The hype on their website is a little overstated, the Randolph Street Market is nowhere near as large as Portobello Road in London or the Marche aux Puces in Paris but I think this is as close to those as there is inside the Chicago city limits. Plus it's only held one weekend a month AND it has an admission fee.
I come from Detroit the last weekend of the month all summer long to set up at the Randolph Street Market in Chicago. It is by the far the coolest and hippest market I am a part of. I do a lot of shopping here as a dealer and the buys are great, the merchandise is great. There is inside and outdoor dealers with tons of variety. A lot of great vintage, retro 1950's and 1960's.
Come early on Saturday for the best stuff but then come back early Sunday morning as a fresh batch of dealers come in just for Sunday. The season opener is Memorial Day weekend, May 23rd and May 24th but the rest of the season is the last weekend of the month through October.
They serve good food and even beer and Mimosas. Dealers come from all over the country. Enjoy!
What to buy: I think the vintage clothing and vintage jewelry is the best at this market. Although I see a lot of great home decor here as well. If you dig deep you can find great pieces and great bargains. You can also see rare and unusual pieces as well. If you can't find what you are looking for, someone can help find it for you.
What to pay: Depends on what you want. You can spend a little or a lot!
DAYS: Last weekend (Saturdays, Sundays) of a month, from May till October.
PRICE: $8 both days 9am-5pm, children under 12 free.
Early outdoor shopping on Saturday only at 7:30am for $20.
Home delivery service of items purchased will be available at an extra charge.
What to buy: 150 quality antique dealers of furnishings, housewares, artifacts, vintage clothing, jewelry, sterling, porcelein, lighting, toys and collectibles galore.
Every year roughly between Thanksgiving and Christmas (Nov 26-Dec 24, 2009), the charming Christkindl Market is open at Daley Plaza near where the city's Christmas tree is located. It is designed to look like a European village, inspired by the Christmas Market in Nuremberg, Germany.
2009 is the 14th year for the market, the first year it started out over on Michigan Avenue near the Tribune Tower, moved to Daley Plaza the next year as it grew and expanded over to Block 37. After 2006, the whole market is back inside Daley Plaza as Block 37 finally got developed.
What to buy: Over 40 vendors participate in the German flavored market selling beautiful glass Christmas ornaments, wooden toys, nutcrackers, baked goods, nuts, candies and other gift items. After shopping, stop by one of the many food vendors to have a brat, potato pancakes or schnitzel washed down with German beer or Gluhwein (spiced red wine).
If you like to go to flea markets then you should try to go to the kane County Flea Market. It is located in the far western suburb of St. Charles, at the county fairgrounds. It takes place every month on the first Sunday of the month and the preceeding Saturday.
This flea market is HUGE. You can find pretty much anything there: antiques, toys, jewelry, plants, crafts, and of course the typical flea market stuff. Plan on spending several hours (if not all day) browsing the indoor and outdoor booths.
What to pay: Admission is $5 per person. Parking is free.
The place is in Villa Park (300 W. North Ave). It's all indoors and air conditioned! All new merchandise. There are hundreds of dealers that sell all everything from jewelry, cell phones, clothes, car stereos, pc games and computers and bargain prices. They even have a restaurant.
What to buy: jewelry
What to pay: varies depending on the items
Throughout the year, weekend flea markets are held on a rotating schedule at the county fairgrounds.
Kane County-1st Sunday
Lake County-2nd Sunday
More vendors show up on summer weekends, a few selling new goods but most selling antiques and collectibles.
This place is like a museum of Asian furniture and exotic art. The big difference is that you can take the items home. They have everything from Han Dynasty Tomb figures, to dinosaur eggs, to British colonial furniture. Defiantly worth a look.
What to buy: art deco furniture, Han pottery, Tang Pottery