The Best U.S. Cities for Thrifting
Though we exclusively sell new, iconic, high-quality furniture, thrifting is one of the Joybird team’s favorite past times. We’re based in Los Angeles, with showrooms in thrift-friendly Brooklyn and Washington D.C., so we’re privileged to enjoy a broad range of thrift stores, clothing re-sellers, and vintage shops. There’s nothing like finding an intriguing vase, rare vinyl record, or comfy cashmere sweater that fits perfectly on the mantle, makes excellent background music or just plain brightens up our day,
And even though we know our home towns are great for thrifting, we wanted to see how the rest of the country stacks up. So, we dove into the state of thrift shopping across the United States to find the cities with the best thrifting experiences so we could tell you where the best prices and highest-quality finds are.
To do this, we analyzed Yelp data for various cities based on the following factors: number of thrift stores, flea markets, clothing donation centers, and home organization services per 100,000 people; star ratings of thrift stores and flea markets; and price levels of thrift stores and flea markets.
We figured that the best cities for thrifting would require a combination of access to secondhand goods, affordability, and high-quality stores. We also figured that a high concentration of clothing donation centers and home organization services would encourage a robust donating and re-selling cycle in each city. To determine our ranking, we gave each factor a weight, ran the calculations, and ranked the fifty most populous U.S. cities accordingly.
Here is the definitive list of the best cities for thrifting in the country.
According to our data, the top five cities for thrifting in the U.S. are Riverside, CA, Atlanta, GA, Columbus, OH, Orlando, FL, and Tampa, FL. While we’re proud to see a California city represent the top spot, it was interesting to note that some smaller cities made the cut, such as Columbus and Orlando, while New York City wasn’t even in the top 25.
With a high score of 37 out of 50, Riverside came out on top as the best city for thrift shopping in the United States. It has a decent number of thrift stores per 100,000 people, strong Yelp ratings, lower prices than many other cities, including Los Angeles, and the most home organization services in the country per 100,000 people by a landslide.
Safe to say that the closets of Riverside locals are well cleaned out, and the neighborhood thrift stores are stocked with high-quality pre-owned clothes!
Let’s also take a look at some of the other best cities for thrifting. Tampa has the next highest rated thrift stores of the top 5, so consider that city if you’re looking for high-quality service. Atlanta has the most thrift stores, clothing donation centers, and flea markets per 100k people of the top 5, while Columbus has the highest rated flea markets.
Orlando, while not the best in any one category, had strong rankings across the board and evidently provides a consistent, quality thrifting experience overall.
If you’re wondering where we’re getting these more detailed rankings, check out all of the factors, weights, and respective city rankings in the interactive data table below. You can sort the data by each factor by clicking on its column header, or search for the city you want using the search bar feature. How does your city stack up?
As you can see from the details included in the table above, a lot of factors went into our ranking of these cities. Because of our decision to focus on consumer satisfaction and price level, the rankings provide a unique look into the experience of thrifting in the cities we surveyed, not just the amount of secondhand shops available to peruse.
For example, our research showed that the most expensive cities to shop secondhand include San Francisco, CA, Boston, MA, New York, NY, Providence, RI, and Washington, D.C. These high prices ended up hurting scores in the long run in favor of more affordable shopping experiences in cities, such as Columbus and Orlando. In the same vein, some of the highest-rated secondhand stores are located in Portland, OR, and San Francisco, which are both in the top 25 cities for thrifting.
While some of the top cities on this list may not be exactly what you expected to see, it is certain that a great thrifting experience in terms of quality, price, and availability is likely in each of them. All would be a great choice to find a new accent piece of art or wall decor to complement your Joybird furniture and showcase your unique personal style in a fun combination of new, old, and off-beat. So, next time you’re planning a thrifting excursion, consider checking out a new city. You never know what you might find!