Are you interested in exploring the college towns with the best vintage shopping? If so this article will help you find what you are looking for! Most college students naturally gravitate towards vintage shopping. Vintage shopping has become fashionable, and affordable. From small boutiques to tens of thousands of square feet of vintage clothing, furniture, and accessories. College students enjoy how vintage shopping, outlets, and thrifting, in general, can help make a huge statement by creating warm, inviting spaces – without breaking the bank. Additionally, it is likely that college students have already learned the following valuable financial lesson – A metal desk from IKEA may look great and even offer an attractive price tag but has little value if it breaks in a few months and needs to be replaced. In contrast to the modern 21st century – throw-away society, vintage items, and antiques were built to last, with a pride of craftsmanship rarely seen in today’s marketplace.
From Plymouth Rock to the coast of California – below are the college towns that offer some of the finest vintage shopping in college towns across America.
1. Raleigh, North Carolina
The capital city of Raleigh is North Carolina’s second-most populous city and is a corner-city that defines the well-known Research Triangle of Duke, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University. As one of North Carolina’s best college towns for vintage shopping, Raleigh offers a variety of thrift college students a plethora of options.
For the past 25 years, Father and Son Antiques has been selling vintage clothing and mid-century modern furnishings from its S. West Street Location in Raleigh’s warehouse district. On Glenwood Avenue South, vintage shopping aficionados will find Raleigh’s own Revolver Boutique– a consignment boutique offering designer resale items (men’s, women’s, and home fashions) in tip-top condition at remarkable prices.
From its Wake Forest Road location, The Trunk Show offers a variety of one-of-a-kind, handmade, and vintage shopping vendors. And for the weekend vintage shopping warriors is the nationally recognized, never disappointing Raleigh Market, better known as the Tar Heel State’s greatest treasure hunt.
Nearby Colleges: North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Duke University, Shaw University, North Carolina Central, Meredith College, William Peace University
2. Austin, Texas
Austin is its 4th most populous city in Texas and home to more than a dozen colleges and universities. Austin has experienced remarkable recent growth but continues to hold onto its Bohemian, if not rockability roots, as one of the best college towns for vintage shopping.
In East Austin is the Blackfeather Vintage Works, which offers an eclectic vintage shopping experience in its vintage store or on weekends in the vintage market. In the market for a vintage t-shirt or sweatshirt (or other hard-to-find vintage items), check out the Blue Velvet Vintage Clothing Company in Central Austin on W. North Loop Blvd.
Room Service Vintage has been filling the homes and dorms of college students and Austinites for more than three decades and topping the list of Austin’s Best Vintage/Home furnishing Stores for fifteen years. Uncommon Objects operates as a one-of-a-kind emporium – offering something for everyone on Fortview Rd.
Nearby Colleges: University of Texas at Austin, Huston-Tillotson University, St. Edward’s University
3. Scottsdale, Arizona
In the west, Scottsdale, Arizona, a part of the greater Phoenix area, is ranked among the best college towns for vintage shopping, with about half the higher education schools located in this, the greater Phoenix area. The Call It New, Call it Antique mall in Mesa offers 40,000+ square feet of retro, rustic, mid-century, and vintage shopping vendors from its consignment & resale center and outdoor flea market.
The Antique Trove, on N. Scottsdale Rd, offers 23,000 square feet of vintage shopping items from the Victorian era to psychedelic- Funkadelic, from furniture to jewelry, art, and sports memorabilia – at vintage prices. For Mid-century vintage shoppers, the Vintage Vibe Scottsdale has been the go-to place for small vintage furniture, art, vintage rugs, accessories, home goods, and more.
Nearby Colleges: Scottsdale Community College, Grand Canyon University, Phoenix College
4. Boston, Massachusetts
Boston is one of the oldest of the best college towns for vintage shopping. The student population in the greater Boston/Cambridge area is approximately 250,000, enrolled in about 50 higher learning institutions that include nearby Harvard, Boston University & the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The We Thieves vintage store, located across the Charles River, in Cambridge offers some of the finest vintage apparel, jewelry, and home accessories in the greater Boston area.
On the fringe of Boston, in funky Allston, is Vivant Vintage, a thrifting lover’s dream, where previously-loved & newly-crafted vintage apparel, housewares, and accessories find new homes – all at affordable prices. In Cambridge, The Garment District operates as an alternative to a department store – with more than 40,000 vintage and new clothing and accessories for men and women. In Boston’s South End, The Sowa Vintage Market is open every Sunday and the first Friday of each month – offering an eclectic mix of objects d’art, furnishing, fashion, and jewelry.
Nearby Colleges: Boston University, Northeastern University, Emerson College, Suffolk University
5. Tacoma, Washington
The port city of Tacoma is located on the Puget Sound, about a half-hour from Seattle. The Tacoma vicinity is home to about two dozen institutions of higher education and many vintage shopping fanatics. The Pretty Parlor, in nearby Seattle is one of the more popular vintage shopping sites in one of the west coast’s best college towns. Since 2001, the swanky Pretty Parlor has been wowing vintage and new fashion lovers with fabulous vintage and new designs.
From its Lakewood location, the South Tacoma Antique Mall is a collection of more than 100 antique and vintage dealers – with business hours every day. Thrifting lovers will find these delightful options – toys, appliances, furniture, art, and jewelry, to name a few. On Broadway in Tacoma, the Vessel Vintage Collective offers a unique shopping experience from three vintage vendors offering mid century furniture, accessories, and décor.
Nearby Colleges: Tacoma Community College, University of Washington Tacoma, Pacific Lutheran University, Green River College
6. Tuscaloosa, Alabama
One of the best college towns for vintage shopping in the southern United States is in the heart of Alabama – Tuscaloosa – home to the area’s dominant economic contributor – the University of Alabama – one of the collegiate football championship programs and nearly 39,000 vintage college students. Vintage shoppers in Tuscaloosa find remarkable vintage collectibles and antiques at the Alabama Antique Market, a 55,000 square foot store on Rice Mine Rd NE.
On Highway 11 (Skyland Blvd.) is Skyland Antiques, serving the vintage shoppers and hunters for more than two decades. With more than 50 vintage and antique dealers, Skyland Antiques offers something for everyone’s vintage taste. Alabama Vintage, in Tuscaloosa, is open daily and offers affordable retro and vintage, hand-picked gear from the 1980s and the 1990s. Check out their vintage t-shirts, jackets, jerseys, dead-head merchandise, non-bama vintage, and collectibles/accessories.
Nearby Colleges: The University of Alabama, Shelton State Community College, Stillman College
7. Boulder, Colorado
Boulder is a city located at the Rocky Mountain foothills and home to the state’s largest and flagship campus – the University of Colorado, plus a number of research and science institutions of higher education. As one of Colorado’s best college towns for vintage shopping, Boulder offers some amazing vintage shopping options. The Amazing Garage Sale – a 2021 Boulder County Gold Choice, offers fabulous merchandise and exceptional finds in jewelry, art, and antiques, among others.
The Ritz on Walnut Street has been a vintage clothing and thrifting aficionado’s go-to shop for the past forty years, offering clothing and costumes that represent most characters, styles, or decades. Common Threads is a Boulder favorite offering amazing deals as the area’s finest boutique consignment store. Apocalypse seeks to revolutionize the fashion industry by aligning with conscious consumer ideals. Apocalypse is a vintage, second-hand clothing shop and Creative Lab owned by those who wish to support the health of the Earth.
Nearby Colleges: The University of Colorado, Regis University (Northwest Denver Campus), MSU Denver, Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design
8. Ann Arbor, Michigan
Ann Arbor is the fifth-largest city in the state one of the best college towns for vintage shopping, with nearly 50,000 students attending classes offered by the top-ranked University of Michigan each year. From its South State Street location, the Getup Vintage has been offering vintage lovers and thrifting specialists the most eclectic vintage items since 2005.
Also, in two downtown locations is Arcadian Antiques, a family-owned and operated vintage and antique store that has sought to make every occasion special since the early 1980s. Four generations of antique lovers have brought the finest in vintage jewelry from the 1850s to the 1940s. In the historic Kerrytown section of Ann Arbor is Found Gallery, a collection of local artists has been offering vintage shoppers crafted finds made from recycled materials. Check out Found Gallery’s gallery of home décor, tabletop accessories, candles, jewelry, paper bags, and gift options.
Nearby Colleges: University of Michigan, Washtenaw Community College, Concordia University Ann Arbor
9. Ithaca, New York
Ithaca is ranked among the best college towns for vintage shopping and the regional educational hub of central New York State. Ithaca is located in upstate New York’s ‘Finger Lakes’ region and home to Cornell University, Ithaca College, and Tompkins Cortland Community college, which collectively swell the town’s population by tens of thousands of students each year. Located on the Commons, Petrune is one of Ithaca’s thrifting specialty shops, having roots in the Big Apple. Petrune now operates 3,500 square feet of curated vintage clothing, jewelry, and other accessories.
Pastimes is a vintage shopper’s dream located in downtown Ithaca that offers one-of-kind, hard-to-find vintage toys, photos, postcards, clothing, jewelry, and art, etc. East Hills Antiques is located on Pine Tree Road and has a variety of items loved by college vintage shoppers. Don’t miss Mimi’s Attic, located on Elmire Road, an eclectic mix of new and vintage housewares, furniture, or décor, among others.
Nearby Colleges: Cornell University, Ithaca College,
10. Berkeley, California
Berkeley, a city on the San Francisco Bay, is ranked among the progressive cities and best college towns where thrifting is almost considered an art form. The city is home to the oldest campus of the University of California system and one of the largest Theological Educational schools in the world. With several shopping options, the Empress Vintage features some of the bay area’s best vintage clothing and tarot opportunities.
Ohmega Salvage, on San Pablo Avenue, is a vintage shopping lover’s haven offering a vehicle and community initiative that helps to recycle and preserve previously used quality items. Montclair Estates Auction & Consignment, since 1994, handles some of the area’s most sought-after antiques, vintage gold, art, and Asian antiques, with a specialty in high-value antiques and collectibles valuable items, and high-end electronics, to name a few.
Nearby Colleges: University of California at Berkeley, Lincoln University, Laney College, Mills College
11. State College, Pennsylvania
Located in the center of Pennsylvania, State College is one of the Commonwealth’s best college towns for vintage shopping – with more than 46,000 college students descending on State College each year. One of the leading thrifting shops in State College is Love It Consignment & Upcycle Boutique – offering vintage items from some of the most recognized brands in fashion at affordable discounted prices.
Connections Clothing, located on S Allen Street, has been serving the students at State College since the mid-1990s by offering the finest fashion trends, including Just Black Denim and Free the People. For a unique collection of everything vintage and more, check out The Great Mish Moshon S. Alleghany Street in Bellefonte – central Pennsylvania’s specialist in vintage and antique furniture, local artist wares, candles, plus a variety of blasts from the past.
Nearby Colleges: Penn State World Campus, South Hills School-Business
12. Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City is located in the eastern portion of the state and home to the University of Iowa, with more than 31,000 students, making it the second-largest school in Iowa and one of the best college towns for vintage shopping. When in Iowa City’s downtown, check out The Shop – a women owned and operated vintage shop. The Shop offers a carefully curated variety of one-of-a-kind and quality-preowned accessories, lifestyle, bath-and-body, kids’, clothing, and home décor items.
The White Rabbit Gallery, on S. Linn Street, specializes in local artisan handmade new and vintage merchandise, including accessories, clothing, jewelry, and other items to delight even the most discriminating thrifting specialist. Since the mid-1990s, Artifacts has operated as the premier vintage resale store serving the greater Iowa City area, specializing in clothing, jewelry, accessories, one-of-a-kinds, musical instruments, furniture, and art
Nearby Colleges: The University of Iowa, Kirkwood Community College, Cornell College
13. Gainesville. Florida
Gainesville is the Sunshine State’s largest city and one of the best college towns in the northern portion of the state and home to the University of Florida with a student enrollment that exceeds 58,000 and Saint Leo – and Santa Fe College, among others. Flashback Recycled Fashions, located on NW 8th Street, offers some of the finest consignment-based college vintage shopping, including clothing, jewelry, and other collectibles.
The Painted Table, in Thornebrook Village, is one of the more unique thrifting specialty stores that has been serving the unique, young-minded Gainesville community since 2004, with vintage furniture, clothing, jewelry, glass, artifacts, rare items, and other collectibles. On North Main Street by the historic Duck, vintage hunters will find a treasure trove of decor and vintage furniture at Uniquities Consignment – with new items added daily. Uniquities Consignment is heavily involved in the local community and charitable organizations.
Nearby Colleges: Santa Fe College, University of Florida
14. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the crown jewel of western Pennsylvania, situated on the confluence of three rivers and boasting more than 440 bridges as one of the best college towns for vintage shopping. Pittsburgh is home to a variety of colleges and universities, including Carnegie Mellon, Carlow University, and the University of Pittsburgh, among others. From their Ellsworth Avenue location, Hey Betty Vintage Clothing offers painstakingly curated vintage accessories and clothing for men and women.
Highway Robbery Vintage on East Carson Street has been the go-to thrifting shop in Pittsburgh, specializing in affordable, authentic vintage accessories and clothing for the past decade. Mahla & Co. Antiques, located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District, offers 10,000 square feet of renovated warehouse vintage shopping of furniture and quality home furnishings. Artifacts are one of the leading vintage store emporiums in Steel City, with 42,000 square feet of thrifting heaven, with vintage and modern pieces from all over the world.
Nearby Colleges: University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University, Chatham University
15. Charlottesville, Virginia
C’Ville, as Charlottesville is known to locals, is home to one of the oldest higher learning institutions in the nation – the University of Virginia – one of the original public ivy schools with a student enrollment that exceeds 25,000 students. As one of Virginia’s best college towns for vintage shopping, Charlottesville is home to a number of thrifting specialty stores and consignment shops. Arsenic & Old Lace on 1st Street South, is open daily and offers some of the finest in vintage clothing and accessories.
Rethreads, on Allied Street in McIntire Plaza, has been ranked among Charlottesville’s top college vintage shopping consignment shops for the past nine years straight, offering affordable options and extending the useful life of fashion items. Another favorite vintage spot for one-of-kind items, funky décor, and vintage finds is Circa Inc. operating in Charlottesville since 1998. For 18th & 19th Century French, Italian, and English vintage antiques, check out Kenny Ball Antiques in Ivy Square.
Nearby Colleges: University of Virginia, Piedmont Virginia Community College
16. Hartford, Connecticut
The city of Hartford is the capital city of the Constitution State, located in the north central section of the state. As one of Connecticut’s best college towns for vintage shopping, Hartford is home to a variety of higher learning institutions that include Trinity College, the University of Connecticut’s Law school, and a branch of the esteemed Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). College shoppers and vintage lovers have made The White Rabbit the source for all things vintage in Hartford.
Circa Antiques & Collectable on Main Street in nearby Wethersfield has been serving the thrifting and estate community in Hartford for many years. In West Hartford, check out Panache on Park, a vintage boutique specializing in luxury shoes, clothes, and accessories, with new items arriving daily. For vintage furniture shoppers, Hartford’s Gillett Furniture Consignment offers some of the finest vintage indoor and outdoor furniture, gift items, and home accents.
Nearby Colleges: University of Hartford, Trinity College, University of Saint Joseph
17. Lexington, Kentucky
Lexington is among Kentucky’s best college towns for vintage shopping and the second-largest Kentucky city. Lexington is home to Kentucky’s flagship school – the University of Kentucky and Transylvania University, among others. College thrift shoppers have made the Wearhouse, among the leading classic vintage shops in Lexington. The Meadowthorpe Antique Mall, on Leestown Road is home to some of the most eclectic finds, including plated silver pieces, glassware, and primitives.
Vintage shoppers, in search of some of the best curiosities from around the globe, have made Ugly Duckling Antiques a Lexington favorite. This hidden gem of a boutique is located at the intersection of Maryland Avenue and Newtown Pike. For vintage aficionados interested in attending a monthly antique show and some grub at the Back Door Cafe, check out the Athens Schoolhouse Antique Show, central Kentucky’s largest weekend marketplace on Athens Walnut Hill Pike.
Nearby Colleges: Bluegrass Community & Technical College, University of Kentucky, Transylvania University
18. Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chapel Hill is located in the north central portion of the state and home to the preeminent University of North Carolina, along with nearby Duke and North Carolina State University. As one of North Carolina’s best college towns for vintage shopping, Chapel Hill offers college thrifting pros a variety of vintage stores. Shop at Rumors on North Graham Street offers styling vintage fashions with their roots in the punk scene in all sizes and at affordable prices.
Nearby Whitehall Antiques has been wowing the Chapel Hill college vintage crowd since the early 1930s and voted the best antique shop in the mid-Atlantic region. With more than 7,500 square feet of space to browse our showroom items, Whitehall Antiques has something to meet even the most eclectic of tastes. Another local vintage shopping favorite is Dolly’s Vintage & Other Good Stuff – an emporium of vintage clothing, vintage gloves, local fashion creations, plus scarves and funky fun socks.
Nearby Colleges: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Alamance Community College
19. College Station, Texas
College Station is one of the Lone Star State’s best college towns for vintage shopping as it is home to a number of preeminent institutions of higher education. Nearly 100,000 students attend classes offered by Texas A&M and Blinn College. Among the many eclectic vintage shops in College Station is Birds Nest Gifts and Antiques. Birds Nest is a family-owned business rescuing funky junk and vintage treasures – from bohemian to cast iron, florals, and jewelry. Birds Nest Gifts and Antiques is the go-to thrifting specialty store in College Station.
The Corner of Time Antiques & Collectables Mall has been thrilling vintage & soda fountain enthusiasts for nearly three decades. The 6,000 square foot showroom and a live auction house are located minutes from Texas A&M University, where college vintage collectors sip hand-mixed soda favorites.
Nearby Colleges: Texas A&M University
20. Burlington, Vermont
Burlington, the most populated Vermont city, is also one of Vermont’s best college towns for vintage shopping. The Burlington campus at the University of Vermont and nearby Champlain College are located in Burlington, with several schools nearby. Among the more exceptional vintage shops in Vermont is Vintage Inspired, a lifestyle marketplace located on Flynn Avenue. Vintage Inspired offers a variety of vintage inspired soy candles, gift cards, tote bags, gems, posters, and puzzles.
Vintage enthusiasts and thrifting specialists should check out Junktiques. Since 2010, Junktiques has been operating on N Winooski Avenue on a mission to encourage the reduction of landfills by providing cost-effective options for preowned items. On Battery Street, Billie Jean Vintage, a women owned/operated vintage shop, offers vintage clothing from the 1930s through the 1990s, plus curated new items to dazzle even the most discriminating of vintage shoppers.
Nearby Colleges: University of Vermont, Champlain College, Community College of Vermont (CCV) – Winooski
21. Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis ranks as the most populous city and flanks the Mississippi River on both sides, where it joins with its sister city, Saint Paul, the capital. Minneapolis is one of the best college towns for vintage shopping and is home to more than 20 institutions of higher learning that enroll more than 50,000 students yearly. Retro and vintage college collectors will find Time Bomb Vintage on E Lake Street is a great place to find the finest parts of the past.
The Rewind Vintage Clothing and Apparel Store on Johnson Street NE in northeast Minneapolis has been serving the community since 2006, with a collection of contemporary and vintage clothing, purses, accessories, costume jewelry, and gifts. And, for the past quarter-century, The Loft Antiques, on West 50thStreet has offered some of the most exquisite vintage pottery, furniture, glassware, sterling silver, linens, and shabby vogue, among others.
Nearby Colleges: University of Minnesota, Augsburg University, Dunwoody College of Technology, North Central University
22. Oxford, Mississippi
Oxford, Mississippi is in the northern part of the state and home to one of the finest southern schools – the state’s largest institution of higher education and flagship campus – the University of Mississippi or, as those in the know call it – Ole Miss. Oxford is also one of Mississippi’s best college towns for vintage shopping, with some of the most eclectic, hard-to-find items for those in the know.
The Depot Antique Mall, on North Lamar Blvd, is among the leading marketplace for everything vintage, with more than 99 diverse vendors offering everything from antiques to mid-century modern and everything in between. Another Oxford, Mississippi vintage treasure is The Mustard Seed Antique Mall, a one-stop-shop for home décor, furniture, clothing, accessories, and a knick-knack for everyone. If you want a pleasurable shopping experience, check out The Mustard Seed Antique Mall on West Jackson Avenue – voted Oxford’s favorite.
Nearby Colleges: University of Mississippi
23. Athens, Georgia
Athens, considered a satellite city of Atlanta, is home to the University of Georgia, the flagship institution of higher education in Georgia. Athens Tech and Athens College of Ministry combine to create one of Georgia’s best college towns. When in Athens, thrifting college students can find what they are looking for at Athens Antique and Vintage – located on Atlanta Highway and open every day. Or check out Junk in the Trunk-Athens, 10,000 square feet of upcycled objects d ‘art, and other vintage collectibles.
At Community, vintage lovers will find handmade clothing from leftovers, local artisan jewelry, and goods crafted by local makers. Indie South, on Hawthorne Avenue, is a melting pot/boutique and an event brander featuring local items and goods from the southeast. Indie South’s founder, Serra Jaggar, is a champion of the modern do-it-yourself craft movement.
Nearby Colleges: University of Georgia, Athens Technical College
24. Asheville, North Carolina
Asheville and its surrounding communities are home to more than a dozen higher learning institutions, including Western Carolina University and the Asheville campus of the University of North Carolina, which makes Asheville one of North Carolina’s best college towns for vintage shopping. Poises for Lulu Vintage, on Rankin Street in downtown Asheville is home is one of Asheville’s most eclectic of shops, offering vintage lingerie, home goods, wedding wear, and dresses, among others.
At the Honeypot Vintage – on Lexington Avenue, thrifting enthusiasts and college shoppers have been finding distinctive and uncommon clothing for more than two decades. The Honeypot Vintage emporium offers select items from the 1920s to 1980s; some brought to life by a little love – helping the Earth breathe easier. Ragtime Vintage Clothing on East Walnut Street offers hand-picked vintage wearable fashions that change with the seasons. Since 2005, Sweeten Creek Antiques & Collectibles, LLC, a locally owned business, offers more than 100 diverse antique and vintage vendors in its 30,000+ square foot location. There is something for everyone at Sweeten Creek Antiques & Collectibles.
Nearby Colleges: Brevard College, Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, Warren Wilson College, University of North Carolina Asheville
25. Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee is the Sunshine State’s capital city, located in the middle of the panhandle and home to various institutions of higher education, including Florida A&M, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical U, Flagler College, and Florida State University, among others. Dubbed a magnificently weird place, The Other Side Vintage on Railroad Square offers some of the best vintage shopping for retro furniture and clothing in Tallahassee.
Secondhand Sandies, on North Monroe Street, is a unique vintage shopping experience offering unusual and eclectic housewares and furniture. Also, on North Monroe Street is Memory Lane Tallahassee Antiques, among the most select of antique stores across north Florida. Memory Lane’s mission is to help each customer find the treasure – be it art deco, mid-century modern, art nouveau, Victorian, or collectibles from the last three centuries.
Nearby Colleges: Florida State University, Florida A&M University, Flagler College- Tallahassee,