San Diego Hotspot: A Guide to Kobey’s Swap Meet

As the sun rises on a cold Saturday morning, vendors of San Diego set up their tents and tables to prepare for a long morning of bargaining, selling, and trading.

Kobey’s Swap Meet of San Diego began in 1976, where individuals from around the local area were able to buy, trade, and sell between one another. With the reputation it holds to this day, Kobey’s serves as a place for individuals to discover new knick-knacks and to possibly get their hands on a vintage fur coat (faux, of course). Thousands of sellers line up every weekend along the parking lot of the Pechanga Arena in San Diego, where they sell items from vintage furniture and used surfboards, to fresh produce and flowers.

With the rise of modern streetwear and the revival of Y2K fashion, the number of visitors every weekend has since then skyrocketed. Holding monthly vintage flea markets every last Saturday, vendors can sell the latest sneakers and one-of-a-kind items. So, if you are trying to get your hands on the latest pair of Dunks and missed your opportunity on the SNKRS app, now is your chance to run to Kobey’s.

With an entry fee of $2, you can explore the plethora of merchandise that is offered at these vintage markets. As a Kobey’s frequenter myself, I find that I always leave with a handful of purchases of items that I do not need. If you tend to indulge in retail therapy practices, this is the perfect place for you. Since it does get difficult and quite overwhelming upon entering the site, I have some tips that could help you have a successful flea market visit.

Make a list before entering the market

With the amount of merchandise that is displayed every weekend, it may get a little intense. A task that I usually like to do before attending flea markets is to already have a list of the items that I want before I dive straight into piles of clothing. Creating even a mental list of what you want can help alleviate any stress or feelings of overwhelmedness that may arise.

Go early!

Kobey’s is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekend, and I highly recommend that you go early if you want to get your hands on the best items. Peak hours tend to be around 10–11 a.m., so if you want to avoid crowds and lines, go early!

Take a quick scan of the environment

Whether you made a physical or mental list, you should already know what you are looking for. Kobey’s tends to split up their vendors into different sections so it is quite easy to find your desired items. Some sections will specifically be for fresh produce and plants, furniture, clothing, and miscellaneous items. I highly recommend that you take a quick peek at what Kobey’s has to offer so that you can get a feel for the layout, different sellers, and if there tends to be better deals between the vendors.

Bring cash!

As time has progressed, other methods of payment such as Apple Pay and Venmo have come in handy quite a bit. But, since there are vendors that have been selling at Kobey’s for years, utilizing cash has become swap meet etiquette. It makes it simple for not only you but the vendors as well!

Photo by Ashim D’Silva on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “San Diego Hotspot: A Guide to Kobey’s Swap Meet

  1. Funny story, thank you! I think that now everyone can find their own way. It’s funny, but there really began to appear goods that were not there before. Maybe it’s worth going there as a shopping? 🙂 Now I follow more and more Ariel Emrani’s blog and her ideas for new trips

  2. San Diego is a great weekend getaway and thanks for your story. Trips are my whole life and I often plan them from afar. For example, before going to Uganda, I learned a lot of information about gorilla trekking with Follow Alice, so that upon arrival, I would get an excellent route and guide.

  3. Anyone else find it strange that many of these young sneaker and shirt vendors weren’t selling at Kobeys in 2019 or early 2020 but suddenly after the BLM riots and mass looting of stores, there are dozens of these noobs selling similar merchandise for cash…

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