Why pay full price when you have next-to-new Austin fashion at your fingertips? Thrift shopping is nearly as ubiquitous to Austin as live music and food trucks, but it can be hard to get your foot in the thrifting door.
No need to fear: we've got a complete guide to the smorgasbord of Austin thrift shops right here.
Best bang for your buck
Goodwill Bins, 6505 Burleson Rd.
If you're pinched for cash or looking for adventure, head to the Goodwill bins for the cheapest options on the market. At $1.49 a pound, it's easy to walk away with 10 or more items for less than $10. This is where the unselected items at Goodwill stores lay to rest, so there can be slim pickings. But that makes it that much sweeter when you find a designer item, tag intact. Come ready to be assertive—each time new bins are brought out, it's prime real estate, and a crowd quickly gathers around the new picks.
Thrift Land, 512 W. Stassney Ln., Ste. 107A
For anything from 99-cent T-shirts to brand-new designer leather pants, head to Thrift Land in South Austin. The store has been around since 1985 and has a huge variety of men's and women's clothing, home decor and even books and furniture. Every section is color-coded, so come with a desired color scheme in mind. Bring cash as well—the store is cash-only, but there is an ATM inside just in case you forget.
Thrift land is packed with outfits for activities from business meetings to a girl's night out. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Thrift Town, 5726 Menchaca Rd.
Thrift Town shares a strip with a Goodwill, but the store consistently brings better style and lower prices to the table. Thrift Town's slightly trendier cousin, Thrift Land, is also conveniently located nearby in South Austin. There aren't as many home furnishings as Thrift Land, but they more than make up for it with with mannequins serving as style inspo above the aisles and plenty of business-casual clothing appropriate for any workplace meeting.
Thrift Town employees regularly outfit mannequins with their favorite picks. (Thrift Town/ Facebook)
Salvation Army, 4216 S. Congress Ave.
While you can find nearly anything at Salvation Army, which is famous for its half-off days, you can find high-quality used furniture—and a healthy selection of it—without breaking out the piggy bank. Plus, if you need to rid yourself of extra furniture, the Salvation Army will come to pick up items directly from your house so you can spare yourself the sweat. Donations and support go to those in need—the non-profit organization donates 82 cents on every dollar to services that help the less fortunate. While the Salvation Army does not help move furniture to homes, several services like Easymove and Dolly will help you get it where it needs to go.
Far Out Home Furnishings, 1500 W. Ben White Blvd.
This vintage, upcycled and knick-knack emporium is so filled with upcycled goodies and eclectic art pieces that they have a dedicated "Funkyard" to house it all. This garage-sale-like thrift shop carries used fashion, indoor and outdoor furniture, musical instruments, jewelry, frames and whatever else your heart desires, so long as you have the stamina to find it. The store offers an online tour and regularly updates its inventory, so you'll have an idea of what's in store before you head over.
Pavement Austin, 611 S. Lamar Blvd.
Flaunting a colorful exterior to match the sprawling, eccentric interior, Pavement has a carefully curated selection of clothing for the modern fashionista. Filled with a mixture of new, used and vintage fashion and accessories, Pavement caters to all aesthetics at both of its Austin locations. With clothes for all bodies, Pavement sets itself apart by hand-selecting the items it puts on the sales floor instead of relying on brand or release year, so you will likely find something for everyone.
Flamingo Vintage Pound, 2915 Guadelupe St.
Flamingo is the cutting-edge of thrift fashion, but don't take our word for it: influencer and former Texas State student Wisdom Kaye, who has racked up 6 million TikTok followers for his keen fashion sense, has been known to frequent it. Inside is a hodgepodge of eccentric Austin fashion. Find vintage Harley Davidson tees or funky bell-bottom pants in the store's curated sections. Come here looking for discounted fashion-forward items instead of extra-low prices. Flamingo is significantly more pricey than the Goodwill bins, but it still follows a discounted pay-by-the-pound model.
St. Vincent de Paul, 901 West Braker Ln.
An Austin favorite, this donation-based store known simply as "Vinny's" comes with all the trappings of a Goodwill or Salvation Army but with a more curated selection. Look for trendy clothing, wood furniture or eclectic jewelry at this North Austin thrift shop.
Passport Vintage, 2217 S. 1st St.
Looking for quality vintage denim? With over 20,000 Instagram followers, Passport Vintage has established itself as a vital storefront for tasteful shoppers. It's not the cheapest, however—come here if you're willing to pay near-new prices for authentic vintage items. Aside from its Instagram, the store also has a website and a brick-and-mortar store open seven days a week.
Ballin' on a budget
Uptown Cheapskate, 3005B S. Lamar Blvd.
If you love name-brand clothing but don't love draining your bank account, Uptown Cheapskate is the place to shop. The store has brought upcycling to the mainstream by buying and selling clothes brought in by customers, meaning you can shop for less and even make a quick buck while you're there. Clothes are chosen with a few criteria in mind: brand, date they were released and condition, so you may not sell everything you bring in, but you will walk out with something that was on boutique racks just a few months before.
Plato's Closet, 5400 Brodie Ln., Ste. 240
Fulfill your Instagram influencer fantasies without breaking the bank at Plato's Closet, the classic name-brand thrift store chain. It doesn't take much sifting to find Lululemon, Zara, Madewell and even high-fashion designer items within the curated store. Come with a bag of your old clothes, too, if you trust your fashion sense—they'll give you a couple bucks for whatever they like from your wardrobe.
Buffalo Exchange, 2904 Guadelupe St.
Buffalo Exchange has a reputation that precedes it as the premier designer thrift destination. Located just across the street from Flamingo, Buffalo Exchange is stocked with items straight from the closets of trendy University of Texas students living nearby. Grab an entire Gen Z outfit—from flame-shaped sunglasses to embroidered cowboy boots—and have change to spare. In our experience, the pants section has some of the best quality items on the thrifting market.
Uncommon Objects, 1602 Fortview Rd.
Uncommon Objects doesn't sell clothes, but it does sell used items from yesteryear. Down the eerie, cluttered aisles, you're likely to find old objects that confuse, delight, inspire and fright, but seeing that every item is used, it is thrifting in its own right. There's no true way to know what you'll find in the self-proclaimed "antiques Mecca" but a few staples include dolls, paintings, statues, skeletons, photos and old appliances. Whatever you take home, it will probably be older than you.
Supporting a good cause
Austin Pets Alive!, 1156 W. Cesar Chavez St. (multiple locations)
With three locations across Austin, all net proceeds go to the puppy-loving, no-kill Austin Pets Alive! Shelter. The boutique-style thrifts are a great place to find clothes for everybody, and you can donate your old items to help animals. Plus, if you're an APA! foster parent, you can enjoy 20% off every time you shop.
Treasure City Thrift, 2142 E. 7th St.
With the motto "solidarity not charity," Treasure City Thrift is a Black-owned shop that claims to be "the most affordable thrift store in Austin." The shop prides itself on educating the public on zero waste practices, inspiring art and creativity, making needed goods available for people who need them most and making monthly donations to the Really Really Free Market. You're likely to see a pop-up market outside the brightly-painted pink building when you visit and you might just catch the monthly 25-cent sale.
For the fashion challenged
Thrifted Feels ATX, 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Ste. G-125
Do you struggle to put together something fashionable in the morning? Ever wish you could just have someone do your shopping for you? Thrifted Feels ATX would love to be that personal shopper for you. A tried and true shopaholic, owner Dominique Kirven resells clothes that fit her personal aesthetic so you can fake it until you make it. She describes her style as nature-inspired with Earthy tones and textures, though there is always room for a little statement. You know what they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!
Feathers Boutique Vintage, 1700B S. Congress Ave.
This vintage consignment shop has a brick-and-mortar storefront, but it's also got a fully-functional site and ships its items around the world. Since 2005, the shop has curated quality vintage items with an extra Austin flair. From bandanas and scarves to quality jeans, Feathers has a little bit of something for everyone.
Elephant Paths, Depop and Instagram pop-ups
More shoppers than ever are using their thrift expertise to create their own curated online shops. If you don't have the free time to head to your favorite shop, head to Instagram or Depop for pop-up thrift shops galore, including Elephant Paths, one of Austin's newest online stores. Austinite Aysia Jackson resells her favorite thrifted items for exceptionally low prices. Check her site for colorful jackets and blazers, go-to skirts and more as she continues to build up her inventory.
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A $500 million mixed-use development spanning 1,400 acres is coming to Southeast Austin, near Tesla’s headquarters at Giga Texas.
Plans for the development by Houston-based real estate firm Hines include 2,500 houses along with multi-family and townhomes, and commercial land. Hines is partnering with Trez Capital, Sumitomo Forestry and Texas-based Caravel Ventures.
The development, which is known as Mirador, will be located off the 130 Toll and Highway 71, which the developers say provides easy access to the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 racetrack and other Austin attractions like restaurants, parks and live music venues.
Hines also boasts amenities like a 60-acre lake, over 600 acres of greenbelt, community parks, trails and a swimming pool.
“As Austin continues to grow into the tech epicenter of Texas, coupled with a supply-constrained market, the demand for new housing is at its highest,” Dustin Davidson, managing director at Hines, said. “Mirador will be critical in providing more options for Austin’s growing population and we are excited to work alongside our partners given they each provide a unique and valued perspective in single-family development.”
The local housing market has been hot in recent years, with home sales accelerating earlier in the pandemic. In July 2021, the Austin metro area hit its pricing peak at $478,000. As Austonia previously reported, the area has been expected to see the Tesla effect, with the new workforce driving up demand for housing and other services.
The single-family houses are expected to be developed over the course of six years, in phases. Construction on the homes is expected to start this year and home sales will begin in 2023.
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Editor's note: This story summarizes Sports Illustrated's story detailing Michael Center's involvement in the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal, based on interviews with SI's Jon Wertheim. Additionally, Austonia received comments from Michael Center, included in this story.
Confined to his couch, former Longhorns tennis coach Michael Center praised his players via FaceTime after the program he built produced the Longhorns’ first national championship in 2019—a bittersweet moment as Center faced federal charges as part of the Varsity Blues college admissions scandal.
His name dragged through the mud, Center was fired, arrested by the FBI and sentenced to six months in a Central Texas federal prison after pleading guilty to two charges related to mail fraud. And over a year after his release, Center told Sports Illustrated he doubts he was the only one in burnt orange involved.
When the Varsity Blues scandal broke out to the public in 2019, the investigation was a perfect storm for nationwide attention: Hollywood glamour, blue blood conspiracy and faith in the tried-and-true American education system came to a head as 33 movie stars and other elites were found guilty of paying more than $25 million to pave their children’s way into eight colleges, including the University of Texas.
UT was one of eight schools caught in the college admissions scandal. (Laura Figi/Austonia)
The figure behind Varsity Blues, “college consultant” Rick Singer, would plead guilty to four felony counts for faking SAT scores and bribing coaches at prominent universities for his elite clients—but not before throwing Center under the bus.
Singer's client, private equity executive Chris Schaepe, was looking for a way to bend UT's tight admissions policies for his son, who was seeking a position oddly as a manager on UT’s basketball team. Through a middleman, Singer contacted Center, who eventually agreed.
Schaepe's son hadn't played tennis since his freshman year of high school. It was a detail that Center says passed through plenty of hands before he was admitted, including "academic support staff, the compliance office, the sports supervisor and, ultimately, the athletic director," SI's Jon Wertheim writes.
No one in the entire athletic department, including seven "risk management and compliant services department" employees, was named, implicated or punished. After an internal investigation, Center was the only one named in the Varsity Blues "subterfuge" in a September 2019 UT news release signed by the university president.
He told Austonia he was never contacted by the university during the investigation, and when the NCAA interviewed him for its investigation, he says it cleared him of any violations.
“I almost fell out of my chair,” Center said. “I literally couldn’t breathe. There’s no college coach in America—much less at a state school, much less a coach of a nonrevenue sport—who can admit an athlete without consulting other people in the athletic department. What they were asking people to believe, it’s just impossible.” SI said Center's assertion was backed by multiple UT coaches and administrators at other schools.But why would the Forty Acres be complicit?
Center said UT’s then newly named athletic director Steve Patterson made clear that Center suddenly was responsible for more than building a successful tennis program. He was to be a "fundraiser first and coach second" and he would need to find donors to fund a new tennis facility. Patterson admitted to SI that he wanted his coaches to find donors and said the department was "$15 million in the red" when he started in 2013, though he denies any knowledge of the false tennis recruitment.
Center said he knew he would be "considered a team player" if he let in the son of a Silicon Valley magnate. And sure enough, Schaepe immediately began pulling out his wallet, donating $100,000 to UT tennis and a six-figure check to the school's communication program.
"I never entered this as a way to profit. This was a fundraising mission where I made a terrible mistake at the end,"
Months after Schaepe's son was admitted, Center agreed to meet Singer at the Austin airport and found himself accepting a backpack filled with $60,000 in cash meant for him, personally. He said he immediately knew he had made a mistake. He told SI “I put the money in my basement and gave most of it away.”
“Why did I do it?” Center told Sports Illustrated. "I go to bed and wake up each day asking myself the same question. I had to convince myself that I somehow deserved the money."
Once in court, Center showed texts with UT's compliance official and mentioned Chris Plonsky, a department executive involved in "overseeing men’s tennis, compliance, academic support (which generates letters of intent) and the Longhorn Foundation," according to SI.
“I knew I had to answer for my guilt,” Center said. “But I was like, 'Man, schools are going to get hammered.'"'
INMATE 77806-112 but out on Sunday: Actor Felicity Huffman in prison uniform outside low-security Federal Correctional Institution in Dublin to visit actor husband William H. Macy & their daughter. Huffman admitted to paying $15K to have fixer boost daughter’s SAT score. 📸: @TMZ pic.twitter.com/9jALmqnA0U
— Henry K. Lee (@henrykleeKTVU) October 21, 2019
But Center was the only Longhorn to go down for the crimes. “I was no rogue actor,” Center said. “And this wasn’t my word against their word. There were signatures that went along with it. That’s the system... There wasn’t one point in the process where I thought people wanted to learn the whole truth.”
Back at home in Austin, Center watched as actress Felicity Huffman served just eleven days for her part in the scandal. Some served up to five months; others simply paid a fine, and others, like Singer, await sentencing.
And because the prosecution chose to blame individual coaches, framing schools as victims in the case, universities like UT have received less than a slap on the wrist for their possible involvement.
“I was always taught that actions have consequences,” Center said. “What I’ve come to realize is that, yes, for some people actions absolutely do have consequences. Serious, heavy ones. For others, actions can have no consequences at all.”
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