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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With soft sand, plenty of beach bars and the best ceviche, there's arguably only one beach worth going to in Texas—South Padre Island.
You might know this beach as a college student's spring break hotspot, but really, it's the Rio Grande Valley's most secret gem. From someone who has been going to "the island" every year since before I could walk, here's a guide to the best SPI has to offer.
First thing's first, don't underestimate how hot South Texas is. Be ready with plenty of sunscreen. If you thought Austin was hot, you're in for a treat as high humidity will make the Valley feel scorching. Luckily, the water offers some reprieve from the sun's rays—still, be sure to bring sunscreen and a hat.
Driving in: From Austin, you can expect almost a six hour drive. Your navigation will take you either around San Antonio (which is a plus for most people) or through San Antonio, funneling to U.S. 77 until you reach Valley grounds in Harlingen.
- From there, it might be smarter to take the toll roads, which border the Port of Brownsville and will save you going through small towns like Los Fresnos that can get backed up with traffic.
- But if you do decide to hightail it through Los Fresnos, be wary of how fast you are going and the speed limit. Cops are especially on the prowl in those areas, catching out of towners unfamiliar with the speed limit changes.
Still, no matter which route you take, you'll go through Port Isabel before crossing the 2-mile bridge to South Padre. During peak times, such as early afternoon, expect to sit in traffic. Better times to travel are in the early morning.
Flying in: For the people that read a six-hour drive with wide eyes, there is a nearby airport in Brownville, a 40-minute drive from SPI, as well as the Valley International Airport in Harlingen, a 1-hour drive away. Be ready to spend $250-$400 a person.
Sights and sounds
Getting to the RGV, you'll be welcomed with palm trees well before you've made it to the beach. And just before crossing the bridge from Port Isabel to South Padre, you'll see a sign that may be blinking, indicating to watch out for pelicans.
As you drive over that bridge, your passengers will want to get their phones out and take the classic video of the the water, boats and parasailers in the bay. It's the best way to let everyone know you're on vacation!
And don't forget to roll down your window to take in the salty smell of the gulf of Mexico.
Resorts: For beach access and the fun amenities that come with that, places like The Pearl, The Palm and The Saphire are where you'll get a resort-style feel.
Affordable: You can still find a Holiday Inn, Ramada and La Quinta along the beach bars.
Airbnb is always an option where you can rent out condos, but you'll want to make sure to book in advance as options may be limited in peak summer.
There are at least 25 access points to the beach, which is on the east edge of the island. Some you can only get to if you're a hotel guest. Here are the most popular ways to reach the sand.
Walking to the beach: Between the bars and hotels, you'll find free access points where you get to just park and walk right onto the beach. You're likely to still find umbrellas and chairs you can rent out.
Beach bar access: Some of the most popular places for beach entry are those that come with a nearby bar. But don't worry, all ages are welcome. You'll want to check these bars' social media pages in the evenings if you're looking for live music.
- Where you're almost certain to not struggle for parking is one of the hottest spots on the beach: Clayton's Beach Bar and Grill. At Clayton's, you're able to get your drink on, get a bite to eat and have access to the beach and volleyball courts.
- A smaller, but just as cool alternative is Wanna Wanna Beach Bar and Grill. With the same amenities as Clayton's, you can't go to Wanna Wanna without trying a turbo, a pina colada with a rum floater—you can get these just about anywhere on the beach, but they just taste better beachside.
Driving on the beach: If you want to try your four-wheel drive on the sand, you can! Access points #5 and #6 allow you to pay a small fee to take your vehicle out there. Click here to see how you might prepare your vehicle for the sand. If you choose to go with this option, you'll want to make sure to pack appropriately as there are no rentals or bars nearby.
If you're trying to make the most of your South Padre getaway, we have you covered with things for the whole family as well as the nightlife scene.
- Watch the fireworks: Catch a fireworks display at the island all summer long. Catch them displayed on the bay in front of Louie's Backyard on Tuesdays and near Clayton Beach Bar on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Beach Park and Isla Grande: The former Schlitterbahn is now a beach park that opened in 2021. The 25-acre waterpark has water slides, a zipline and beach access. (Day passes are $38.99 for children and $10 more for adults)
- Sea Turtle, Inc.: Learn about sea turtles and sea life conservation at the largest state-of-the-art sea turtle hospital. You'll be able to get up close and personal with the turtles! ($4 for children, $10 for adults)
- Gravity Park: For the adrenaline junkies, this park has the tallest reverse bungee in the world ($25), a skycoaster ($25), go-karts ($15-$20), mini-golf ($8-10), a 60-foot ferris wheel ($8), and a climbing wall ($8).
- Sandcastle exhibit: Right next to Gravity Park is a small sandcastle exhibit that is free and about a 5-minute walk to see all the exhibits made entirely from sand by professionals. (Free w/ donations accepted)
- Get in on the water sports: A couple of rental places like Coconut Jacks SPI offer jet skis for rental as well as equipment for parasailing.
- Rent a pontoon boat: Tritoon Charters allows you to rent a pontoon boat for the day perfect for the whole family. The charter offers private snorkeling, shell hunting, up close dolphin and turtle encounters, tubing and sight seeing.
- Party like a local: Escape the beachside and head to the west edge of the island for live music and dancing. Tourists love to flood Louie's Backyard, but there are other bars along the bay worth going to such as Longboard, Laguna Bobs and Tequila Sunset.
You can't leave the island before eating ceviche and fried shrimp. And you can't go wrong by eating at the already mentioned beach bars and bay bars. But here are some other notable places to visit:
- Breakfast: Yummies Bistro and Grapevine Cafe are both places to get your breakfast tacos in the morning.
- Lunch: Cafe on the Beach are good midday options to catch a quick bite without sacrificing quality.
- Dinner: F&B is about as upscale as it gets if you can snag a reservation—Elon Musk has been spotted here. They also offer Sunday brunch.
The pilot of a small plane is now in the hospital after crashing into Lady Bird Lake Thursday afternoon.
The plane, which was being operated by a Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden, only had the pilot in it when it crashed just west of I-35 in the lake around 2 p.m. Nearby paddleboarders are seen taking the unidentified pilot to Austin-Travis County EMS in a video.
The pilot was then transported to Dell Seton Medical Center with potentially serious injuries.
UPDATE: #ATCEMSSPARTAN drone video showing the aircraft submerged just below the surface. pic.twitter.com/wexI9MqpQS
— ATCEMS (@ATCEMS) June 16, 2022
Texas Parks and Wildlife said the plane, a 2009 Cessna T206, was on a test flight after routine maintenance when the pilot reported mechanical issues and then crashed.
As of Thursday afternoon, it is not known when the plane will be removed from Lady Bird Lake.
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