding their way back, meaning that some smaller but more affordable—and easy to pack—pieces can now be found alongside the big-ticket items.