How To Have A Successful Rose Bowl Flea Market Trip


Remember going to Toys ‘R’ Us as a kid, and how amazing it was, because everything you ever dreamed of was all in one store? (You want to bake edible gummy spiders? Sure! Head over to the “science” section. Want a puzzle of Peru? OK! That’s in Aisle 5!) It was like upon entering the store, your heart literally exploded in happiness, and then was glued back together with toys.

Well the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena is kind of like a Toys ‘R’ Us, but for adults. It’s one of the largest and best flea markets on the west coast, and it’s also where I spent this past weekend with E.

Rose Bowl Flea Market


We needed a new kitchen table. And a couch. And a coffee table. And THINGS. So, naturally, we decided to try out the flea market, because all of those things do live there. (Even if, in hindsight, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to like the look of them all.)

I had been to the market before, another time with E, when we weren’t looking for anything, but just wanted to poke around. I left with nothing, except a sense of relief at having left. (The crowds at the market are… intense, to say the least.) But that was a long time ago, and we needed THE THINGS, so we decided to try it out again.

Barbie Bin At The Flea Market

Now that I’ve been a second time, I really did learn a lot of what TO DO and NOT TO DO. If you ever plan on attending, here are some things you must know:

  • Get to the flea market by 9 a.m. The market is so much less crowded around that time, which means you’ll be able to see everything without getting claustrophobic in the massive crowds that hit around noon.
  • Don’t bother paying for the VIP parking, just try to park in Lot K, which is super close to an entrance, and also the location of official “furniture loading.” The VIP parking is a waste of money, and legitimately right next to the free parking.
  • Bring water and snacks, all of which are allowed in the market. The prices for any food at the flea market are insane. (Think $10 for water.) I brought PB&J sandwiches, which ended up being a godsend.
  • Wear sunblock, even when it’s cold outside. The market is all over asphalt, and the sun gets reflected right back to you.
  • Wear the comfiest damn shoes in your closet and you will be the happiest person in the world. The market is ENORMOUS. It’s so large that you’ll never really be able to see the end of it. Because of that, it means you’ll be doing a ton of walking, so be good to your feeties.
  • A lot of furniture places deliver, especially if you’re buying a larger item. Eoghan and I rented a U-Haul, because we were convinced we’d fill it up. But the man who sold us a 7-foot kitchen table with benches will be delivering it, free of charge, today. So, really, you probably won’t need to go through the hassle of renting a truck.
  • Haggle. Haggle. Haggle. I can’t stress this enough. If you’ve never haggled, or are afraid to, here’s a tip: Look at something, subtract 1/4 of the price, and start from there. So, if you see a table for $400, tell the vendor, “Can I get it for $300?” They will probably say no, but they’ll also probably follow up with a lower price that’s closer to the one you named. Worst case scenario: they say no completely, and then you leave!
  • Take out cash beforehand. There are ATMs onsite, but they come with a hefty charge fee.
  • Set aside at LEAST 2 hours to explore the flea market. If you’re not looking for anything, and just browsing, you’ll be exhausted by the time that 2 hours rolls around. If you’re a serious shopper, plan on spending 3-4 hours minimum.
  • Speaking of serious shopping, if you are in the market, make a list of things you need to buy. The place is overwhelming in so many ways, and you’ll be thankful to have that list come high noon when you’re dehydrated, dripping sweat, and impossibly trapped in the weird collectibles section.

California SignHappy shopping, everyone! And if I missed any flea market tips that you can think of, please add them in the comments!


Important Apartment Question: What To Do With High Ceilings?

The ceilings in my current apartment are so low, that E can almost touch the top when he reaches his arms up. If he jumped, he’d easily reach it, and might even hit his head.

This won’t be the case, however, when we move into our new apartment. The ceilings are 10-11 feet tall, which is a lot more space than I’m used to dealing with. In some spots, there are already little accents to help break up all that blank wall monotony, (i.e. a fireplace in one corner of the room with a large mirror above it), but mostly it’s just this glaring blank canvas that we need to figure out how to fill.

Because I’ve never had this “problem” of excess space, I had to do some digging, and here’s what I keep coming across when it comes to high ceilings:

  • Art, especially when stacked, can help to make a room feel warm. It also draws the eye up, enhancing all of that ceiling space, rather than having it feel like it’s missing something. I’m definitely interested in a wall dedicated to art, and I love the idea of not having the same frames or shapes.

Mustard Living Room

  • Similarly, an accent wall can function as it’s own little piece of built-in art. A bright color adds a pop to the room, and does the heavy lifting of adding personality. Even in my current apartment with the small ceilings, I have an accent wall. It’s a cerulean blue, and I’m terrified of having to try and paint over it when we move out. Pray for me.

Accent Wall

  • A statement piece, like, say, a faux mounted head, can be a cool way to break up a doorframe. I feel weird saying that a mounted head can add something to the room, but I’m kind of all about it. Expect to see some faux heads in my living room, y’all.

Deer Head

  • To create balance in a room with high ceilings, a statement light fixture can do the trick. I’m really loving the way it pulls this bedroom together, but I do wonder what it would look like in a living room, or dining room area… (READ: Tell me what you think!)

High Ceiling Decorating

  • If you’re going to put up drapes, to make any room look taller, you want to hang the actual rod as close to the ceiling as you can, and have the drapes fall down to the floor completely. Much like vertical stripes, it makes everything look long and lean.

b0c108e64fcc90cd4d82621880647d9eI’m still on the hunt for more tips for high ceiling rooms, so if you’ve got any, do share!