By Amy Tara Koch
June 25, 2015
Randolph Street Market, Chicago
Credit: Courtesy Randolph Street Market

In every great city, there is a flea market that attracts the locals like bees to a strawberry rhubarb pie. In Chicago, it’s Randolph Street Market, a Brooklyn-meets-Paris-style outdoor emporium that pops up once a month during the summer. Get ready, because this glorious summer activity returns this weekend.

More than 250 vendors snake through a massive parking lot in the city’s West Loop neighborhood, hawking vintage frocks, groovy baubles, retro tabletop pieces, madcap art and repurposed tchotchkes (aluminum signs, antique anchors, bowling pins) that add old-school pizazz to modern outdoor spaces.

Unlike the European markets, this Midwest version includes entertainment. Special features include a letterpress workshop, a drag queen performance and a fun area where kids can play old-fashioned board games. In addition to the many local food trucks on site (serving everything from authentic tamales to “cupcake cookies”), there are new options this year.

Beer Pub, a new brewer, will be offering craft beers, while Bruges Brothers will sate shoppers with hand cut, Belgian-style pommes frites (beef and duck fat fries, braised oxtail poutine) slathered in sauce. More thirst will be slaked at Bill's Old Fashioned Shakeup Lemonade, where the iconic summer drink is prepared in the classic country fair manner. Tickets are $10 at the gate, but other packages and specials are available online.

Kicking off June 27 and June 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional weekends are July 25-26, and August 29-30. Transportation to and from the market is easy, thanks to a Market Trolley that departs from the downtown Water Tower on the hour. There is also valet parking.

Amy Tara Koch is on the Chicago beat for Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter at @AmyTaraKoch and Instagram at @amytarakoch.