Bargains Abound at Quirky Tampa Area Flea Markets



Those in the know find the best deals in Tampa at one the area's many flea markets. Each market has its own flavor and specialties, with one being the best spot for antiques, and another great for arts and crafts. Some are big and some are small, but they all offer an authentic glimpse into local life. To find the best flea market to suite your interests, 10 Best has compiled a list of the top options to choose from.

If you're looking to get lost for a few hours (or days), visit the enormous Big Top Flea Market. Hard to miss with its colorful striped roof, this market features over 1,200 stalls to choose from. While large, the Big Top is fairly easy to negotiate as it's organized around a central hub with stall lined spokes radiating out from the middle.

One of the smallest fleas in the area is the Gunn Hwy Flea Market. This market is a favorite of antique dealers looking to find hidden gems. Its small size also lends itself to a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere with many of the vendors being long-time veterans of the market. 



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Tampa Bay Northwestern Outskirts


 

The Gunn Highway Flea Market is a throw-back to the way flea markets used to be. It's smaller than most in the area and has a slower pace. This market specializes in yard sale items, fresh produce, used books, and vintage clothing. If you look hard, you are sure to find something unique and interesting at a bargain price. If you're looking for new items or high-end antiques, this probably isn't the place for you. Other perks of the market include a reasonably priced breakfast and lunch, and free and ample parking.


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Tampa Bay Eastern Outskirts


 

Located in Plant City, just 30 minutes east of Tampa, is the Plant City Farm & Flea Market that is notable for it's 7-day-a-week wholesale farmer's market that has grown since its inception in the late 80's into one of the larger Independent Farmers Market in the south. This is the perfect opportunity to score the freshest fruit and vegetables from suppliers to all the local supermarkets, fruit stands, and restaurants. The flea market aspect is only open Wednesdays with doors opening at 5 am and features 300 - 500 dealers depending on the season.


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One of the most spirited spots in the Tampa, Florida area, this cherished flea market's 1,000-plus booths and lively atmosphere draw huge crowds every weekend. With a good mix of old and new, this is one of most well-rounded markets in the area. Favorite items found amidst the collage of booths include antique clocks, record albums, legal DVDs, obsolete toys, exquisite vintage clothing and accessories, fresh produce and vibrant, healthy plants for home landscaping. Several aisles are air-conditioned, and after intense flea marketing, crispy corn nuggets, funnel cakes and ice-cold beer revitalize visitors.


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Fun-Lan Swap Shop Flea Market


 

What could be more fun than a drive-in movie followed by flea market browsing? This Tampa landmark, and one of the busiest markets in the Bay, is located at the historic Fun-Lan Drive-In Theater, originally opened in 1950. The swap shop moved from another drive-in to Fun-Lan in 1981 and features a quirky collection of outdoor booths overflowing with gorgeous antiques, one-of-a-kind collectibles, sporting equipment, locally made crafts and beautiful fresh produce. Take the whole family and let the movie occupy the kids while the adults explore for treasures. Vendors are friendly and you never know what you will find.


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International Market World is located about 40 miles east of Tampa, but is well worth the drive with over 1,200 vendors offering shopping, dining and entertainment options. Bargains can be found with all types of merchandise, tools, crafts, clothing, plants, t-shirts and one-of-a-kind gift ideas. When you're hungry choose from Asian and Hispanic fare, as well as a selection of family favorites such as Pizza, BBQ, Corn-on-the-Cob, Funnel Cakes, and Strawberry Shortcake. Looking for more healthy fare? Try grabbing a fresh Florida orange from one of the produce vendors. The Market also hosts special events and musical entertainment throughout the year. Check their calendar for details.


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Ybor City Saturday Market
Photo courtesy of Skye Rodgers


 

Located in heart of Tampa's historic district, the Ybor City Saturday Market is a popular spot for finding locally produced gifts and specialty items unique to the area. The Market has been operating since 2000 and is the largest continually-running outdoor market in Tampa. Local vendors and artists offer fresh local produce, gourmet foods & sauces, fresh baked breads, prepared foods, herbs & plants, pet treats, honey, fine cigars, unique gifts, photography, artwork, jewelry, woodworking, bath & body products, candles & so much more! After you explore the market, allow time to wander around the neighborhood which is always hopping on a Saturday.


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Outside the city


 

The Red Barn Flea Market is located less than an hour south of Tampa and boasts a daily attendance of 10,000 in their 145,000 square foot facility. It's also large, clean, air-conditioned, and has a family-friendly appeal. Featuring over 650 vendors, you can find everything from clothing and collectibles, to kitchen supplies and sporting goods. There is also a farmer's market stocked with fresh, local produce at bargain prices. After you're done shopping, you can take a break in their food court and enjoy some live entertainment. Although open every day but Monday, there is limited access during the week.


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The Webster Westside Flea Market is for serious bargain hunters and is generally thought to be the best flea market in Florida, if not the entire southeast. People flock from all over the state to search through the overwhelming number of booths and stalls. You can find almost everything here and get a great deal, but be prepared to bargain for it. This market is perhaps best known for its antiques, but make sure you get there early for the best selection. There are all kinds of food to be had as well, from the all-you-can-eat buffet at the cafe, to ice cream made on the spot.


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Born from a single roadside vendor in 1966, this market has grown to over over 1,100 vendors with an average daily attendance of 20,000. This flea market is a Tampa area must with friendly vendors offering merchandise ranging from knockoff designer sunglasses and decorative birdhouses to aromatic electric oil lamps and an unparalleled selection of fresh produce. The management also enforces a return policy, a rarity amongst flea markets. Live entertainment, a tram for easy transportation, a jovial beer garden and an international food court complete this extraordinary marketplace.


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The biggest and best of all Tampa's flea markets, Big Top is a colorful, festival-like market with over 500 vendors, more than 1,200 booths and the Bay's most intriguing people watching. After energizing at the food court located in the central hub, venture down the aisles that radiate out from the center like spokes of a wheel. A small sampling of the wares to be found include gardening supplies, eyeglasses, toys, swords, artwork, jewelry, fashion for every style, fresh produce, collectibles and even pets. Make an offer, and make out like a bandit with armloads of treasure.


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Meet Skye Rodgers

Skye is a freelance writer that adopted Tampa as her hometown over a decade ago and never looked back. As a native of Canada, Skye has happily embraced the no snow climate, and in her spare time...  More About Skye

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