The warehouses in the West Bottoms of Kansas City were built more than 100 years ago for agricultural, freight and industrial purposes. Today, the area is a mecca for Americana shopping, chock full of one-of-a-kind, antique and vintage merchandise.
Last year, we gave you a comprehensive shoppers guide to the West Bottoms flea markets.
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There are 22 warehouses containing just under 600 vendors, most of which are now open multiple weekends each month.
But the busiest shopping times are still First Friday weekends, which can draw up to 40,000 people to the warehouse district over the three days when the weather is good or the holidays are approaching.
As the number of West Bottoms flea markets — and the time required to shop them all — has grown, so has the need for places to eat and drink.
Several restaurants, bars and coffee houses have opened in the last year, and dozens of food trucks continue to show up during First Friday weekends when the weather is nice.
They serve Cajun, Asian and Mexican cuisines, and food that can be characterized as carnival or bar food, such as stuffed chicken wings, hot dogs, barbecue, nachos, pizza, chili, snow cones, lemonade, frozen drinks, coffee cakes and funnel cakes.
Beer, wine and cocktails are for sale beneath the 12th Street Bridge on First Friday weekends, providing a shady place for husbands to wait for their wives and shoppers to rest their legs. In addition to all that, cafes and snack bars can be found inside several of the warehouses.
And finally, there are the DIY classes that offer insight into the creative ways boutique owners and flea market vendors in the West Bottoms reimagine vintage items so you can go home and try your hand at it. A growing number of warehouses offer classes on First Friday weekends and throughout the month.