Canberra’s local markets showcase the best the region has to offer, including arts, crafts, clothing, jewellery, second-hand treasures, and loads of other items sourced or handmade with love.
A great market has heaps of variety and you’re sure to uncover a unique item for yourself or as a gift.
In this article, we’ll outline the qualities to consider when choosing a fascinating market, and share where to find the best in Canberra.
What makes a great market?
A great market is one with a vibrant personality and lots of buzz. It has a variety of interesting stallholders and, in addition to unique shopping, often offer food and live entertainment, including for kids. They’re also conveniently located with plenty of parking.
It can be helpful to keep the following in mind when choosing a market.
- Great vibe. Markets should be fun and have a great vibe. They’re lively places to enjoy exploring and even meet new friends.
- Super stallholders. You’ll want a market with interesting stallholders who love selling their wares. This includes stallholders willing to chat about what they have on offer.
- Amazing variety. The best markets have amazing variety, with something for everyone.
- Conveniently located. You’ll want a market that is close or easy to get to, whether you’re walking, driving or taking public transport. If travelling by car, you’ll likely favour markets with plenty of (free) parking.
- Lots of extras. Great markets offer much more than stallholders. They often have food trucks, coffee carts, wine and beer, live entertainment and more. These extras add to the lively atmosphere of a market.
The best markets in Canberra
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Set in an old industrial building, the multiple award-winning Old Bus Depot Markets have been going strong since 1992. These markets feature a large number of stallholders, set over two floors, selling clothing (new and vintage), jewellery, art, photography, plants, candles, homewares, toys, books and so much more. Many items are handmade or handcrafted and marketgoers can talk to well-known Canberra businesses.
The Old Bus Depot Markets is equally famous for its food – fresh produce and gourmet items. Grab lunch or shop to make something at home. Marketgoers will find fresh eggs, bread baked that day, handmade fudge, locally grown fruit and vegetables, meats, freshly squeezed juices, quality coffees, and sweets made with love. For breakfast or lunch, enjoy international dishes like empanadas, Ethiopian cuisine, Burek, smoked smallgoods and Italian cannoli. Health and wellbeing products are also for sale.
Some stallholders book the Old Bus Depot Markets weekly, and others pop up now and again to maintain interest. It’s no wonder these markets have won many awards and even been inducted into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame.
The Old Bus Depot Markets are open Sundays 9:30 am to 2:30 pm with live entertainment. Parking is free. Entry is free. These markets, on Wentworth Avenue, are next to the Canberra Glassworks and a stone’s throw from the Kingston Foreshore.
Nina Finch wrote on Google, “What a great place. Amazing selection of food and interesting stalls. Live music and good coffee. Great location. Free parking is a massive bonus.”
Belconnen Fresh Food Markets has been “keeping it fresh” since 1976. These vibrant, diverse markets offer a fine selection of nutritious locally grown food. In doing so, Belconnen Fresh Food Markets continue to support local farmers and businesses.
At the Belconnen Fresh Food Markets, visitors find a wide selection of independent specialty operators selling baked goods, delicatessen items, fruits, vegetable, meat, poultry, seafood and liquor. Filling hunger pangs is easy with breakfasts, brunches, lunches and specialty coffees on offer. Specialty retail outlets include a book store, photography studio, and natural living shop.
The Belconnen Fresh Food Markets host weekly events, including free music (check website). The markets are open Wednesday to Sunday, 8 am to 6 pm.
As Benjamin Arnedo wrote on Google, “Great place to buy fresh produce in Belconnen. Good plan to kickstart your Saturday in family. Great coffee and pastries. The best is that you can always find fresh fish and imported products from different parts of the world.”
The Handmade Market offers some of the country’s best Australian made, handmade products and produce. With a wide range of unique designs, souvenirs, fashion, jewellery, and artisan wares, this is one of the best creative markets in the region. Visitors spend hours exploring hundreds of stalls. The Handmade Market also holds an extra-special Christmas market.
As Lenny Pelling wrote on Google, “Love this market to bits! I'm a maker but also a shopper and Handmade has proved excellent for both. So many fabulous stallholders and so beautifully organised.”
Celebrate Christmas with a visit to Canberra's unique Christmas Market at Exhibition Park. Experience the spirit of the festive season with handmade and other gifts, seasonal specialties and food. This two-day market has more than 100 stalls and promises a relaxed Christmas atmosphere which makes finding that unique gift a pleasurable experience for the whole family.
Carolyn Clark wrote on Facebook, “We will be so happy to be at this market.”
Haig Park Village Markets are open every Sunday 9am to 2pm, rain, hail or shine (and including public holiday long weekends). These vibrant markets feature an evolving collaboration of farmers, bakers, artisans and talented people, seeking to share their crafted specialties. The markets are lively. They’re community drive. They’re a destination.
On Google, Jaimee Wilson wrote, “The markets are extremely well run and had a great variety of stalls. A great way to spend your Sunday morning supporting local.”
The Canberra Fashion Market (formerly known as Fash ‘n’ Treasure) is known for new and pre-loved fashion, including designer labels. A wide range of fashion, shoes, bags, jewellery, accessories, beauty products and home products are for sale. Explore quality styles--corporate, vintage, elegant, casual, sports and everything in between. These markets have been around for 20 years, and with good reason.
Wendy Johnson wrote on Facebook, “Always fun to explore these markets and uncover a great piece at a great price.”
The Three Sixty Fashion Market is a niche Canberra market dedicated to sustainable fashion. Stallholders primarily sell recycled and pre-loved fashion for style-savvy shoppers, including vintage, retro and big designer names. Discover fashion, including shoes, accessories, jewellery and handbags, that deserve a loving second home. The market is about a circular economy and supporting the environment.
On Facebook, Simone Eldridge wrote, “Great day, fab venue, excellent array of quality goodies. Lots of fun stallholders.”
This is the place to find new, handmade and pre-loved clothing, toys, books, games, accessories and equipment for babies, toddlers and young ones. The Canberra Kids Market has plenty of stalls to explore and great bargains to be had. Quality treasures for 0 to 12-year-old girls and boys, including designer labels and popular brands. A huge number of stallholders pop up at every market and market goers save big on their buys.
The Markets Wanniassa offer an extensive range of products. This family run collective of handmade, homemade and Australian innovative products is showcased under one roof. The markets support local artists who create artwork, jewellery, soaps, candles, baby products and much more.
Kara Tedman wrote on Google, “I’m a huge fan of supporting small and local businesses so this is a perfect outlet … you never know what kinds of cool things you can find here.”
Held on the first Sunday of the month at the Hall Showgrounds, around 20 minutes from the city, the Hartley Hall Markets offer more than 300 stalls of home-made and home-grown food, local fruits and veggies, baked goods, pottery, clothing, toys, gifts, crafts and more. The markets have a rural feel with plenty of shady trees and live music.
On Google, Tonia Bergmanis wrote, “Love the Hartley Hall Markets! Lots of beautiful plant stalls and clever people selling their own products.”
A fascinating market and a great place to shop (and sell). Held Sunday mornings from 7am to 12.30pm in the Jamison Centre carpark, Bowman Street. Find fresh fruit and vegetables, plants, baked goods and more. Marketgoers discover that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure.
Maria Ollman wrote on Google, “These Markets have been running for more than 30 years … you can find pre-loved treasures as well as fresh food, homegrown fruit, vegetables, plants and honey.”
If you’re looking for more information on other types of markets or fun things to do in Canberra, you might like our articles on the best food markets, the best tours, the best escape rooms and the best playgrounds Canberra has to offer.
Your experience with markets in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the markets listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes a great market?
Great markets have oodles of stallholders selling a wide range of items that suit what you’re looking for. A special vibe is a must, as are add-ons like food, coffee and even entertainment. Other factors like location can also be important.
Do you have to pay to get into markets?
Some markets are free. Some charge a small amount to enter. Others take coin donations and give the money they raise to a charity of their choice.
Do all markets have food and drink?
Most markets these days have food and drink. Some even have large, special areas devoted to this. Others have coffee and food vans.
What type of items can I expect at a market?
Each market is unique. Some sell new items of high quality. Some specialise in handmade and others specialise in pre-loved items, such as fashion. A few markets specialise. This might include kids markets or Christmas markets. It’s best to check market websites or social media to see what’s on offer.
Are markets still running with COVID-19?
Some markets have temporarily closed due to COVID restrictions. Others, like the Handmade Markets, have gone virtual until it’s OK to open again. It’s best to check market websites or social media to see what arrangements are in place.