The Best Pop-Up Markets in Austin for Finding Eclectic Treasures
Quirky Texas threads, hand-molded mugs, endless vintage goods—peep these Austin pop-up markets.
With the springtime sun shining, it’s the ideal time to stop by one of Austin’s fleeting pop-up markets. These eclectic experiences are locally based treasure hunts—each one filled with such a fortune of goods where you’re bound to hit gold. From psychedelic shag carpets to retro Longhorns gear to prayer candles customized with a picture of your pup, pop-up scores will put your usual Target haul to shame. Not to mention (though we are, clearly, about to mention): the live performances, creative activities, and scrumptious snacks at these pop-ups mean you’ll uncover more gems than just what you purchase. Here’s where to find the coolest pop-ups markets in Austin.
In the great tradition of the traveling market, East Side Pop Up may not be consistent in their weekly location. However, the high-quality of each event is a constant. As a local favorite, East Side showcases vendors who are all based in Austin. On weekends, find it posted at some of the city’s hippest music venues, bars, and breweries, including Lazarus Brewing and The Little Gay Shop. Every Sunday, East Side joins forces with Hotel Vegas. Vendors sell home-made goods: hand-poured candles, screen-printed t-shirts, vintage.
Shopping at Frida Friday ATX is a great way to support BIPOC, Latinx and queer communities. Although this mercado does occasionally switch up locations, it most often sets up shop at The Brewtorium in North Austin. Its events are resplendent with creative vendors whose wares include sterling silver chain necklaces, gem-shaped oil diffusers, and fruit-flavored rim paste to zhuzh up your cocktails. At the same time, the Frida Friday ATX experience encompasses so much more than just getting your spend on. The market furthers their mission to address societal injustices through incorporating drag performances, donation drives, and activities which honor cultural traditions into its events.
With a plethora of modern houses popping up across the city in recent years, it can often seem like the Austin landscape is turning into one homogenous blob. However, the North Loop neighborhood feels like one of the areas where a distinct, authentic flavor still remains. Take in the vibes at the North Loop Pop Up Market, which is hosted monthly outside the Beard Brand Campus on East 51st. Curated by gently used item experts Lonesome Wolf Vintage, this market has a heavy emphasis on thrifted clothing and decor. Nonetheless, among the racks of soft, single stitch shirts, there’s still a smattering of makers serving up mixed-media mosaics and small-batch hot sauce. To complement your browsing, there’s also DJs spinning vinyl and food trucks galore.
At this bimonthly market, which focuses on elements of witchcraft and magick, find your spiritual self. Or, at the very least, you can find a dope David Bowie-themed tarot deck and blissful herbal tea blends to melt away the workweek stress. Organized by magical arts and herbal goods store Yarrow & Sage this market is often held in the shop’s own backyard. As one would expect, booths are plentiful with striking displays of crystals, ritual candles, and enough bundles of sage to cleanse a 20-mile radius of your ex’s bad energy. Should rose quartz alone not suffice, you can take a deeper dive into insight with a tarot reading from one of the many talented deck specialists set up across the market. And, if your birthday is around the corner, you’ll get a discount on the market’s ticket admission fee during their celebration of your star sign.
You can always count on badass local nonprofit Future Front Texas to be at the fore of events that amplify female and queer voices. That ethos is on full display at The Front Market, the twice-yearly pop-up they host every spring and fall. In an effort to provide greater support and visibility to an under-served population, the event highlights over 175 women and LGBTQ+ small business owners from around Texas. And, with vendors offering paint-decorated cowboys boots, lemon trees, and funky statement earrings, you’ll want to visit them all. The 2023 spring market (May 13 & 14 at Distribution Hall) is set to bring the party with drinks, chef-catered bites, DJ sets, craft demonstrations, portrait booths, and queer speed dating.
Some may prefer to pair their pint of beer with conventional choices like greasy burgers or pepperoni pizza. Instead, may we suggest an artisanal good to go along with that pilsner? Austin Flea, a pop-up market featuring local artists and vintage vendors, brings together items and IPAs multiple times a month. While this particular market does move venues every weekend, the majority of spots in rotation are breweries. Austin Flea has brought creative crafters, including wood carvers and ceramic artists, to hock their goods at such craft drink hubs as Meanwhile Brewing, Jester King Brewery, and Zilker Brewing Company. And, in order to provide shoppers with a variety of different products, Austin Flea carefully selects a very specific lineup of vendors for each event they run. In other words, such a sweet selection of stuff probably means you’ll end up leaving with more than just a buzz.
When it comes to finding a great bagel sandwich, or a restaurant reservation during SXSW, Austin may disappoint you. But you can trust that the city’s music scene will never let you down. Consequently, the close ties that Mutiny Market has to various venues and festivals speaks volumes about this pop-up. More likely than not, you have already lusted after vendors’ goods when passing by their booth at ACL or Two Step Inn. Luckily, Mutiny’s frequent showcases at Hotel Vegas and The Volstead Lounge give you the chance to shop – without the fear of missing Lil Nas X’s opening song. Honestly, set break isn’t enough time to fully browse the beaded necklaces, crocheted crop tops, and crates of rare records peddled by Mutiny’s merchants. And, with this market regularly featuring live music performances and DJ sets, the beat don’t stop as the tags pop.