Bargain Hunters, Unite! The Ultimate Guide To The DMV's Flea Markets

UPDATE: This story was originally published on September 14. If there’s one thing we love more than a to-die-for sale at a favorite boutique, it’s the hunt for secondhand treasure at one of the DMV's many flea markets. There’s nothing more satisfying than discovering a one-of-a-kind find, and for us, it's worth the sacrifice of some tedious digging. Trust, we’ve happily sifted through many a basket of vintage sweaters to snap up a perfectly worn-in pullover (that's right, we're the gals who are up to their elbows).
So, it should come as no surprise that we've scoured all the best flea markets around Washington to find our own pre-loved loot — and now, we're compiling our expertise into a handy guide that'll make you a flea-market master in no time. Click to see our go-to destinations, and remember: Flea shopping is all about looking for diamonds in the rough. (Translation: Look past the mountain of Beanie Babies, and you might find some gently worn Balenciaga.)
Inside the District
The Georgetown Flea Market has been taking over a parking lot on 35th Street off Wisconsin Avenue since the 1970s. Here, you'll find antique dressers, brass chandeliers, vintage Fendi bags, fine china, and a host of other goodies. It's also a top spot for amazing Persian rugs at a fraction of the retail price. This market is perfect for newbies to the flea scene — it’s small (read: you won't feel instantly overwhelmed), there's a Starbucks nearby for refueling, and most vendors accept credit cards.
Georgetown Flea Market, 1819 35th Street NW; no phone. Open Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round.
If you haven’t been to the Sunday flea market at Eastern Market, it should be on your D.C. bucket list. This bustling, Metro-accessible spot is a Washington landmark, with more than 100 vendors peddling amazing finds, rain or shine. We’ve snagged cowboy boots, wingback chairs, Turkish bath towels, ultra-affordable handmade jewelry, and some fantastic photography here. While you’re in the 'hood, grab a bite at Tortilla Café — it’s an amazing Mexican and Salvadoran grab-and-go spot that has been featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives .
The Flea Market at Eastern Market, 7th and C Streets SE; no phone. Open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round.
The newest addition to the D.C.-proper market scene is the DC MEETMarket, an exposition of local independent vendors in Logan Square that pops up on the third Saturday of the month. Come for the clothing and crafts, and stick around for the amazing food, live music, and socializing — it's an ideal way to spend a fall Saturday.
DC MEETMarket, 5th and P streets NW; no phone. Open on the third Saturday of the month from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Next market happens Saturday, September 15.
Photos: Photographed by Holly E. Thomas; Courtesy of DC MEET Market; Courtesy of Montgomery Farm Women's Market
Outside the District
First up: The annual DC Big Flea Market happens this weekend, so true treasure hunters will want to clear their schedules for it. Billed as the Mid-Atlantic's biggest antiques event, the market takes place in the Dulles Expo Center and features hundreds of vendors selling vintage clothing, kooky memorabilia, old silver, and an impressive collection of antique furniture. On our last trip, we scooped up dozens of strangely beautiful vintage photos, a pair of antique field glasses, and a bounty of pre-loved knickknacks.
D.C. Big Flea Market, Dulles Expo Center, 4320 Chantilly Shopping Center, Chantilly; 757-961-3988. Open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 and covers both days.
Check out the Montgomery Farm Women's Cooperative Market, which has been a Bethesda staple since the 1930s. The roadside spot offers 22 stands of housewares, clothing, art, handmade jewelry, and vintage finds, plus locally grown produce harvested by — you guessed it — farm women. We know plenty of savvy shoppers who head here for the stunning turquoise jewelry and beautiful African crafts, and consider this place their most dearly held secret.
Montgomery Farm Women's Cooperative Market, 7155 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda; 301-652-2241. Open Wednesdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. year-round.
Locals hit up the Arlington Farmers' Market for the fresh fruits and veggies, then head across the street to the Arlington Civitan Open Air Market, where they score monogrammed tie clips, vintage art prints, or a new pair of earrings. Our favorite find from this market is a giant, carved, wooden cuff — which cost a whopping $5.
Arlington Civitan Open Air Market, located in the I-66 parking garage, 15th and Stafford streets, Arlington; no phone. Open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon year-round.
It’s a hike from downtown, but the Virginia Bazaar is one of the state’s top destinations for bargain hunters and flea-market enthusiasts. The 67,000-square-foot building is packed with an incredibly diverse assortment of products — seriously, we actually found a kitchen sink here. Go for the leather motorcycle vests, vintage and antique furniture, sculpture, cast-iron kitchenware, piles of jewelry, and the extra-quirky displays — think Furbees, Barbies, and our personal favorite, a huge collection of signed baseballs dating back to the 1950s.
Virginia Bazaar, located off I-95 at Exit 110, Ladysmith; 804-448-9488. Open Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. year-round.
Photos: Courtesy of Montgomery Farm Women's Market; Courtesy of DC Big Flea; Photographed by Holly E. Thomas

More from Washington, D.C.


R29 Original Series