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An illustration showing different shapes of clothes hangers on flashing colored squares
Many people prefer a unique secondhand item to an expensive store-bought gift.
(Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)

21 L.A. thrift stores where you can find the best vintage, zero-waste holiday gifts

Recently, when I offered my 23-year-old daughter her grandmother’s vintage woven Scandinavian tablecloth, I was surprised by her response. “It looks like it’s from a thrift store!” she said, delighted.

As the holidays approach, her response reminds me that many people, regardless of age, would prefer a unique secondhand item, purchased at a small local business, rather than an expensive store-bought gift.

But thrifting is more than a look. It’s an experience. You’ve got to dig for treasures at some thrift stores, and that’s why it’s so satisfying when you find that perfect one-of-a-kind item at a fraction of the cost of something new (or overnighted from Amazon).

Over the past week, I went looking for gifts at a variety of thrift stores throughout Los Angeles, spanning Whittier to Long Beach’s Retro Row. Among the irresistible things I found: a cribbage game in the shape of a whale, a 1930s folk-art pendant lamp made of rulers, a jellyfish glass paperweight, a bowling pin lamp, a steel colander coated in avocado-green porcelain enamel and a wealth of turquoise jewelry. A Louis Vuitton leather trunk from the 1980s wasn’t cheap, however, nor was a gorgeous midcentury modern rosewood Westnofa dining set from Norway. Still, it’s fun to look.

Like my list of 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.

Happy shopping.

Showing Places
Vintage clothing and accessories at Alien Artifacts
(Lisa Boone / Los Angeles Times )

Alien Artifacts

Long Beach Thrift store
A mix of old and new, Alien Artifacts offers colorful vintage clothing, quirky retro games and toys — “Home Alone” lunch boxes and “Star Trek” mugs — and a small selection of irreverent home decor, including glass barware and ceramic lamps.
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Jewelry, china and glassware on shelves at All Things and More.
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All Things and More

Sun Valley Thrift store
An overwhelming, chaotic mix of household goods, furniture, clothing and costume jewelry, All Things and More is one of those thrift stores where you have to dig but eventually will strike gold. Zach Alcala, who has run the shop for more than 20 years, added a tarped outdoor area during the coronavirus pandemic where there is currently a huge display of Christmas decor. He also hosts a food drive every Saturday from 11 a.m. to noon.
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Vintage clothing on display at Avalon Vintage
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Avalon Vintage

Highland Park Thrift store
At Carmen Hawk and Rodney Klein’s secondhand vintage clothing store, Iron Maiden T-shirts are displayed opposite delicate crushed velvet gowns from the ’90s and chic Italian clutches from the ’60s. The store also features a wide selection of used records and music memorabilia and regularly buys vintage clothes, used records and music memorabilia from the public.
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Sweatshirts, T-shirts and clothing hang on walls and display racks.
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The Bearded Beagle

Highland Park Thrift store
Well organized, with items easy to sift through, the Bearded Beagle has a wide selection of affordable vintage T-shirts, sweatshirts, colorful short-sleeved shirts for men and jeans. Also at 4646 Hollywood Blvd. in Los Feliz.
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Vintage clothing, furnishings and artwork at Best of Times in Burbank.
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Best of Times Antiques

Burbank Thrift store
Laree Adel’s longtime Burbank store is overflowing with vintage jewelry and clothing (a vintage Calvin Klein dress was priced at $12), some furniture, including a Morris chair recliner on a recent visit, and records.
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The showroom at Carny Couture
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Carny Couture

Santa Monica Thrift store
Brooke Bailey and Johnny Wiskerchen stock vintage clothing, rugs, baskets and colorful quilts, paintings and silver jewelry from the 1930s in this showroom housed temporarily in a 1950s apartment building in Santa Monica. “I like 1930s and ’40s quilts and textiles, camp blankets, woods and natural fibers,” says Bailey. She also likes romantic Victorian tops, vintage rugs and the Japanese ceramics she sources from estate sales, local flea markets and the Brimfield Antique Flea Market in Massachusetts. Also open by appointment at their West Adams showroom, 4423 W. Jefferson Blvd., Ste 104 (enter on Chesapeake).
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A chess set on a table amid other furnishings and paintings at Casa Victoria thrift store in Echo Park.
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Casa Victoria

Echo Park Thrift store
Among the vintage furnishings in this tiny Echo Park showroom you will find frames and candlesticks, vases and clocks, glass figurines and paperweights, and artworks to spare.
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Vintage goods, plants and low-waste sustainable products
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Earthing Earth

Long Beach Thrift store
Located on Retro Row in Long Beach, Earthing Earth is a mix of old and new: selected vintage home decor along with plants, baskets and low-waste sustainable home products.
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Furs, jeans, cowboy boots and vintage dresses at Far Outfit in Long Beach.
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Far Outfit

Long Beach Thrift store
Johanna Moynahan’s Far Outfit, which is located on Retro Row in Long Beach, features a wide selection of cowboy boots, midcentury vintage clothing in bold prints, vintage T-shirts and mink stoles, jeans and eclectic accessories and hats.
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King Richard's Antique Center

Thrift store
A favorite with Hollywood set decorators, Chuck and Martha Garcera’s 57,000-square-foot antique mall, housed inside a 1902 historic citrus packing house in Whittier, is billed as California’s largest vintage and antique mall. You could spend all day perusing the stalls, which offer everything from sterling silver to furniture from the ’50s through ’70s, midcentury modern furniture, clothing, lamps and books.
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A glass case full of objects stands behind furniture and paintings.
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Magnolia and Willow

Long Beach Thrift store
This Long Beach antique mall features multiple vendors offering everything from pottery and textiles to jewelry and vintage tablecloths. Fun, quirky items can often be found here, such as a cribbage game in the shape of a whale and a USS Maine pink glass ship candy dish.
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Rugs, lamps and furnishings at the Mart Collective in Santa Monica.
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The Mart Collective

Venice Thrift store
Browse a wide range of styles in this 16,000-square-foot vintage mall that is a favorite with Hollywood set decorators. From midcentury modern to country classic, more than 100 dealers offer a wide range of items: cowboy boots and hats, Danish Modern furnishings, artwork, costume jewelry, a surplus of pottery and pillows and some vintage clothing.
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Hats, cowboy boots and clothes at Meow in Long Beach.
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Meow

Long Beach Thrift store
Dig and you will find something special in this Retro Row store — an appliqued 1950s jacket from Mexico, sequined blazers for men, a leopard-print cowboy hat. Like Playclothes Vintage, Meow specializes in vintage and deadstock apparel from the 1920s to the 1990s and identifies each era on clothing labels.
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Jewelry and clothing on display at Native Sol in Long Beach.
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Native Sol

Long Beach Thrift store
This Retro Row store is an eco-friendly lifestyle store offering handmade clothing and jewelry by May Salem as well as selected vintage clothing and apothecary items by local makers.
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A colorful peacock mural stands behind beauty products on display.
(Phoebe Peacock )

Phoebe Peacock

Burbank Gift store
Jennifer Hardaway’s charming Burbank shop offers a wide variety of goods including her own line of KleanSpa perfume and body products (you can even book a session and create your own custom scent based on your personal selections), vintage glassware and home decor.
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Vintage clothing and accessories at Playclothes Vintage in Burbank.
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Playclothes Vintage

Burbank Thrift store
This vintage emporium is packed with clothing, accessories and housewares from the ’30s to the ’80s. Items such as purses, hats, gloves and bathing suits are grouped by era with an emphasis on clothing from the ’40s through ’60s. Home decor spans Victorian to shabby chic, including furniture, lamps, pottery and soft furnishings.
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Ceramics on display at Pop Up Home.
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Pop Up Home

Larchmont Thrift store
Tricia Beanum recently relocated her vintage warehouse to a cavernous space on Western, offering high-end vintage furniture and accessories on two floors. For the holidays, she’s offering a wide variety of small items: ceramics, including architectural pottery and coffee mugs, barware and glassware, and artworks starting at $500. “I never buy anything new, with the exception of clothing and mattresses,” said Beanum. “There’s too much stuff in the world. I don’t like waste. Don’t buy retail. You don’t have to.”
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Ceramics, bentwood chairs and lighting at Salvare Goods in Elysian Valley.
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Salvare Goods

Elysian Valley Thrift store
Artists and art directors Selina Becker and Seth Meisterman opened Salvare Goods in 2014 as a way to offer vintage furniture, lighting, pottery, baskets, clothing, art and custom-made designs to the public. For the holidays, the couple are stocking vintage studio pottery, wood-framed mirrors, totem candles and lamps.
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Midcentury modern furniture at Sunbeam Vintage in Highland Park.
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Sunbeam Vintage

Highland Park Thrift store
The emphasis is on midcentury modern furniture at Iberia (Ebee) Martinez’s vintage showroom, but there are plenty of small finds for the holidays including one-of-a-kind glassware, ceramics and artworks starting as low as $25.
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Vintage furniture and accessories in an antique mall
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Urban Americana

Long Beach Thrift store
This 16,000-square-foot warehouse offers vintage items from more than 40 dealers including midcentury modern furniture and colorful glazed ceramic metal fireplaces. You will find many unique small items for the holidays including antique skateboards, vintage vinyl records and ceramics. Among the most bizarre finds on a recent visit: a vintage wooden communion table with communion glasses. There is also an outdoor area offering vintage ceramic planters and outdoor patio furniture.
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Clothing, ceramics and furnishings at Venice Vintage Paradise
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Venice Vintage Paradise

Venice Thrift store
Owners Jeanie Reynolds and Sal Torres offer an eclectic mix of vintage goods spanning one-of-a-kind pottery and artworks to vintage clothing, Murano glass and midcentury modern furniture, including a vintage Knoll tulip dining table on a recent visit. The shop is known for its collection of colorful textiles from around the globe, including pillows, rugs and vintage Pendleton blankets.
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