The Expert’s Guide to the Round Top Antiques Show

Rejoice, Houston antique junkies! The most wonderful time of the year is almost here. And by the most wonderful time of the year, we of course mean the Round Antiques Fair. The fall edition of the fair is taking place October 24-29 this year (simultaneous off-site festivities are taking place October 15-29 at other Round Top locations as well as Warrenton), and we’re already freeing up space in our cars in preparation for our transport.

For the uninitiated, the Round Top Antiques Show, founded over 50 years ago, is one of the largest antique festivals in the United States. During the festival, which takes place twice a year (in spring and autumn), the small town of Round Top – population: 90 – sees its population temporarily increase to over 100,000 as antique dealers in people from all over the country flock to browse the fair’s antique-filled barns, warehouses and tents, which stretch for 22 miles. It’s like Burning Man for the antique crowd, except instead of burning down art installations, you spend your day burning calories as you work your way through the endless antique city.

Because 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 plan to stay overnight at the festival, it is of the utmost importance that you book your hotel room early, as the area has only a handful of dedicated hostels and hotels.

Hotel Lulu

This luxurious boutique hotel offers 14 rooms spread among six bungalows on a property that includes a restaurant, bar, pool, herb garden, and formal garden.

wandering inn

The Wander Inn is an eclectic boutique hotel made up of a duo of two-story houses completely renovated by Amie and Jolie Sikes (of HGTV). At the Wander Inn, which is on the Junk Gypsy headquarters grounds, guests can rent individual rooms, an entire house, or the entire property.

round inn

Located in downtown Round Top, this one-acre property features a collection of period farmhouses and cottages (13 rooms in total) decorated with antiques and country charm.


Flohouze is Round Top’s famous shipping container hotel. The property includes six recycled shipping containers that have been upcycled and decorated in an eclectic decor.

The Frenchie Boutique Hotel

This elegant hotel near downtown Round Top is comprised of an 1800s farmhouse and several additional smaller buildings that have been completely renovated.

Rancho Pillow

Rancho Pillow, a funky artist resort owned by designer Sheila Youngblood (whose fashion sense gives off strong Hogwarts professor vibes), is one of the most eclectic places to stay in the entire state. The resort includes several art-filled buildings, perfect for someone who likes their accommodation a bit bohemian.

What to pack for the Round Top Antiques Show

  • Comfortable shoes: While you can look great in a pair of cowboy boots, if you’re heading out into the countryside with your ensemble, make sure your boots are well-trodden. Since the festival requires quite a bit of walking, a pair of sneakers is your best bet 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 really move in, especially since you’re going to be spending most of your day doing caving in the antique stands. You will also most likely sweat a lot, so be sure to wear breathable clothing.
  • Solar cream: It goes without saying that you should bring sunscreen with you, especially since most of the festival takes place outdoors.
  • Tape measure: If you’re looking for something for a specific area of ​​your home, make sure you have all your measurements before heading to the festival. Having a tape measure with you while you’re at it will ensure that the treasures you take home are all the right dimensions.
  • A cart or collapsible cart: If you plan to take a lot of small things home, it is essential that you have some sort of cart with you to transport them while enjoying the rest of your day at the festival. The festival is quite large, and the last thing you want to do is have to lug around something bulky by hand all day, especially since your car will likely be parked quite a distance from where you have done your shopping.
  • Cash: Although you can find ATMs at the festival and many vendors accept cards, cell service issues are quite common at the festival. It’s better to play it safe and have cash on hand, then have to pass up a really good buy because a vendor is having trouble getting a signal for their POS system.

Can you bargain at the Round Top Antiques Show?

The round top is everything on to negotiate. While you don’t want to put people down, the festival is your opportunity to get some really good business, especially towards the end of its run when dealers are trying to get rid of as much stuff as possible so they can make lighter trips at home. Brush up on your negotiating skills before the festival and don’t be afraid to play some hardball.

It is important to remember that you will never receive a discount if you do not request one first. When negotiating, be polite and make a reasonable first offer. If there are any defects in the item you wish to purchase, be sure to report them to the retailer. The festival is full of bargains, so be prepared to move on if your bid is rejected – there will be plenty of other vendors you can strike a bargain with.

How to transport your purchases

If you come across a large object that you absolutely cannot pass, don’t worry. Most festival stockists have the ability to ship large items to your home. However, it’s still important to make sure you have extra space in your vehicle before heading to the festival. If you plan to attend a large number of people, it would be a good idea to take several vehicles in order to have enough space on the way back so that you can carry small and medium-sized items with you.

Where to shop (on the festival grounds):

The big red barn

October 24 to 29

Located on Highway 237, this climate-controlled building features everything from English antiques to authentic turquoise jewelry and fine glass.

The Continental Tent

October 24 to 29

At the Continental Tent (also air-conditioned) you’ll find heaps of antique furniture from around the world.


October 24 to 29

The Annex is your best bet for Mid Century Modern furniture and collectibles.

Where to shop (outside the festival site):

blue hills

October 15 to 29

Blue Hills is a favorite among interior designers and a must-have for lovers of all things vintage and rustic. The 26-acre property includes 100,000 square feet of retail space and over 60 vendors.

market hill

Open all year

Market Hill is an air-conditioned space that features a mix of high-end antiques and homewares from over 25 vendors.


October 15 to 29

This large collection of tents includes enough artwork, decor, clothing, jewelry and rugs to keep you entertained all day long.

Marbourgeois Farm

October 25 to 29

This huge enclave, spread across several acres of Texas pasture, features more than 300 vendors housed in historic buildings and tents.

Where to eat

At Lulu’s

Owned by Houston restaurateurs Cinda and Armando Palacios, Lulu’s is a fine European-style fine-dining restaurant featuring Italian home cooking and an excellent wine program.

round brew

This nano-brewery and taproom has plenty of beer and wine options as well as a surprisingly sophisticated menu, which includes mouth-watering options like duck confit tacos, a Kobe burger, and pate.

The Royers Round Top Cafe

Open since 1946 and owned by its current family (the third family to run the cafe) since 1987, Royers Round Top Cafe is a trendy cafe that serves dishes like fresh salmon, grilled prawns, rack of lamb and handmade pies.


Also owned by the Palacios family, Mandito’s is a laid-back, canteen-style cousin to its famous Houston-based sister ARMANDOS. The colorful Tex-Mex spot serves exceptional fajitas, fish tacos and enchiladas.

The Garden Co. Fire Food and Water

This farm-to-table concept, open for brunch, lunch and dinner, offers an extensive menu that includes offerings such as steaks, pastas, salads, pancakes and sandwiches.

About Oscar L. Smith

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