The Best of Flea and Fantastic Finds at Chicago's Vintage Garage

Located, literally, in a huge garage in Uptown, this show has it all: rare records for vinyl collectors, unusual and antique furniture, all shapes and styles of clothing, kicking jewelry, and the coolest vendors (and organizers) in the Midwest.
Fantastic Finds at  Vintage Garage in Uptown, Chicago

Fantastic Finds at Vintage Garage in Uptown, Chicago

The days of collecting cookie jars are over, says Sands. People, especially the Millennials, "are finding things that are usable, wearable, decorative. That’s what’s hot."

Photo by: Vintage5051


Related To:

If you’re a dedicated flea market shopper (and if you’re not, believe it when we tell you that you’re missing out), add this new show to your rummage haunts. Vintage Garage Chicago is the brainchild of Melissa Sands, a former super seller on eBay and co-owner of Vintage Promotions, the outfit that produces the show. She made the leap from virtual, where she sold everything from promo cars to jewelry, to running location shows — a crazy idea, she says. “Nobody’s starting any new shows right now. Other people, other shows, are dying. We’re insane.” 

But she couldn’t resist. Sands, a Chicago transplant via Detroit, got her feet wet running a few vintage shows with a buddy in Dallas before heading to the Midwest. When she found this “amazing, empty parking garage in a really cool up-and-coming neighborhood on the north end of the city,” it was the perfect slot for a stable, recurring venue. Why not fill it up with vintage and get buyers and sellers out and make it a happening space? She pitched the idea to the garage owner, commercial real estate businessman Al Klairmont, and got support from Alderman Harry Osterman in the 48th, who bicycled through the ward for a vintage-style ride, their very first show. 

It was a gamble that worked: Take a look the cool Flickr stream of flea shoppers posing and grinning with deals in hand. 

Fantastic Bargains at Chicago's Vintage Garage in Uptown

Fantastic Bargains at Chicago's Vintage Garage in Uptown

The Vintage Garage show in Uptown attracts about 75 to 100 vendors every month, says promoter Melissa Sands. And crowds. "Our biggest show this year was 2,200 people for the day."

Photo by: Vintage5051


One recent show blended two subcultures: rockabilly and tiki. Think 1950s, poodle skirts, plunging necklines, glassware with hula girls and Mai Tai mugs. “There are people that live it. They dress it. Their houses are decorated in it. You know — they all have tiki bars in their basements," says Sands. "And we find that our customer base is really hip and cool like that.”

You have more chances to sift: Check their website for upcoming events. Want more? There are monthly flash sales on the company's Facebook page. "It's a great way to integrate our Facebook fans into the experience and give them a preview of what is coming each month," Sands told us.

Vintage Garage, located at 5051 N. Broadway, between Foster and Argyle. Admission $5. Bookmark and bring a big bag.

Next Up

Chicago: How the Gangster Era Shaped the City

Learn how Chicago became so ethnically diverse -- more of a mosaic than a melting pot.

Where the Wild Things Are: St. Louis’ Animal Magnetism

Are you an animal lover? With five amazing wildlife parks, St. Louis is the place for you!

The Artful Salvager: Eric Nordstrom’s Urban Remains in Chicago

The sheer variety of rare and unusual pieces here is mind-blowing. Between the huge warehouse in Chicago’s West Town and the online catalog, this architectural antique store is like a museum where everything is for sale.

St. Anthony Falls Historic District: The Heart of Minneapolis

Learn about one of Minneapolis's oldest and most intriguing areas.

Detroit: Like No Place Else

The automotive industry has shaped the city's history and culture.

Indianapolis Essentials

Here are all the favorite local spots, including grocery stores, farmer's markets, bistros, parks and museums.

5 Trendy Chicago First Date Restaurants

Whether it's a casual meet-up, a heart-fluttering full-tilt swoon, or a lucky, lucky chance to reveal your true intentions, why wing that first date? We've put together a tidy little list of five can't-miss Chicago watering holes and cozy restaurants to breeze through the ritual.

5 Great Neighborhoods in Milwaukee

Learn more about neighborhoods in the city of Milwaukee, WI.

Local Life and Lore in Detroit

Learn the local lingo and brush up on the history of Motor City.

Profile: Indianapolis, Indiana

Brush up on the basic facts about the capital of Indiana.


Top GAC Shows

Flea Market Flip

Sundays at 8|7c

Living Alaska

Mondays at 9|8c

Top 20 Countdown

Consult Program Guide

Flippin' RVs

Wednesdays 9|8c

Get Social With Us

Let's explore this country together.