34 L.A. thrift stores where you can find the best vintage, zero-waste holiday gifts
Thrifting is more than a look. It’s an experience. You’ve got to dig for treasures at some vintage stores, and that’s why it’s so satisfying when you find that perfect one-of-a-kind gift at a fraction of the cost of something new (or overnighted from Amazon).
Over the past year, my colleague Jeanette Marantos and I visited a variety of thrift stores in and around Los Angeles, spanning Whittier to Ventura. Among the irresistible things we found: an exquisitely embroidered $40 silk kimono made in Japan, ceramic Yosemite salt and pepper shakers, a bowling pin lamp, a steel colander coated in avocado-green porcelain enamel and a wealth of turquoise jewelry. A Chanel bag wasn’t cheap, however, nor was a gorgeous midcentury modern teak sewing box from Denmark. Still, it’s fun to look.
Like our list of small independent gift stores in Los Angeles, this is not meant to be a definitive list of thrift stores, just a way to get you started. And if you can’t find anything, don’t worry; you’ll have fun looking.
For the purposes of gift-giving, we have included a few higher-end stores with an emphasis on vintage more than thrift. And if outdoor markets are more your thing, check out these flea markets for even more second-hand gift ideas.
All Things and More
Shopping is surprisingly easy given that everything has a tag and is clearly marked with dimensions, designer and price. A set of four Arnold Merckx black leather dining chairs were priced at $2,750. A Poul Volther teak dresser was listed as $1,850, and a ribbed Ernst Luthy leather “Turf” love seat was tagged at $7,850.
While the headliner here is vintage furnishings, there is also a wide variety of gift options wedged among the teak dining room tables and chairs, including a selection of gorgeous vintage ceramics.
Despite the dizzying display of goods, the sales staff is incredibly adept in helping you find what you are looking for, whether it’s a Danish modern dining chair or a Modernist coat rack.
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Bargain Box Thrift Store (Assistance League of Ventura)
Note the hours: It is only open two days a week, on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Bearded Beagle
Best of Times Antiques
Gift of Garb
King Richard's Antique Center
Open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 6 p.m. (Note that they sometimes open later on Wednesdays because they’re also working at Ventura’s Wednesday Swap Meet.)
Lynn's Consignments & Lynn's Fun Fashions
Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Magnolia and Willow
The Mart Collective
Open daily from noon to 8 p.m. — come just to check out their store-length mural and the distinctly hip vibe.
Pop Up Home
“I wanted it to feel like New York,” Beanum says of the airy third floor, which is filled with curvaceous furnishings in leather, velvet and corduroy. “Everyone is interested in postmodern furnishings right now.” In addition to furniture and accessories, including a wide variety of ceramics, artwork is mixed in with the furniture and decor as part of UNREPD, a gallery devoted to emerging and mid-career artists of color as well as women artists and LGBTQIA+ artists.
Many of the furnishings in the 6,500-square-foot former movie theater are displayed in period vignettes, including a baroque living room with chandelier and gold lamé walls, a Midcentury cabin with an Eames lounge chair, a velvet sofa and fireplace, and a cozy den with a velvet sofa and a Danish modern wall unit.
A second space on Figueroa Street, which offered a large inventory of smaller goods including one-of-a-kind glassware, ceramics and artworks starting as low as $25, recently closed, but keep a look out for a new boutique a few blocks down the street in the future.
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
The Coalition Thrift Store
This store is short on glamour, but if you can’t find something to buy here you really aren’t trying. Toys, furniture, racks of shoes, old 8-track tapes, a huge wall of books, a separate room for housewares and linens and long aisles of every type of clothes, including designer wear chained on the wall (and priced accordingly, such as the ribbed Chanel mini dress made in Italy for $200). I recently spotted a pair of 1930s-era black leather Converse “All Star” basketball shoes in pristine condition for $1,499.99, but you can also get a Hermione doll complete with shoes, socks, sweater, skirt and Gryffindor robe for $9, perfect-condition woven round placemats for 69 cents each, and an 8-track tape of “The Beatles (The White Album)” for $6. If I’m on a mission to find a specific used item, the Coalition is usually my first stop.
Open daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Sunday, when it opens at 10 a.m.
The Curatorial Dept.
The Lucky Pig
In addition to womenswear, Tonsfeldt stocks a nice selection of menswear, including jeans, baseball caps and jackets.
In terms of lifestyle offerings, there is a small selection of rugs, knitted afghans, napkins and glassware, plants, books and frames.
Outside is a selection of furniture — spanning Midcentury Modern to wicker — and a rack of discounted clothing.
The sales staff is always friendly and will point out something particularly special, such as the adorable ceramic Yosemite salt and pepper shakers I spotted on a recent visit.
The Plus Bus
The finds on a recent visit included a leather and chrome Wasily chair by Marcel Breuer ($495), a Westnofa dining table with four chairs ($6,995), a pair of rare sculpted Modeline of California lamps ($2,995) and bright-red Eames molded plastic chairs ($220 apiece).
For your al fresco needs, a large outdoor area offers a wide assortment of vintage ceramic planters and outdoor patio furniture.
Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Venice Vintage Paradise
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