It's a Sisyphean task to pick the best antiquing cities in the U.S. simply because there are just too many to choose from. Emerging venues join traditional communities to offer a glorious patchwork of destinations for every antiquing experience imaginable.
And how lucky we are for that.
So instead of coming up with the impossible – a definitive list – we’ve chosen ten cities that, for various reasons, through the years have
proven to make the vagabond antique junkie smile.
1. Charleston, South Carolina
Its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel antebellum houses, particularly in the elegant French Quarter and Battery districts, define Charleston, the charming South Carolina port city founded in 1670. That sense of history is reflected in the Charleston Antique District, with several stores offering furnishings, decor and garden accessories. The antique scene is regularly recognized by Southern Living and others as one of the best antiquing cities in the country.
Where: King Street, Charleston, South Carolina
For More Information: www.charlestonsfinest.com
2. Buchanan, Virginia
Nestled within the steep slopes of the Blue Ridge and Alleghany Mountains, Buchanan, Virginia, is rich in history and natural beauty, Buchanan is the quintessential example of “Small Town America.” As such, Buchanan has found antiques and collectibles to be a natural fit. For more than twenty years, entrepreneurs have worked to restore once dilapidated storefronts to their former glory filling the once empty storefronts with unique finds and treasures from the Shenandoah Valley, the Roanoke Valley and beyond. Several shops are housed in historic properties. A 1900s hardware store-turned-antiques shop, Best Places Antiques, features country and antique furnishings like furniture, glassware, crocks and lighting fixtures. Explore the two floors of the shop and discover a unique find, then get picking at Picker’s Paradise down the street. Another popular stop is the weekly Buchanan Flea Market, featuring vendors from throughout the Shenandoah Valley and the state.
For More Information: www.townofbuchanan.com
3. New Orleans,Louisiana
There are plenty of reasons to go to The Big Easy. It’s one of the most eccentric, vibrant cities in the world, filled with friendly people, amazing food, awesome live music and history. You can add antiquing to the list. Two reasons come to mind: Royal Street and Magazine Street. Magazine Street has more than 40 shops specializing in 18th and 19th century furniture, costume jewelry, vintage linens, Victorian decor, fine silks, and much more. Located in the French Quarter at the heart of the city, Royal Street is also ideal for enthusiasts looking for antique silverware, clothing, artwork, furniture, and jewelry among the wares here. Together, the streets feature thousands of square feet of high-end collectibles, antiques, and vintage delights.
Where: Royal Street & Magazine Street, New Orleans
For More Information: www.neworleans.com
4. Galena, Illinois
This charming small town in northwest Illinois, about 150 miles west of Chicago, is known for its well-preserved 19th-century buildings like the 1826 Dowling House. The Italianate Ulysses S. Grant Home was a gift from local citizens to the Civil War general who later became a U.S. president. Galena offers more than 16 antiques shops. A must see? Try the Galena Antiques Mall, which boasts more than 55 dealers. Known as “Helluva Half Mile,” Galena’s Main Street boasts half a mile of more than 125 independently owned shops and restaurants, one door after another. Whether it’s books, toys, advertising collectibles, antique furnishings, or vinyl, you’ll find it among the stocked shops of Galena.
Where: Main Street, Galena, Illinois
For More Information: www.visitgalena.org
5. Hazel, Kentucky
Size doesn’t matter in the antique business. Take Hazel, Kentucky, population 410. Hazel is well known in the region as Kentucky’s Antique Capital: 14 stores that feature a combined 40,000 square feet. Fodor’s named the area one of its best antiquing towns in the U.S. Blue Moon Antiques specialties in items for the home with antique furniture, bird cafes, and kitchen items, while Mantiques boasts an amazing collection of advertising signs and gas pumps. The Horse’s Mouth carries a wide variety of depression glassware, lamps, and all kinds of furnishings.
For More Information: www.hazelkyantiques.com
RELATED: THE 10 BEST FLEA MARKETS
6. Clinton, Tennessee
Selected by Fodor’s as one of the ten “Best Antiquing Towns” in the U.S., Clinton’s Antique District boasts more than 20 shops with antiques and collectibles, the largest such collection in the South. Although rich in Americana antiques, there’s a fair amount of European pieces throughout the stores as well. The oldest of the antique shops is Burrville Antiques, a sprawling shop located in the old Wender’s Dry Goods building. Burrville specializes in primitives and home furnishings including salvage.
For More Information: www.Historicclintonsantiques.com
7. Palm Springs, California
Flat out, Palm Springs is one of the best antiquing cities in the country. Palm Springs is filled with Mid-Century Modern design, featuring mod homes and venues. That vibe permeates the architectural landscape, making Palm Springs a mecca for every MCM fan. Palm Springs Antique District is located around Palm Canyon Drive. An assortment of antique stores, as well as the Sunny Dunes Antique Mall, contain everything from vintage clothes to postcards to home ware. The Palm Springs Vintage Market is held each spring and fall with a wide variety of merchants of retro, MCM and vintage wares. Unless you love the heat, the best time to visit Palm Springs is between January and April when the weather is the most hospitable. Fall’s temperatures are almost as nice. Summertime daily temperatures
regularly reach 100 degrees. Of course, it’s a dry heat, so there’s that.
Where: Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, California
For More Information: www.visitpalmsprings.com
8. Palm Beach, Florida
As long as we’re thinking warm, let’s visit Palm Beach. Please. With its reputation as a resort town for the rich and beautiful, Palm Beach has created a wonderful antiquing district. Antique Row West Palm Beach is a charming district with more than 40 antique shops offering an impressive selection of 17th to 20th century antiques, fine and decorative arts, period deco, vintage and modern furnishings. All within walking distance, a vast array of quality antiques stores is complemented by several award-winning restaurants, specialty shops and art galleries. Architectural Digest, The New York Times, Art & Antiques, and House Beautiful have all heralded Antique Row as one of the east coast’s premier antique shopping districts, considered the “antique design center” of Florida.
Where: South Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach, Florida
For More Information: www.westpalmbeachantiques.com
9. Stillwater, Minnesota
This picturesque community snuggled up against the banks of the St. Croix River is a mere thirty miles outside the Twin Cities. Forbes named the Stillwater Antique District in the bustling historic downtown one of the prettiest in America. Midtown Antique Mall is home to 65 vendors, offering a wide range of great items. If you enjoy Civil War memorabilia, primitives and the like, American Gothic Antiques is a worthy stop.
Where: Main Street, Stillwater, Minnesota.
For More Information: www.DiscoverStillwater.com
10. Wiscasset, Maine
Maine has more than its share of charming small towns. It has something to do with the water. Whatever the reason, Wiscasset is definitely among the delightful destinations. Full of 19th-century Federal architecture, Wiscasset is nestled against the Sheepscot River about 45 miles northeast of Portland. It was established as a Native American settlement, a history that lives on in the shops in the Wiscasset Antique District. Several shops are located in historic buildings. Antique and vintage storeowners specialize in art, antique weapons and nautical collectibles. The Wiscasset Antiques Mall features 100 dealers in a more than 13,000-square-foot showroom.
Where: Bath Road, Wiscasset, Maine
For More Information: www.wiscasset.org/visit