My 3 favorite thrift stores in Los Angeles


Photo credit: Melinda Wang

Jet Rag’s only location in Los Angeles has a large ground floor and a smaller second floor. Smaller items like rings, sunglasses and iron-on patches can be found near the cash register on the first floor.

By Melinda Wang, Senior Reporter

When a non-Angeleno thinks of Los Angeles, its Hollywood stars, warm weather and diverse population may come to mind. Visitors often overlook Los Angeles’ lively thrift store culture, which many of its residents enjoy taking part in.

Thrift stores refer to shops selling secondhand wares, which often raise money for a charitable organization. Thrifting is a fun and convenient activity to do on weekends with friends or alone. Each thrift store has a unique array of items since new items are usually put out at the beginning of every week. Below, you’ll discover three of my favorite thrift stores in Los Angeles based on selection, price and layout.

1) Jet Rag

Have you ever wished to buy shirts, pants or dresses for a single dollar? If you have, Jet Rag’s Sunday parking lot sale is the place to go. At approximately 10:45 a.m., clothing is spread on the parking lot outside their store, available for thrifters to buy. Each article of clothing is exactly one dollar, so it’s no surprise to see people elbowing each other over a t-shirt. Jet Rag has many different types of clothing; whether you’re looking for dresses, shoes or even leather jackets, Jet Rag has you covered.

From Monday to Saturday, Jet Rag is a two-story thrift store specializing in vintage clothing. With only one store located on La Brea Avenue, most clothing items are between $10 and $50, but anything vintage can range from $80 to $200. Jet Rag’s only location in Los Angeles has a large ground floor and a smaller second floor. Many thrift stores across Los Angeles have one location, but that does not lessen the quality of the store.

Jet Rag’s large layout and color-coordinated organization is a great way to draw in curious shoppers looking for a fun wig, a feather boa or 80s-themed dresses. If you’re not interested in colorful or quirky items, I highly recommend browsing through the dress section. From wedding dresses to funeral dresses, there are endless choices. Plus, Jet Rag has fitting rooms to try anything on.

2) Buffalo Exchange

With three locations across Los Angeles, Buffalo Exchange is a cozy thrift store chain that lives up to its motto: “Buy, Thrift, Sell.” While their selection of clothing isn’t as large as Jet Rag’s, their jewelry, bags and hats certainly make up for it.

Buffalo Exchange’s Main Street location has a vibrant yet simple layout. This is where I bought a cute pair of earrings with crocheted strawberries attached to them for $10. (Photo Credit: Melinda Wang)

Thrift enthusiast Kerstin Block founded Buffalo Exchange in 1974 and has since expanded to over 40 locations across the United States. It has reasonable prices for high-quality items, as most clothes are between $15 to $35.

I would also recommend selling unwanted or unused clothing to Buffalo Exchange because they offer to pay you back 25% of the price they sell your clothes for or 50% of their price in store credit. The Buffalo Exchange located on Main Street has a small and cozy layout and a multitude of fitting rooms.

3) Goodwill

With 10 locations across Los Angeles, Goodwill is not only a donation center but also a popular thrift store. There are 4,245 Goodwills across the nation, and it’s easy to see why. Goodwills have large assortments of clothing and home goods. I’ve found toasters, desks and even entire couches for sale at the Goodwill on Santa Monica Boulevard.

Reverend Edgar James Helms started Goodwill in 1902 as a source of assistance for people with limited resources. Goodwill stays true to their mission with fairly low prices for most of their wares.

My best friend wears a tall sombrero while holding up a $4 Bolbi shirt and a fern. We found these items at the Goodwill on Sawtelle Avenue. (Photo Credit: Melinda Wang)
My best friend wears a tall sombrero while holding up a $4 Bolbi shirt and a fern. We found these items at the Goodwill on Sawtelle Avenue. (Photo Credit: Melinda Wang)

Clothing is typically between $1 and $10, and most home goods are under $50. While Goodwill doesn’t compensate for donated items, they have a very hassle-free donation system.

The layout of every Goodwill is slightly different, but it follows the same pattern: there is one section for clothing and another dedicated to home goods. Typically, Goodwills aren’t as large as Jet Rag but are large enough to store silly items, including tall sombreros and real plants.

Goodwills are often where I discover the most unexpectedly amazing finds. I once found a shirt illustrating Bolbi, a character from Jimmy Neutron, for $4. When I looked up its original price, it was worth $31.93.

Thrifting will always be a hobby I can lean on whenever I want to have fun with my friends or look for hidden gems on my own. I look forward to seeing where my thrifting journey takes me, both in Los Angeles and beyond.