Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes”, Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes rack up more shoreline that all of the states of California, Florida and Hawaii combined.
With so many bodies of water to explore, it’s no surprise that the state is packed with boat and fishing enthusiasts, with the highest ratio of boat owners in the country. But what about those to keep their feet on dry land?
Minnesota’s “Twin Cities” – the capital Saint Paul and neighbouring Minneapolis – are ideal destinations for visitors looking for a little retail therapy, and those in search of more unique products will find them at the state’s many flea, vintage and country markets.
If you’re looking for a fun flea this week, here are 15 of the best flea markets in Minnesota:
1. Mercado Central
One of Minneapolis’s busiest markets, the Mercado Central is open from 6am every day, with more than 35 vendors and services to visit.
Opened in 1999, the Mercado Central might have more permanent merchants than a traditional flea, but shoppers can still find an excellent range of new and used goods, delicious food vendors and a wide range of services, such as an on-site hairdresser and an estate agent.
If you are looking for a unique gift, Mercado Central has merchants selling clothes, toys, jewellery, flowers and more, alongside artisan food and everyday groceries.
2. Wright County Swappers Meet
Opened in 1970, the Wright County Swappers Meet is the largest outdoor market in Minnesota. Open every Saturday from April to October, and Sundays between June and August, the huge flea market has an average of 300 merchants each weekend, with everything from clothing to tools, arts and crafts, garden supplies, live pets, antiques, jewellery, electrical items and more.
Holiday weekend are particularly popular at the Wright County Swappers Meet, with live entertainment, performers and even pony rides for children.
There’s free parking and no fee to browse, making this a great budget day out for all the family. Hungry shoppers can also tuck into breakfast and lunch at the Snack Shack, or browse the selection of food and drinks stalls throughout the market.
3. Wadena Flea & Craft Market
Wadena County’s seasonal flea market, the Wadena Flea & Craft Market is an ideal trip for summer treasure hunters.
Open on weekends between May and October, the market has both indoor and outdoor vendors, for all-weather shopping. With four buildings full of antiques, furniture, collectibles, recycled and upcycled goods and gifts, you can spend hours hunting through the stalls for unique items and rare finds.
It might be a couple of hours drive from the “Twin Cities” but the Wadena Flea & Craft Market is worth the trip for the unique buys and bargain prices.
4. Junk Bonanza
The name says it all – Junk Bonanza is one of Minnesota’s best flea markets to discover one person’s junk can easily be another person’s treasure.
With events throughout America, the Minnesota Junk Bonanza markets itself as the place for antiquers, junkers and flea market lovers.
Starting as a monthly flea market before moving to an annual extravaganza, the Junk Bonanza has a strict no reproductions rule, meaning shoppers are guaranteed to find authentic antiques, collectibles and vintage items.
The flea also features guest appearances from industry experts, as well as workshops and giveaways.
5. St. Cloud Indoor Flea Market
Located in St. Cloud, this small flea market is open from Tuesday to Saturday year-round, with a great selection of new and used items.
Held inside an unmissable red barn, the St. Cloud Indoor Flea Market has more than 100 vendors, with everything from baby products to office supplies.
Pick up a real bargain at the 89¢ Store or search for antiques and rare vintage finds. There are also stalls selling books, clothing, hand crocheted goods, furniture, seasonal décor, kitchen appliances and more.
Open from 10am, this is one of Minnesota’s best off-the-beaten-track fleas for unique buys.
6. Wabasha Discount Flea Market
If you’re looking for second-hand or discounted new furniture, the Wabasha Flea Market is Minnesota’s best stop for bargain home and décor goods.
Open Thursday to Sunday from 9am, this large furniture-focused flea has a wide selection of nearly-new modern pieces, including bedroom furniture, as well as a huge range of home décor, florals, sewing supplies, stationary, health and beauty products and gift items.
The Wabasha Flea is also a great stop for arts and crafts lovers, with a dedicated sewing section. Shoppers can pick up quilting and sewing supplies, with everything from needles to yarn, thread, craft and scrapbooking items.
7. Trader’s Market Inc
The Traders Market in Elko takes place each year on Memorial Day Weekend, 4th of July Weekend and Labor Day Weekend, and is one of the largest event-fleas in the state.
The huge flea has a wide selection of antique and vintage goods, alongside vendors selling “junk”, new and used goods, handmade craft items and more. Each market brings more than 300 merchants, as well as a great range of food and drinks vendors for snacks throughout the day.
The Traders Market is ticketed, with kids 10 and under going free and adults costing just $6, but with so many bargains to rummage through, this is a budget-friendly day out for the whole family.
8. Lakehead Harvest Reunion
Not only does the Annual Lakehead Harvest Reunion offer up some of the best flea finds in Minnesota, it’s also an incredibly fun, festival-style day out for family members of all ages.
Alongside flea market stalls, selling antiques, collectables and general “junk” items, visitors to the Annual Lakehead Harvest Reunion can enjoy a huge range of activities, entertainment and food.
There are daily parades and wagon rides, as well as an extensive list of demonstrations and educational shows, including saw-milling, blacksmiths, shingle making, antique rock crushing, steam and gas models, a tractor pull and hundreds of antique tractors.
9. The French Flea
More of a “Flea Boutique” than your average junkers flea market, the French Flea in Anoka is an ideal shopping spot for those who don’t have time to rummage around for their next vintage and antique buys.
Open every Thursday to Saturday from 10am, and Sundays from 11am, the French Flea has a selection of merchants, dubbed the “Fleabags”, showing one-of-a-kind vintage items, restored antiques and furniture and unusual home décor.
Whether you are searching for a finishing touch for your home or the perfect gift for a lover of all things vintage and retro, the French Flea is Minnesota’s classiest flea-shop experience.
10. Excelsior Flea Market
Running for over 15 years, the Excelsior Flea Market is located across from scenic Lake Minnetonka, and runs every Saturday from June to August, and sporadically during the holiday season.
Sponsored by the Excelsior Christkindlsmarkt, the flea market is an eclectic mix of new and used goods, household items and gifts. Whether you are looking for a new outfit, a piece of statement jewellery, glassware, artisan food gifts, quilts, toys, furniture, antiques or plants, the Excelsior Flea Market is a great place to browse for bargains, and to find hidden treasure.
11. Shady Hollow Flea Market
Just five miles south of Detroit Lakes, the Shady Hollow Flea Market has been one of Minnesota’s favourite family flea markets for over 45 years.
Popular with both tourists and locals alike, the 3.5-acre market is open every weekend, between May and September. The flea market is home to more than 25 permanent vendors, with up to 100 temporary vendors arriving each weekend from the tri-state area.
There are merchants and goods for all ages, with clothing, jewellery, sports equipment, tools, toys, books, CDs and DVDs, antiques and collectables.
For hungry shoppers, the market also has an on-site restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as a selection of food vendors offering snacks including corn dogs, doughnuts and pizza.
12. Hamel Lions Flea Market
Running every Sunday from May until September, the Hamel Lions Flea Market is Hennepin County’s largest outdoor flea markets.
A traditional flea, this is one Minnesota market that you will have to rummage through to find the good stuff, but if you have the treasure-hunting urge, there’s nowhere better in the state.
You can find great bargains on items including antiques, collectables and furniture, as well as vendors selling fresh local produce, plants and flowers and handmade gift items.
13. The Stillwater Flea and Crafters Market
Now in its 4th year, the outdoor Stillwater Flea and Crafters Market is one of the biggest and best in Minnesota, with a huge range of vendors and visitors attending on the last weekend of the month.
Held between May through September in the Washington County Fairgrounds, the flea market has also added many arts and crafts vendors over the past few years, making this an excellent stop for those looking for unique gifts and handmade items.
Whether you simply want to enjoy a cheap day out in the beautiful St. Croix River Valley or you feel like rummaging through endless stalls of antiques, furniture, home décor, clothing, jewellery, books, crafts and more, the Stillwater Flea and Crafters Market is one of the best in the entire state.
14. Minnesota’s Antique Spectacular & Flea Market
Running several times throughout the year in St. Paul’s State Fairgrounds, the Minnesota’s Antique Spectacular & Flea Market is the Twin Cities’ largest antique and flea event.
Hosted by Prime Promotions, a company who have been operating flea market and antique shows in Minnesota for over 30 years, this flea features over 100 vendors and a huge range of goods.
The flea market is ticketed, with discounts available for those who shop at local antiques stores, but costs just $7 for entry to both weekend days.
Visitors can expect to find antiques, furniture, collectables, vintage clothing and home décor, alongside a selection of unusual and one-of-a-kind items.
15. A Gathering of Friends Antiques Market
Minneapolis’s biannual flea, A Gathering of Friends Antiques Market, is small but charming, with around 18 vendors showcasing their wares at any one event.
If you’re a fan of vintage and retro clothing and accessories, this is the flea for you. The market, which is held in the Bachman’s Greenhouse on Lyndale Avenue South, has an easy to browse selection of high quality vintage apparel, as well as jewellery, bags and shoes.
A Gathering of Friends Antiques Market is also a great place to pick up unusual home décor, including pottery, ornaments and furniture.