Best Thrift Stores and Flea Markets 2010

Best Thrift Stores and Flea Markets 2010

Sarah Coffey
Dec 21, 2010

This is a guide we look forward to all year, because it's one that's truly built from the cumulative knowledge of our readers. Compiled from a combination of last year's short list (with feedback), reader tips, and our seasonal flea market guides, the 2010 list includes 5 national favorites, as well as the cream of the crop from 17 cities across the US.

National & Online

12181f362f9bc49bce584ca395c86aa251291c19. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Goodwill pulls from a national inventory of used items, and it operates like eBay, except that all proceeds go to Goodwill's education, training, and job placement programs. Although there are some junky things, the site offers lots of good stuff, too.

7b783fc5bcf4208e0a023a6d8763de075f1491f7. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Craigslist
It revolutionized online classifieds, it fuels Apartment Therapy's daily Scavenger column, and despite its tendency to feel (quoting one Apartment Therapy writer) like "a badly behaved lover," we keep coming back.

b7f803060c388e73b53fc770d75a00d5060fb9c4. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop eBay
The original online auction site, eBay is great if you know exactly what you're looking for. It's been showing its age lately, but it's still a good site to check for mid-century furniture and rare collectibles like artist-made pottery and vintage toys.

69f0f110ce6c1e80e8ae96dec40d90c30721d54a. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Etsy
Over just five years, Etsy has managed to become one of the largest online retailers of affordable vintage goods, with hundreds of thousands of sellers. There's a lot to sift through, and searching can take some time, since it's always being updated with unique finds.

48242ab26bd1172c4f739966d5943dc81b9cf6bb. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop The Salvation Army
With locations throughout the world, the Salvation Army is one of the oldest and best known charity thrift shop organizations. Their network of stores fund their Adult Rehabilitation Centers (or ARCs) by selling secondhand housewares and toys.

Austin, Texas

371159b60bb8e27faaea5881984a16566b67f2eb. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Uncommon Objects
Apartment Therapy reader Aqua-Velvet says this local emporium is "jam-packed with fantastic quirk and diversity. Plus great proprietors. Have found many an uncommon object there over the years..." Another often-recommended Austin thrift shop is Room Service.

Boston, Massachusetts

63775a542c36915f5714b1488ce6cd97b1ef83f9. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Grafton Flea Market
This indoor/outdoor flea market (located in the Boston metro area) has hundreds of vendors. It's open on Sundays from 6am to 4 pm, April through December. In the summer, the market is larger and has more vendors.

Brimfield, Massachusetts

62c709e88c8f52eea56a7033da3e602bb9b026af. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Brimfield Antique Show
This flea market is held three times each year, and it's HUGE with over 6,000 vendors. (Check the schedule on their site.) It's been in operation for over 50 years, and you'll find a lot of "antiques roadshow" style shoppers at this market.

Brooklyn, New York

4343310fecee00cf38289369098f5d62cadb9c69. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Brooklyn Flea
On summer Saturdays from 11 am to 6 pm, the outdoor Brooklyn Flea Market pops up in Fort Greene. (They also have a smaller Sunday market at One Hanson.) The New York Times calls it "One of the great urban experiences in New York."

Chicago, Illinois

0f3bf062258db087eaf4a155888dd906ac63f94b. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Jubilee Furniture
Located in suburban Carol Stream, they have a warehouse full of mid-century pieces at garage sale prices. In the city, we also highly recommend the Brown Elephant resale shops, whose proceeds go to the Howard Brown Health Center.

Dallas, Texas

fe29e1ab0a3f3abccb1c7cd9182f9f1f02b9c523. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Canton Flea Market
This market, also known as "First Monday Trade Days" is located within driving distance of Dallas. It's been around for over a century, and it's one of the world's largest outdoor flea markets. It takes place Thursday - Sunday before the first Monday of every month.

Englishtown, New Jersey

afc7a9cde528c996848ef2993edebfa793616584. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Englishtown Antiques & Used Furniture
Located an hour outside of Manhattan, Englishtown is a favorite of blogger Annie Werbler, who says, "If you have some time and love a good treasure hunt, you can find retro items here for a fraction of what you'd pay in a more curated store."

Los Angeles, California

491ce7dab215d47e06bae752c6deb0a5311dcc06. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop St Vincent De Paul Thift Warehouse
LA-based blogger Grace Shu says, "St. Vincent de Paul is practically legendary in Los Angeles for being one of—if not THE—biggest thrift shop in the city. If you're a thrift shop junkie, this place would be your playground."

Manhattan, New York

a77d39b3860f80b0f2f69b34cd4d856cac2bea47. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Housing Works
Readers say: "great finds!" & "Always find good used furniture and household products at great prices." Other often-recommended New York thrift shops include Angel Street, the The Vintage Thrift Shop, and City Opera.

Nashville, Tennessee

6d90125c8b9b7c4945b97a8ac63e342b9f0265ef. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Nashville Flea Market
This mega flea market hosts dealers from over 30 states. Located at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds, it's open year-round (except for December) on the fourth weekend of each month. Admission is free; check the schedule for further details.

New Milford, Connecticut

c7dcd0e40b071a0dee7cf1fb034f7e8c03cab755. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Elephant's Trunk County Flea Market
This is the largest outdoor flea market in New England. It's open every Sunday from April through November. There's a $20 fee for early admission at 5:45am and a $2 admission fee after 7am.

Oakland, California

aae98b6703c91ce0979940ddcab1afd2b1a0e9a7. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Alameda Point Antiques and Collectibles Faire
This flea market takes place in Alameda (near Oakland) on the first Sunday of each month. A serious shopper's market with over 800 outdoor dealers and a $15 admission fee, it's a favorite of designers and flea market addicts.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

12a940ef7f7011b32a90920a209fc2c61fd13aa3. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Fairmount Flea Market
There are about 175 vendors at this outdoor market, the largest summer flea in Philadelphia. It takes place near the Bache-Martin School. For a schedule, check out the Phila Flea Market directory online.

Raleigh, North Carolina

836597df5ff9d2fa6e054dd8a165de99f2bc2d4f. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Raleigh Flea Market at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds
This flea market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 6pm, except in October when it's closed to make room for the big State Fair. It markets itself as the "largest selection of antiques and furniture in North Carolina."

San Francisco, California

0af5e6a950b53fdc854143f0a336870f403afa16. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Thrift Town
It's not the biggest secret 'round town, but it's often one of the more undervalued resources for surprisingly awesome steals. Also recommended are The Apartment and the Alemany Flea Market, a much smaller kid sister to the Alameda Fair.

Shipshewana, Indiana

67287e8368391015b56cba5be5ee41203cf190fc. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Shipshewana Auction and Flea Market
Open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 8am to 5pm, May through October, this is the Midwest's largest outdoor flea market. Located in the heart of Amish country, it features lots of handmade furniture and local farm stands.

Washington, DC

607c2834175c30106166004400f5211a3adb9dc5. w.94 h.71 s.centercrop Georgetown Flea Market
Vendors at the Georgetown Flea Market come out every Sunday from 8am-4pm all year long. Come early for the best picks and late for good deals, when sellers are often willing to cut prices rather than reload unclaimed items.

Best Thrift Stores 2009
Readers Favorite Vintage, Thrift, and Secondhand Shops
Flea Market Guide: Coast to Coast

Photo: Enamel Teapot from Sweetshorn

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