There’s arguably no better place to go thrifting than New York City. It’s the fashion capital of the world and the local stores do a phenomenal job curating wardrobes full of unique finds. And, as a seasoned thrifter, I’m here to unveil the best-hidden gems and best vintage stores in NYC.
I’m not keen on gatekeeping so I’ll be transparent about what shops I’ve had the best luck at, and also try to keep the shops in Manhattan and Brooklyn (since that’s where most out-of-towners will visit). I can’t promise you’ll find a gem on every visit, but these stores are ripe and brimming with unique finds.
Best Thrift Stores in New York City
Table of Contents: Best Thrift Stores in New York City
Table of Contents: Best Thrift Stores in New York City
Housing Works is the kind of company you can feel good about supporting. This NYC thrift shop is managed by a determined non-profit (by the same name) that ambitiously aims to fight HIV/AIDS and homelessness — and the stigmas associated with them.
100% of profits from their NYC thrift stores are donated to fight HIV/AIDS and homelessness. Everything on the shelves (books, DVDs, housing items, etc.) is donated, but it goes a step further. The stores are run by volunteers, so literally ever cent of the sale goes to the cause.
How could I not highlight this noble New York City thrift store first? The collection goes beyond clothing, they have one of the best bookstores in NYC and more than one location has unique furniture that’ll have you calling your friends for helping getting it on the subway.
A single brick and mortar store in Williamsburg has grown to three thrift stores in New York City in only 10 years. Awoke Vintage is growing in popularity, for good reason. The store does an amazing job finding quality pieces that still have a lot of life left in them and not ripping people off with exorbitant prices. It’s a goldmine for colorful tops, and it has a respectable amount of denim.
Plus, by following their Instagram shoppers can check their stories and send DM’s on items they want to buy. After that, Awoke Vintage responds with an invoice and shoppers have an hour to pay before the item goes back on the shelf. There’s even the option to ship (or pick up in store).
As one of the more-famous thrift stores in New York City, Beacon’s Closet gets a lot of donated clothes. This means you truly never know what you’re going to find, being as the selections are less curated. But that’s not saying they sell junk, because Beacon’s Closet even sells designer accessories on occasion.
This is one of the most popular thrift stores in NYC for clothing designers too, just take a peek at their Instagram and see what talented New Yorkers have been able to repurpose and bring back to life. Lastly, Beacon’s Closet partners with multiple non-profit organizations to better their communities. For example – if you forget your bags they’ll sell you one for 30¢, 15¢ for them and 15¢ for the Cooke Center Academy or New York Cares annual coat drive.
The Vintage Twin
The stores in SoHo are some of the best in NYC, so it comes as no surprise that one of the best thrift stores in New York City also calls the neighborhood home. The Vintage Twin is worth a stop whenever you’re in the area. Supermodels such as Gigi Hadid and Taylor Hill shop here sometimes, so you know it has a trendy collection.
Their slogan, “the future is vintage” is a paradoxical masterpiece, because the best thrift stores in New York City have helped spark a resurgence of vintage fashion. However allow me to mention one thing, a rise in popularity also signifies a rise in price. These pieces can run shoppers a pretty penny but plenty of folks will agree the uniqueness is worth the added cost.
The most recognizable thrift store in the United States is also one of the best thrift stores in New York City. Buffalo Exchange was founded in Tucson, Arizona in 1974 and has spent the last 4 decades growing like a weed. Founders Kerstin & Spencer Block made Buffalo Exchange a place where folks could buy, sell and trade quality pieces and New Yorkers have quickly come to love the stores.
The clothing for sale at each location will also vary depending on the neighborhood they’re in. Since communities dress differently, the best thrift stores in New York City products often reflect it. The items for sale at their Chelsea location might vary from those sold in Williamsburg, so I encourage you to view them as their own independent shops rather than a chain receiving the same shipments.
From flea markets to the largest vintage store in Greenwich Village, Hamlet’s Vintage has really grown a lot since their founding in 2007. This isn’t like any old typical New York City thrift store either, here there’s an emphasis on true, vintage pieces. Selling items from the 1940’s to the 1990’s every item is handpicked and verified for authenticity.
Whether it’s handbags, dresses or jewelry the selection at Hamlet’s Vintage makes it one of the best thrift stores in New York City. At Hamlet’s Vintage New Yorkers have the ability to truly find one of a kind pieces that hold history and will help them stand out in a crowd. Retro gets taken up a notch, it’s not just mom jeans and band tees. It’s suits from the 70’s and fur shawl’s from the 40’s.
It doesn’t have to be Thursday for New Yorkers to have a throwback at this next New York City thrift store. Mr. Throwback in the East Village specializes in 1980’s/1990’s sportswear and has a loyal customer base thanks to their consistency and quality.
Whether you’re looking for an authentic retro jersey, snapback, or starter jacket Mr. Throwback is going to give you the best odds of finding the staple piece you’re looking for. They even sell footwear, so it’s a good place to find a rare pair of Jordan’s.
Their website is great place to shop, there’s an option to make offers on items if the price seems too steep. They’re constantly posting new items on their Instagram so it’s also be worth a follow if you’re looking for a specific item, or are looking to get inspo from one of the best thrift stores in New York City.
Screaming Mimis Vintage
Screaming Mimis is the perfect New York City thrift store for those who love to stand out. This thrift store is loud, it’s fun and any piece you get will make a statement. Screaming Mimis whole reputation was built on finding vintage pieces and costumes from a fashion stylists perspective.
The pieces are bold and unforgettable making this one of the best New York City thrift stores. I recommend this shop to all my friends in search of their Sex and the City outfit.
L Train Vintage
L Train Vintage is one of the most popular thrift stores in New York City. Nearly every YouTube video or TikTok of folks going thrifting in NYC includes them. Ever since they opened in 1999, this family owned business has been a go-to spot for those looking to score on some unique pieces.
They’ve grown in popularity so much that they now have 8 locations throughout New York. I’ll let you in on a locals tip though, not all their locations are called L Train. They also have stores called No Relation Vintage Clothing Store and Urban Jungle under the L Train umbrella.
L Train is also among the best thrift stores in New York City because they actually receive shipments of clothing, not relying on the community to supply their product. By outsourcing their clothing they ensure a constant flow that enables them to provide their stores with new items three times a week.
Tokio7 is not the most affordable thrift store in New York City, but I would be doing a disservice not mentioning it. This East Village consignment store specializes in luxury vintage and designer items. Finding name brands is no issue here. Even if you don’t plan on spending money, window shopping is an experience worth the trip alone.
Time quickly flies while getting lost in the unique pieces that make up one of the best thrift stores in New York City. And if you have any nice items that you need taken off your hands consider selling them with Tokio7 on consignment. You make an agreement and sign a contract, and depending on how much your item sells for you get a percentage.
Best Thrift Stores in New York City (Post Summary)
- Housing Works
- Awoke Vintage
- Beacon’s Closet
- The Vintage Twin
- Buffalo Exchange
- Hamlet’s Vintage
- Mr. Throwback
- Screaming Mimi’s
- L Train Vintage
Frequently Asked Questions: Top Vintage Shops in NYC
Absolutely, thrifting in New York is a fantastic experience, offering a diverse range of high-quality and unique fashion finds across the city’s eclectic thrift stores.
Williamsburg and the East Village are often considered to have some of the best thrift stores in NYC, known for its eclectic mix of curated vintage shops and unique second-hand fashion finds.
Absolutely, buying vintage clothes is not only a sustainable and environmentally friendly choice but also a fantastic way to express personal style with unique and timeless pieces that carry a rich history.
When buying vintage, pay attention to the garment’s condition, authenticity, and fit, while keeping an eye out for unique details, quality materials, and timeless styles that resonate with your personal taste.
Map of the Best NYC Thrift Stores
And there it is folks! Our list of the best thrift stores in New York City. Let us know if we forgot one of your favorite!