The 12 Best Flea Markets in the Midwest

Chicago's Randolph Street Market
photo: Eric Clarke

The Midwest has more than cold winters and corn fields. It's also home to some of the most exciting flea markets and antique shows in the U.S. Whether you're hunting for treasures, bargains, or both, here are the 12 best flea markets in the Midwest:

1. Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market (Springfield, Ohio) 

Shoppers from all over the world head to Ohio nine times a year for the Springfield Antique Show & Flea Market. The prices are reasonable enough for resale and the merchandise is all antique or vintage—and you'll find up to 2,500 vendors selling it during the May and September Extravaganza weekends.

Dates: In 2019, the dates are: Jan 26-27, Mar. 16-17, Apr 13-14, June 15-16, Aug. 17-18, Oct. 19-20, Nov. 16-17.

Address: 4401 S. Charleston Pike, Springfield, Ohio 45502. The Antique Show and Flea Market are held in the Clark County Fairgrounds.

Hours are Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $3 and Early Bird Admission (entry at 7:00 a.m.) is $15.

For more information, call (937) 325-0053.

Tip: If you're serious about getting the first crack at the Extravaganza weekend goods, attend line buying on Thursday. That's when the vendors wait in line to enter the show—and when lots of them buy and sell to each other. For $40, you can be there too.

2. Randolph Street Market/Chicago Antique Market (Chicago, Illinois)

Chicago's Randolph Street Market is one of the hippest happenings in the Midwest. It's a curated market, so you won't see expired toiletries or as-seen-on-tv items. You will find fine antiques, vintage kitsch, and artisan-made offerings. The home furnishings and housewares are fabulous—and the fashions range from retro to indie-designer originals. Held on the last Saturday and Sunday of the month, with the exception of December when it is held before Christmas.

Dates: The remaining 2019 dates are: June 29-30, July 27-28, Aug 24-25, Sep 28-29, Oct 26-27, Nov 23-24, Dec 14-15.

Address: 1341 West Randolph, Chicago, Illinois 60607.

Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $10 and Early Bird Admission (entry at 8:00 a.m.) is $25. Season passes are available for $100.

For more information, call (312) 666-1200.

Tip: If you're a Randolph Street Market regular, pick up a season pass for two for $200. Since the pass includes early buyer admission and valet parking, that's nearly half off what it costs to pay by the month. 

3. Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market (Shipshewana, Indiana) 

With nearly 900 booths, the Shipshewana Auction & Flea Market is the Midwest's largest outdoor flea market. Though historically a Tuesday and Wednesday event, Shipshewana has now added Saturday swap meets. They've upped the midweek game too, with a special section for quality vendors selling vintage goods according to a weekly theme.

Dates: Dates are every Tuesday and Wednesday from May to September. In 2019, dates are Tuesday, May 7 to Wednesday, September 25. Also, open one Saturday per month from April to September. Admission is always FREE.

Address: 345 S. Van Buren St., Shipshewana, Indiana 46565.

Hours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

For more information, call (260) 768-4129.

Tip: Download the free Shipshewana Flea Market mobile app to search for vendors selling the merchandise types you want. Then, visit those booths first—or just those if you can't stay all day. The app also sends notifications on upcoming flea market and auction events.

4. Elkhorn Antique Flea Market (Elkhorn, Wisconsin)

Though a favorite of locals and those in the know, the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market at the Walforth County Fairgrounds is often overlooked by those compiling top flea market lists. It shouldn't be. The antique and vintage merchandise is outstanding — and the vendors (more than 500 of them) are ready and willing to haggle. The May and September markets are usually thought the best.

Dates: One Sunday every May, June, August, and September. In 2019, the dates are May 19, June 30, August 11 and September 29.

Address: 411 E. Court St., Elkhorn, Wisconsin 53121, in the Walworth County Fairgrounds.

Hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $5 at the gate.

For more information, call (414) 525-0820.

Tip: Don't go to the Elkhorn Antique Flea Market without a wagon or wheeled cart (along with the rest of your treasure hunting gear). You will find lots of wonderful things, and you'll probably be parked far away.

5. Sunday at Sandwich Market (Sandwich, Illinois) 

During the Sunday at Sandwich Market, the historic Sandwich Fairgrounds are filled with quality antiques and vintage collectibles. The market does allow a limited number to vendors to sell garden decor and repurposed goods, but no mass-produced new merchandise or reproductions are permitted.

Dates: Second Sunday of the month, May through August and October. In 2019, the dates are May 12, June 9, July 14, August 11 and October 13.

Address: 1401 Suydam Road, Sandwich, Illinois 60548, on the Sandwich Fairgrounds.

Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $5.

For more information, call (630) 688-9871.

Tip: If you need any help at the Sunday at Sandwich Antique Show, talk to the organizers. You'll probably spot them driving the grounds in a golf cart—and they are extremely responsive to both shopper and seller needs.

6. Walnut Antique Show (Walnut, Iowa) 

Every Father's Day weekend, antique dealers outnumber residents nearly four to one in Walnut, Iowa. That's because of the city's annual Walnut Antique Show, which is sponsored by the Walnut AMVETS. With a minimum of 20,000 shoppers each year (and that's a conservative estimate), Walnut calls itself Iowa's Antique City for good reason.

Dates: Friday through Sunday of every Father's Day weekend. In 2019, the dates are Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15.

Address: Main St., Walnut, Iowa 51577, Interstate 80, exit 46.

Hours are Friday, June 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 15 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. FREE admission.

For more information, call (712) 784-3710.

Tip: Get there early in the morning on each day you attend. If you roll in after a leisurely breakfast, you'll be parking a long way from the market area. While walking off your breakfast might not seem so bad in the morning, you'll regret the long hike at the end of the day.

7. Vintage Garage Chicago (Chicago, Illinois)

For true vintage without the trendy price tags, head to Vintage Garage Chicago. Held in a three-story, covered parking garage, the market features a different theme each month, such as Mid-Century modern, Rockabilly & Vintage Clothing, and Vintage Wedding. It's worth a visit for the nostalgia factor alone.

Dates: Third Sunday of the month from April through October, with occasional holiday markets in winter. In 2019, dates are April 21, May 19, June 16, July 21, August 18, September 15, October 20.

Address: 1800 Maple, Evanston, Illinois 60201.

Hours are 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $6.

For more information, call (312) 305-6373.

Tip: The vendors are friendly and most are willing to haggle if you do it politely

8. Sparks Antiques and Collectibles Flea Market (Sparks, Kansas)

You wouldn't think a place with a single-digit population would be an antique and collectible mecca, but twice a year it is. During the Sparks Antiques and Collectibles Flea Market, the town hosts more than 75,000 visitors—and 450 of them are antique vendors.

Dates: One Thursday through Saturday in spring and fall. In 2019, the dates are May 2 -5 and August 29-September 1.

Address: North K-7 Highway and 240th Road, Sparks, Kansas 66035.

Hours are 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. FREE admission.

For more information, call (402) 304-2285.

Tip: Lots of vendors start packing pretty early on Sundays, so get there early and don't wait too late in the day to make your best offers.

9. Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days (Oronoco, Minnesota)

Downtown Oronoco Gold Rush Days is an enormous antique show and flea market that takes place once a year. The event features approximately 1,000 vendor spaces selling nearly a variety of fascinating goods. You'll find everything from antique automobiles to handmade handbags.

Dates: Third Friday through Sunday of August. In 2019, the dates are Friday, August 16 through Sunday, August 18.

Address: Downtown Oronoco, Minnesota 55960, along the banks of the Zumbro River.

Hours are Friday and Saturday, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. FREE admission.

For more information, call (507) 367-2111.

Tip: If the summer heats starts getting to you, take a break in the old Oronoco schoolhouse. It has air conditioning. 

10. All-Night Flea Market (Wheaton, Illinois)

Most flea market tips lists advise shoppers to arrive extra early in the morning. That advice doesn't apply to Wheaton's annual All-Night Flea Market at the DuPage County Fairgrounds. It takes place from 3 p.m. til 3 a.m. The excitement comes mainly from the novelty of shopping at such a time, but there are treasures to be found.

Dates: One Saturday every August. In 2019, the date is August 17.

Address: 2015 Manchester Road, Wheaton, Illinois 60187, on the DuPage County Fairgrounds.

Hours are 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Admission is $9 at the gate. FREE parking.

For more information, call (715) 526-9769.

Tip: Take a flashlight with fresh batteries and a pair of earplugs. You'll need the former to examine potential finds for dings and damage after dark. The earplugs may come in handy when you're shopping in the tent next to the live bands.

11. Kane County Flea Market (St. Charles, Illinois) 

Looking for a good, old-fashioned flea market? Head west from Chicago for about an hour and you'll arrive at the Kane County Flea Market. There's little you won't find there, including whatever it is you want and lots of things you definitely don't.

Dates: First Sunday of the month and the Saturday the day before, March through December. In 2019, the dates are March 2-3, April 6-7, May 4-5, June 1-2, July 6-7, August 3-4, August 31-September 1, October 5-6, November 2-3, November 30-December 1.

Address: 525 S. Randall Road, Saint Charles, Illinois 60174.

Hours are Saturdays from 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $5. FREE parking.

For more information, call (630) 377-2232.

Tip: The Kane County Flea Market is huge. Skip the booths with cheap imports and pallet loads of retail store returns. Instead, focus on snagging the best antique and vintage stuff. It is there.

12. What Cheer Flea Market (What Cheer, Iowa) 

What Cheer is such a happy-sounding name for a town. If you collect just about anything old, you'll feel happy when you visit the town during the What Cheer Flea Market. To give you an idea of the offerings, the market used to be called the What Cheer’s Collectors’ Paradise Flea Market before organizers shortened the name.

Dates: First Friday through Sunday of May, August, and October. In 2019, the dates are May 3-5, August 2-4 and October 4-6.

Address: 13061 170th St., What Cheer, Iowa 50268.

Hours of operation are 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Sundays. Admission is $2 on Fridays and Saturdays and Sunday admission is FREE.

For more information, call (319) 404-4066.

Tip: Flea markets and antique shows usually charge a hefty price for early admission.

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