For many years Benicia was known as an “antiques town.” But in the 1990’s, local antiques shops gave way to the gift and clothing boutiques, bars and restaurants that line First Street. Recently, however, collectibles have enjoyed a resurgence, and antiques and vintage shops can once again be found, interwoven into the contemporary downtown scene.
Back in 1963, the first Benicia Peddler’s Fair opened with a few antiques stores displaying their wares. The fair grew, and now, 51 years later, it brings tens of thousands of people to First Street to peruse over 300 vendor booths bursting at the seems with antiques and collectibles. According to Nancy Martinez, Director of Benicia Main Street, “There’s been a rebirth of antiques, vintage and collectibles in the past few years. People are quite interested in collecting. The scavenger hunt we had in March during Bay Area Antiques and Collectibles Month was very successful. It made people aware of how many collectibles shops we now have here in town.”
The variety of unique shops carry a diverse range of products from vintage cowboy boots to mid-century modern decor; original Beatle dolls to crackle glass. Collecting is a bit like a treasure hunt. Some folks prefer to look only to add to an existing collection, others are open to whatever appeals in the moment. Next time you find yourself downtown, check out the one-owner shops and the multi-dealer spaces, you’re sure to find something that speaks to you.
Benicia Antiques, Vintage and Collectibles Shops
Benicia Antiques Mall (several dealers)
918 First Street
131 1st St
The Steffen Collection
612 First Street
129 First Street, Suite D
What’s on First
433 First Street