Located among the winding, picturesque hills of Pasadena, the famous Rose Bowl opens its parking lot every second Sunday of each month to a huge, overwhelming flea market. It was the prime reason for my recent shopping trip for work. And even though we didn't walk out with as much as I expected, if you're planning on buying lots, bring a wheelie bag, as you will likely park very far away from the carnival like entrance.
There isn't much you couldn't find here. Deer heads, violins, Precious Moments – you name it, a California eccentric is here to sell it. In the main area, you wind your way through lots of home goods and furniture booths, both categories the market excels in. If I had a house nearby, it would be insane, packed with Victorian bedroom sets, old fashioned radios, neat paintings, and chandeliers galore.
We were there for clothes, however, and nearly missed out on the major vendors (hint: they're all mostly across the “river“). The quality of the clothes is varied as to be expected from a flea market. Expect to dig and sweat your way through racks and stacks til you nearly faint (or actually do faint like my friend Laura did one July when she was trying on fur coats). On that note, the best buy of the day is the four dollar frozen lemonade. Prices on everything else vary wildly. Of course, I gravitated to the over priced, like a rhinestone spider brooch that was way cool, but nearly 100 dollars. On the other hand, searching can uncover major bargains. Just make sure you don't get caught in the chintzy area of new cheap tee shirts, baseball hats, and prostitute wear. This section, near the back, by the actual arena is not worth your time with so much vintage.
It's a long day's work. We were there for five hours. Five hot hours even though it was February. But if you start to fade, the promise of totally excellent pies and burgers should keep you going. Nearby, is Pie n' Burger an old fashioned burger stand complete with weary waitresses, wooden backed stools, and lots of juicy calories. It was agreed by all to be the best meal of the whole trip. I had the cheeseburger and boysenberry pie a la mode. My coworkers even added a vanilla shake to their order and the bite I had was out of this world.