There’s a lot of great shopping in San Antonio, but sometimes it’s not “new” you’re looking for. Maybe you’re in search of a one-of-a-kind relic, a vintage item you remember from Grandma’s house, or something you can refurbish to make it truly your own. Beyond the typical retail outlets, we’ve also got a number of options when it comes to finding something old in San Antonio. Three of the most popular are Bussey’s Flea Market, Back Alley Antiques, and Ironside Market. You might have to search through a lot of “stuff” to find the gems, but to people who enjoy the hunt, looking is half the fun!
18738 Interstate 35N, Schertz
Flea markets are where you can find a real deal on a one-of-a-kind item you’ve always wanted…or it can be a whole lot of walking around for very little return. The trick is to come often, because you’ll rarely see the same things twice.
Bussey’s features dozens of vendors, each showcasing their own unique assortment of goods. You’ll find an impressive variety that on any given day could include LPs, vintage toys from the 60s, an Atari game system, Midcentury wall clocks, hand-made dolls, jewelry, toys, books and more. Some vendors specialize in a certain type of item or era, and some offer a potpourri of odds and ends.
Get the lay of the land before starting your journey through Bussey’s: there’s an “inner ring” where the more permanent vendors will be selling their goods, and an ring of outer stalls where the selling is more “swap meet” style. For those unfamiliar with the flea market concept, remember that almost every vendor is willing to barter, so don’t assume the price that’s noted on the item is what you’ll need to pay.
The market is covered so you can make a day of shopping even when the weather isn’t cooperating. There are also a number of vendors selling food, so do lunch while you’re there.
Even if all you do is people watch and window shop, a trip to Bussey’s is a must…at least once! Located on the side of I-35 North just north of San Antonio, it’s worth the drive and the $1 for parking is a real deal.
555 W Bitters Road
If you’re looking for vintage goods that ooze charm and character, Back Alley is your place. From beautiful furniture (some in original condition and some lovingly restored), vintage jewelry, and old kitchen tools to clothing, maps, Coke machines, and hats, this San Antonio antique shop excels at bringing a wide selection to its antique-lover customers.
This store, which is located in Artisan Alley, is the perfect place for browsing. It’s big, easy to maneuver, and well organized. This isn’t a place you go only when you know what you’re looking for: Back Alley will surprise you with items you’ve never seen, didn’t know existed, or had forgotten about.
The shop is perhaps most well-known for its furniture – both the selection and quality. The focus here is on functional items with plenty of character that will stand up to today’s use and look great at the same time. You’ll find just about any piece you need, from end tables and dining sets to dressers, sideboards and bedroom sets. People who know antiques will find the prices reasonable (unlike some stores in popular tourist cities that charge exorbitant prices because they can).
Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, 12 to 4 p.m. (closed Mondays). Look for special hours and events the 4th Friday of each month.
10211 Ironside Drive
Like Back Alley Antiques, Ironside Mall is filled to the brim with vintage décor and old furniture. As an antique store, you won’t find as much Midcentury Modern here as you will earlier-period items, especially those from (or evoking) the Victorian era through the early 1940s.
Ironside Mall has more than 50 vendors, each of whom has set up their own little “store” within the Mall, making a trip to Ironside a bit like stepping back in time, walking along a vast street filled with shops. Very few of the vendor areas are manned, but you can browse at will and, if you want to make a purchase, there’s a friendly front desk staff to help you.
Some vendors feature a specific type of collectible (old magazines or pottery or jewelry, for instance), while others offer an assortment of items, all old but little in the way of consistency. Many vendors sell furniture, too, but compared to Back Alley there’s more focus on accessories, objects d’art, books, knick-knacks, kitchenware, clothing and jewelry.
Open every day except Tuesday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
We’d love to hear from residents who’ve either visited one of these local businesses selling vintage goods, or others you think we should know about and share. We’re always on the lookout for interesting places for you to check out, so feel free to alert us when you find a great new San Antonio shopping opportunity!