pittsburgh thrift shops

Holiday shopping: 17 Pittsburgh-area thrift and vintage shops, plus money-saving tips

Photo above by Hugo Clément on Unsplash.

From the first sip of hot cocoa during Light Up Night to the last burst of fireworks on First Night, the holidays can be a time of joy in Pittsburgh. They’re also a time when expenses pop up: gifts for kids and relatives and teachers, groceries for holiday meals and parties, and travel expenses to go see those we love.

To make sure holiday fun and gift-giving won’t break your budget, we’ve gathered some strategies for spending less at the holidays and assembled a list of thrift shops and vintage stores where you can score second-hand finds.

Beautiful Baking: If you need to give small gifts to your child’s teachers, your neighbors, coworkers or other folks in your life, one practical option is baking cookies or other treats. Wrap them in gift bags or small boxes (dollar stores often have a great selection) and include your recipe printed out neatly on an index card (kids can help decorate the card!).

Another variation: Create a recipe card, then fill a Mason jar with all the dry ingredients for your cookie, brownie or cake recipe. Tie a ribbon around the top of the jar, then punch a tiny hole in one corner of your recipe card to attach it with the ribbon.

Affordable Entertaining: If you’re inviting friends and relatives in to share some holiday cheer, the grocery bill can get pretty high. This year, instead of buying all the items for your holiday open house, consider making it a potluck where guests can each bring a dish. To make it even more festive, ask each person to bring a recipe card for their dish or dessert to share with the other guests.

But perhaps the most practical (and environmentally friendly) choice at the holidays is seeking out second-hand items when you’re shopping for holiday decorations or gifts. If you have smaller kids, consider doing a toy swap among friends and neighbors, so folks can share gently used toys that their kids no longer use. And look for treasures at the Pittsburgh area’s many second-hand stores:

Pittsburgh-area Thrift Shops, Consignment and Reuse/Vintage Stores:

Amazing Books and Records, Squirrell Hill and Downtown: So many cool things to choose from, and you get a free book or record of your choice with every three that you buy.

Avalon Exchange, Squirrel Hill: Vintage and brand-new clothing from popular brands.

Center for Creative Reuse, Point Breeze: Great spot for art supplies and materials to use in craft projects and DIY gifts, and also paper for wrapping gifts.

Clothes Line, Bloomfield: This women’s fashion resale store is run by volunteers from UPMC Magee’s Women’s Auxiliary.

Clothes Minded, Bloomfield: This consignment store has current fashions, vintage clothes, gently used designer items and more.

Community Thrift Center, North Hills and Greentree: We love their tagline… “We’re not old, we’re vintage!”

Construction Junction, Point Breeze: This enormous warehouse is filled with reclaimed home decor, furniture and all kinds of treasures for the home decorator or DIY craft maker in your life, including building materials.

East End Community Thrift, Penn Ave., East End: This volunteer-run thrift shop offers clothing and household goods.

Free Store, Wilkinsburg: Shoppers can pick up as many as five free items at the Free Store, and there are many items that do not count towards the total. Children 12 and under are asked to take age-related items.

Fifty-One Ten Vintage, Penn Ave., East End: Trendy clothes, athletic wear and more.

Goodwill, various locations: The many Goodwill locations around Pittsburgh often have a selection of holiday items for indoor and outdoor decorating, as well as holiday dishware. You may also find toys, books, clothing and non-holiday home decorating items.

Kid2Kid: You can buy and sell kids’ clothing, toys and more.

Phoenix Boutique, Lawrenceville: High-end clothing and jewelry at second-hand prices.

Red, White & Blue Thrift Store: You’ll find clothing, decor, kitchenware and small appliances, toys and books, electronics and more.

Second Harvest Community Thrift Store, Sharpsburg: New and gently used clothing, furniture and housewares.

Thriftique, Lawrenceville: Proceeds from Thrifitique sales support the National Council of Jewish Women Pittsburgh Section and their mission to step forward, speak out, and stand up for women, children and families.

What’s Good?, Oakland: Fun and cool clothing, accessories and drinkware.