Thrifting has seen a meteoric rise in popularity over the last decade, and therefore competition for the best thrift stores in New York City has gotten steep.
As a shopper I am looking for a consistent supply of vintage and unique clothing that I wouldn’t be able to find elsewhere. Exclusivity is the name of the game, otherwise why not shop at big box department stores?
Also the best thrift stores in NYC need to be conscious of what they’re putting on their shelves. Nobody wants to sift through someone’s unwanted junk. I don’t care how exclusive something is, if it’s ugly – I’m not wearing it.
After shopping at nearly every thrift store I’ve come across during my 8 years living in NYC, I opted to make a list of the best. Whether I’m looking for clothing, decorations or accessories I know someone else will get use out of it.
So without further ado, here is my list of the 12 best thrift stores in New York City.
Best Thrift Stores in New York City
Housing Works is among the best New York City thrift stores because its noble cause makes it so much more than a standard store.
This 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 both.
As such, 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 store are run by volunteers, so literally ever cent of the sale goes to the cause.
Since the items are donated, there’s no guarantee that you will find that specific piece you’re looking for. However, if you’re feeling adventurous, peruse the shelves and pick something up that you normally wouldn’t.
There’s a great selection to choose from. The store is lined with dark floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that are well organized. Head upstairs to the balcony for the in-house cafe and spend an hour lingering for a good cause.
Further Reading: Housing Works also among 12+ Charming New York City Bookstores You Can’t Help But Love
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.
I walked passed Awoke Vintage on my way to Domino Park at least half a dozen times before finally deciding to make a pit stop. The store is charming, and the neon sign outside made it impossible not to stop. I wish I would’ve stopped sooner because I walked out with a full bag.
Thrift stores in New York City are hard to consistently shop at sometimes because you never know when that fabulous piece will show up on their shelves. But Awoke Vintage has found a way to minimize the guesswork.
By following their Instagram shoppers can check out their stories and send them DM’s on items they want to buy, after that they respond with an invoice and shoppers have an hour to pay before the item goes back on the shelf. There’s the option to ship or pick up in store.
Another fantastic second-hand store is Beacon Closet in Greenpoint and Bushwick. They sell some of the best vintage clothes as well as newer collections, bags, shoes and much more.
I rarely walk out empty handed, since their one of the better known thrift stores in New York City their selection is usually robust with options that I have a hard time saying no to.
Beacon’s Closet also partners with multiple non-profit organizations to better their communities. For example – if guests forget their reusable bags at home they can purchase brown paper bag from Beacon’s Closet for .30 cents. 15 cents for them, 15 cents for either the Cooke Center Academy or New York Cares annual coat drive.
New Yorkers can enjoy one of the best thrift stores in New York City and feel good about spending their hard earned money there.
- Address: 74 Guernsey St Brooklyn, NY 11222 & 23 Bogart St Brooklyn, NY 11237
The Vintage Twin
SoHo is home to some of the best shopping, and it comes as no surprise that it’s also home to one of the best thrift stores in New York City. 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.
Address: 543 Broadway, New York, NY 10012
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 expanding in every direction.
With the idea that thrift stores don’t have to be overwhelmingly filled with junk, Founders Kerstin & Spencer Block made Buffalo Exchange a place where folks could buy, sell and trade quality pieces.
Sine it’s such a well known store, Buffalo Exchange receives a lot of premium items. Throughout their 5 thrift stores in New York City they consistently have clothing with a lot of life left in them. Best of all it’s at a fraction of the price New Yorkers would pay for a similar item new (often of a lesser quality).
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 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.
Even though thrifting provides unique pieces, there is a lot of overlap in what the mainstream crowd ends up buying. At Hamlet’s Vintage though 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.
Address: 146 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10012
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 or other athletic shoe.
Their website is also a great place to shop, especially for those out of town. There is the option to view items and even “make an offer” if the price seems a little too steep. Their constantly posting new items on their Instagram so that might also be worth a follow if you’re looking for a specific item or just like to get inspo from one of the best thrift stores in New York City.
The collaborations Mr. Throwback also frequently collaborates with other designers to make new items that have that vintage aesthetic. I have a hard time stopping by and walking out empty handed, with my most recent purchase being a t-shirt with baby Lebron James on it. (insert GOAT emoji).
Address: 437 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009
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.
Address: 240 W 14th St, New York, NY 10011
Screaming Mimis lives for the moment when you find exactly what you need to make an entrance, or to stop a heart, or to leave a lasting impression.ScreamingMimis.com
Vintage by Round Two
Round Two is a national brand that has gotten a lot of attention thanks to their YouTube channel. They upload videos from their stores of their customers coming in to shop, as well as folks coming in to sell their items. It’s similar to the History Channel’s show Pawn Stars, but all high dollar clothing.
The items Round Two sells are not necessarily all vintage items, they sell a lot collectable brands like Supreme, Yeezy and Bape. It’s a popular spot for resellers who are looking to get more merchandise, plus get a little screen time on their YouTube channel..
There’s also an online store that gets a lot of traffic, but it’s independent of the brick and mortar stores. You can’t use store credits from the store online or return items to the store you bought online. None the less its one of the best places thrift stores in New York City and America as whole for that matter.
Address: 138 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
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 designer 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 whilst 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.
Address: 83 E 7th St, New York, NY 10003
Specializing in vintage American workwear, outdoor and military clothing- Wooden Sleepers has taken the crown when it comes to menswear in the thrift world. Founded in 2010, Wooden Sleepers has been serving New Yorkers for a little over 10 years and doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon.
The pieces are timeless and will the fit the need of any season at any time. As one of the best New York City thrift stores, it’s easy to see that no corners are cut when it comes to deciding what pieces make it to the floor.
This well thought out New York City thrift store appreciates the beauty of vintage and values customer experience.
Address: 395 Van Brunt St, Brooklyn, NY 11231
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
- Round Two Vintage
- L Train Vintage
- Wooden Sleepers
Map of the best thrift stores in New York City
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!