We just got back from our first trip to Canton First Monday Trade Days since we moved back to Texas. This trip did NOT disappoint and I spend WAY more money than I intended to. But I found some GREAT bargains and was able to bring some back to share with my followers in our online shop.
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If you haven’t been you NEED to plan a trip. Here’s what you need to know before you go junkin’ in Canton.
ONE: What is Canton Trade Days?
According to their website, this flea market is the “oldest, largest continually operating outdoor flea market in the United States.”
A few facts:
- 450+ acres
- 6,000+ vendors
- 700,000 square feet of covered shopping
- 100,000 visitors a month
Be prepared to be amazed!
TWO: First Monday Trade Days Does NOT Happen on Monday
Canton Trade Days actually starts on the Thursday BEFORE the first Monday of the month. Which means that sometimes it’s actually the month before. For example, last month the first Monday was July 1st. So the flea market started on Thursday, June 27.
Check the calendar on their website to make sure you’re going on the right week.
THREE: Our Favorite Places to Shop at Canton First Monday
My favorite places to shop are the outdoor vendors in the Fields. The Fields go WAY back. You’ll find the best bargains there AND the most interesting pieces. (The vendors are pretty interesting, too.)
The area between the Civic Center and the Pavilions is called Antique Alley. We bought a lot of things in that area, too.
The Arbors is my least favorite place to shop. Almost everything was mass-produced or serviced-based vendors.
FOUR: Best Time to Shop Canton Trade Days
- Thursdays and Fridays are the least crowded.
- Weekends are more crowded but the vendors are more willing to drop their prices.
- November is the most crowded month.
- January is usually the least crowded.
- Spring/Fall are the best times to shop Canton Trade Days.
- Summer (June-September) is HOT!!! (I can’t add enough exclamation points to get that point across…lol…
- Many vendors are open from 8 am to 5 pm. When we’ve been there at 8 am there are still a few vendors who hadn’t opened. But we got a good head start before the heat!
- Our plan was to shop outside in the morning then stay inside in the afternoon.
- I talked to another “old-time” shopper who hits all the inside venues on Thursday and Friday then does the fields on Saturday when it gets too crowded inside.
FIVE: What to Bring to First Monday Flea Market
- cash – Most vendors in the fields and food vendors are cash only. Have lots of ones and fives for small purchases. There are ATM machines scattered throughout the flea market but I’ve heard that they’ve even run out of money before!
- a hat or baseball cap
- LOTS of water
- snacks – granola bars, fruit, cheese, and crackers, etc.
- comfortable shoes
- layers – Cardigan, light jacket, flannel shirt, etc.
- newspaper and/or tissue paper to wrap fragile items
- empty boxes
SIX: Best Places to Eat in Canton, Texas
We prefer to eat in locally-owned cafes when we’re at flea markets. Here are some of our (and our friends’) favorite places to eat in Canton:
- Dairy Palace – Great burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches. Breakfasts must be amazing, too. We didn’t eat there but their parking lot was overflowing every morning.
- Ole West Bean and Burger – Includes a bean bar and a salad bar with lots of different burgers, steaks, pork chops, and chicken-fried steaks. Also, have a kids’ menu.
- Canton’s Cafe – All-you-can-eat catfish on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Buttermilk’s – Homemade scratch cooking: chicken-fried steak, burgers, fried green tomatoes, and buttermilk pie are their specialties.
- Baker’s Ribs – As the name suggests, great ribs! But also sausage, brisket, and chicken. Their fried pies are actually why many people eat there.
- Mimi’s Broasted Chicken
- Val’s Italian Restaurant
- Tacos y Mas
There are also a lot of great chains if you want something quick and cheap: Whataburger, Panda Express, Sonic, Dairy Queen, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Subway, and more.
Other Tips for Canton First Monday Trade Days
Here are Canton flea market tips #7-17:
- Be prepared to not have cell phone coverage. Print out maps and shopping lists before you leave home. Think about getting two-way radios or walkie talkies.
- Designate a meeting place and time if you’re with a group…just in case you can’t make phone calls.
- Parking is $5.00 a day.
- If you’re staying for multiple days, I recommend parking in a different lot every day.
- There is a free trolley that will pick you up at your parking spot and take you to the gate.
- Remember where you parked!
- It’s ok to haggle prices. Just be respectful. Vendors are more willing to negotiate if you’re paying cash or buying several items.
- Electric scooters, wagons, and carts can be rented or purchased at most of the gates.
- Next time we’re bringing folding chairs that will fit in our wagon. Seating areas can get crowded around lunchtime.
- The new bathroom buildings are nice. The old ones (boardwalk) are toilets with curtains in front of them!
- Dogs on leashes are welcome. Clean up after them.
- Kids are welcome. I saw one face painting booth and lots of kids’ clothes and toys. But this place will take you a LONG time to get through and kids will be hot, tired, and grumpy by the end of the day. If possible, take turns shopping and staying with the kids back at the hotel pool.
If you enjoyed reading about Canton First Monday Trade Days, you might also like these:
- The 5 Best Flea Markets in Texas
- 25 Things to do in Waco
- Our 5 Favorite Berkeley Thrift Stores
- Our Arizona Road Trip Playlist
- The Top 10 Flea Market Tips You Need to Know
Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear what you thought about Canton First Monday Trade Days! Leave a comment and let me know.
‘Til the next market,