Hunting for treasures at local vintage shops is one of the most sustainable and affordable ways to find meaningful keepsakes from your travels.  The most unique finds can be scored at specialty antique shops and thrift stores. These are five of the best cities for vintage shopping in the US. And if you can't travel to rummage in these stores right now, many have online stores to visit. 

Greater Palm Springs, California

There’s more to Greater Palm Springs than Coachella Valley and Joshua Tree National Park. Since the area attracts a wide array of travelers from festival-goers and hippies to snowbirds you can expect to find all sorts of unique goodies from the breadth of vintage shops, markets and over 15 antique malls throughout the area. Greater Palm Springs was a popular vacation spot in the 1950s—many items from that era can still be found here at vintage stores.

Make a meaningful purchase at Angel View. Profits from the resale store benefit children and adults with disabilities. There are several Angel View locations in the Coachella Valley with the best selection at the Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and La Quinta outposts.

If you’re looking for a one-stop-shop for treasure finding in Greater Palm Springs head to Sunny Dunes Vintage Row. In this neighborhood dedicated to vintage shopping browse goods at the Sunny Dunes Antique Mall, Little Shop of Treasures, and more. If you’re in town for the first Sunday of the month from October to May you can’t miss the Palm Springs Vintage Market with an endless selection of housewares, clothing, art, collectibles, vinyl records and jewelry.

Facade of a vintage store with sign reading Carmen and Ginger and displays of dresses out front
Carmen & Ginger is one of the favorite vintage haunts of fashionable RISDY students © Lola Mendez / Lonely Planet

Providence, Rhode Island

With one of the top fashion design schools in the country, it’s no surprise that vintage shopping in Providence is excellent. Providence is a walking town and most of the best vintage shops can be explored within a 2-mile radius of the downtown area with many near the Rhode Island School of Design. You can expect to find gently worn pieces from last season and unique dresses that might have been crafted by local designers.

Carmen & Ginger is one of the most popular vintage shops in Providence. The store is located inside the Providence Arcade which is one of the oldest shopping malls in the US and on the National Register of Historic Places. Within the architectural gem, you can find timepieces from bygone eras including clothing and other relics like vintage magazines and baubles.

You can find anything your heart desires within the 3 floors of vintage goods at Nostalgia. The antique haven is a co-op of over 200 vendors selling vintage clothing and knick-knacks. You can even get a tarot card or astrology reading here between browsing the stalls.

If you’re in town on a Sunday don’t miss the female-owned Providence Flea, which is held year-round and is a mecca of vintage stalls as well as food trucks, live music performances, and more. The Providence Flea is praised by all as the best place to find vintage duds in the city.

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A red and white airstream trailer displays numerous racks of vintage goods
For all the best vintage goods in Seattle head to the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall for a kitschy shopping experience © Lola Mendez / Lonely Planet

Seattle, Washington

If you’re road-tripping across the country and bargain hunting you must stop in Seattle. The thriving vintage shopping scene offers up eclectic pieces at vintage malls across the city. The best of the best is centralized in the Fremont, Ballard, and Georgetown neighborhoods making it easy to hit a few shops in a day as you score vintage clothes.

Make your first stop at the Fremont Vintage Mall. It’s a maze of clothing, furniture, antiques, memorabilia, records, art and more. Dig deep and you’re sure to find a special something to take home.

For a memorable experience head to the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall. Vintage goods pour out of old-school airstreams in this picturesque shopping area. Some vendors sell music gear, glassware, and jewelry.

For designer goods try your fortune at Lucky Vintage in the University District. There is covetable clothing and accessories to be discovered here for men, women, and children. If you’re looking for antique pieces you’ll love browse the expansive collection of Victorian-era 1920s items. 

The collection at Rag Stock in Wicker Park is geared to what the cool kids are wearing © Lola Mendez / Lonely Planet

Chicago, Illinois

The Windy City is home to a plethora of vintage shopping areas but the funkiest designs can be found in Chicago’s hip Wicker Park neighborhood. The “six corners” area, at the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen, and North Avenues, is lined with vintage shops with everything from unusual jewelry to one-of-a-kind clothing. You can even find vintage vinyl at Reckless Records

If you’re in the market for vintage couture pieces head to The Vintage Underground which boasts an unrivaled curation of costume jewelry, accessories and clothing dating as far back as the Victorian era. The bridal section has dresses as new as last season for a fraction of the retail price. Ragstock has a selection of vintage and upcycled fashion with of-the-moment pieces for the cool kids including fanny packs, bucket hats and tie-dye shirts.

Keep Portland Weird sign at a well known record store in downtown
The well known local motto as a painted mural in Portland  © Joshua Rainey Photography/Shutterstock

Portland, Oregon

Score décor, clothing, furniture and more on the cheap at 50 vintage shops across the city. Savvy shoppers love to browse the racks of vintage dresses that span the decades in Portland. Second-hand shopping is so good in Stumptown because each store boasts a curated collection that’s frequently updated, meaning you can find something special each time you visit. Portland is a sales-tax-free destination so you can really get a bang for your buck.

If you go anywhere head to House of Vintage. This truly unique shopping experience boasts over 60 vendors offering an array of items in a 13,000 square foot store. The focus of the marketplace is clothing, shoes and accessories from the 1920s-1990s. To browse a collection of absolutely stunning vintage dresses make your way to Hattie’s Vintage Clothing.

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This article was first published February 2020 and updated November 2021

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