If you love a visit to a secondhand store or love thrifting then you are more than welcome here at out in-depth guide to the best thrift stores in Chicago Illinois. These are the most popular stores in the area.
Best Thrift Stores in Chicago Illinois
Chicago, the vibrant Windy City, is not only famous for its iconic architecture, bustling streets, and rich cultural scene but also for its thriving thrift store culture. Nestled within the neighborhoods of this bustling metropolis are hidden gems, where budget-conscious shoppers and treasure hunters can find unique items, vintage treasures, and fashionable deals.
Whether you’re a seasoned thrifter or new to the world of secondhand shopping, our guide to the best thrift stores in Chicago, Illinois, will take you on a journey through a world of affordable fashion, eco-friendly choices, and community support. Join us as we uncover the top thrift shops in the city, each with its own charm and an array of pre-loved treasures waiting to be discovered. Chicago’s thrift stores are not just places to shop; they’re a reflection of the city’s diverse culture and history, where every purchase tells a story. So, let’s dive into the world of thrifting in the heart of the Midwest and find out where you can uncover the best deals and hidden treasures in the city of Chicago.
1. Let’s Change Resale Shoppe
The Windy City beckons with its best thrift stores, and nestled in Humboldt Park, Let’s Change Resale Shoppe consistently earns a spot among Chicago’s thrift store gems.
This treasure trove offers a diverse selection of new and gently used clothes, shoes, accessories, small furniture pieces, home decor, and vintage items.
What makes your #thrifthaul even more satisfying is knowing that all donations and proceeds support humanitarian efforts through the organization Army of the Kind, providing clean water, nutrition, medicine, shelter, and more to children in need in countries like Peru and Burkina Faso.
Location: Humboldt Park
2. Monarch Thrift Shop
Chicago boasts some of the best thrift stores, and Monarch Thrift Shop is a standout destination for men’s and women’s clothing (with kids’ clothes available online only).
Whether you’re in search of everyday essentials or luxurious additions to your wardrobe, Monarch Thrift Shop offers a budget-friendly haven.
Additionally, you can explore their extensive selection online, making it a seamless secondhand shopping experience, even if you can’t visit the City in a Garden.
Beyond fashion, Monarch Thrift Shop champions a mission to break cycles of homelessness. Through their RISE Up Retail Certification Program, they empower youth experiencing homelessness with the tools and experience needed to pursue careers in retail.
They also collaborate with One Heart One Soul to give back to the community, fostering employment skills, rebuilding lives, and reducing recidivism.
3. Upscale Rummage
Chicago boasts some truly exceptional thrift stores, and Upscale Rummage is a standout among them. This not-for-profit resale shop has been making a positive impact since 1999.
Every purchase you make here supports nonprofits in Lake and Cook counties, offering essential services to refugees, the incarcerated, and those affected by house fires, disability, medical emergencies, job loss, and homelessness.
The shop is meticulously arranged, resembling a department store, with an array of clean, affordable items including furniture, rugs, lamps, artwork, clothing, books, housewares, and toys.
For items that don’t find a new home, they are committed to ensuring responsible recycling.
4. The Brown Elephant
The Brown Elephant is your gateway to vintage thrift stores in Chicago that add an extra layer of coolness to your style.
With an eclectic mix of fashionable finds, vintage clothing, books, jewelry, and home decor, shopping at Brown Elephant stores is as fun and surprising as a white elephant gift exchange.
Spread across Lakeview, Andersonville, and Oak Park, they offer accessibility throughout the city. Operated by Howard Brown Health, every purchase contributes to providing LGBTQ health care for the underinsured or uninsured. Some locations even offer free HIV and STI screenings.
Location: Lakeview | Andersonville | Oak Park
5. Family Tree Resale
“Did someone say Under $10 rack?” That’s the sentiment at Family Tree Resale, your go-to Chicago thrift store for well-organized, clean, and good-condition clothing for men, women, and children (with a dedicated section for kids).
Beyond clothing, they offer home goods, toys, women’s shoes, and even wedding guest dresses. Through their Voucher Program, they partner with local schools and charities to provide free clothing and home goods to neighbors in need, having distributed over $195,000 worth of donated goods to date.
Unsold items, including old electronics, are responsibly recycled, and they offer recycled bags to shoppers who need them.
Location: Lincoln Square
6. Wolff’s Flea Market
When it comes to the top thrift stores in Chicago, Wolff’s Flea Market deserves a spot on the list. It’s not just a thrift store; it’s a sprawling outdoor market that offers everything from fresh produce to churros and vintage band t-shirts, all in one place.
This family-owned and operated flea market hosts around 700 small businesses every summer Sunday, providing a diverse array of thrift clothes, holiday decor, books, flowers, antiques, electronics, jewelry, vinyl, art, and, as they put it, “totally weird stuff.” Admission is a wallet-friendly $2, or $4 if you want the privilege of first picks before 6 am.
7. Mercy Beaucoup
Mercy Beaucoup isn’t just one of the best thrift stores in Chicago; it’s a mission-driven destination for secondhand shopping. When you shop here, 100% of the profits go toward supporting the Mercy Home for Boys & Girls—a sanctuary and educational center for children in crisis.
In addition to clothing for the entire family, they offer shoes, home decor items, and accessories at prices ranging from $2 to $200+. You can find deals on brand names like Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors, and Alice + Olivia.
Location: Near North Side
8. El Dorado Thrift
El Dorado, a family-owned Hispanic thrift shop in Chicago, seeks to dispel the stigma often associated with secondhand shopping. Their Lost City of Gold is brimming with treasures, including designer apparel, shoes, purses, and “tiliches” (junk/trinkets/knick-knacks), all balanced with popular brands and clothing, some priced as low as $4. The store is meticulously curated and organized to provide a seamless shopping experience without the need to sift through scattered piles.
Location: Logan Square
9. Alex’s Attic
Chicago’s Alex’s Attic, located on Milwaukee Ave, is a beloved family-owned consignment shop and a top destination for thrift enthusiasts.
Nestled in Logan Square, this thrift shop offers a wide range of options for buying and selling new and gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children.
If you’re a sports enthusiast seeking team jerseys, look no further—Alex’s Attic boasts an unmatched selection. For those outside Chicago, they even have an online store, ensuring that thrift treasure hunting knows no geographical bounds.
Location: Logan Square
10. Norwood Life Society Thrift Shop
At Norwood Life Society Thrift Shop, your heart meets thrift treasure. This is one of Chicago’s finest thrift shops for those who believe in giving back.
Here, 100% of proceeds are dedicated to resources and programs benefiting local senior citizens. Run entirely by volunteers, this thrift store offers an ever-changing selection of clothing, collectibles, housewares, artwork, books, and more.
Keep an eye out for special deals—certain weeks feature $1 sales on footwear or pants, adding an extra layer of excitement to your thrift shopping experience.
Location: Norwood Park
11. Greater Goods Community Thrift
Greater Goods Community Thrift is a pristine and well-maintained haven for quality finds at affordable prices. It stands out as one of the prime thrift destinations in Chicago for budget-conscious shoppers.
Their offerings encompass vintage items, clothing, jewelry, housewares, toys, shoes, and much more. The store is driven by values of inclusivity, sustainability, community engagement, and justice. As a not-for-profit establishment, all proceeds contribute to supporting Big Shoulders Church.
12. Mount Sinai Hospital Resale Shop
Mount Sinai Resale Shop offers a downtown Chicago thrift store experience like no other.
Open seven days a week and staffed by friendly volunteers, this shop is a treasure trove filled with unique items and hidden gems. With a mission to raise funds for the hospital’s patient care programs, you can expect to find a curated selection of gently used designer clothing, artwork, quality furniture, and household goods.
Location: Lake View East
13. Three Stars Resale Shop
When it comes to cool thrift stores in Chicago, Three Stars Resale Shop deserves a spot at the top. Some might even argue that they should be renamed “Five Stars” for their reasonable prices, impressive selection, and the sheer coolness of their shop’s building.
Specializing in antique home decor, furniture, kitchenware, and lighting, you’ll discover an eclectic range of items spanning the 1960s to 1980s. Friendly staff and a fun showroom-style layout create a thrifter’s dream come true.
Location: Logan Square
Reasons to Shop at Thrift Stores in Chicago Illinois
Discover the Charm of Chicago’s Thrift Stores: Shopping at thrift stores in Chicago, Illinois, is an experience like no other. These stores are brimming with unique treasures waiting to be uncovered. Whether you’re on the hunt for vintage fashion, retro furniture, or collectibles, Chicago’s thrift shops offer a wide variety of one-of-a-kind items that can add character and style to your life.
Budget-Friendly Shopping: Thrifting in Chicago is a budget-conscious shopper’s dream come true. You can find incredible deals on gently used or even brand-new items at a fraction of their original prices. From designer clothing to everyday essentials, thrift stores in Chicago cater to diverse tastes and budgets, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the thrill of discovering affordable treasures.
Eco-Friendly Shopping: Thrift shopping is not just easy on your wallet; it’s also gentle on the environment. By choosing to purchase secondhand items, you actively contribute to waste reduction and decrease the demand for new products. Thrifting in Chicago aligns with sustainable living principles, making it a responsible choice that benefits the planet.
Support Local Causes: Many thrift stores in Chicago are operated by charitable organizations, local businesses, or community initiatives. When you shop at these stores, you’re directly supporting your community and contributing to meaningful causes such as education, healthcare, and social services. Your purchases can have a positive impact on those in need.
Hidden Treasures: Thrifting in Chicago is like embarking on a treasure hunt. You never know what hidden gems you might stumble upon. Whether it’s a rare vinyl record, a piece of antique furniture, or a vintage collectible, thrift stores in Chicago are filled with delightful surprises waiting to be discovered.
Personalized Style: Thrift stores in Chicago empower you to express your individual style and creativity. You can mix and match items to curate a wardrobe or home decor that reflects your unique personality. Thrifting allows you to break away from mainstream fashion trends and create a look that’s entirely your own.
Combat Fast Fashion: Thrifting is a sustainable alternative to fast fashion. Instead of supporting the disposable fashion industry, you can choose to shop at thrift stores in Chicago, helping to extend the lifespan of clothing and reduce the environmental impact of fashion waste.
Community Engagement: Thrift stores in Chicago often host events, sales, and promotions that bring the community together. It’s an excellent way to connect with fellow thrift enthusiasts, share shopping tips, and build relationships within the city.
Preserve Chicago’s History: Some thrift shops in Chicago hold pieces of the city’s history and culture. You might stumble upon vintage clothing or memorabilia that tells a story about Chicago’s past, giving your thrifted items an added layer of historical significance.
Shopping Adventure: Thrifting in Chicago is not just about shopping; it’s an adventure. Exploring different thrift stores, bargaining for deals, and unearthing unexpected treasures can be an exciting and enjoyable pastime for locals and visitors alike.
In conclusion, shopping at thrift stores in Chicago, Illinois, offers a multitude of benefits, from discovering unique items and saving money to supporting sustainability and local communities. Why not embark on a thrifting adventure and experience these advantages firsthand?
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