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From thrift stores and flea markets to off-the-beaten path shops, Los Angeles is a bargain hunter’s dream. Since it’s nearly impossible to navigate La La Land and surrounding ‘burbs without a set of wheels, get your rental car GPS or ride share app ready and let us be your guide to seven of the city’s bargain shopping hidden gems.

RELATED: 7 must-see retail spots in Los Angeles

Goodwill Southern California Retail Store: Atwater Village
If digging through bountiful bins piled high with used and occasionally new clothing items, accessories and home goods is your jam, you will flip for the mega Goodwill retail store and “by the pound” outlet in East Side nabe Atwater Village. Diehard thrift hounds come prepared with plastic gloves and surgical masks, and compared to New York City, rummage sale pros are super polite. Careful combing of the bins will result in brand name scores from J. Crew, H&M, GAP, Zara and the like. Textiles are $1.99 per pound and hard goods are $1.19 per pound, however, be prepared to lighten your load because items are weighed in an oversized shopping cart. There’s also a well-stocked Goodwill retail store next door with orderly, color-coded racks and expected second-hand pricing. However, for even better deals, head to the Torrance Goodwill Outlet & Donation Center where all clothing is $1.

Jet Rag $1 Sunday Sale: Mid-City
Maybe it’s the set-up—rows of rare and raggedy vintage finds scattered across parking lot pavement under tents that barely shield shoppers of all walks from the scorching sun—that makes the $1 sale at Jet Rag feel more punk rock than other L.A. flea market. The long-running Sunday thrift fest is open from 9am to 6pm, and piles of clothing are replenished throughout the day. Regulars show up early to claim bins to store their bounty. Choice picks include concert tees, normcore overalls, mom jeans and kitschy Christmas sweaters. The $1 sale is cash only and patrons should bring their own bags. If scavenger hunt shopping isn’t your scene, Jet Lag’s roomy interior is stocked with thousands of less pillaged retro items.

The Rose Bowl Flea Market: Pasadena
Hailed as the world’s most unusual flea market, the Rose Bowl Flea Market has been dazzling deal seekers the second Sunday of every month with a mix of new merchandise, vintage finds and kitschy arts and crafts from more than 2,500 vendors. This massive outdoor flea market is the second Sunday of each month. Regular admission is $9 and children under 12 are admitted free with an adult. For early birds, early admission from 7am to 8am is $15 per person, and from 8am to 9am express admission is $12 per person. Cash only. Free parking and no pets allowed.

Melrose Trading Post: West Hollywood
With more than 200 vendors, this famous flea located at Fairfax High School is known for its selection of eclectic goods—from antiques and vintage treasures to handmade jewelry and clothing. Rain or shine, the flea market is set up every Sunday from 1pm to 4pm, and market shoppers haggle to the soundtrack of a live jazz trio. The Melrose Trading Post is affiliated with the Greenway Arts Alliance, a nonprofit organization that supports the arts in public schools and has constructed a 99-seat theater at Fairfax High School for performances by up and coming artists, students and industry professionals.

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Santee Alley: DTLA
Forget Rodeo Drive. For a unique shopping experience, visit Santee Alley, two blocks of outdoor stalls tucked behind Santee Street and Maple Avenue from Olympic Boulevard to 12th Street, in LA’s Fashion District. At Santee Alley, discerning discount shoppers can pick up everything from fashion footwear and shades to back-to-school backpacks and Quinceañera dresses. Buyers, however, should be aware that most items are probably made in China.

Artists & Fleas: Venice Beach
New York City hipsters already flock to the Artists & Fleas outposts in Brooklyn and Soho. Now the indie seller marketplace has landed on the Westside in artsy Venice Beach. Located at the Westminster Avenue Elementary School, the flea is open every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month. Must-have goods include handmade accessories from Beautiful Things LA, gourmet falafels and hummus from Falasophy and SoCal surf-and-skate-culture-inspired wear from Back Beat Rags.

The Roadium Open Air Market: Redondo Beach
Open rain or shine daily from 7am to 4pm, the year-round Roadium Open Air Market is an old-fashioned, no-frills swap meet. Spanning 15 acres, the 60-year-old market resides at a former drive-in theater and attracts about 150,000 pennywise customers monthly. Nearly 500 vendors hawk an eclectic mix of new and used furniture, sneakers, clothing, fabric, jewelry and more. And just in time for the back-to-school rush, patrons can enter to win a new backpack filled with school supplies. If you’re looking for knock-offs, however, you won’t find them here since Roadium has zero tolerance for counterfeit merch. Depending on the day, admission ranges from fifty cents to $2 per person and free admission for children under the age of five. No pets allowed.


Tagged: California, Destinations

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Tracy Hopkins

Tracy Hopkins

Tracy Hopkins

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