Vintage Treasure Hunting in Pasadena

August 21, 2018 | Posted in Arts & Culture

Pasadena is for Vintage Lovers & Antique Shoppers

Shoppers flock to Pasadena in search of vintage treasures and one-of-a-kind finds. The draw goes well beyond the legendary monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market. Striking the mother lode is an everyday occurrence here in Pasadena, thanks to an impressive line-up of antique shops and quirky vintage boutiques. Whether you're a craftsman connoisseur looking for that perfect piece of furniture or an 80's-crazy bargain hunter, the browsing and buying experience in Pasadena rewards anyone and everyone with a fondness for the thrill of the hunt.

Flea Market Finds

Flea markets are the centerpiece of a Pasadena-style Sunday Funday. The internationally renowned Rose Bowl Flea Market is a mecca for vintage lovers and interior decorators. No ordinary flea market, this is an event. The people watching is just as compelling as the vast selection of goods for sale—it's a veritable see-and-be-seen scene, complete with celebrities.

Rose Bowl Flea Market, Pasadena, LA Events
Rose Bowl Flea Market

The Rose Bowl Flea takes place the second Sunday of every month at the Rose Bowl Stadium. More than 2,500 vendors are spread out around the grounds selling vintage clothing, mid-century modern furniture, African textiles, Moroccan rugs, Chinese antiques, jewelry and so much more. The truly committed and competitive pay $25 for the VIP admission to get first dibs between 5:00 a.m. and 7:00 a.m., or $18-$19 for the 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. preview period. Express admission runs $14-$15 for 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. access, and the "regular" hours have the lowest ticket price of $9-$10, which applies to the standard 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. operation. In addition to comfortable walking shoes, hats, sunscreen and water are highly recommended, as it can get quite intense under the sun in warmer months. If you're planning to pick up a few things and don't have your own cart, you can buy one at the entrance. You won't have to shop until you drop here either—food and beverages are for sale to keep you hydrated and nourished.

Pasadena plays host to smaller flea market the first Sunday of each month. There's no admission fee to the Pasadena City College Flea Market, which attracts approximately 400 vendors specializing in antiques, collectibles and records. The PCC Flea Market is a go-to for music fans in particular. More than 50 record collectors and used music vendors set up shop in a dedicated area where they showcase their vinyl, CDs and memorabilia. The market runs 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. around the campus's East and West parking lots.

Vintage finds at Pasadena City College Flea Market

Antique Hunter

Architecture and design are a big part of Pasadena's identity. So it makes perfect sense that the city abounds with well-curated antique stores selling attractive home décor, furnishings, textiles and more.

A stretch of Fair Oaks Avenue is known as the "Antique District" because it's a hub of these treasure troves. Revival Antiques is one such gem that attracts designers and DIY-ers. It's filled with restored lighting fixtures, garden accents, antique furniture and vintage Arts & Crafts and Spanish Revival tiles. You can while away several hours exploring the two levels of Pasadena Antiques & Design. The 21,600-square-foot, multi-dealer shop is meticulously arranged with fine American, English and Continental art and furnishings, as well as pottery, ceramics and other artifacts. Understandably, Hollywood set decorators and collectors from around the world are regular customers here. The massive Pasadena Antique Center & Annex is another favorite of filmmakers and discerning decorators. Established in 1976, the two-building facility houses furniture, jewelry, art and rare books sourced from 130 professional antique dealers. T.L. Gurley Antiques may be the smallest of this Fair Oaks Antique District bunch, but they pack a lot of quality and character into their tightly edited selection of rugs, seating, tables, desks, art and garden statues.

Pasadena Antique Center

Locals have voted Pasadena Antique Mall the best antique shop in town for several years running. The family-run business located in Paseo Colorado features an eclectic selection that runs the gamut from whimsical collectibles and retro clothing to period furniture and time-tested books. Pasadena Antique Warehouse scours estate sales and auctions and consigns remarkable pieces to create their vast inventory of Chinese antiques, watches, clocks, vintage signs, jukeboxes, military memorabilia and more. They also specialize in restorations, and are a popular camera-ready prop rental source for film and TV productions.

For those in the market for highly specific salvaged items that come with a more lived-in look, Pasadena Architectural Salvage sells reclaimed doors, cabinets, windows, plumbing and lighting fixtures spanning the decades between 1880 and 1940. Voorhees Craftsman is the spot for Arts & Crafts era antiques, including Stickley originals. The trusted craftsman dealers also make high quality mission style oak reproductions. F Suie One Co. has ties to one of the oldest family-run Asian antiques businesses in the US, which author Lisa See wrote about in her best-selling memoir, On Gold Mountain. The Colorado Boulevard shop run by Lisa's cousin Lesley still specializes in Asian antiques. De-Cor is a thoughtfully arranged showroom that blends new and old pieces sourced from the Indian sub-continent.

F Suie One
F Suie One

Vintage Style

Stylists and vintage sellers like to hit the charity thrift shops scattered throughout town to scour for bargains. Fabulous finds at seriously low prices that go towards good causes have been discovered ACTS Thrift Store and Full Circle Thrift Shop. There are also the requisite Goodwills and a local Salvation Army for those on a mission to find thrifty threads.

MEOWMEOWZ is a small vintage shop with a punk rock bent and a penchant for the 1980s. In addition to men's and women's clothes and shoes, the store carries vinyl, CDs and collectibles. Opened by a fashionable former entertainment executive, High Low Vintage is the spot to shop for women's vintage clothing and accessories. For amazing selections, visit their online store. And Adira's on Walnut Street carries ultra-feminine, classic vintage dresses and accessories.

High Low Vintage

HotBox Vintage caters to a younger clientele with vintage women's fashions from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The South Pasadena boutique also carries some men's pieces, including bomber jackets and logo sweatshirts. Vintage items for men and women are also in the mix at resale specialist CrossRoads Trading Company's Colorado Boulevard location.

Happy hunting, shoppers!