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Antique Capital of Florida – Arcadia, Florida

Arcadia is the Antique Capital of Florida

From Tampa, Florida as you travel I-75 south to Bradenton you will find Rt. 70 as the second exit. Head west for 30 minutes to DESOTO COUNTY. This is cattle country, but situated in the middle of the county is the city of Arcadia. In the 1800s, Arcadia was the center of an area that now includes DeSoto, Charlotte, and Highlands counties. When broken into these counties, Arcadia’s center of activity and population diminished.

Antiques are Arcadia - Antique Capital of Florida
Antiques are everywhere in Arcadia. Both sides of the downtown district.

Now the town of Arcadia has established itself as the antique capital of Florida. This declaration brings people from around Florida to search for that special item for their antique collection.

It should be noted that another Florida town claims some significant fame for antiques. Micanopy, named for an Indian chief, also supports a few antique shops in the town center. We have been to both, but Arcadia seems to have many more options.

This Town is from Another Era and Quite Satisfied!

Many of the shops and restaurants are located in historic buildings from a century ago. You can spend a day or more just antiquing! If you like 19th-century architecture there is plenty of that.

Arcadia rodeo - antique capital of Florida
The annual rodeo at the Desoto County fairgrounds is indicative of Arcadia’s history as a cow town.

We have seen claims from many small towns about being the largest, the best, the most, etc., but Arcadia lives up to the hype about being the antique capital of Florida.

Military antiques, agricultural antiques, iconic antiques, artwork antiques, and just about any other combination of old relics. can be found.  Visit the Historic Downtown Arcadia Antique District. This area, located in the heart of downtown, is home to over 20 antique shops and malls, offering a wide variety of antiques, vintage items, and collectibles. Visitors can find everything from vintage clothing and jewelry to furniture and home decor.

Another popular antique destination in Arcadia is the DeSoto Antique Mall, located on US Highway 17. This large mall features over 100 dealers and offers a wide variety of antiques, collectibles, and vintage items. The mall is open seven days a week and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists.

In addition to the antique shops and malls, Arcadia also offers several annual events that highlight the town’s antique heritage. The Annual Arcadia All Florida Championship Rodeo is held each year in February and features a variety of cowboy-themed activities and events, including a rodeo and a cowboy parade. The annual Antique Fair and Flea Market, held in the fall, is another popular event that features a wide variety of antiques, vintage items, and collectibles.

What is old junk to some is a valuable find for that decorator or collector. There is an amazing collection in Arcadia, the antique capital of Florida.

Arcadia Opera House - antique capital of FloridaArcadia is the Antique Capital of Florida and Much More!

Arcadia is also home to numerous historic sites, including the Arcadia Opera House, built in 1907, is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The DeSoto County Historical Society Museum, located downtown, offers a recollection of the area’s rich history and features artifacts and exhibits that highlight the past.

The town is also home to several parks and recreational areas, including the Desoto County Fairgrounds, which hosts a variety of events and festivals throughout the year. Oak Street Park, located in the heart of downtown, features a playground, picnic area, and walking trail. 

Arcadia is also known for its vibrant arts scene, with several art galleries and studios located throughout the town. The Arcadia Arts Council hosts a variety of events and exhibitions throughout the year. 

things you need when flying

Arcadia is a town that represents old Florida. Desoto County is and was the heart of cattle country. As you travel in and around Arcadia you see the vast open farms. Cattle graze in the flatlands as they did a couple decades ago. You still see a few cowboys tending their duties. The area also gives you a visual picture of Florida well removed from the tourist-laden glitz of Orlando, Miami, and Tampa.

Arcadia is about an hour’s drive from Tampa, Florida. About an hour day trip from Orlando, Florida. and about two hours from the Villages. Is Arcadia worth a day trip from Tampa? We think the antique capital of Florida, Arcadia, is well with the visit. If you are an antique buff, Arcadia is a must visit!

Oh yes, on the way home the Ellenton Outlet Mall is just off I-75 in Bradenton, Florida!

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