Best Thrift Stores in San Diego
No matter what you’re after in your hunt for the best thrift stores in San Diego, there’s likely a consignment shop for you. There are dozens of Goodwill and Salvation Army shops around the city that are a standby on the thrift shop scene, on top of so many other independent shops that pride themselves on their unique finds.
Thrifting is a great way to not only save some money, but a way to find those hidden treasures you may not have even known you needed.
It’s also a great way to embrace a movement to be more environmentally-friendly with your buying choices. That used item you’re going home with could have ended up in a landfill, but now it’s at your house bringing you all kinds of joy.
Searching for the perfect gear for that theme party on the calendar? Looking for the perfect antique statement piece that’ll bring the whole room together?
Check out 10 of the best thrift stores San Diego has to offer for your next bargain hunt.
Team AMVETS Thrift Stores
AMVETS has two nonprofit thrift stores in San Diego, with proceeds going to support veterans throughout California and Nevada. The shops, one close to downtown and another just south of Lemon Grove, operate on donations. If you’re interested in donating some of your gently-used goods, they’ll gladly come pick them for you.
A donation-based system means they may not have exactly what you’re looking for, but someone willing to dig a bit may find some hidden gems to take home with them. The shops are a good option if you’re looking for electronics, home decor and kitchen goods on the cheap.
Buffalo Exchange is a nationwide thrift shop chain with locations in Hillcrest and Pacific Beach. They’re known for selections that fit the season and current trends, so they’re always looking for sellers willing to part with gently-worn clothing items for cash or trade-in value.
Those looking to spruce up their wardrobe will find a thrift store that resembles more of a traditional store, just maybe a bit more colorful. Their racks are full of items that are on display because they’re of good quality and wearable by today’s fashion trends, with a few things in there just for fun for the vintage fans out there.
Their attention to current trends is what makes this one of the best thrift shops San Diego has out there.
Frock You Vintage Clothing
Frock You is more than a punny name. It’s staffed by a group of employees who love fashion, and vintage clothing in particular. The items on display are curated by the shop, so you never know what you’ll find when you pop in for a visit.
If you’re looking for a specific style or outfit for a special event, they’ll help you out, pointing you to the right rack that will help you look your best.
The San Diego thrift store has been operating at its location on Park Boulevard in University Heights for what’s approaching 20 years. It’s become a fixture in the neighborhood for those seeking unique styles they won’t find anywhere else. Visit the shop seven days a week.
Full Contact Rock-N-Roll
Fans of vintage music shops will love Full Contact Rock n’ Roll, a homage to all things that rock. That includes records—if you’re a punk fan this is the place for you—record players, band T-shirts and used instruments. They usually have several guitars on display for sale.
A visit to the shop is worth it for the decor alone. It’s loud and in-your-face, and big on organized chaos. If you’re not sure where to start and have a particular record in mind, ask the owner. He’ll know if they carry that rare album you’re looking for.
Home Start Thrift Boutique
The Home Start Thrift Boutique in Normal Heights is a shop with a mission. The clothing, vintage home decor and furniture they sell goes in part to help support different local organizations, on top of their overall mission of helping at-risk kids and families in the community.
Home Start came to be in the 1970s as an offshoot of the federal Head Start program. The San Diego chapter is focused on helping children in poverty with programs and services that help families stay together in a positive way.
The shop is an important piece of that mission. Anything you buy there will help support Home Start programming throughout the city, and directly help a child in need.
Honest Thrift Studio
Honest Thrift Studio in Old Town describes itself as a boutique thrift shop. The items in there are hand-picked by the shop owner, so while the selection is small, each piece is thoughtful and fits the overall aesthetic of the shop.
Find the perfect plant or home decor item that you wouldn’t find in any of the big box stores, or your new favorite tee for just a few bucks. The shop’s location is a perk, too, just outside of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and the neighborhood's vibrant craft stores and eateries.
It can be hard to find a good used bookstore out there these days, especially with more people buying their books online. Humble Heart is a great option for not only the classics, but books you’ve seen on recent bestseller lists.
The family-run thrift shop chain has several locations in San Diego, two in Ocean Beach and another in Escondido. On top of the impressive book collection, they also sell kids’ toys, antique furniture and a variety of home decor items and clothing.
Their mission has spanned three generations: to partner with local volunteer agencies that provide emergency clothing and warm meals to those who need it around San Diego County.
Photo Credit: Humble Heart / Facebook
Hunt & Gather
The items you’ll find at North Park’s Hunt & Gather may not be the most practical, but this is the place to go for that one statement piece for your wardrobe. Colorful racks of party dresses, fringe jackets and animal prints await at this one, making it a great option if you’re looking for something festive.
The shop also has an online store, with regular uploads of their latest vintage clothing items and accessories, including handmade jewelry.
La Loupe Vintage
If you’re looking for unique jewelry or something that’s fashion-forward but just a bit unusual, La Loupe Vintage has two boutique locations for you to browse through.
Visit the shops in University Heights or Normal Heights for fashion from the 1960s to modern day, and funky jewelry items that will have your friends asking you for shopping tips.
The shops also have a “curated new” section of jewelry items and bath and body supplies in support of local entrepreneurs and artisans. That could explain why visitors love the smell of this place. It may not seem like a big deal, but warm vanilla wafting through a room can make shopping way more enjoyable.
My Sister’s Closet
My Sister’s Closet has a number of locations in California and Arizona, but it’s the La Jolla location that puts this one on the list of best thrift shops in San Diego. The fashion consignment shop is all about buying and selling items that you’ll want to wear and display, with a nod to more modern trends.
All of the shops also have an extensive online store for you to browse through. Search with a focus for whatever you’re looking for, even by designer, without leaving your couch. Or visit one of the best thrift stores in La Jolla in person to check out the racks for yourself.
Whether you’re looking for a nightstand or a “new” pair of platform boots, there’s a San Diego thrift shop out there for you. You just need to know where to look, and now you do!
Written by Agnes Groonwald for Knockaround.