Home » City Guide »

Thrifting in the Mission

Discover buried treasure at thrift, vintage and consignment stores with FunCheapSF’s Guide to Thrifting in the Mission.
By - posted 4/1/2012 No Comment

Stretch your dollar just a little further at one of San Francisco’s numerous thrift stores, where you can certainly find a bunch of crap, but if you dig a little further you can find anything from that almost-perfect ’60s prom dress to a ’50s Pendleton style wool shirt-jacket (with only one small hole) for just three bucks.

The choicest, most productive hunting ground is in the Inner Mission, as it’s the Miracle Mile of thrift and vintage shopping, with an abundance of “segundas” (“second-hand” or thrift and consignment stores) that will provide a focused, patient shopper a wealth of items to choose from and the chance to discover buried treasure with FunCheapSF’s Guide to Thrifting in the Mission.

Getting There: Muni, BART, Parking Lot at 22nd St, great bike lane along Valencia Thrift Stores

1. Thrift Town 2101 Mission St (Corner of 17th & Mission) (415) 861-1132, www.thrifttown.com Hours: Mon-Fri 9 am – 8 pm, Sat 10 am – 7 pm, Sun 10 am – 6 pm What’s not to love about this huge, well organized store with reasonable prices, new merchandise daily, frequent sales, promotions and even coupons? Just make sure to check out the daily 50% off color-coded tag sales, as well as a weekly Monday Night Football Sale that gets you 30% off clothing from 6 till 8 p.m. through December 26.

2. Goodwill Industries 2279 Mission St (between 18th & 19th St) , (415) 826-5759, Hours: Mon-Sat 9 am – 8 pm. Sun 10 am – 6 pm, www.sfgoodwill.org New stuff comes in every day, so be prepared to search through everything from hats to Halloween garb.  Also check out their decent selection of books and good pricing on furniture.

3. Mission Thrift 2330 Mission St, (between 19th St & 20th St) (415) 821-9560 Hours: Mon-Sun 11 am – 7 pm Mission Thrift has a good selection of reasonably priced vintage clothing that’s well organized by era and snarky names like “slutty dresses.” The store runs the gamut from little black dresses to fuzzy coats, but be aware that the store only sells clothes (no pots & pans) and only has one fitting room.

4. Clothes Contact 473 Valencia St, (between 16th St & Sparrow St) (415) 621-3212 Hours: Mon-Sun 11:30 am – 7 pm Vintage clothing here is sold by the pound and in specially priced sale racks and bins.  A good resource for Burning Man and Halloween, you can find tons of costumes, themed fashions and off-the-wall finds.

5. Second Time Around 1328 Valencia St. (between 24th St & 25th St), Hours: 10:00 to 3:30 M,T,W and every other Sat. One of the best kept secrets in the city, Second Time Around has a quintessential “church-basement” vibe (maybe because it’s operated by Bethel Christian Church) with low prices and a very helpful, sweet staff.

6. The Salvation Army Family Store 1500 Valencia St (between 26th St & Cesar Chavez St), Hours: Mon-Sat 9:30 am – 8 pm, Closed on Sunday (415) 401-0698, No Mission circuit trip is complete without dropping into the Salvation Army for a look-see. At present, this location requires some digging, but the frequent sales make it a worthwhile source.

7. Community Thrift Store 623 Valencia St (between 17th St & Clarion Alley), (415) 861-4910, Hours: Mon-Sun 10:00 am – 6:30 pm, www.communitythriftsf.org Clothes are organized by type (i.e. jackets, sweaters, shirts, pants, etc.), though there is noticeably more women’s than men’s clothing. The vintage is also separated out and they have a decent selection of belts, hats and handbags. Just be ready to dig through bins and random knick-knacks, and to try on your finds over your clothes, as the store doesn’t have dressing rooms.

Vintage/Consignment Stores

1. no shop 389 Valecia St (between 14th and 15th Streets) Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00 am-7:00 pm Clean, bright and well organized, this vintage boutique has a thoughtful, broad selection of carefully curated women’s and men’s clothing, as well as a decent selection of consignment goods brought in daily. The no shop also has a helpful, engaged staff and after hours art & music shows throughout the year, so don’t miss the change to schmooze and socialize among second-hand shoes and shift dresses.

2. Idol Vintage 3162 16th St (at Albion St), (415) 255-9959 Hours: Mon-Thu 12:30 pm – 8:30 pm, Fri-Sat 11:30 am – 11 pm, Sun 11:30 am – 7:30 pm A treasure trove of used, vintage and consignment pieces, Idol Vintage has a great selection of theme costumes. Carrying everything from pants to prom dresses, this store is a little more vintage than thrift, but poke around as bargains are definitely to be found.

3. Schauplatz 791 Valencia St (between 18th St & 19th St) (415) 864-5665 Hours: Mon, Wed-Sat 1 pm – 7 pm, Sun 1 pm – 6 pm Pricing is more on the “vintage” side than “thrift,” but you can still find bargains at this well-organized store with good customer service and a great selection of styles from the 40s on, with a specialization in the 60s & 70s.  Schauplatz carries both men’s and women’s and has a better than average selection of accessories, shoes and purses, as well as a $10 rack with some sweet deals.

4. Room 4 (20th Century Good Design) 904 Valencia St (between 20th and Liberty Streets) (415) 647-2764, www.room4.com Check-in at Room 4 on Facebook or FourSquare for an instant 10% on all clothing that you can use to get hand selected, one-of-a-kind vintage men’s clothing (especially from the 50s through 80s). Room 4 also has periodic specials, such as a “buy 5 shirts, get the 6th free,” as well as a $10 rack on the sidewalk in the front of the store. Other than providing some fantastic deals though, the store itself is small and well-organized with an abundance of vintage t-shirts, polyester Levi’s and snap western shirts, as well as a carefully edited stock of smaller furniture items, housewares and accessories. And while they don’t do consignment, Room 4 does offer an open buying night on Wednesdays from 4-6pm.

5. Retro Fit Vintage 910 Valencia Street ( between 20th & Liberty Streets), (415)-550-1530, Hours: Open Noon daily, Closes Sun-Mon 7 pm, Wed-Thurs 8 pm, Fri-Sat 9 pm, Closed Tuesdays A small space with lots of vintage picks and good range of items, you get what you pay for here. Some items are definitely one of a kind, while some seem to be professional stage costumes, so take some time to search for the bargains.

6. Afterlife Boutique 988 Valencia St., (between Liberty St & 21st St), (415) 796-2398 Hours: Open 12 pm – 8 pm daily A blend of kitschy and high fashion, with goods ranging from a plaid flannel cowboy shirt to a Chanel bag, Afterlife is known for their randomly scheduled sales and for playing host to a variety of performers with comedy shows happening occasionally. It’s also the only vintage store we know of with it’s own record label.

7. Buffalo Exchange 1210 Valencia Street, (between 23rd St & 24th St ) (415)- 647-8332 Hours: Mon-Sat 11 am – 7 pm, Sun 12 pm – 6 pm, www.buffaloexchange.com A thrift store chain with locations in 15 states, Buffalo Exchange buys and sells clothing with a selection often dictated by individual tastes and seasonal fashion trends. Always a selection of recent vintage and generally well organized, the selection has been hand-picked, so you don’t have to work as hard to find what you want.

8. Painted Bird 1360 Valencia St.,(between 24th St & 25th St), (415) 401-7027, www.paintedbird.org Hours: Mon-Sun 11 am – 8 pm Another trade clothing operation that gives you 35% cash or 55% trade, there’s a well-curated selection vintage clothing that’s clean and well-organized (by color no less) with some unusual finds.