For zero-wasters, shopping secondhand has always been a go-to alternative to buying new. But it appears thrifting is on the rise nationwide – not just the eco-conscious who prefer popping into Savers rather than popping into Target. In 2020, especially during the time of the coronavirus global health pandemic when people everywhere are strapped for cash, thrift shopping is becoming – dare we say it – cool again... especially in major cities, such as San Francisco.
That being said, if you live in the Bay Area and want to make like 2012 Macklemore and go thrift shopping, you’re in luck! While Joybird reports that San Francisco is definitely one of the more expensive cities to thrift shop in the U.S., the city is also home to some of the most beloved and top-rated thrift shops throughout the nation.
Ready to go thrift shopping in San Fran? Here are the top 10 best thrift stores in San Francisco.
Alameda Flea Market
2900 Navy Way Alameda, CA 94501
The Alameda Flea Market may not constitute as a round-the-clock thrift shop – as it only occurs every first Sunday of the month – but it is undeniably one of San Francisco’s most unique thrifting experiences. Hosted by the Alameda naval base, the flea or resale market offers more than 800 stalls full of secondhand furniture, jewelry, art, toys, books, decorations, and of course, vintage clothing.
1555 Haight Street San Francisco, CA 94117
With three locations throughout San Francisco – Telegraph in Berkeley, Haight Street, and Mission District – Buffalo Exchange is one of the most popular thrift shops there is. After all, it’s been around for a long time. First founded by Kerstin Block in 1974, Buffalo Exchange was one of the first to adopt the buy-and-sell model that allowed shoppers to both shop and sell their clothes for cash or trade-in on-the-spot.
However, if you’re a seller trying to make a quick buck on a designer items, Buffalo Exchange isn’t known for offering high prices – a testament to just how cheap they resell clothes for. If you’re trying to sell, consider one of the more upscale thrift shops on this list (Sui Generis Consignment), but if you’re looking to solely buy, Buffalo Exchange is what they call a thrifter’s paradise.
451 Cortland Avenue San Francisco, CA 94110
At Chloe’s Closet in Bernal Heights, parents or parents-to-be searching for sizable markdowns on children’s and infant’s apparel, shoes, hats, goods, toys, and more will score big. In addition to finding everything you could ever need for raising little ones, Chloe’s Closet is also known for having maternity styles on hand, too.
Community Thrift on Valencia
623 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110
With the proceeds that Community Thrift earns, the Valencia Street thrift store supports over 200 local non-profit organizations. In fact, if you donate to Community Thrift – whether it’s books, clothes, art, or furniture – you can choose which charity you’d like to partner with; each time your donated stuff gets purchased, your charity partner gets paid!
1813 Polk Street San Francisco, CA 94109
Located in Nob Hill, Cris Consignment is a high end thrift shop for both men and women. Inside Cris Consignment, you’ll find a treasure trove of expensive designer names from recent collections – Alexander McQueen, Balenciaga, Chanel, Gucci, Céline, Kate Spade, Tiffany + Co, Valentino, and more. But while you’ll find these luxury items discounted, they’re still costly – think Chanel handbags, Gucci stone necklaces, etc. for under $2,000.
1901 Fillmore St San Francisco, CA 94115
Crossroads Trading has been around since 1991 and has nearly 40 locations throughout the U.S. At the San Francisco location on Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights, you’ll find current, on-trend secondhand clothing with big markdowns. Per the website’s current selling guide, Crossroads is on the hunt for puffer vests and jackets, capes, shearling, and more. If you’re looking to sell, not buy, Crossroads buys merchandise for 33 percent of the sell price.
Out of the Closet
1498 Polk Street San Francisco, CA 94109
1295 Folsom St San Francisco CA 94103 US
Out of the Closet thrift stores have been around for 30 years, donating to AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s HIV/AIDS programs and housing services. At Out of the Closet, you’ll also find on-site pharmacies and free HIV testing, and they run large donation pick-ups from the convenience of your home, so if you want to donate to the thrift store, you can simply schedule a pick-up.
2336 Mission Street San Francisco, CA 94110
On Mission Street, you’ll find Pikitos, a secondhand boutique known for featuring vintage, designer, Victorian, and decade items. While their website leaves a lot to be desired, San Fransisco-based redditers agree: You can find some cheap, unique items at Pikito’s, so long as you’re willing to really look through the racks.
3038 Fillmore Street San Francisco, CA 94123
Fillmore Street is basically the Rodeo Drive of thrift shops and after popping into Crossroads, check out Simply Chic. Moderately priced, Simply Chic has been around for a decade, offering designer items – like Chanel and Marc Jacobs – for women.
Sui Generis Consignment
2231 Market Street, San Francisco, CA
Sui Generis Consignment is an upscale, luxury thrift shop located in The Castro area of San Francisco, featuring both luxury menswear and women’s clothing. You’ll find all the main name brands throughout its shelves – Chanel, Burberry, Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Gucci, Louis Vuitton – though consignment is by appointment only, according to their website.