For Free Spirits
Sourced Laguna Beach
Sourced Laguna Beach’s Pop-Up Markets are meant to foster creativity and community. Shoppers (a mix of locals, retailers and adventure seekers) make artsy keychains or decorate sugar cookies at the free DIY Craft Bar in between perusing the work of emerging contemporary artists, crafters, and designers. When Sourced isn’t hosting pop-ups in its dreamy white-shingled beach bungalow, the space functions as a collaborative workspace for Laguna Beach freelancers and entrepreneurs.
Artisanal LA’s shopping events attract a wide-ranging clientele from the health-conscious to power players. Their expertise (they’ve been in the game for about a decade) means the markets are always well run. In addition to a finely curated selection of makers selling gourmet goods and artisan gifts, Artisanal LA events almost always include a DJ, champagne and a buzzy location.
Founded by entrepreneur and interior designer Sonja Rasula, Unique Markets has a clear mission: to help small businesses thrive. On her podcast, Rasula points out markets are a win-win for vendors and shoppers because there is no middle-man and you get to learn about the latest trends before they hit stores. Unique Markets has marketplaces in cities throughout the country, but the California markets take place in Los Angeles.
Started by makers for makers, Renegade Craft is known for its commitment to modern crafting and its keen design sense; artisan vendors selected to participate are always at the forefront of their trade. Design-savvy attendees can peruse handmade and designer goods at the sunny fairs—featuring DJs and food trucks— that take place each year in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Modern Artisan Marketplace
A designer and fashion buyer founded Modern Artisan Marketplace, and bazaars always showcase a chic mix of products by artisans and emerging brands. Items you’ll stumble on like luxurious sleepwear by Lunya or soaps by binubar that look like landscape paintings are the opposite of “crafty.” MAM’s events—often held in the boutique PLATFORM shopping center in Culver City— typically feature a select group of artisans, so they’re never overwhelming.
Jackalope Indie Artisan Fair
Jackalope, which hosts California markets in Pasadena, Downtown LA, and Burbank, is a handmade only marketplace; that means no vintage or resale items. Shoppers will get plenty of face time with makers: a broad mix of vendors selling art and photography, fashionable clothing, home decor, kids products, and gourmet food. Among the most family-friendly markets in California, Jackalope’s Pasadena Market has lawn games for kids.
Patchwork Show’s eclectic mix of handmade in California items: think ceramics, crochet, pet gear, craft kits, and candles, attract a diverse group of attendees from college kids to retirees. A few years ago, organizers added a “Junior” section to each show dedicated to showcasing the work of makers under 18. Patchwork has markets in Oakland, Santa Ana, Ventura, and Long Beach.
This annual holiday marketplace in San Diego is as cool as they come (Co-Founder Jennifer Byard runs the hipster communal coffee in North Park). At Maker’s Arcade, organizers curate a vibrant mix of Southern California vendors selling handcrafted gifts from Mexican folk art-inspired crafts to hand-drawn cards. The bustling event in the Port Pavilion at the Broadway Pier has much more to entice: food trucks serving bubbling Neapolitan-style pizzas, cocktails served out of a vintage trailer, a photo booth and live music.
The Funk Zone
Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is more of a shopping district than a market. It’s still an excellent place to shop for artisan gifts—art galleries, vintage shops, and modern home goods boutiques are all located in warehouses decorated with graffiti and contemporary art. Shop The Blue Door for antique furnishings, LOVEWORN for artisanal cashmere sweaters and vintage Levis, and the craft distillery Cutler’s for small-batch spirits. Leave time for wine tasting—the neighborhood is littered with tasting rooms.