I have been wanting to go to the Pasadena Flea Market my entire life. Sounds dramatic, but it’s true. There were lots of things that always got in the way (mainly the getting up early on a Sunday part), but last month I dragged my butt (and the Husband’s) out of bed and we went around 9 a.m. (which in flea market time is much too late, but whatever).
Having lived in Pasadena for a year a few years ago, we are always happy to return. We try to erase the memories of our shabby-but-not-chic apartment in the lovely Lake Avenue district and just focus on the positives of this small city in the San Gabriel Valley: good walkability, a genuine effort to integrate public transport (Metro), a close proximity to the cheap, delicious, authentic eats in the San Gabriel Valley (particularly, Chinese and Vietnamese), a pleasant farmers market on Saturdays at the local high school (I highly recommend the Mexican food stand there) and a Trader Joe’s on every corner (as well as boasting the first ever Trader Joe’s on Arroyo). But I digress.
Sunday. 9 a.m. Rose Bowl. Weather: gloomy and cold. The parking lot (free) alone covers a huge expanse of space and I worry that we will be those people who can’t find their car later so we park at a tiny tree, not knowing the parking lot is full of these identical tiny trees. Oh well. We trudge to the entrance and pay our admission fee (the later you come, the cheaper it is). Early admission is 5-7 a.m. (good lord) and is $20 bucks; 7-8 a.m. is $15 bucks; 8-9 a.m. is $10 bucks and after 9 a.m. (lazy people) is $8 bucks (that was us). The flea market generally ends around 3 pm. I am very excited at this point and I feel I’m going to some kind of shopping circus where the possibilities are indeed endless.
It was indeed, a real time warp where you could satisfy any craving from almost any era. There was a lot of “Oh, I remember these!” and “That’s so Anthropologie” and “Wow, that would look great in the industrial-themed restaurant I will open in my next life” going on… in my head.
Since we were on the later side of the market, I don’t know if we missed some super-awesome-secret-cool-things-for-people-who-wake-up-early kind of stuff, but it was a still an eclectic, cool collection. The prices were on the high side though and the “food court” was kind of awful (you would be better off if I didn’t post the picture of the sad bean and cheese burrito we hesitantly split). I was truthfully expecting a cornucopia of food trucks but I guess space is an issue (but I know they have it at the flea market at Dodger Stadium, which for argument’s sake is probably a lot smaller though).
Our only purchase was ultimately less than the price of our combined admission. But nonetheless, the Rose Bowl flea market was an inspiring experience with lots of interesting eye candy.
Afterwards, to satiate our hunger we stopped over at one of our favorite lunch places on Colorado near Old Town Pasadena called Europane for a quick meatloaf sandwich and their famous macaroons. Other notables at this place are the egg salad sandwich (I’m not even a fan of egg salad and this makes me swoon) and their freshly baked bread. We went to their new location across from the Sephora (a few blocks down from their old space) and were very impressed with its sleek glass walls, modern space and beautiful, large communal wood table.
All in all, life can be good in the 626.