The 15 Best Cities for Thrift Shopping in America

Two women shopping at a flea market
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Online shopping has its benefits, but it just can’t compete with the joy of stumbling upon a coveted pre-owned treasure hiding on a dusty shelf. And this is a great time to dive into the world of thrift shopping. Many people who were stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic used that time to clean out overstuffed closets, and donations to thrift stores soared.

Joybird, a custom furniture manufacturer, recently determined which U.S. cities offer the best thrift-shopping experience. Their analysis utilized Yelp data to examine each city’s number of thrift stores, flea markets, clothing donation centers, and home organization services per 100,000 people; star ratings of thrift stores and flea markets; and price levels of thrift stores and flea markets.

Based on the Joybird analysis, here’s a look at the top U.S. cities for thrifting.

15. Los Angeles

Los Angeles thrift store
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City’s overall score: 19.7 out of 50

Los Angeles Magazine brags that the City of Angels is “the thrifting capital of the world.” Big words, but Southern California has more than 80 Goodwill stores, the magazine notes. And who knows — that vintage sequined gown you snag off a rack might have dazzled the stars at a Hollywood party back in the day.

14. Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City, Utah
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City’s overall score: 20 out of 50

Salt Lake City is the home base for Deseret Industries, a nonprofit organization run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which operates stores similar to Goodwill. Salt Lake City also boasts a variety of other thrift store options, including Goodwill, Savers, and more.

13. St. Louis

St. Louis, Missouri
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City’s overall score: 20.5 out of 50

Price-conscious thrift shoppers should take a look at St. Louis. The Missouri city offers one of the cheapest thrifting experiences out of the top 15, according to Joybird.

11. Portland, Oregon (tie)

Powell's City of Books
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City’s overall score: 21.1 out of 50

According to Joybird, some of the highest-rated secondhand stores in its analysis are located in quirky Portland, Oregon. And if books are your thrifting find of choice, head to the iconic Powell’s City of Books, a block-long bookstore with both used and new volumes of all sorts. I’ve scooped up some classic pulp-fiction paperbacks there.

11. Miami (tie)

Miami, Florida
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City’s overall score: 21.1 out of 50

Joybird reports that sunny Miami has more than 91 thrift stores for every 100,000 people. You might not find snow gear here, but it’s a great place to pick up shorts and sunglasses.

10. Sacramento, California

Sacramento, California
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City’s overall score: 21.7 out of 50

Four California cities landed on this top 15 list. Of the four, state capital Sacramento offers the lowest thrift-store prices, Joybird reports.

9. Buffalo, New York

Buffalo, New York
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City’s overall score: 22.8 out of 50

New York City, big as it is, didn’t make the top 25, coming in at No. 49. But Buffalo, the state’s second-largest city, nabbed the No. 9 spot.

8. Hartford, Connecticut

Hartford, Connecticut
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City’s overall score: 23.5 out of 50

Hartford, Connecticut, residents have fewer thrift store choices per capita than many other cities on this list. But the city makes up for it with flea markets, offering 12.82 per 100,000 people, more than any other city in the entire top 50.

6. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (tie)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
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City’s overall score: 25.5 out of 50

Planning to thrift in Pittsburgh? The Steel City scored high as far as the number of flea markets per capita as well as for low prices at its various thrift stores and markets.

6. San Francisco (tie)

San Francisco thrift store
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City’s overall score: 25.5 out of 50

Nothing in San Francisco is cheap, and that includes thrift merchandise. Joybird’s research shows that the City by the Bay is one of the most expensive cities to shop secondhand.

5. Tampa, Florida

Tampa, Florida
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City’s overall score: 25.8 out of 50

Florida cities nabbed three of the top 15 spots. Tampa not only made the top five but also offers plenty of options. Only two cities in the top five have more thrifts per capita than Tampa.

4. Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida
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City’s overall score: 26 out of 50

Looking for Disney goodies? M-I-C … see you real soon at the thrifts of Orlando, home of Walt Disney World, where you might just find some gently used theme-park merchandise.

3. Columbus, Ohio

Volunteers of America Thrift Store
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City’s overall score: 28.3 out of 50

Thrift stores are generally indoor, permanent locations, but flea markets can be indoor or outdoor and sometimes come and go. Columbus flea markets were among the highest-rated in Joybird’s survey.

2. Atlanta

Atlanta cityscape
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City’s overall score: 31.9 out of 50

Do you appreciate some variety in your thrifting options? Head for Atlanta. According to Joybird, Georgia’s capital city has the most thrift stores, clothing-donation centers, and flea markets per capita among the top five cities. It comes in at 132.38 thrift stores for every 100,000 people.

1. Riverside, California

Riverside, California
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City’s overall score: 37 out of 50

Taking the thrift-store crown is Riverside, California, located about 50 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. Joybird praised Riverside for featuring lower prices than its big-city neighbor of L.A., as well as strong Yelp ratings and a decent number of thrift stores (126.37) per 100,000 people. Thrift shop till you drop!

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