Under the Freeway Flea Market


One of the appealing notions of living on the Coast was to be within driving distance of my sisters.  So my next junking adventure was inevitably the “Under the Freeway” flea market in Sacramento, roughly about 3 ½ hours away.  I have three hilarious sisters who, on any given day, are the most fun to spend time with.  This shopping soiree was spent with my sister Janis.

It’s important to be at a flea market when it opens, so that you will be able to scour for sleepers and to find the closest parking spaces.  We find a great spot to park, and quickly separate once inside the gate.  Vendors are situated beneath this massive concrete freeway which crosses over downtown Sacramento and provides shade in the heat of summer, and acts as a giant umbrella on rainy days.  The feeling while shopping feels cozy and protected.

It’s only $3 at the gate, and the size of this market is perfect.  I was able to shop the entire place, while at larger ones, I usually tire before seeing all booths, which can’t be good for vendors at the back.  This market also has 2 entrances, which allows shoppers to always get to the back booths and convenient ATM’s, as we never have enough cash going in.

I quickly notice that prices are really fair, and each booth appears to have a theme.  There are seasoned vendors displaying their vintage garden, Victoriana, military, guns & knives, jewelry, clothing, great old furniture, and tons of what we call “smalls.”  The choices are endless.

My first buys are an iron chair with traces of white paint sporting an orange floral cushion, a white wicker small table, a narrow gold gilt vertical mirror, and 4 iron frog spear forks.  I am so hoping I don’t find great buys in furniture, as I didn’t bring a truck this trip, so am careful not to fall in love with anything large.  My eye catches a glimpse of a man in a corner space with tons of World War II military clothes.  I luckily find a black leather motorcycle jacket and a leather motorcycle vest for $35.  A steal.

There are so many fabulous vintage hats at this flea market, so I cave and purchase two.  A very nice couple has this most interesting English tea set in a fitted wicker basket, complete with tin caddies for sugar and tea, and a metal teapot with its own burner.  Pricey, but I must have it, so we agree on a price, and I am so pleased to own this rare set briefly before I price and offer it for sale.

I have a client who is looking for interesting and heavy belt buckles, so I seek them out, and surprisingly find a dozen that I really like.  They range from silver with brass horse heads to an enameled Florida fish to winery themes.  Prices fall between $6-15 each.

My favorite finds this day are in paper.  Three 1948 copyright Cub Scout books are in amazing condition, and so rare to find all three, “Wolf, Lion and Bear.”  At another space, I come across four Eros magazines/books, copyright 1964, one with 17 pages of Marilyn Monroe photos taken by Bert Stern, published by Ralph Ginsberg.  My Rockabilly clients would eat this up.

Finally, my sister and I connect, as she helps schlep all my stuff to the gate.  Tired, thirsty and hungry, we go to one of Sacramento’s fun watering holes, “Riverside,” where the Bloody Mary’s are mixed with their own concoctions and garnished with pickled green beans and onion.  Delicious.  As my sister is now refreshed and gaining momentum, she drags me off to another restaurant where we sit at the bar and are served by our handsome nephew, Anthony, a real mixologist, where we giggle and reflect on our junking around finds and what we “should’ve not left behind.”

Under the Freeway Flea Market in Sacramento was even more memorable just to know my sister was nearby.



Sacramento – 1st Sunday each month – Admission $3