Cologne’s best flea markets
Flea markets have a very special atmosphere. Every item, every piece has its own history, bargaining is a must, and it’s a guilt-free way to shop – after all, prices are low and it’s a sustainable form of consumption. But not every flea market is built around the same concept. Some specialise in antiques, while others are specially for young women who’ve cleared unwanted items from their wardrobes, for instance. Cologne has an exceptionally large number of flea markets all over town. Some are held regularly, even weekly; others only take place a couple of times a year. Meanwhile I’ve become a regular at practically all of them, since I started to buy almost all of my clothes second hand at flea markets and from vintage stores a few years ago. Here’s my list of the greatest, most intriguing and diverse flea markets in Cologne. Happy bargain-hunting! By the way – all of these markets also have food and beverage stalls so you’ll definitely not go hungry.
Wilhelmplatz in Nippes
This collectors’ and bric-a-brac market is ideal for late risers. Some flea markets start practically after sunrise, but this one never opens before 11 am. Come here for bric-a-brac of all kinds – emphasis is on household items such as crockery, small pieces of furniture, lamps, pictures and similar, but there’s also clothing, toys, CDs, vinyl records and more. Flea market traders are typically a friendly bunch, but here in Nippes they’re particularly smiley and chatty.
Where: Wilhelmplatz, 50733 Cologne
Alte Feuerwache in the Agnesviertel district
This market is almost worth seeing for the backdrop alone. The courtyard of Alte Feuerwache, an old fire station, in Agnesviertel district is surrounded by pretty townhouses, street art adorns the walls, and there’s even a café. There’s a big selection of children’s clothing, toys, books and women’s apparel. So if you’re looking to re-stock your own or your family’s wardrobe, this is the market for you. And there’s some excellent bargains to be had if you turn up in the early afternoon. A pretty summer dress in prime condition for two euros? Don’t mind if I do.
Date: Monthly, not in the winter
Where: Alte Feuerwache, Melchiorstraße 3, 50670 Cologne
Stadtflohmarkt at Unicenter
This flea market is held weekly on the parking lot of the Unicenter, offering a very mixed bag of saleable goods. Some stalls are run by traders who are here every week; others are manned by couples, groups of girlfriends or families who’ve cleared out their attics or basements. The number of stalls varies depending on the weather. On sunny days the parking lot is usually full to the brim; on rainy days maybe only half full. But it’s worth coming either way, since there will be less competition for the best pieces. By the way, this is one of the most central flea markets in Cologne and easily reachable, for instance, by taking the number 18 tram line from Hauptbahnhof.
Attention: This flea market will no longer take place from the year 2021!
Flea market at the Südstadion
This is one of Cologne’s biggest flea markets. If you’re planning to explore every single stall, definitely plan to be here for a few hours. As for the pieces on offer, anything goes. If you want it, you’ll find it here. Stalls with dusty bric-a-brac alternate with racks of recent fashion pieces by H&M and Zara. Come early so you have enough time to appreciate it all.
Where: Vorgebirgstraße between the stadium and Volksgarten, 50677 Cologne
This is a flea market and so much more. Nachtkonsum, currently still in the hip Ehrenfeld district, is open from 5 to 11 pm and sells vintage items against a backdrop of live music, with various bars offering yummy drinks and snacks. Unfortunately its current home, Jack in the Box, is about to be torn down and the organisers have yet to find a new venue. Until such time, from November onwards Nachtkonsum will pop up in various places across the city – check the website for updates. The hippest of all of Cologne’s flea markets takes place once or twice a month and is perfect for late risers and night owls.
Date: no dates planned
Where: Jack in the Box, Vogelsanger Straße 231, 50825 Cologne