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Vendor stand at Coles’ Flea Market

Expansion of Cole’s Flea Market increases its well-deserved popularity

By Carolina Valdez

Sunday mornings at the intersection of Beltway 8 and Telephone Road are usually heavy in traffic. A long line of cars patiently waiting as they drive into the crowded parking lot of Cole’s Flea Market, and it does not clear up for hours.

This flea market has been around since 1968 and has grown in popularity in recent years since expanding. They now sit on 44 acres of land with over 1,300 vendors. What makes this place special is its longevity and what it means to the surrounding community.

Latin culture flourishes here as a large majority of the vendors offer cuisine and a plethora of goods from Mexico and Central America. Spanish music of all kinds can be heard playing as one walks the entire flea market. The loud music, aroma of food, and the vibrant colors of the products creates an enjoyable sensory overload for any first-timer.

“Growing up, my family would take me there every Sunday,” Alondra Mora said. “We would eat so much food, and it was real Mexican food – not Tex-Mex or fancy restaurant food.”

Mora said one of the food vendors offers “the best gorditas,” but does not have a sign or a name to identify the place. One must know their way around the market in order to find them.

This outdoor market is open every weekend, year-round and even with Houston’s unpredictable cold fronts and blazing hot summers, it thrives. Towards the center of the property, there is a large building to protect attendees from the weather. In the summers, this building is a refuge with air conditioner. In the winter, it protects from the harsh cold.

This is where a lot of antique dealers reside, and a walk-through of the aisles will feel like traveling through time. In more recent years, newer and durable structures have been added surrounding the main building. These new structures offer a sturdier space for vendors than the tent space on the outskirts of the market.

The expansion will not stop there. Cole’s announced on their website their plans for Comida Park. This addition will feature up to 40 spots for local food trucks and will be open seven days a week.

Cole’s Flea Market has much to offer locals and tourists alike. If you have enough patience to sit in traffic as you wait for a parking spot, stop by and peek at the wonders this flea market boasts.

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Last updated 1/19/2022 6:18 AM