With its recognisable mint-green exterior, Retro Rehab remains a firm favourite for vintage shopping in the Northern Quarter. There are racks of items for £5 and even £1, and frequent sales. Who said vintage has to be expensive?
Best for: Bargain men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.
2. Cow on Church Street
Cow has branches in Birmingham, Nottingham, and Sheffield and you can buy their stuff online too.
Becky from the Manchester store told BuzzFeed Life that the vintage scene in Manchester is very influenced by the musical history of the city: “People are still passionate about bands like the Stone Roses and the ’90s is a big thing for Manchester, so Cow does really well.”
Best for: Denim, shoes, bags, sportswear, and cosy jumpers.
Oldham Street in Manchester is home to the first Pop Boutique store, although there are now branches in London, Leeds, and Liverpool.
They stock reworked vintage pieces – perfect if vintage clothes don’t often come in your size – and there’s even a cafe to quench your thirst after a hard afternoon of shopping!
Best for: Men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, accessories, bags, and furniture.
Junk is my personal favourite Manchester vintage shop. Jessie from Junk told BuzzFeed Life that Junk is an ethical retailer that doesn’t follow trends:
“We’ve got a selection of handmade-in-Manchester pieces, using materials from recycling mills,” she said. “We reuse curtains and bedsheets to make some of the dresses in store. There’s also a range of Junk sewing courses – from real beginners to learning upcycling, tailored dressing and prom dressmaking, there’s something for whatever you’re interested in.”
Best for: Reworked classics, jewellery, and sewing classes.
If you fancy getting nostalgic about your childhood games and handheld consoles, pay this quirky little store a visit.
Best for: Fans of the Nintendo Game & Watch, the Nintendo GameCube, and Sega Dreamcast.
If you want to shop for retro goodies while also giving a little something back, Mustard Tree is the place to go.
Soraya from Mustard Tree described the shop as “a charity that’s been helping the homeless and marginalised of Manchester for over 20 years, so rest assured the money from your vintage bargains is benefiting the local community”.
Best for: Furniture, men’s and women’s clothing, books, shoes, and homeware.
Prestwich-based J’adore Vintage started as an online boutique and a pop-up shop in a cafe. It now has its own premises and caters for women of all sizes. Samantha Ludlam, the store’s owner, will even hunt down items if customers are looking for a particular piece. Its Facebook page has handy examples of how to put vintage outfits together in a contemporary way.
Best for: Women’s clothing, shoes, and accessories.
8. The RSPCA on Oak Street
Tucked away behind Home Sweet Home is the Northern Quarter branch of Manchester’s RSPCA. It might not look like much from the outside, but it’s a treasure trove of vintage finds and is busy with bargain hunters every weekend.
Best for: Clothes, shoes, accessories, and china.
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Milner & Son sells everything from Polaroid cameras and vinyl to vintage board games and Mr Potato Head toys.
It has an extensive range of clothes and tons of pre-loved shoes crammed into an impossibly small, TARDIS-like space.
Best for: Vintage toys, Doc Martens, outerwear, lumberjack shirts, sportswear, and electrical items.
It’s a bit pricier than some of the other mentions on this list, but Blue Rinse Vintage is definitely worth a visit. They usually have a good range of sizes and colours, and everything is laid out in a way that makes it super easy to find what you’re looking for.
Best for: Vintage sportswear, oversized jumpers, and denim cut-offs.
11. Wowie Zowie on Manchester Road
If you’re looking for 20th-century homeware and decor pieces, your search is over. Wowie Zowie is packed with retro goodies, including vintage posters, art prints, and shoes for adults and children.
Best for: China, glassware, ornaments, and art.
This little vintage boutique makes up for what it lacks in size with plenty of substance. All the retro items are handpicked, and you can find truly unique gems like brand-new beach and swimwear from the 1920s to the 1980s.
Best for: Blazer jackets, dresses, army surplus, gloves, and handbags.
If you’ve got money to spend, head to Oxfam Originals. It’s not really for vintage shoppers on a budget so don’t expect charity-shop prices, but it’s well-stocked, most items are in good condition, and it’s staffed by helpful volunteers who are clearly passionate about vintage.
Best for: Outerwear, Christmas jumpers, silk ties, and cowboy boots.
Buzzfeed / Harriet Williamson
Hope Direct is one of the largest charity shops in the North West and you can spend hours going through the racks, separating the trash from the treasure.
Best for: Furniture, homewares, sports clothing, books, and shoes.
15. Pop-up shops and vintage fairs
Harriet Williamson / Buzzfeed
Just wander round the city centre and the Northern Quarter on a Saturday and you’re bound to stumble across a fair or one-off vintage event such as the kilo sale above where you can buy in bulk. These events are perfect if you’ve not found what you want in your regular retro haunts. Try Ruby Lounge for the Remake/Remodel vintage fair, or check out Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, which travels round the UK, making an appearance in Manchester every couple of months.