Rejoice, Houston antique junkies! The most wonderful time of the year is almost here. And by the most wonderful time of the year, of course, we mean the Round Top Antiques Show. This year’s fall edition of the fair runs from October 24th to October 29th (simultaneous off-site celebrations will be held from October 15th to 29th at other locations in Round Top and Warrenton), and we’re already clearing our cars in preparation for the hauls.
For the uninitiated, the Round Top Antiques Show, established more than 50 years ago, is one of the largest antique festivals in the United States. The largest—population: 90—sees its population temporarily swell to more than 100,000 as antiques pour in from all over the country to peruse the fair’s 22 miles of antique-filled barns, warehouses and tents. It’s like Burning Man for antiquities, except instead of burning art installations, you spend the day burning calories as you make your way through the never-ending antique city.
As the festival can be quite intimidating for first-timers and seasoned veterans alike, we’ve put together a handy guide to help you get the most out of your Round Top experience.
Where to stay in Round Top
If you are planning an overnight trip to the festival, it is extremely important to book your hotel accommodation early as there are only a few dedicated inns and hotels in the area.
This luxury boutique hotel offers 14 rooms across six bungalows with a restaurant, bar, pool, herb garden and formal garden.
Wander Inn is an eclectic boutique hotel comprised of two-story houses that have been completely renovated by Amie and Jolie Sikes (of HGTV fame). Guests can rent individual rooms, an entire house or the entire property at the Wander Inn located in the Cigány Cigány Székház area.
Round Top Inn
Located in downtown Round Top, this one-acre property features a collection of old farmhouses and cottages (13 guest rooms total) decorated with antiques and plenty of country charm.
Flophouze is Round Top’s famous container hotel. The property features six recycled shipping containers that have been repurposed and decorated with eclectic decor.
The Frenchie Boutique Hotel
Located near Downtown Round Top, this elegant hotel consists of an 1800s farmhouse and several other small buildings that have been completely renovated.
Rancho Pillow, a funky artist complex owned by designer Sheila Youngblood (whose fashion sense gives off a strong Hogwarts professor vibe), one of the most eclectic places in the entire state. The complex has several art-filled buildings perfect for those who enjoy their hotel accommodations a little on the boho side.
What to pack for the Round Top Antique Show
- Comfortable shoes: While you might look great in a pair of cowboy boots, if you’re going full country with your ensemble, make sure your boots are well broken in. Since the festival involves quite a bit of walking, sneakers are the best choice for a comfortable festival experience.
- Functional clothing: While you don’t necessarily have to go the activewear route, it’s important to wear clothes you can actually move in—especially since you’ll be spending most of your day browsing antique stores. You will also probably sweat a lot, so make sure you wear breathable clothing.
- Sunscreen: It goes without saying that you should bring sunscreen, especially since most of the festival is outside.
- Tape measure: If you’re looking for something for a specific area of the house, make sure you take all the measurements before you head out to the festival. If there’s a tape measure, you’ll be sure to bring home the right-sized treasures.
- Folding trolley or cart: If you want to take a lot of small things home with you, it’s essential that you have some kind of car to transport them while you enjoy the rest of your day at the festival. The festival is quite large, and the last thing you want to do is be forced to carry around something bulky all day, especially since your car will likely be parked quite a distance from where you bought it.
- Cash: Although ATMs can be found at the festival and most vendors accept cards, problems with mobile service are quite common at the festival. It’s better to play it safe and have some cash on hand and then have to sell a really great purchase because the seller is having a hard time getting a signal to the point of sale system.
Can you negotiate at Round Top Antiques?
Round Top is about everything to negotiate. While you don’t want to impress people, the festival is an opportunity to score some really great deals, especially towards the end of the run when traders are trying to get rid of as much stuff as they can to make it easier to travel home. . Brush up on your negotiation skills before the festival and don’t be afraid to play hardball.
It’s important to note that you’ll never get a discount if you don’t ask for one first. When negotiating, be polite and make a reasonable first offer. If there is any defect in the product you want to buy, be sure to inform the seller. The festival is full of great deals, so be prepared to move on if your offer is rejected – there will be plenty of other vendors around to get a good deal.
How to ship your purchases
If you come across a large object that you absolutely can’t miss, don’t worry. Most vendors at the festival are able to ship large items. However, it’s still important to make sure you have some extra space in your vehicle before heading to the festival. If you plan to attend with a large number of people, it would be wise to bring several vehicles so that you have plenty of room to return small and medium-sized items on the way home.
Where you can buy (in the festival area):
The big red barn
Located on Hwy 237, the climate-controlled building features everything from English antiques to authentic turquoise jewelry and fine glass.
The continental tent
In the (also air-conditioned) Continental Tent, you will find a variety of antique furniture from all over the world.
The Annex is your best choice for Mid Century Modern furniture and collectibles.
Where you can buy (outside the festival area):
Blue Hills is a favorite among interior designers and a must-see for lovers of all things vintage and rustic. The 26-acre property includes 100,000 square feet of shopping space and more than 60 vendors.
Open all year round
Market Hill is an air-conditioned space featuring high-end antiques and homewares from over 25 vendors.
This large marquee collection includes enough art, decor, clothing, jewelry, and rugs to keep you entertained all day.
Spread across acres of Texas pasture, this sprawling enclave features more than 300 vendors housed in historic buildings and tents.
where can i eat
Owned by Houston restaurateurs Cinda and Armando Palacios, Lulu’s is a sophisticated European-style fine dining restaurant with Italian home cooking and an excellent wine list.
Round Top Brewing
This nano-brewery and taproom offers plenty of beer and wine options, as well as a surprisingly sophisticated food menu that includes tempting options like duck confit tacos, a Kobe burger, and pâté.
Royers Round Top Cafe
Open since 1946 and owned by its current family (the third family to operate the cafe) since 1987, Royers Round Top Cafe is a funky cafe serving fresh salmon, grilled shrimp, rack of lamb and handmade pies.
Also owned by the Palacios family, Mandito’s is a casual, cafeteria-style cousin of its famous Houston sister, ARMANDOS. The colorful Tex-Mex spot serves excellent fajitas, fish tacos and enchiladas.
The Garden Co. Feed & Firewater
Open for brunch, lunch and dinner, this farm-to-table concept has an extensive menu that includes steaks, pastas, salads, crepes and sandwiches.