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Checking Out the Arlington Flea Market

July 16, 2010

When we heard that Arlington (just outside of DC for those not familiar with the area) holds a flea market every first Saturday of the month, we were excited to check it out and share our soon-to-be awesome and affordable finds with you all.  In theory, the market sounded great, the main website claimed the following:

  • one hundred and fifty vendors selling a variety of goods ranging from books, clothes, furniture, garden tools, household goods, jewelry, shoes, toys, records and more
  • spread out over 5 levels of a 20,000 square foot parking garage, hence allowing it to be held in both rain or shine
  • 1,200 average visitors

Sounds great, right?  We thought so too.  Until we showed up, that is.  Turns out, there wasn’t a variety of goods at all.  In fact, most of the vendors were selling old clothing lying messily across the garage floor, drug store items, such as toothpaste, lotion, and deodorant, questionable electronics, such as old VHS tapes (never buy electronics at a flea market, because you cannot guarantee quality or whether they will work!) or other strange items, like those ones pictured below.  While we’re all for the idea of taking a framed painting or photograph from a market and salvaging a great frame, this really wasn’t  an option in this case.  In reality, these were actually holographic paintings.  Yep, that’s right, a holographic picture of Jesus.  Is it just us or does it really seem wrong to have a picture (holographic, no less!) of a poodle lying right next to a picture of Jesus on the dirty ground?  No comment.

While some items were downright entertaining to look at, we were less than thrilled with the selection.  Essentially what should have been a crafty and fun flea market ended up being really a majorly sub-par garage sale.  We even made the joke to one another that the stuff at the market was, in fact, the crap that you’re trying to get rid of from your own house, let alone buy off other people.  In addition, very few vendors were selling furniture, despite the advertised information on the website.  What was available was also quite pricey, given the “flea market” setting and general item quality.  Another major negative?  The venue.  While the garage definitely provided welcome shade from the sun and other elements, it cast a yellow and unappealing hue on pretty much everything in sight.

Ok, we’re being a little harsh, there were a few (emphasis on “few”) objects that caught our eye.  Take the mirror in the photo below, for instance.  At first appearance, the bronze frame might be a turn-off, but with a quick coat of primer and white spray paint, you could take this from rags-to-riches in an instant!  Hang it up in a hallway or bedroom and you could easily transform any room in your house!

Another flea market find we spotted?  Old lenses and camera bodies for photography buffs.  While it is highly doubtful that any of these parts still work with or without investing a fortune in repair costs (note flea market warning above!), they could easily be shined up and be a lovely addition to a collection or shelf with other vintage knick knacks.  In addition, many vendors were selling huge collections of vinyl records.  Not applicable for either of us, as we don’t own a player, but a great resource for those out there who do!

So, all in all, we weren’t blow away by the Arlington Flea Market.  We love the idea of supporting the local economy and avoiding the big-box stores, but sometimes it just doesn’t make sense.  However, if you are looking for a great market in the DC-area, there are a lot of options.  Take the Eastern Market in downtown DC.  It is fabulous and we’ll be sure to write a post all about it in the upcoming future.

Just in case you want to check out the Arlington flea market for yourself:


I-66 garage

Located at 15th and Stafford Street in North Arlington, VA

Free parking available in the surrounding neighborhood!


The Arlington Flea Market is held every first Saturday of the month from April through November from 7 AM-1:30 PM.

Are you a fan of flea markets and other craft fairs or would you rather buy new from the get-go?  Have you ever done a makeover of a flea market find?  If so, we’d love to hear all about it. Leave a comment or send us an email with pictures at youngDCliving AT gmail DOT com. Hope you all have a great weekend!  Stay tuned for next week’s “Download of the Week” pick post on Sunday…

8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 16, 2010 4:48 PM

    I loveeee enormous flea markets! I so wished I lived in the area – I’d be stalking you girls all over DC (:

    • July 16, 2010 5:01 PM

      Haha, you would be more than welcome too! Too bad we’re not in the same area, otherwise you could totally join us. Thanks for your continued readership and support, your comments always make our day.

      xo Laura & Caroline

  2. July 17, 2010 11:55 AM

    So cool! I love flea markets!

    • July 17, 2010 1:39 PM

      We do too! We weren’t super impressed with this one (i.e holographic Jesus pictures) but they can be so much fun and can be a great spot to find diamonds in the rough.

      xo Laura

  3. July 18, 2010 11:00 PM

    Such a bummer that this didn’t turn out to have better finds. I’ve never had much luck at flea markets or yard sales. I know some people get amazing vintage pieces or antiques but I just dont think I have an eye for it. Are there any good consignment stores?

    • July 20, 2010 11:01 AM

      I have trouble finding stuff, too. Laura has a better eye for it, but to me it’s all just junk! I know Upscale Resale is a really well-known and good furniture consignment store in Falls Church. It always gets high rankings with the Washington Post and Washingtonian. For clothing, there’s a really fancy one in the area that a lot of people like, but I’m blanking on its name! I know some people who have scored Seven jeans and other brand names there. I just can’t remember the name for the life of me (Laura, if you see this, what’s the name of that store??) Haha hope that helps!

  4. Borrowed Abode permalink
    July 20, 2010 3:07 PM

    Glad to know about the situation at the Arlington Flea. I wish we had good flea markets here like in NJ, but to date I have not found any such thing.

    I’m not impressed by Upscale Resale btw. I’ve always found it to be very overpriced, with mostly old-fashioned furniture.

    Secondi is a consignment store I love in DuPont circle.

    • July 20, 2010 7:15 PM

      Eastern Market in downtown DC is a lot of fun–have you been there before? I haven’t been to Upscale Resale myself, but thanks for the input, we’ll have to go check it out one day and report back to you all.

      Thanks for the suggestion and for checking out our blog!

      xo Laura

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