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The Ten Best Markets in Sydney

Sydney has some of the best markets around, of any city in the world. Here are our ten favourites.

Sydney has some of the best markets around, of any city in the world. Whatever you're interested in, and whatever your budget, there is always something exciting to be found, and always something special to be discovered.

With the weather getting chillier and the weekends ripe for long and leisurely wandering, it is well and truly the time to check out some of the the best markets this city has to offer. Thus, we present to you our pick of Sydney's ten finest markets.

1. Finders Keepers

When: June 1-2 and December 8-9 2012.

The Finders Keepers is a huge success story. The bi-annual, free event held at CarriageWorks showcases the best in contemporary art and design both locally and regionally.

It's here that things jump out of etsy and into your heart. You'll find stalls from Rebound Books, Able & Game, TMOD, and a whole host of other things which you won't find anywhere else. Finders Keepers is perhaps the greatest forum for emerging designers; everything is beautifully designed, original, ethically produced, and made with love. If you haven't checked out Finders Keepers yet, it's high time you got on board.

2. Rozelle Markets

When: Every Saturday and Sunday, 9am - 4pm

You know how second-hand shopping was always supposed to be about digging out the awesome things from the junk, but now everybody just hands it to you on a plate? Rozelle Markets is the authentic experience, presenting you with the best balance of vintage, antique and old tat. Framed embroidered flowers, owl figurines, ash trays, books, records and piles of clothing; Rozelle has been one of Sydney's most exciting and inspiring markets for a few years now.

Not many markets have stayed true to the flea-market tradition, but Rozelle has, and that's partly why it's so special. While other markets - Glebe and Paddington, for example - have tarted themselves up and succumbed to commercial vintage and mass-produced hipster chic, Rozelle is still the place you'll find the truly unique and make the trash of others' your treasure.

3. Surry Hills Markets

When: First Saturday of each month.

Surry Hills is more casual than most markets, yet at the same time it's the market you're most likely to run into a street-fashion photographer. It really is a particularly well-dressed crowd. Yet Surry Hills is also where you'll dig up some of the greatest things.

Held on the first Saturday of every month at Shannon Reserve on Crown Street, it's a mix of emerging designers, specially-sourced vintage and people hocking their old junk. The stall-holders really put in the effort here. Someone will offer you the history of your $10 skirt as you're rifling around for cash, while others will be happy to knock up a customised pair of earrings for you on the spot, and one nice man once helped my friend carry a pile of old '60s suitcases to the car.

4. Bondi Markets

When: Every Sunday, 10am - 4pm.

When I was four years old my father took me to Bondi Markets and bought me a hat with a multi-coloured propellor on it. Bondi Markets won my allegiance that day, and it has never failed to disappoint since.

Held every Sunday in the grounds of Bondi Primary School, it's not as bohemian as Glebe nor as hip as Surry Hills, but adjacent to Australia's most famous beach, it's perhaps Sydney's most quintessential market experience. It's the kind of place you can pick up some vintage wares, spot a collection of semi-famous folk, people watch, buy something cute, barter over an old clock radio and then pop down to the beach for a beer.

5. Bams & Ted

When: Ad hoc dates throughout the year.

We got pretty excited when Bams & Ted started up in Autumn of last year. The vintage pop-up store works a little like a dress up party, and takes their inspiration from one fictional character every rotation. They kicked off last year with a collection based on the ethereal Miranda from A Picnic at Hanging Rock, with a collection of trinkets and wispy dresses fit for disappearing beautifully into the wilderness. Other collections have been inspired by Francie from Hitckcock's To Catch A Thief, Jessica from Murder She Wrote and the teddy-bear toting Sebastian of Brideshead Revisited.

Bams and Ted really does pop up, so you have to catch it while you can, but rest assured that we'll let you know the first we hear that they're back. Past locations have included Surry Hills and the slightly less predictable Alexandria.

6. Becky Sharp's Vanity Fair Markets

When: Second Saturday of every month, 10am - 3pm.

I had my first enounter with Becky Sharp's around six months ago, and since then my love for these markets has caused one of my friends to suggest a 'dress intervention', as he is of the opinion that a collection of mint-condition 1950s day dresses is a signpost on a dizzy downward spiral to serious addiction.

Held on the second Saturday of each month and ensconced upstairs in Paddington RSL, this is the absolute best-quality vintage paraphernalia you'll be able to get your hands on. The dress you saw in Mad Men and know you'll never get your hands on? I guarantee you will find its twin here. The clip-on earrings and pearl brooch of your grandmother's you lost when you were drunk, your grandfather's briefcase and his best hat?They're all here. Prices vary - a Victorian tea gown will set you back a couple of hundred - but last month I scored a '60s cocktail dress for $20. This is one of Sydney's best-kept secrets, and if you have any sense about you you'll head over and buy yourself something pretty.

7. Glebe Markets

When: Every Saturday, 10am - 4pm.

Glebe is a funny mix of factory seconds, emerging designers, vintage fashion and second hand books and records, and has an adorably inner-west 'alternative' vibe. You're always pretty certain to find some relaxed music playing, with people stretched out on the grass, soaking up the sun, eating gozleme and watching the world pass by.

Unlike the other markets listed here, you're likely to be bailed up by a member of the Socialist Alternative blocking the roasted chestnut van, and you're also more likely to have a long conversation about Bob Dylan's back catalogue with a guy selling used records. There's always someone wanting to chat. Despite hanging out at Glebe for many years, a friend and I recently discovered that it's actually worthwhile getting there earlier in the morning - it's quiter, more relaxed, and my friend managed to score herself an entire Duckie outfit before lunchtime.

8. Kirribilli Markets

When: Second Sunday of every month, 9am - 3pm.

Kirribilli Markets were a complete revelation to me when I discovered them. With most of Sydney's markets scattered around the Inner West and East, venturing to the northern side of the bridge to rifle through milk crates is something that has never ceased to be novel.

Held on the second Sunday of every month, right across the road from Milsons Point Station, the market boasts vintage, new and recycled fashion, homewares and collectibles. Concurrent with the fashion market is the art and design market, held in Burton Street tunnel. Once you're there you'll find it hard to distinguish between the two, but we assure they are completely seperate markets. Incidentally, if you show up on the fourth Saturday of the month to the general market you'll be able to score yourself some radishes.

9. Balmain Markets

When: Every Saturday, 8.30am - 4pm.

Sydney's third oldest market, Balmain Markets is sometimes unfortunately confused with Rozelle, but can be found in the grounds of St Andrew's Congregational Church down the far end of Darling Street every Saturday of the month. This is less a clothing market and more about arts and crafts and local vegetables, although you'll still find the odd brooch or two.

Inside the church itself is where you'll find the edible items, while the bric-a-brac and hand-made candles are squeezed into the church grounds. While not the best or the biggest market in Sydney, Balmain is well worth a look, particularly if you've already made the trip to Rozelle up the road.

10. Paddington Markets

When: Every Saturday from 10am.

Paddington Markets is a Sydney institution. Rain or shine, every Saturday since 1973, Paddington has drawn the best of Sydney's emerging designers, and has been the launching pad for designers including Lisa Ho, Bracewell and Dinosaur Designs.

The 250-stall mecca of marketing is all about the new and the exciting, so you'll find less vintage fare here than you will at the other markets included on this list. I have distinct childhood memories of being dragged around Paddington of a Saturday as my mother tinkered with Afghani necklaces, whinging until I was bought a fairy dress. And maybe it's because nothing quite beats your childhood memories, but it feels like Paddington has become a little less exciting over the past few years. There was always a man who sold lip balm in walnut shells, who'd sprinkle glitter around your eyes and give you a butterfly sticker. But he's not there anymore. People like him were what made Paddington so special, but ever so slowly they've disappeared.

Published on April 09, 2011 by Madeleine Watts

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  • Reader comments...

    Ssebabenga - August 24, 2016

    Best markets ever

    cindee - June 16, 2016

    Some other markets include the bondi beach markets (near Hurricanes), Fairfield markets - which is absolutely huge and great prices, and Penrith Markets, definitely worth the drive

    Vincent - February 27, 2016

    Awesome list, a few I've never heard of like Rozelle markets. We are trying hard to get into Finders Keepers markets, definitely a great place to score some handmade and local goodness!

    Lenore - June 24, 2015

    What about Richmond Markets? Home made / gourmet food and organic veges as well as pottery. All locally produced.

    Eugene - February 21, 2015

    Why is your review so centred around the eastern suburbs, city and the inner west. Do you just hate the Western suburbs or something?

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