The Geneva Market ©
The Geneva Market ©

The 7 Best Iowa Flea Markets You Don’t Want To Miss

When you’re a fan of flea markets and have visited your fair share, you soon realize no two are similar. That’s part of the charm, it’s it? Whether it’s the setting, vendors, treasures or tasty options, all events are unique and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

This is certainly true for the flea markets in Iowa. No matter the size of the event, the busy men and women behind the scenes strive to make sure their visitors and vendors have a great time by putting the H in hospitality. It’s evident with how these flea markets have grown with fan loyalty.

There are SO many great events going on in Iowa with a flair for the vintage, repurposed, rusty junk, and more that it would be impossible to list them all, that’s why in this review, I have personally selected the 7 best Iowa flea markets that are on my ‘go-to’ list. You could visit each year and still love it like I do.

# 1 What Cheer Flea Market aka Collector’s Paradise

What Cheer flea market ©
© (Image courtesy of What Cheer flea market)

Located in Central Iowa, about 20 miles south of I-80, vendors set up on the Keokuk County Fairgrounds. Held three times a year on the first Th-F-S-S in May, August, and October. Early Bird day is Thursday. This is where simple is best. There are 400+ exhibitors that showcase their treasures in over 7 rows inside the main, round track, 5 or so buildings, and all the grassy areas as well, they cover the entire grounds. You can find yummy treats in 4 concession stands, popcorn, and THE best funnel cake, ever.

The variety here is endless: antique glass, farm machinery, jewelry, upcycled, serious collectibles to glass/porcelain. Last year I overheard a conversation where the man said he was from New York and that he’d never been to a flea market that was this huge. It’s pet friendly and allows golf carts.

Parking varies: choose the grass field or neighbors yards for a small fee.

Where: 13061 170th St, What Cheer, IA 50268, USA
When: 3 times a year on the first Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday in May, August and October

#2 The Barn

The Barn flea market©
© (Image courtesy of The Barn flea market)

What started out as the perfect setting for their daughter’s wedding in the family’s 60-year-old barn has turned into an Iowa country flea market. The wedding that started it all was even featured on Style Me Pretty. You’ll find the Yoder farm and the near famous barn, instantly distinguishable with its windows-of-all-sizes front a few miles down a gravel road in rural Iowa.

The “Barn Girls”, two mothers and their two daughters, run the show with many volunteers where they handpick their vendors who sell vintage, shabby chic, upcycled, junk, and other handmade goods.

It’s a real farm with a farmhouse, cornfield parking lot, a pond, and rolling hills making it one of the most beautiful places to shop. There are a few shading spots to sit and munch on treats from the pizza oven & ice cream trucks. Vendors I know speak very highly of these ladies.

Held twice a year in the Spring and Fall, the event is called the Flea & Fair. Upcoming events are announced on Facebook or their website.

Where: The Barn 3271 V Avenue Wellman, Iowa 52356
When: Two days, twice a year in Spring and Fall

#3 Vintage & Made Fair

Vintage & made fair ©
© (Image courtesy of VAMF)

A local vintage shop owner felt the need for a venue offering inspired indie craft, handmade, antique and vintage things that included supporting small businesses with a fun experience is how Vintage & Made Fair was born. It continues to exceed expectations.

Held twice a year it offers 6 delicious food vendors {including an adorable vintage camper turned into a mobile bar, as in alcohol}. Having outgrown its previous location at Jordan Park Camp, you can find it now at the historic Living History Farms, which makes for the perfect backdrop for this super unique collection of vendors.

Along with the many exclusive treasures to be found they showcase local musicians/bands. You will be drawn to it’s fun, laid-back vibe unlike any other.

Where: Living History Farms 11121 Hickman Road Urbandale, IA 50322
When: Two days, twice a year in Spring and Fall

#4 The Rustique Flea and Vintage Marketplace

The Rustique Flea and Vintage Marketplace ©
© (Image courtesy of The Rustique Flea and Vintage Marketplace)

This event is budget-friendly, touting free admission and free parking, in classic Iowa style. This dynamic duo behind this market brings in vendors that present old tools, upcycled furniture, wood & farm salvage, primitives, shabby and antiques. They are super friendly & always multi-tasking to make sure everyone is being taken care of.

You might also find these event owners peddling their own wares at other junk events around Iowa, always with a friendly smile. There is something here you won’t see anywhere else.

Taking place at the Warren County Fairgrounds in Indianola, they put this show together three times a year in May, July, and September with ample parking. The layout is easy to navigate & oftentimes held in conjunction with other local events so plan on making a day out of visiting here. Food and refreshment vendors on-site curb those tummy rumbles.

Where: Warren County Fairgrounds 1400 W 2nd Ave Hwy 92 Indianola, Iowa
When: Two days, three times a year in May, July, and September

#5 Southern Iowa Junk Jaunt

Southern Iowa Junk Jaunt © Southern Iowa Junk Jaunt
©Southern Iowa Junk Jaunt (Image courtesy of Southern Iowa Junk Jaunt)

Just as the name suggests, a jaunt {or adventure/journey/drive} in southern Iowa that involves junk has got to be worth seeing, and it is. The owner of junk store in Centerville, Iowa is the organizer of this affair incorporating over 10 towns showcasing small businesses and vendors. Like they say: grab some friends, jump in your truck and get to junkin’.

At last count there were over 18 vendors and a few individuals who offer vintage, lodge, barn, primitives, antiques and loads more. This is the perfect set-your-own-pace kind of excursion and with so many places to visit you’re bound to find something to treasure.

Their map shows all the stops along the way so you can make an itinerary or just see where the day takes you.

Where: 23919 470th St, 52544 Centerville (Iowa)
When: Three days, twice a year in June and in October

#6 The Geneva Market

The Geneva Market ©
© (Image courtesy of The Geneva Market)

This is a bi-annual market on the first weekend in May and typically the third weekend in September. This small town really comes together in a big way! A group of volunteers saw the need for the local Geneve School grounds’ auditorium needing a renovation and this is event is how they raise money for all the equipment. At first, the funds came out of their own pockets, but the Geneva Market is so popular now that they have raised over $100,000 in order to make their small corner of the world a better place!

In order to keep up with the growth, their location has changed a few times but it’s not hard to keep up with them when you follow them on their social media page. They have had a few setbacks with vandalism but they kept right on moving forward, how inspiring.

The selection of wares here is great, from farmhouse, to boho, then mix in some industrial, vintage, handcrafted & new it’s truly unique & fun. This year they are back in the town of Geneva so it’s super easy to find.

Where: 704 Washington St 50633 Geneva (Iowa)
When: Two days, twice a year in May and September

#7 Junk Jubilee

Junk Jubilee ©
© (Image courtesy of Junk Jubilee)

Junk Jubilee hosts several events a year with vendors from all over the USA. Their mission is to bring ‘good’ junk to those of us who hate to see it be forgotten or worse, filling up the landfills. They showcase a mixture of farm, vintage, industrial, retro, up-cycled, and more. Some of the treasures I’ve seen here was one-of-a-kind pieces with a wide variety of the size selection: old postcards to glorious chandeliers.

A very special event is the Junk Jubilee Jingles, a rare occasion to shop junk and vintage items in the cold of Winter. Perfect for doing some hunting for that hard-to-find person on your holiday list or, of course, that special something you found and can’t go home without {Merry Christmas to you}!

Inside the spacious Varied Industries building is a great place for this ‘festival’ as the name suggests. Lots of room for the big crowds, good parking and the concession stand is open if you want to rest.

Where: Varied Industries Building, Iowa State Fairgrounds, 3000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50317
When: Several times a year in April, July and November

Bonus: US flea markets on a map!

You can now visualize the best flea markets and antique fairs in the US, on a map! Not only have we included all the above flea markets, but we’ve added to the mix some of the country’s most acclaimed antique fairs. Just click on the image below to access our map feature for free.

flea market map USA