What to shop for at the Round Top Antiques Fair, my favorite venues, and tips for planning a trip! ⟹
I’d always heard that the Antiques Fair in Round Top, Texas was a must-see where designers and retailers find those special and unique decor items, and I finally got to see it for myself for the first time last spring. Boy was I floored by everything I saw there…oodles of decor that you just can’t run to a chain store and buy! I enjoyed it so much that I went back in the fall and again just a couple of weeks ago. Only visiting a couple of days on each trip, I definitely have not seen and done everything Round Top market week has to offer so I’m no expert. But the furniture and accessories out there were so astounding I just have to share some of what I saw on these trips and what my favorite areas were!
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What is the Round Top Antiques Fair?
In case you’ve never heard of this small Texas town and its renowned Antiques Fair (which if you’re not from Texas there’s a good chance you haven’t), it is a quiet, rural community somewhere in the countryside between Austin and Houston and is home to less than 100 residents. But twice a year, it balloons into the largest antique show in the country bringing over 4,000 vendors from all over the world to set up shop in fields, tents, and barns for tens of thousands of shoppers!
In the last 50 years, the original “antique show” has grown from a single weekend in Round Top into a multitude of show venues spread out over 18 days and 20 miles along a two lane country road that runs through the towns of Round Top, Warrenton, Carmine, Fayetteville, and Burton. Calling it a single market, fair, or show is a little misleading…it is actually a string of independent venues along Highway 237 that advertise and open their own shows at different times during the 2 1/2 week period which is generally referred to as the “Round Top Antiques Fair”. This can make planning and researching a first time visit very confusing. I’ll give you a glimpse into all of the beautiful wares that I saw offered there, my favorite spots to shop, and then I’ll share some of the basics of attending that I’ve learned, so if you’re planning a trip to Round Top make sure and scroll down all the way to the end!
What they sell at the Round Top Antiques Fair.
The Round Top Antique Show offers everything from stunning high-end antique furniture to vintage neon signs to open fields where you can go junking to your heart’s content. And it’s all amongst picturesque Texas farmland…I think the population of cows in Round Top may be higher than the people! I really felt like I was getting away from it all but still shopping design district level goods.
I wasn’t in the market for any furniture on my trips so far, so many of these photos are of accessories. But I would love to make room for some of the furniture I’ve seen, or to even have a home that some of the pieces would fit in!
The selection of vintage mirrors out there is endless.
And the sheer amount of French and European accessories and furniture in one place will probably draw me back every year from now on!
The prices for most things in the tents, barns, and buildings are not cheap by any means, so don’t go with that expectation. As a matter of fact, it took me a bit to get used to fine pieces costing thousands of dollars sitting around in these outdoor settings getting dirty. But even in the pricier places, I have fun browsing because they are a great source for DIY and styling ideas…
Round Top is also a wonderful place to shop for unique and large scale artwork…
And the next time I’m in the market for a statement piece pendant or chandelier, I will definitely wait to look at Round Top. The selection of unique lighting out there is incredible!
So many things in Round Top are oversize and only suited for commercial use. They have an amazing array of architectural items including the best selection of vintage doors I’ve seen anywhere. Pretty sure this chandelier is not gonna fit in any of my friends’ homes:
There are so many artisans and vendors with unique and unusual accessories:
Also some downright bizarre…
There is always a nice selection of vintage copper in Round Top. I’ve bought all of my vintage copper pots to use in my modern French Country kitchen decor from a vendor in Excess with the best deals I’ve ever seen on copper!
I’m always drawn to all of the glass bottles, jars, and jugs…
I bought one of these extra long dough bowls on my last trip:
And my friend bought these animal hide and crocodile leather barstools at a great price:
And Round Top is no longer just for furniture. There are loads of fashion vendors as well. We saw some really unique clothing, jewelry, hats, boots, and purses, mostly in The Arbors.
My favorite venues at the Round Top Antiques Show.
We usually start down in Warrenton and work our way back up Highway 237 to make sure we’ve stopped at every place that interests us. The Bar W Fields in Warrenton are quite popular for bargain pickers but we had to budget our time and energy so this one had to go for us. We focused on the kinds of things we wouldn’t be able to see at Canton Trade Days which is only an hour and a half away from where we live.
I learn a little more each time about the best way to “do” Round Top to see what interests me. And I’ve learned which venues I definitely want to revisit.
One of my first stops is the Excess barns. I’ve bought several accessories there and found prices to be fairly moderate. There’s a vendor that sells European vintage decor that I always buy several things from. It’s where I’ve found all of my copper pots (don’t believe he posts a name on his booth, sorry!) The Grainery is another good vendor in Excess to find reasonable rustic decor and architectural pieces.
Marburger Farms is also down on that end and was only open during my first trip there. Marburger is one of the only paid entry venues…I believe about $10 but if you want to see a lot of high end gorgeous European antiques in one place, it is well worth it! Marburger is only open during the final days of each show, so if you want to make this one of your stops, plan accordingly. The word is that this is the place the famous designers shop! (The only other paid entry place that I’m aware of is The Big Red Barn and I would skip it unless you like old style antique malls.)
Another stop that makes our list every time is the Compound. My favorite vendor here is Old World Antieks and we like to spend a little extra time looking at everything here. They also have a smaller space in Blue Hills. I’ve bought a couple of really pretty copper pieces and one of their French glass jugs but mostly I just add things to my wishlist.
This is a fun photo opp in the Compound that definitely says “girls trip” complete with a champagne vending machine…
The Arbors is the next venue on our list and probably the most different from the others. This is where you’ll find clothing, purses, jewelry, and lots of original artwork.
25 Mackenzie Lane is one of my favorite vendors in the Arbors. I love their botanical art:
And the bedding and pillows are beautiful but a little pricey for me so I’ve only window shopped so far. I really loved this monogram pillow…
And their pillow “headboards” are such a great idea!
Even some furniture “jewelry” in the Arbors:
Market Hill is another stop that includes Paul Michael. We tended to mostly shop in their accessories store all the way in the back and their Christmas warehouse during the fall show. Market Hill can simply be a nice place to stop in when it’s really hot because it is air conditioned!
Another venue we make sure to walk through is Blue Hills. Old World Antieks’ other location is here and I like to visit Maison Sud and the Ginger Bee.
On one trip we walked through McClaren’s Interiors. Talk about a crazy floor…it kept changing materials and levels all over. And it felt like an Alice in Wonderland house that just kept going.
Lots to see in here though!
Another small venue that’s worth a mention is actually called The Venue. We happened upon it while waiting for the Arbors to open one morning and discovered a furniture maker from North Carolina called Adams Furniture. Great prices and they make and sell directly rather than through retailers. Worth checking out if you are in the market for new furniture!
We found the majority of the venues open around 9:00am and start shutting down around 5:00pm.
Round Top show dates and when to go.
There are two main shows, one in the spring and one in the fall, with a smaller winter show I’ve never attended. This is where it gets a tad confusing…the different venues and vendors decide which dates they want to be open during the 2 1/2 week show. And each has a website that posts different show dates for what can sound like the whole Round Top Antiques Fair. Some are open the entire time and some are only open the last few days including Big Red Barn and Marburger Farm, so if you want to see those, plan your trip days for the last week. I’ve read that for best selection it is better to go early in the show. We’ve timed our visit each time at different points in the show and saw plenty, but of course I’ll never know what I missed out on!
You can see when the upcoming show dates are at this site: www.antiqueweekend.com.
Where to stay in Round Top, Texas.
Since these are such small towns, lodging is at a premium. I’ve even heard you should book a year in advance for certain places in town so if possible book early. You may be required to stay 2-3 nights minimum for home rentals and B&Bs. And you should expect to pay high season prices. You can find available lodging by going to Round Top Chamber of Commerce or VRBO Vacation Rental.
I’ve actually never stayed at any of the hot spots in town because I’ve never planned my trips far enough out. Only one stay did we need a last minute hotel and I was able to find a room in neighboring Brenham. We did pay $180 a night for a room which was probably double its normal cost. It was a well known chain but was definitely not the cleanest or most updated room. LaGrange is also nearby and has some hotel options.
One of my girlfriends going had friends with the most charming farmhouse in Round Top and when we dragged in after our first day of shopping, what a surprising treat it was to hang out there! We goofed around on their land for a while and even had to climb up on the hay bales…
The views were postcard perfect of this area of Texas.
And our hosts are such, lovely interesting people to talk to. We stayed with them again this month. We immediately forget we are tired because we are having such a good time!
But if you are staying in town, there are lots of cute places to eat, drink, and hang out in the evening. You’ll see guides and magazines all over with lists of activities and events.
What to wear to the Round Top Antiques Fair.
You’ll be walking outside a lot so the most important things to wear in my opinion are:
- Comfortable shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. You will be walking in the dirt and mud in fields, so do wear shoes that you can clean later.
- A small crossbody purse for your essentials. You won’t want to lug around a large tote all day and since you park at each venue, there is no need to carry around a lot of purchases.
- Sunglasses. Because again, you will be outside all day.
The weather in Texas in the spring and fall can change drastically and very quickly so dressing in layers will be your best plan. Here are some items you may want to bring to be prepared for the fickle weather these times of the year:
- Pullover, sweater, jacket, hat, gloves for cold weather
- Raincoat, rainboots, umbrella
- Shorts or casual sundresses for hot weather
There has become sort of a Round Top “look” for the ladies with cowboy boots and broad brimmed western hats. If I were staying for a few days and going at a slower pace, I might dress like this once or twice because it is so stylish and so “Texas”. But we walk from the time everything opens till it closes and we dress for comfort! We have been there when it is miserably hot and also when there has been a strong biting north wind and would not have wanted to wear a hat either time. And unless your boots are well broken in, you won’t be a happy camper. But if want to dress the part, they have excellent selections for these outfits at Round Top, so you may want to wait until you get there to buy anything.
This picture reminds me that I was literally shopping in fields:
What to bring to the Round Top Antiques Show.
- Bring some sort of bag that you don’t mind carrying all day for essentials and small purchases. Vendors will hold anything for you that you don’t want to carry around.
- Your phone for the usual reasons, but also to take pictures of the vendors you need to come back to. You can also use your phone to make notes for the same reason. If you have a phone battery booster bring it in your car in case you need it so you can grab it before the next stop.
- Bring a list of items that you are shopping for. Bring a small measuring tape and any measurements and photographs that may help you shop.
- Bring some cash just in case you come across a vendor that doesn’t take cards or is having cell service issues.
- Bring a case of bottled water to keep in your car. I’m always surprised how much we go through each time.
Parking and getting around.
Every venue has parking areas around and behind and most are free. This is something I love about shopping here…you are never far from your car and you drive to each location.
Getting your purchases home.
Bring your largest vehicle (SUV, van) and make sure the back is empty. You may want to throw in a few towels or blankets to cushion your purchases.
There are companies that offer shipping for large items. Your best bet is to ask the vendor you are buying from. Most of the large venues offer shipping services. If not, a simple Google search for shipping from Round Top Market will give you some choices.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my Round Top experience…if you’d like to plan a trip to the fall show, now’s the time to start! Hopefully I’ll see you out there!!
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