By H.G. McKinnis
If you want your visit to Vegas to include something beyond 24/7 bacchanalia, consider a shopping trip to the unsung venues where treasures are available and affordable—for those willing to hunt. Little-known dens of off-the-grid savings, the thrift stores of Las Vegas offer not only ordinary furnishings and everyday bargains, they often harbor wonders of the city’s fabulous past. Glittery and glamorous, wearable and worn, it’s all waiting for those who, like me, enjoy the search and love the score. Here are five of my favorite Las Vegas thrift emporiums.
1. Assistance League of Las Vegas Thrift Shop (6446 West Charleston Boulevard)
My favorite of all Vegas thrift stores, this establishment is the place to go for high quality, name-brand merchandise and the best prices in town. The store, staffed by volunteers, supports Operation School Bell, a charity that buys new school clothes for children in need. On your way in, look for the blackboard above the purse display, which lists all the current sales. At the front of the store, you’ll find an excellent selection of gently used designer clothing, the kind you’d expect to find at a consignment store for much higher prices. In the back, browse housewares, glasses, cooking equipment, and dishes. Books and artwork deserve a close look as well. In December, the store opens a separate showroom packed with Christmas décor, dishes, ornaments, and more. Shop early in the month—the good stuff gets snapped up fast.
2. Moving Avenue (819 South Decatur Boulevard, Suite 200)
This is a new destination for Vegas bargain hunters! Now in its fifth month of operation, Moving Avenue is—as the name suggests—a moving company as well as a thrift store. Housed in a small ranch house (in my old neighborhood!), the shop features a variety of high-quality used housewares, clothes, and accessories, as well as artwork by local artists. The business gives the owners, Benni and Roe, a way to connect with and make a difference in their community. Drawing on Benni’s experience as a former social worker, the two employ young men from the neighborhood as movers, giving them work experience and a solid work ethic.
3. Goodwill Deja Blue Boutique (10300 West Charleston Boulevard)
As you walk into this hip-looking store (one of two in the Vegas valley), you’ll see upper-end décor items, designer shoes, purses, and clothes. You’ll also notice that the prices are not rock-bottom. The good news is that the high-end fashion and well-tended displays make shopping enjoyable, and you’ll still find plenty of great values. The dressing rooms are big and furnished with hooks and benches—unusual in a thrift store. The clothing on sale may have “experience,” but the quality is excellent and the fashion is current.
4. Opportunity Village Thrift Store (390 South Decatur Boulevard)
If you want gently used furniture, books, small appliances and clothing for remarkably low prices, head straight to Opportunity Village. This large, well-managed, and well-stocked facility occupies a major section of a strip mall at an easy-to-find location with plenty of parking. The proceeds from the store aid people with intellectual disabilities and their families. “Pride, purpose, and a paycheck” is the motto of Opportunity Village, which has been repeatedly voted “best nonprofit organization” in Las Vegas. Opportunity Village is also known for its Magical Forest Christmas event—a local must-see in December.
5. Broadacres Marketplace (2930 North Las Vegas Boulevard, North Las Vegas)
OMG! This is what you’ll find yourself exclaiming over and over at this remarkable venue. It’s not a thrift store—it’s a thriftphenomenon! Few tourists find this place, and many locals don’t even know it exists. Allow plenty of time to stroll through acres of amazing items at amazing prices. Anything that can be loaded into a van or onto a pickup shows up here. Locksmiths and jewelers display their wares. Shop for Vegas themed T-shirts and souvenirs just like the ones sold in the hotels, but cheaper. Browse tools, furniture, appliances, CDs, DVDs, clothes, knick-knacks, and artwork—both new and used. Weekend nights feature Mexican music and dancing. Sample great, authentic Mexican food, and enjoy the aroma of roasting peanuts as you shop.
While Las Vegas will always be the place to come for posh gaming in opulent casinos, you may be among those who’d like to venture beyond the Strip. Thrifty shopping is a way to meet regular people in an unusual city. Plus, you never know what glamorous hand-me-downs you might discover. The thrift stores of Vegas supply everything from basic furnishings to unique mementos, along with unforgettable shopping experiences.
H.G. McKinnis is a Las Vegas native and former nude dresser for production shows on the Las Vegas Strip. Her debut novel, A Justified Bitch: A Las Vegas Mystery will release August 8, 2017.