Los Angeles is one of the best cities in the world for vintage shopping. In fact, due to the abundance of vintage boutiques, consignment stores, and regular flea markets, it is a retro fashion lover’s dream. Trust me. In this city, you can find high-end vintage gowns from Hollywood years gone by, as well as local thrift shops that give back to the community through your shopping habits. You can probably guess which end of the spectrum I tend to shop! If this sounds up your alley, keep reading for my ten favorite thrift shops and flea markets in LA (and two bonus in the Claremont-area). Get those wallets ready!
The Left Bank – I have been going to The Left Bank for a couple of years and always end up leaving with a drool-worthy vintage piece (like my beloved vintage red YSL slides!). I think I was first introduced to The Left Bank through their Instagram, which makes sense because I love watching their Insta-stories where they show their new arrivals — no matter where I am in the world! Inside feels like a boutique thrift shop, with everything beautifully organized by style and size, and even mannequins with potential outfit combinations placed around. The ladies who run the shop are always amiable and hand-pick everything that comes into the store (I often sell clothes to them in exchange for cash or store credit). I would say that the prices are middle-of-the-road for LA, not the cheapest, certainly not the most expensive, but the vibes inside make it a firm favorite.
Out of the Closet – In my opinion, one of the most underrated chains of thrift stores in LA, I always know I can count on finding something fabulous in one of the Out of the Closet locations. A nonprofit chain whose revenues provide medical care for patients with HIV/AIDS, Out of the Closet has at least seven locations in LA and in other areas of the USA (you can see all their spots here). During university, I used to go to the Pasadena location quite regularly which is where I found some of my all-time favorite thrift pieces such as this sweater (which I wore almost every day in Romania/Moldova/Ukraine), and a certain vintage blouse that is adorned with paintbrushes. Prices here are very reasonable, and the selections are vast.
Wasteland – Probably the most well-known of second-hand stores in LA, Wasteland is the store you want to come to as an out-of-towner who has heard about this wonder of a wasteland from all your favorite Insta-darlings. Back in 2010, it was my gentle introduction into the world of second-hand in LA, and I think it would be beneficial for you to also think of it this way because you know you are going to find a gem. With designer dresses for days, perfectly beaten up vintage t-shirts, and everything else you could desire from contemporary brands – Wasteland has you covered. And, the prices reflect this. You can get some incredible designer pieces at a fraction of their retail value, so if you like to fill your wardrobes with last season’s designer items, then the prices will bring music to your heartstrings. If you are like me and don’t particularly care about labels, then the prices are about 10x what you would pay in an actual thrift store. However, it is cleaner than most thrift stores, the ambiance is fun, and you are bound to get an abundance of fashion inspiration from the other creative shoppers.
NCJWLA – A couple of summers ago, upon introduction to NCJWLA, I knew I had been shown a treasure chest. This is a real thrift store, filled to the brim with lovely items. Due to their locations in the wealthy neighborhoods of West LA, these thrift stores are a goldmine — if you are willing to put in the effort to search through everything.
Jet Rag – One of my all-time favorite experiences shopping in LA is the weekly $1 Sunday Sale at Jet Rag. If you have ever wanted to know how thoroughly passionate people are about their thrifting, then you must go and watch this blood-battle. The advertisements should come with a warning *for advanced thrifters only*. People will fight you for the perfect blouse. They will play tug-of-war with you over purple cowboy boots. They will have a system for spotting, grabbing, and keeping the best pieces (pre-plan your strategy!). I honestly wish I was joking! It is enjoyable if you relish frantically obtaining bargains — every item is $1! If that sounds a little too intense, go and check out the store any other day of the week when you can casually browse with a bit more space.
It’s A Wrap – Probably the most *LA* of LA secondhand shops, It’s A Wrap is where you head to purchase secondhand props and wardrobe pieces from your favorite TV shows and movies. This is the kind of place you visit once-in-a-while if you are looking for a memorable souvenir or fun gift. After all, where else can you get a prop from a Hollywood studio?
SquaresVille – This is where you go when you are looking for something that stands out – really stands out. If you are going through a seventies jumpsuit phase, this is for you. If you are all about dressing like a full-on Texas rancher, this (again) is the place for you. Here, prices are reasonable, especially considering the quality of the majority of pieces in the store. Service is usually pretty unfriendly, so I don’t go here too often; but, when I do, I am always pleased with what I find.
Melrose Trading Post – Despite visiting many around the world, it is still West Hollywood’s weekly flea market — Melrose Trading Post — that has my heart. I love nothing more than spending a Sunday afternoon browsing around the offerings here particularly as many of the vendors have been selling at this location for years – the high-quality of the goods on offer and the reasonable prices are a testament to that. Melrose Trading Post has managed to hang on to its roots, and dodge welcoming pretension in, even as flea markets have become more *hip*. That is why I love it so much, and because it was here that I was connected with my “Victorian prostitute boots,” an eternal favorite.
Rosebowl Flea Market – Undoubtedly one of the most famous flea markets in the world, the Rosebowl Flea Market takes place on the 2nd Sunday of every month (rain or shine). The fact that it takes place in a 90,000-seat stadium should give you a pretty good visual image of the size of this flea market. Here you can find anything — eye-catching artwork, old t-shirts, vintage furniture of your dreams, and everything good and bad in between. Ideally, get to the market early (aka when it opens), to ensure that you beat some of the crowds and can have the time and space to search for gems. If you are in LA on a 2nd Sunday of the month, you have to go! Promise me?!
Santa Monica Airport Outdoor Antique & Collectible Market – Just because it is slightly less-known and slightly smaller than the other two markets, doesn’t mean that the Santa Monica Airport Outdoor Antique & Collectible Market should be skipped. (In my books it says it should be a higher priority!) This one is a lot less hectic than the other two and has a more local, upscale vibe. There are plenty of vendors selling vintage clothes, furniture, and knick-knacks; but, not too many that you are overwhelmed and fearful of missing something. You know what I mean, right? One or two hours are perfect here, so stop by on your way to brunch!
Bonus: Claremont/Inland Empire
Most likely, none of you will ever find yourselves out in Claremont. It is a small, but charming, little place 30 miles east of LA. It is where I went to university and lived for many years. As the majority of my thrift hauls are filled with pieces from these two thrift stores, it only felt right to include them in the list! If you ever find yourself driving East on the 10 and want to go to my absolute favorite thrift stores – here they are!
Heartland Thrift Store – I would say that over the past few years, 90% of my thrifted pieces bought in LA, came from Heartland Thrift Store. This was my local, the place I would “pop” into every week to see the new additions. It is where I refined most of my thrifting tips, found the items that would comprise my first thrift hauls and regained my love of thrifting after too many years of forgetting about it. I’ll always love this place.
Deelux – A Claremont classic. I always attempt to hate this place because they never want to buy my clothes (haha oops); but, inevitably, find myself browsing the racks whenever I am in town. The stock here is rarely eccentric but instead filled with high-quality basics and contemporary casual wear. I would describe it as a “high-quality suburbia thrift store” — if that gives you a vibe? I have found many pieces here ranging from Topshop miniskirts to vintage maxi dresses, leather handbags, and retro-inspired sunglasses. I have only been to the Claremont location and, while it isn’t big, they manage to squeeze a lot of goodness inside.
So, those are my favorite thrift shops and flea markets in LA! There are so many in the city that I know there are plenty I haven’t visited yet, so let me know your favorites in the comments below!
Vintage dress, sunglasses, bag / Reebok sneakers