Favorite DC Area Thrift Stores & Places for Vintage Finds
I lived in the DC area for 3 years from 2013 to 2016. When I lived in Arlington, VA (Clarendon, to be exact for those of you familiar with the area) I had terrible luck thrifting. I probably wasn’t looking in the right places, I was working long hours at the Pentagon so didn’t have much free time to hunt thrift stores regularly…plus driving was a nightmare so I walked or rode the metro everywhere. Then when I left the Active Duty Army Tom and I moved to Columbia, MD (about 30 minutes north of DC) and my thrifting luck was nothing short of incredible. My finds were so amazing that I still get emails about every 3 months from readers and Instagram followers asking about my favorite places to thrift in the DC area. I’ve mentioned in random posts where I liked to go, but I never put together a dedicated post on the subject, so here we go!
I’ll caveat all of this by saying thrifting is always hit or miss. I made the rounds to the local thrift stores once or twice a week when we lived in Maryland and I struck out the majority of the time. Monday is my favorite day to thrift because most people get rid of stuff over the weekends and the new items haven’t been picked over yet. I left empty-handed more often than not, but occasionally I’d strike gold and that made all the unsuccessful trips totally worth it.
Oh and another thing, DC has tons of antique/flea markets on the weekends…Eastern Market, Georgetown, etc. but I never had good luck because I found things to be overpriced and so many people go to these events! I’m cheap when it comes to thrifting, so I prefer to have to do the hard work myself most of the time, rather than have it all laid out in front of me (Lucketts is the exception, and I’ll get to that below).
Ok and one final note…I linked to lots of old blog posts below because they’re about finding and fixing up some of my favorite thrift store gems. My formatting, picture taking and collage making skills weren’t the best in some of them, but I hope you enjoy the stroll down memory lane!
I discovered this store about a year into living in Columbia but I made up for lost time quickly. It’s a massive warehouse full of furniture and salvaged things like bathtubs, vanities, light fixtures and unneeded construction materials. A lot of the stuff is pretty junky or dated but I found some true treasures there (all required a lot of work though). In just a few months I found a tall faux bamboo dresser (see post on finding it here and DIY post here), a low faux bamboo dresser (see DIY here), a faux bamboo vanity (see my post on finding it here and the DIY post here), and this campaign dresser for $25. I don’t think I spent more than $100 on anything.
Where ever I am in the world I always seem to have better luck at Salvation Army stores than at Goodwill stores. Not sure why that is but it seems to be the trend. At this Salvation Army I found a campaign dresser and hutch for $100 (see DIY post here), this campaign nightstand for $39 (I never painted it but think I will eventually), this pair of faux bamboo nesting side tables (never painted these either but I should), a brass bar cart, and this faux bamboo bench. At the Goodwill in Columbia (the one on Snowden River Parkway) the only thing I ever found was a tall skinny campaign dresser for $40. I passed on it initially but went back just an hour later to buy it and someone else had already taken it home. I blogged (melodramatically) about the loss here. Still makes me sad thinking about it!
This is where I found the set of 7 Chinese Chippendale dining chairs that have been in my dining room for a few years now. I paid $39.95 total and then found out they were by Ballard and retail at about $250 a piece. They required a lot of work but they look amazing in our home! I blogged about finding them here and the DIY rehab post is here. At the Laurel Thrift Center I also found our full set of blue willow china, which we use daily. They also offer a 25% military discount every day which is amazing!
I didn’t have much luck here but I did find this faux bamboo glass and brass coffee table. I painted the base white, although this was one of my early DIY projects and I didn’t really know what I was doing so I didn’t do a fantastic job. I haven’t really been able to use it because Jack would kill himself on it, but maybe one day we will get the chance. Or maybe I’ll sell it. Who knows. For now it’s crammed into our garage with all the other things we can’t fit into our current apartment.
I wrote a big ole post on Lucketts a few years ago that you can find here. Lucketts is out in the country in Leesburg, VA and when it’s warm out they have big weekends with lots of flea market vendors, a design house, a 3 story house with many fantastic booths, food trucks and even music sometimes too. Their spring market is a massive event in May and they have a fun Christmas weekend too. Honestly even if you don’t buy anything it’s totally worth the hour or so it takes to get there. I always had so much fun! I found the brass animal head seen in this post, this bar cart (see DIY here), this vintage dress I wore to a wedding (turns out I was like 2 weeks pregnant with Jack in these photos but didn’t know it yet!), as well as countless other little things. Some things are priced on the high side but many things are very reasonably priced.
I only went to this thrift store once but struck gold that day so I have to include it in the list. I found this set of 7 vintage Greek key dining chairs for $120 (it included a table that I left behind) that I later found for sale on 1st Dibs for $6,750. You can see my post about finding them here and then my DIY rehab of them here.
I never actually bought anything from this fun shop in DC, but gosh I always had such a good time browsing. It kind of has a cult following so it’s really popular but they have some amazing vintage things and prices are pretty good. They only buy their items at auctions and they end up with some really great and funky pieces. The neighborhood Miss Pixie’s is in is really fun too, so it’s definitely worth a visit!
Well I hope this was a helpful post for you DC area folks! If you happen to find any treasures after visiting any of these stores please let me know! I always get so excited about great thrift store finds even if I’m not the one who found something 🙂
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Now I want to freaking go to all these places and here I sit at my desk hoping good stuff pops up on Craigslist…!
lol I know exactly what you mean! I want to go back so badly…the thrift stores here are crap!
Thanks for the great recommendations! I live in Arlington, VA and can't wait to check them out!
Hi Kelley, you're welcome! I hope you have good luck like I did! Gosh I enjoyed living in Arlington, so many fun things to do and the running in DC was amazing. Thanks so much for following along!
I love this post. Sad to be moving out of the area, but maybe I'll be back one day.