For those looking to build a more sustainable wardrobe, buying clothing and furniture from second-hand stores is one of the best alternatives to buying new. And if you live in California, checking out the vintage thrift stores in San Francisco is a must! San Francisco’s thrift scene is flourishing, thanks to its residents' unique, creative, and fashion-forward tastes. There is something for everyone!
So, say goodbye to fast fashion and hello to a wardrobe with some Bay area flair. That’s right, today we are going to explore the best thrift stores in San Francisco!
Our top picks for the best thrift shops in San Francisco
With locations at Telegraph in Berkeley, Haight Street, and Mission District, Buffalo Exchange is one of the more affordable thrift stores in San Francisco. Whether you want to buy, sell, or trade your gently used clothing items, Buffalo Exchange is your go-to. And with new items coming into the store every day, you will always find something new!
Fun fact, they were one of the first thrift stores in the area to adopt the buy and sell model where Bay area residents could shop for new thrift items, as well as resell their gently used clothing for cash.
Their hours are 11 to 8 pm Monday to Saturday, and 11 to 7 pm on Sundays.
Founded in 1982, the profits from Community Thrift Store support over 200 charities in the Bay area! When you donate to Community Thrift Store, you can even choose what charity you would like to be matched with so that when someone purchases your donated item, that charity receives the funds.
The charities they work with focus on some pretty important issues like minority empowerment, combating HIV and AIDS, and ending homelessness and hunger. I am all for shopping while bettering my community at the same time. How awesome!
You will find an eclectic mix of donated items ranging from low-priced everyday necessities like kitchenware to furniture and home decor spanning antique to Danish modern and mid-century.
Fashionphile markets itself as “the very first ultra-luxury re-commerce brand of its kind”. And they aren’t wrong! Fashionphile is a fantastic place to check out if you love designer brands but are on a budget. They have gently used designer bags like Chanel Boy Bags and Hermes Birkin bags for sometimes up to 80% off the original retail price.
They also make it easy to resell your designer bags if you're looking to make some extra cash. If you have a designer bag you would like to sell, you can ask for a quote in advance or schedule a virtual appointment with one of their product specialists.
Jane Consignment’s philosophy is all about “repurposing items that are both practical and beautiful”! You can check them out and shop for thrifted treasures from Tuesday to Saturday from 12 to 7 pm.
You can also resell your old clothes and jewelry at Janes and receive up to 40% of the original purchase price back. Jane’s Consignment will only display these items for up to three months, after that, the consigner can come back to collect them, otherwise, they will be donated to those in need. Not a bad idea!
With an emphasis on seasonal inventory and tons of different clothing and accessories for both men and women, you can buy and resell your used items at Crossroads Trading for up to 33% of the original retail price. They are also a nationwide chain and have several locations around the Bay area (and nearly 40 locations all over the US) so be sure to find the one closest to you. You can also resell your used items to Crossroads Trading through the mail so it's accessible to everyone.
With 800 plus dealer booths, Alameda Point Antiques Faire is one of the biggest thrift events in all of northern California. And it’s gained its fame for a good reason, you can find literally ANYTHING there! From used furniture to retro fashion items and other collectibles. Although you do have to buy a ticket to be admitted to the fair (tickets range from $5 USD to $20 USD).
Design Plus Consignment Gallery has five out of five stars on Facebook and is a thrift store staple for those looking for secondhand furniture finds in San Francisco. While on the pricier side, you can find some gems for a steal if you are willing to be patient and check in on their inventory often. They also post their furniture collection online so you can take a peek to see if there is anything you are interested in before going in person. Their showroom is also open seven days a week so that is a big bonus.
Out of the Closet is an awesome initiative and thrift store. They have been around for 30 years and not only do they have an awesome thrifted inventory, but they also donate to the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s programs and housing services around San Francisco. Out of the Closet also offers onsite pharmacies and HIV testing at either of their two stores in the city.
In the Bernal Heights area, Chloe’s Closet is one of the best San Francisco thrift stores for a young family looking for some affordable clothes. They offer gently worn kid's clothing for newborns up to pre-teens. They also sometimes have toys, baby gear, and maternity clothing.
*While children's toys are okay to thrift if you have cleaned them, remember never to purchase children's safety equipment (like car seats) from thrift stores.
10. Fashion Exchange
At Fashion Exchange you will find a mix of items including trendy designer shoes, unique jewelry, vintage apparel, and Halloween costumes. They are a small but growing family-owned chain of stores with two locations in San Francisco so you know you are supporting a local business. Fashion Exchange also offers a cool layaway program where if you can’t take an item home that day (say it’s too big to carry home), you can instead put it on “layaway” and come back for it later.
Wasteland is a super trendy thrift store in the upper Haight area. While on the pricier side, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and trendiness of their clothing and accessories (for both men and women!). And you can find even more affordable items in their sale section. Their inventory is also featured online if you want to be thrifty but also stay home!
Pikitos is a secondhand boutique known for its old-fashioned, Victorian-style items. Their inventory is so creative and each piece is unique. They have 4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp with most reviewers mentioning the staff’s friendliness and a good quality shopping selection. While their website is pretty bare, I would say they are still worth checking out. Their hours are typically Monday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 6:30 pm.
Why visit a thrift shop in San Francisco
By shopping at thrift stores, you are helping to repurpose items that might have otherwise gone to a landfill and promote a more sustainable fashion industry. These days, so many of our clothes are made up of cheap, synthetic materials that are sourced from fossil fuels (like polyester). These cheap clothes are manufactured oftentimes using unethical labor practices and shipped all around the world, accumulating a hefty transportation footprint in the process. This is also known as the fast fashion industry.
This simply isn’t sustainable, in fact, the fashion industry is one of the worst polluting industries on the planet using huge amounts of fresh water and a toxic soup of different chemicals. And that’s just to produce our clothes. Sixty percent of all clothing manufactured (this includes the clothes that are never purchased) are incinerated or sent to landfills within one year.
So, shop vintage, consignment, thrift, or swap when you can! You can also support sustainable fashion by purchasing from slow fashion brands.
A final word on San Francisco thrift shops
San Francisco is known to be one of the best cities for thrifting out there. And I must agree. No matter what you are looking for or what your sense of style might be, thrift stores in San Francisco have so much to choose from. And by shopping at the best thrift stores in the Bay Area, not only are you saving your closet and wallet, but you are also helping to save the planet. Who doesn’t love a win for everyone?
If thrift shopping in person isn’t your thing, I would suggest looking into online sustainable thrift stores where you can buy and sell used clothes online! You can thrift almost anything online, even a second-hand wedding dress - I am not kidding! I also have tons of other thrift shopping tips, like how to get started with thrift flipping!
Don’t live in San Francisco? Don’t worry! Check out these links below to find the best thrift stores near you.
Keep an eye out for upcoming articles because we have more thrift flipping guides on the way! If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – help me to help others 🙂!