The Stores to Thrift Near UW

The glory of Black Friday: the cheap discounts that range from 25-80% off retail items that hang on the shelves or linger in our carts while online shopping. Those discounts lure us into purchasing already over-priced items for a discount. Sadly, that sale only happens once a year and creates a frenzy in-stores and online that lead to many items being sold out in your size or in general. Sad, I know. However, there is a simple solution to the issue and that is thrifting. 

The beautiful world of thrifting consists of finding hidden treasures for ridiculously low prices 24/7, all-year-round. Not only is the concept budget-friendly to everybody, but is an environmental upside by recycling used clothes and reducing pollution and waste. The average American throws away roughly 81 pounds of clothes per year, which results in around 26 billion pounds of clothes being tossed away into the landfills. 

My first quarter at UW consisted of trips to the thrift stores and, guiltily, online shopping. And while I have only ever online shop to get rid of gift cards or when there was the occasional good sale, I have learned to reduce my shopping habits to just thrift stores. Lucky for me, UDUB is surrounded by a bunch of thrift stores. I’ve found hidden treasures of Tommy Hilfiger, Columbia, TopShop, Levis, and other top brand clothing items for up to 80% off the original price. Not only am I getting more for my budget, but I’ve found unique items that I haven’t seen on store shelves. The thrift shops offered around campus range from more expensive/exclusive stores to cheap, basic thrift stores you see in every city.


  1. Goodwill U-District

Location: 4552 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105

Price Range: $

The Goodwill located on the Ave is just like any other Goodwill. With affordable prices, it offers a wide selection of clothing for as low as $2 for a shirt. While some of its items can be a bit pricy—I’ve found a really nice Timberland jacket there for $35, which is a bit high for a Goodwill find—most of the items found there are below $20. 

Keep in mind that Goodwill is not a consignment store, which is a type of thrift store that buys clothes from the original owner. Afterward, if the item is sold to a new owner, the store and the original seller receives a portion of the profit. Goodwill is not that. They are an open store that allows any type of donations as long as they are in good condition. That doesn’t mean that they do not sell quality items. Like most thrift stores, Goodwill can either be a hit or a miss depending on the day. However, unlike many consignment stores on the ave, they do offer household items and knick-knacks for sale that are good for decorating anyone’s apartment or dorm. 


     2. Buffalo Exchange

Location: 4530 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105

Price Range: $-$$

Unlike Goodwill, Buffalo Exchange is a consignment store and is willing to purchase your clothes if you make an appointment. However, that does not mean they will take every single piece of item you offer them. I would say that Buffalo Exchange does look for high-quality clothing items and name brands for their items, so keep that in mind. 

The store is quirky, fun, and gives off fun vibes when entering. Personally, I have found their selection of jackets to be the best thing about the store and have scored a quality Columbia jacket there for $25 only. The clothing items in this particular thrift store range from simple basics to uniquely textured or patterned clothing types that bring a bit of funk and quirkiness to anybody’s style choice. My particularly favorite part of the store is their selection of accessories (pieces of jewelry, hats, and shoes). I’ve seen some funky pairs of shoes and some gorgeous earrings. Keep in mind however that because they are a consignment store, prices will be a bit higher than regular thrift stores. However, the quality may be worth it.


     3. Crossroads Trading Co.

Location: 4300 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105

Price Range: $-$$

Crossroads is an establishment that I have visited frequently in not only Seattle but also in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They are a very well-known consignment store that offers many customers name-brand clothing options for prices a bit higher than Goodwill and a bit higher quality. I would say they are very similar to Buffalo Exchange but gear more towards the modern, “on-trend” styles that are less funky and outgoing than Buffalo’s. A good tip for this store is to look in the men’s jacket section for some good quality jackets and sweaters. 

Selling clothes here has been reviewed as tough, with the store offering way less than the item’s actual value. Keep in mind that when shopping at Crossroads, they do offer a 2.5% “living wage surcharge tax” to help pay their workers and that it is implemented by the owner. This is due to managing increasing costs associated with the annual minimum wage increase. 


     4. Lucky Dog on the Ave

Location: 4542 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105

Price Range: $-$$

If you’re the hypebeast of your friend group or adore top brands like Adidas, Versace, Champion, Supreme, or even Gucci, then this is the store for you. While Lucky Dog specializes in Men’s Clothing under Yelp and on their website, who says women can’t shop there? They offer clothing sizes that range from children’s sizes to Men XL. 

If you are a shoe-lover and are always looking for a good find, this store offers you an entire wall of high-brand shoes for discounted prices. With that, Lucky Dog trades and buys items by appointment. Their service is amazing and offers cool sales. For example, sometimes they will give you 15% off your purchase if you are able to shoot a basketball into their hoop. For the price, the quality of service, and the hypebeast exclusive purchases, this place is a hidden gem on the Ave.


     5. Red Light Vintage Clothing 

Location: 4560 University Way NE Seattle, WA 98105

Price Range: $$-$$$

This vintage store has got to be the coolest, hippest, most intriguing thrift store I have ever been in. Not only do they offer a HUGE selection of vintage clothing that range from lingerie to jackets, sunglasses, and killer pieces of jewelry and accessories, but the atmosphere draws in anybody. It is a fun place to poke around and try on unique items that you would not find at any regular thrift store. They are also known for selling a variety of costumes and this one Nicholas Cage sparkly pillow placed on their couch. They offer times to sell items to them as well but are known to accept rarities and vintage items more than modern items. 

The store offers GORGEOUS (and I mean gorgeous) jean jackets and jean pants. However, their prices are higher than most on the ave and go above $30 for a lot of their high-quality items. Most items will be above $15, so be wary when coming into the store and expecting super cheap items. 


Although there are a bit more stores on the Ave, these five are the closest and the most unique ones in my opinion. Remember to bring your own bag when thrifting as most stores will charge you a couple of cents for either a reusable bag or a plastic bag from their own store.  With that, don’t give up! Finding those good, quality items will not be as easy as you think and they make take a bit of digging. It is honestly all about luck. Don’t fret though because in the end, think about all the money you will be saving and the new items you’ll be adding to your closet! Remember, someone’s trash could be your treasure. Happy hunting!