Best Flea Market Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2001 - Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop
Sure, we've named this place Best Tourist Trap and Best Cheap Thrill in past years but, hey, it's a phenomenon. In this age of Disneyfied, mega-indoor shopping outlets à la Sawgrass Mills, it's good to know there's still a freak in the family. The Swap has been attracting tourists and an ever-diversifying mix of locals since 1966. Just driving through the eastern parking lots, which circle large drive-in movie screens (new releases screen every night for $3.50 per person), is enough fun to make the trip worthwhile, with vendors hawking everything from wooden back scratchers to fishing rods. Canvas tents cover a good deal of the outdoor shopping, where myriad pairs of granny underwear in varying tones of fuchsia and teal await. The notoriously labyrinthine, two-story indoor hall houses more stairs than an M.C. Escher drawing. A free circus performs daily -- three times a day on weekends. Upstairs, Elvis slot machines, two-inch gold crucifix pendants, and Oriental swords greet you from booths and kiosks. The Swap Shop is open Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 5 a.m. to 6 p.m., and parking is free.