The Oldsmar Flea Market may have been founded nearly 40 years ago, but it's lost none of its charm with age. Today, it ranks as one of the largest markets on Florida’s West Coast, not to mention one of Tampa Bay’s top attractions. Spread over 28 acres, it boasts hundreds of vendors selling everything from local produce to furniture, clothing to electronics, gourmet food to jewelry. Whatever you're in the market for, there's a good chance you'll find it here, and at a price that's guaranteed to put a smile on your face. If you want to support local businesses and add some fun to your weekend, here are our top ten reasons to visit the Oldsmar Flea Market.
1. It's Florida's best-kept secret
Tampa's not exactly short on visitor attractions, but if you want to hit up the city like a local, a visit to Oldsmar Flea Market is practically obligatory. It's not necessarily the kind of place tourists flock to in their droves (and some bargain-hunters might prefer to keep it that way) but with so much history and charm on offer, this local secret can only be kept under wraps for so much longer. If you want to be ahead of the curve and check it out before the rest of the world catches on to its attractions, be sure to schedule a visit soon.
2. It's a foodie's dream
If there's one thing that's almost guaranteed to give you an appetite, it's spending your morning trawling through 28 acres of stalls. Fortunately, bargain hunters at Oldsmar Flea Market dont need to go hungry for long. Along with its quirky assortment of brick-a-brack, antiques, and everything else you can possibly imagine, it offers a huge variety of stores that specialize in fresh local produce, tempting baked treats, and regional delicacies. To wash it all down, be sure to grab a pint of craft beer - it's cheap (expect to pay around $5) and most definitely tasty.
3. It's dog friendly
If you don't want to leave Fido at home while you enjoy yourself at the market, you don't have to. As per its official website, Oldsmar Flea Market is a dog-friendly venue - providing you keep your pooch either leashed or in your arms at all times, you'll have no problem with admittance. Just be sure to keep well away from the family-owned 'Everything Birds' if your dog has a strong prey drive -with over 5,000 square feet of every type of bird species known to man, the combination could be disastrous.
4. It throws some amazing events
Oldsmar Flea Market is about a lot more than just picking up some quirky bargains. As home to The Venue, it's one of the best places in town to catch an event. For obvious reasons, 2020 and the first half of this year weren't great on that score, but as the pandemic recedes, it expects to start scaling its operation back up.
5. It's perfect for Sunday afternoons
If you're looking for something to liven up your Sunday afternoons in a way that doesn't involve binging on Netflix, Oldsmar Flea Market is the perfect solution. Open every Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 4 pm, it's ideal for people looking for new and different ways to fill their weekends. It's also open Wednesday to Friday between 10 am and 2 pm, although the number of vendors tends to be more limited during weekdays.
6. There's no charge for admission
If you're searching for free, fun things to do in the Tampa Bay area, Oldsmar Flea Market is ideal. There's no charge for admittance and no parking fees if you come by car. Just be sure to bring some cash along with you, anyway - if you manage to leave without at least one bulging bag of goodies, you'll be the first.
7. It's easy to find
No one wants to waste their time driving around getting lost. Unless you've got a broken sat nav and are very, very bad at directions, you won't have to. Despite being off the tourist track, the market is still super easy to find. As per touristsecrets.com, from Tampa, head towards North Marion Street before taking the exit onto North Florida Avenue. Turn left on East Kay Street before joining the I-275 S. Take Exit 39 to join the FL-60 W before exiting at 2B. Carry on to FL-580 W/W Hillsborough Avenue, and you'll be at your destination in minutes. If you're taking the bus rather than driving, the closest stations are Tampa Rd & Lafayette Blvd (2 min by foot from the market) and Tampa Rd + Race Track Rd (3 min from the market).
8. It's fun for all the family
If you're looking for a family-friendly destination, Oldsmar Flea Market ticks all the boxes. With restaurants, craft vendors, a farmers market, weekly events, games nights, a sports bar, craft beer on tap, mini donuts designed for little hands, and lots of friendly folk to chat to, it's a place that caters to everyone.
9. It's great for bargain hunters
Who doesn't love a bargain? With 250 vendors all competing for your business, the chance of walking out without some new goodies is next to nill. If you haven't been to a flea market before, picture a giant garage sale (albeit a garage sale with craft beer on tap, fresh produce, and a hub of restaurants). Although there's a good selection of vendors selling new items, there's an equal number selling used items in good condition, giving you the perfect opportunity to pick up clothes, household goods, electronics, and more besides at a bargain bucket price.
10. Everything's up for negotiation
If you're looking to brush up on your negotiation skills, the Oldsmar Flea Market is the ideal venue to do it. As sandpointantiquedesignmarket.blogspot.com notes, flea markets are one of the few places where you can negotiate a trade with a vendor. If you've got something they're interested in, they might be willing to trade it for something you've got your own eye on. The prices are also often up for negotiation, so don't be afraid to engage in some light bartering.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson