Ka-Ching! The Bay Area's 11 Best Secondhand Stores

These days, it's hard to pull off a killer, one-of-a-kind ensemble for fear that a friend went on a similar shopping bender and will blow up your sartorial spot come Friday night. So, how can you avoid becoming tragic twinsies? A surefire way is by hitting the racks of one of the Bay Area's many treasure-yielding thrift shops. Scoring someone else's throwaway threads that may just be your conversation's pièce de résistance — on the cheap, to boot!
From beloved Mission mainstays to over-the-bridge, hush-hush hideaways, we’ve laid out the best for you. So, whether you’re looking to scour for a spectacular summertime sundress, stumble upon overlooked vintage designer duds, or recreate a runway look on a dime, check out this roundup and gear up for the thrill of the hunt! Hangers full of gems are just waiting to be discovered.
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Mission Thrift
If there is one thrift store to hit on the regular in the Mission, this one is it. With long, vintage dresses on the dollar rack outside (just one alteration away from perfection!) and racks stuffed (seriously, you're going to have to wade through) with something special from every era, you really can't go wrong. Everything from one-hit wonder party gear to summertime chillin' is reasonably priced, but your heart has got to be in it as this one takes a little extra elbow grease.

Mission Thrift, 2330 Mission Street (between 19th and 20th streets); 415-821-9560.
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Community Thrift
With a smallish clothing selection, Valencia Street's Community Thrift can be hit or miss, but always throws down some reasonable prices for those who feel like picking through the pawnshop-like setting. Dealing with a major case of the Mondays? Head on over to the bright-pink building because chances are, they are having a 50% off sale, every first and third Monday of the month. If you're feeling discouraged by the lack of clothes, tap its heaping bookshop and you're sure to leave a happy camper.

Community Thrift, 623 Valencia Street (between 17th Street and Clarion Alley); 415-861-4910.
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31 Rax
Off the beaten Mission-and-Haight-thrift path, this Bernal neighborhood boutique started out as a pop-up, and now hosts a well-curated selection — and sometimes slightly altered — of vintage and handmade creations. Owner Stephanie Madrinan is serving up local style inspiration from all angles: She actively nurtures the creative community, while also outfitting the city in cheap, chic clothes. Sweat deal!

31 Rax, 3309 Mission Street (between 29th Street and Virginia Avenue); 415-617-5602.
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Salvation Army
While the Mission Salvation Army all the way over there at the end of Valencia Street is definitely worth a gander, you'll find the true gems over the bridge in Alameda and in Oakland's Chinatown. You can usually find totally crush-worthy gems in both the apparel and furniture departments for majorly cheap.

Thrift tip: Go the distance. S.F. thrift stores can be picked over and some of the best scores will be found outside the city, ahem, like in Alameda.

Salvation Army, 1915 Park Street (between Blanding and Clement avenues) Alameda; 510-769-7401, 1500 Valencia Street (between 26th and Cesar Chavez streets); 415-401-0698, 379 12th Street (between Webster and Franklin streets), Oakland; 510-645-9710.
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Clothes Contact
How many pounds of vintage can one person really buy? Well, pop into Mission fave Clothes Contact and find out — at 12 bucks a pop! With a shoe wall that dreams are made of, hat racks littered about, and a plethora of '60s, '70s, and '80s-inspired dresses, who wouldn't love spending an afternoon playing dress-up? The style selection is fierce, but as with any solid thrift shop, items can get scooped up fast, so be on point and come early!

Thrift tip: Dig into the bins — it's always worth it. Many places have one-dollar bins filled with scarfs, shoes, shirts, pants, and more. Get in there!

Clothes Contact, 473 Valencia Street (between 16th and Sparrow streets); 415-621-3212.
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Held Over
Ah, yes, the OCD lover's vintage-slash-thrift mecca. Smack in the middle of the Haight, Held Over sets itself apart with a well-managed selection of thrifty, swoon-worthy styles sorted out by era. While the racks are massive (thanks to a keen eye for organization), you won't get overwhelmed. Expect to pay a pretty penny, more than most thrifts on the list, but the quality and cleanliness of the suede jackets, vintage summer dresses, and head-turning blouses deserve an A+.

Held Over, 1543 Haight Street (between Ashbury and Clayton streets); 415-864-0818.
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Goodwill
Goodwill is the granddaddy of resale, the king of thrift, the…all right, you get the gist. With color-coded tag sales and inventory that is always moving, savvy secondhand style sirens know how to work their way around one of the many Bay Area locations. You can usually find epic jewelry for change, bright sweaters that will have you yearning for grade school like it was yesterday, and tops that can only be described as ironically amazing. Be sure to check out spots in the Haight, SoMa, and venture out to the less-hipster-combed outpost in Bayview.

Goodwill, 1580 Mission Street (between Lafayette Street and Van Ness Avenue); 415-575-2240, 1700 Haight Street (between Cole and Belvedere streets); 415-738-5606, 3801 3rd Street (between Evans and Fairfax avenues); 415-641-4470.
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American Cancer Discovery Shop
Feeling reminiscent of shopping with your mom? This is your place. The vibe is so utterly motherly, you can't help but feel warm and fuzzy inside. It even smells like her perfume! But, if you can part the seas of J.Jill and early 2000s Banana Republic, you may surprise yourself and gleam a goodie or two. How about a $12 bright-purple silk shirt? Hmm, no takers? Add some well-placed fringe? Yeah, we thought so.

American Cancer Discovery Shop, 127 41st Street (between Piedmont and Glen avenues); 510-601-0100.
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Thrift Town
While many (including our very own thrifting rapper Kreayshawn) make this Mission outpost a must-hit on the thrift list, it's actually our East Bay neighbors in El Sobrante and San Leandro that are really pumping out the goods. Think less-picked over and much more merch worth taking home, from printed slacks to shoes you want to step right into.

Thrift tip: Looking for furniture that is too weird for normal people but just right for you? Keep your eyes peeled — the San Leandro spot is well-equipped!

Thrift Town, 2101 Mission Street (between 17th Street and Clarion Alley); 415-861-1132, 16160 E 14th Street (between Ashland and 162nd Avenues), San Leandro; 510-278-1766.
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Out of the Closet
Doesn't it kinda feel like there is one of these pink-and-blue babies on every street corner? Well, since this thrift depot is connected to one of S.F.'s strongest causes, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, it's no wonder. The wardrobe wares at this thrift empire are less vintage and more mainstream smorgasbord, but you can definitely find some great steals for next to nothing — and for a great cause.

Thrift tip: Remember this golden rule of thrifting: Be sure to check thoroughly for stains and tears. The lower the price, the more closely you should look!

Out of the Closet, 1295 Folsom Street (between Dore and 9th streets); 415-558-7176, 1498 Polk Street (between California and Pine streets); 415-771-1503, 100 Church Street (between Duboce Avenue and Reservoir Street); 415-252-1101, 1600 University Avenue (between California Street and Jefferson Avenue) Berkeley; 510-841-2088.
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Alta Bates
Stocked with doodads and random items galore, this small, intimate, and undiscovered Rockridge boutique comes highly recommended from one of our fave consignment ladies, Karen Anderson of Mercy Vintage, who definitely knows the lay of the vintage land in the East Bay. Expect to find a carefully curated collection of treasures including art, apparel, jewelry, and delicate home furnishings.

Alta Bates, 5615 College Avenue (between Ocean View Drive and Shafter Avenue); 510-653-1527.
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