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Awesome flea markets in NYC

I love flea markets! I’m totally hooked on the TV show Flea Market Flip hosted by the gorgeous Lara Spencer, and if you’re as in love with that show as me, you’ll know she regularly goes to flea markets in NYC.

But have you ever wondered why they’re called flea markets? Well I Googled so you don’t have to.

There are two opinions, but the main one is that it comes from the French phrase marché aux puces, first seen in the 1860s to describe an outdoor bazaar in Paris, where old furniture would literally be for sale and full of fleas. Uggh.

These days there are no jumping biting bugs in sight at the many flea markets spread across the five boroughs of New York City.

Driving over Brooklyn bridge NYC
Heading over the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by Clay Banks on Unsplash

You’ll find local merchants and food vendors in pop-up shops selling their fascinating wares, some handmade, some antiques. A day spent at the market scoring unique goods or vintage clothing is a day well spent in my book!

New York can be a very expensive city, but these markets are not only fun, but great places to snag a bargain. If you want more info on how to do New York on the Cheap, you’ll this post too.

This post covers a local New Yorker’s picks (thanks Samantha!) of some of the best flea markets in NYC including indoor markets, large-scale outdoor markets and even a nighttime flea with fab live music. 

Before you go though, you’ll want to get your game face on and read my post on 14 Tips for How to Haggle at the Market!

Genuine Fakes sign
Don’t you love it? I took this photo in Ephesus, but you get the gist!

Start your weekend at one of these best brunch spots in NYC – but beware the bottomless brunch if you plan to get your haggling game face on for the flea markets!

Artists & Fleas

Nestled at the front of Chelsea Market, the eclectic Artists and Fleas has so many unique and vintage finds to offer.

Artists & Fleas at Chelsea Market is home to over 30 vendors that fluctuate all the time, therefore expect to see different items with each visit.

The market has several merchants that bring in handcrafted crystal jewelry and funky sunglasses, art prints, handmade soaps, and vinyl records.

It is an excellent spot to start your trip to the famous Chelsea Market. Plus, you may head straight over to the High Line after you enjoy some tasty food at one of the market’s various restaurants.

Some particularly delicious dining options include the grilled cheese from Creamline and Carne Asada tacos from Los Tacos No. 1.  

Located at 88 10th Avenue and W 15th Street. Open Thursday through Monday.

Inside Artists & Fleas
Inside Artists & Fleas. Pic Flickr/Bex Walton

Brooklyn Flea

This lovely flea market is one of the most popular ones in NYC.

There is genuinely so much to see and purchase at Brooklyn Flea. From vintage clothing to well-designed glassware, you are sure to score some unique finds. 

Brooklyn Flea
Love those letters at Brooklyn Flea! Pic Flickr/Jan Pecek

Plus, they have a stand with various vintage cameras that make for a cool Instagram-worthy photo opportunity. If that is not up your alley, you may enjoy one of the market’s handmade items like coasters or leather bags. 

Brooklyn Flea is available to visit on weekends, rain or shine, at two separate locations.

On Saturdays, it is held in Williamsburg at 90 Kent Avenue.

Or you can catch the flea market set up at the iconic Manhattan Bridge Archway in DUMBO on Sundays.

Several Smorgasbord food vendors are also available at the market, so you can enjoy some tasty treats while you shop. 

Brooklyn Flea through the fence
Brooklyn Flea. Pic Flickr/Barry Pousman

Chelsea Flea

Located on West 25th Street, Chelsea Flea is a must-visit for anyone looking for crazy good flea market finds.

Over 50 vendors at the flea market sell a myriad of items including handcrafted African masks, quirky furniture and musical instruments. The market also offers an excellent vinyl record and vintage magazine selection. 

Chelsea Flea also has a fully stocked bar on-site so that it can act as a perfect pregame destination or before a night out at one of the area’s many bars and dreamy rooftop restaurants in NYC.

In addition, food vendors from Smorgasbord (a famous weekend food market) set up shop at Chelsea Flea. 

If you plan to visit Chelsea Flea, we highly recommend bringing cash as several vendors do not accept credit cards or electronic payments. The market is situated between 5th and 6th avenue every weekend.  

Vintage tins and signs at Chelsea Flea
Vintage tins and signs at Chelsea Flea. Pic Flickr/Karen Horton

Grand Bazaar NYC

To shop at the largest flea market in NYC, head over to the upper west side to check out Grand Bazaar.

It is also the oldest flea in New York City (formerly known as Green Flea Market). It has remained open due to the community’s continued support.

Grand Bazaar NYC
The massive outdoor Grand Bazaar NYC. Pic Facebook

Each weekend they offer a different theme and experience, allowing frequent shoppers to snag new items.

This fabulous flea provides a diverse assortment of antiques, collectibles, and vintage finds at the tip of your fingers, from spiritual crystals to seventies-style flared jeans.

Various food pop-up shops are available to visitors at the flea market particularly for sweet treats. We enjoy it when the fresh Mexican-inspired elote stand makes an appearance. 

Flame ice cream NYC
Meringue ice cream to order! Pic Facebook

Grand Bazaar is an indoor and outdoor market, which is ideal for unpredictable Fall weather in NYC.

Like all the flea markets on this list, admission is free but remember to bring along some cash to avoid payment issues. 

Hester Street Fair

Hester Street Fair offers incredible vintage finds and laid-back vibes. You can find this flea market gem at the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan.

It is also dog-friendly, so your fur babies are more than welcome to tag along on your shopping trip. 

Hester Flea Market NYC
Shopping at Hester Flea. Pic Flickr/Jay Mandel

Not only can you score various artisan goods and vintage clothing here, but Hester Street Fair has many food vendors available.

Grab a quick bite or a yummy cup of freshly brewed coffee to start your day at the flea market.

Several vendors also offer fresh produce and flowers at the flea market. One of the more frequent vendors, Plant-it, has a nifty table set up with stellar premade floral arrangements. 

The flea market is typically set up on Saturdays but occasionally on Sundays, depending on the weather.

Nolita Market

This may be one of the smaller fleas on this list, but that does not stop Nolita Market from serving high-quality goods and food.

Around 15 vendors set up shop to share their products with the community every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

At this flea market you will find fantastic artisan jewelry and home décor pieces. Plus several vendors offer a wide range of vintage clothing and accessories. I personally enjoy browsing through their trendy ring selection. 

After your shopping trip, try to make a stop at the beautiful Elizabeth Street Garden. It makes for an excellent photo shoot background to show off your newly found vintage pieces! 

Nolita market NYC
Nolita street market

Queens Night Market

Even if you work over the weekend, you can still participate in the flea market fun NYC has to offer, thanks to the Queens Night Market.

Every Saturday this event is held in stunning Flushing Meadows Park near the New York Hall of Science. It begins at 6:00 pm and remains open until around midnight. 

While this market has a myriad of superb shopping opportunities, a big reason people flock to the event is to enjoy live music and eat tasty food.

There are various cultural cuisines available around the venue, so you can eat your way round the world at the Queens Night Market!

This stellar flea market is now closed for the season but will open back up next summer! In the meantime, you may still check out Flushing Meadows Park as an exciting outdoor activity. 

Queens night market NYC
Come for dinner at Queens Night Market. Pic Facebook

If you need somewhere gorgeous to go eat, you’ll love my post on the best dreamy rooftop restaurants in NYC.

And who doesn’t love to start the weekend with a bottomless brunch in NYC or just a lazy brekky at one of these best brunch spots in New York City?

And if you’re planning to be town over new year’s you’ll want to know 5 ways to have the best new year’s eve in NYC!

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Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!