Places: The Melrose Trading Post

Nothing makes a lazy Sunday more complete than a stroll through the Melrose Trading Post.

“Described as a cool, eclectic gem of a place to find treasures and rare goodies, the Melrose Trading Post is a great Sunday destination.  You can expect to find something to make you say “wow” every single time you visit.   Enjoy the food court in the beautifully landscaped upper quad.  Relax to the live jazz band’s melodic vibes.  Treat yourself to a different kind of day.” – Melrose Trading Post

This glorious hipster retreat is in session every Sunday from 9 to 5 in the parking lot of Fairfax High School. It’s one of the most successful fundraising efforts of the LAUSD by far (all proceeds go towards support of programs at Fairfax High), not to mention one of the best activities to partake in in LA. Since I live but a stone’s throw away, my typical Sunday morning consists of browsing the wares and nursing any Saturday night debauchery over delicious tamales served up by one of the food vendors – but more on that later.

On paper its just a flea market, but in reality it’s so much more:

Vendors – There are over 200 vendors that come to the Trading Post every week. I don’t know if they have a screening process, but the vendors here are top notch; you won’t find people selling hand-me-down children’s clothing or random cheaply made stuff here, for instance. If the hipster/vintage style is your thing, you’re bound to find at least a couple stalls that will be to your liking.

Those that are looking for great vintage clothing and shoes will love the selection here. The majority of these vendors are geared toward women, but men can find a couple that sell vintage t-shirts, boots, leather and military jackets, and other similar items. There are vendors that sell new items that have that vintage-y style as well.

The reason I go (primarily) is for the furniture on display. I can only assume that these vendors are frequent garage and estate sale customers, given their great selection of vintage chairs, tables, lamps,and other items. Styles range from midcentury modern to “doctored” vintage pieces (painted and distressed by the vendors). Since we’ve got the majority of our big furniture items, I’ve started looking for smaller tchotchske items to bring home.

Although I haven’t yet pulled the trigger and bought anything from him yet, one of my favorite vendors at the Trading Post sells hand-painted lithographs of plants, cityscapes, animals, and other items. Another of my favorites is a (relatively-speaking) newcomer that sells hand drawn cels from cartoons such as the Jetsons, Aaah! Real Monsters, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There are other vendors that sell pages from old magazines and newspapers, vintage movie posters, vintage pictures and postcards, and other pieces that would look great on any wall.

Fans of vintage jewelry will find a great selection here as well.

And if you’re looking for something else, you can also find sunglasses, hats, vintage keys, records, wood and metal work, screen print posters, art pieces, luggage, old cameras, antique tools, rugs, ethnic “antiques”, old signs, old books, silverware, vintage servingware, vintage painting frames, musical instruments, coins, lotions and fragrances, homemade candles and soaps…

Yeah, something for everyone.

Food – Although you won’t find any award-winning cuisine or food trucks here, the food vendors serve up simple dishes that hit the spot.

My favorite stand is the tamale stand. Comfort food on a Sunday is a pork tamale and a chicken tamale with salsa and a Diet Coke.

In addition to tamales, the stand also serves other Mexican fare such as tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. Other stands serve items such as crepes, grilled chicken, and spinach quiche, to name a few.

What better way to relax with a plate of tamales than by hanging out in the shade and grooving to tunes? Entertainment during your meal is provided by a rotating cast of musicians, including jazz, classical, and mellow rock.

Fashion/Style/People Watching – Pictures speak louder than words, so, without further ado: pictures.

So what have we gotten from the Trading Post? Admittedly, not too much, given the number of times we’ve gone. However, the stuff we have gotten is great and were steals when compared to what we have had to pay for similar items elsewhere.

Vintage Lantern – $25 – This rusty old lantern was perfect for lighting up our small balcony. It took us a bit of time to figure out how to get it working, but once we were able to fill it up with some lamp oil and work the wick apparatus, we’ve enjoyed our great Southern California nights basking in nothing but the glow of the lantern.

Work Bench – $35 – This simple but sturdy old work bench fit perfectly on our balcony. Its versatility as a seat and as a table works great for us; when we have company over, we can bring it in as seating at our dining table.

Vintage Wood Trunk – $35 – The wood trunk fits perfectly between the two windows in our living room. Another versatile item, we store our blankets inside and use the top as a side table for a lamp and other items.

 

Coffee Table and Side Table – $55 – These handmade tables were made by the vendor’s father. We loved the mid-century lines on the tables, and the fact that it was a set matched perfectly for what we were looking for in the living room.

Antique Wardrobe Trunk – $50 – This trunk is pretty beat up, but I wanted to get one for cheap. I’ve got some plans for a conversion that I’ll post later, so stay tuned!

Melrose Trading Post
7850 Melrose Avenue (Fairfax High School @ Melrose and Fairfax)
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Entry fee: $2 ($1 off coupon)

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2 thoughts on “Places: The Melrose Trading Post

  1. I’m so confuuuused. I went there with a friend and was disconnected the whole time. What are you supposed to look for? What’s good about the vintage look? (honest question)

    • I think the vintage look is a personal taste/preference that is not for everyone. I like it because I feel like each piece has a character of its own, a story to tell. I like modern design as well, but I think that modern design is all about the now and how you feel about it at that moment. With vintage/antique-y stuff, it makes me think more about where it came from and who made it.

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