O.C. Marketplace (Costa Mesa)

O.C. Marketplace: PursesLocation: Orange County Fairgrounds, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa

Parking: Free (except in areas sometimes where there is parking for a special event)

The Orange County Marketplace is held every weekend at 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., except holiday weekends and during the O.C. Fair (but a lot of its vendors can be found within the O.C. Fair during fair month). This is not just some big Orange County swap meet—most of the vendors seem to be small businesses. Admission is $2, though I had a free admission pass to the Marketplace on the back of Orange County Fair parking passes (they used to be on the back of the actual Orange County Fair tickets).

O.C. Marketplace: Entrance

The charge to get into the O.C. Marketplace is minimal, and there are so many good deals there that it is worth the tiny admission price.

There are two entrances, both on the same side of the O.C. Marketplace. Coming into the main entrance (the one closer to the center of the parking lot), I generally saw a good number of clothing and accessory vendors to the left, as well as a pretty large booth carrying discount kitchen products—another great thing about the O.C. Marketplace are the varied items sold. There is a lot of clothing, both inexpensive and slightly less so, but I like that a lot of the clothes sold there are more “artsy” and fashionable at the same time.

Other types of vendors include furniture and decor, as well as general merchandise (toys, home items, luggage, etc.). If, like me, you enjoy art and craft supplies, there’s even a vendor selling those items!

Notable Vendors at O.C. Marketplace

Haircuts, Shampoo, Beauty Supplies. Yes, they actually offer haircuts here (and yes, the place offering them is listed as “Haircuts, Shampoo, Beauty Supplies” on the directory). I was impressed by this setup the first time I saw it—it’s basically a little salon set up on the Fair Drive side of the O.C. Marketplace (at one point, a similar location seemed to be on the opposite side of the Marketplace, as well, but at the time of this writing, it was not on the directory).

Farmer’s Market. There is an area also toward the Fair Drive side of the Marketplace where vendors sell fruit, nuts, baked goods and more. If you haven’t been to this Farmer’s Market, it’s worth a try!

Really, I think all of the vendors are noteworthy in some way, either offering inexpensive or unique products.

Other O.C. Marketplace Notes

If you happen to get lost or can’t find a vendor that you saw before, there’s a directory with a booth toward the Arlington Drive side of the Marketplace (if you’re familiar with Costa Mesa streets). You can go up to the booth and ask the whereabouts of the booth you’re looking for, and they will give you the location, so that’s really handy.

Vendors may change periodically; there is a list of booths available to check who will be there ahead of time. However, it appears that most of the vendors stay the same.

Plant Booth

Booths selling all types of wares are to be found at O.C. Marketplace, such as this plant vendor.

And there are a few places to eat at the O.C. Marketplace, including ice cream places, a grill, a couple of BBQ places and a churro stand (not all of these may be open at all times, but most of them are).

Not to mention that the Centennial Farm at the Fairgrounds, which houses barnyard animals, is open on the weekends and is easily accessible from the O.C. Marketplace area.

I like the O.C. Marketplace because it’s something outdoors and casual with a lot of good deals—and some great unique products. As an added bonus, shows are often held at the fairgrounds—some of which are shopping types of events we’ll share here, so stay tuned!

Get more info at O.C. Marketplace’s official website!

Nearby: South Coast Plaza