Athens, Georgia, never stops creating that special wow-factor for locals and visitors. One of my favorite ways to immerse myself in this college town’s charming vibe is taking a tour through the funky vintage stores. Thanks to the specific style and curation of each shop, stepping through each set of doors is a totally different experience, but I'll always find something that needs to come home with me. Whether you're looking for furniture and accessories to complete you mid-century modern home vision, the perfect pair of broken-in jeans or boots, a show-stopping outfit, or a rare vinyl record, Athens vintage shops are sure to deliver in style. Here's a roundup of some of my favorite vintage shops in Athens, for your shopping pleasure.
Located right downtown, Wuxtry Records will take you back to your (or your dad's) glory days. Genre selections include ‘Local,' ‘80s & 90s Rock/Pop,’ ‘I Listen to All Kinds of Music,’ and even ‘Employee Picks.’ At first the sheer number of albums can be overwhelming, but let the ambient music bouncing off the vivid blue walls and the wooden crates full of vinyls put you in you music mojo, and start browsing. The beloved Athens record store also sells CDs, T-Shirts and posters, so swing on by if you want to add a hop to your step by bringing the Athens music scene home with you. Fun fact: The members of R.E.M. met at Wuxtry.
Furniture and Decor
Take Broad Street west a few blocks from the UGA arch, and you'll find Starlite Showroom tucked into a strip of buildings on your right. Inside, mid-century modern vibes abound, with an excellent array of antiques displayed with style. Owners Mark Opel and Dan Beynart chose a limited selection of dealers so they can artistically coordinate local artwork and vintage décor with the handmade furniture throughout the showroom. Starlite’s niche of Mid-Century Modern furniture and décor has the aesthetic of many popular corporate furniture stores, but they have nothing on the quality and charm of Starlite’s selection.
Lexington Vintage is a quirky multi-vendor marketplace with an artistic twist. Driving down Lexington Road, it doesn't feel like you're headed to one of the most fun treasure hunts of your life, but you are if you pull into Lexington Vintage and browse a while. Vendors there offer vintage, antiques, architectural salvage, up-cycled pieces, revamped furniture, local art, and unique gifts. Looking for a new-to-you record player? Or maybe a lamp that will totally complete your bedroom look? Perhaps you're a little farmhouse-y in style, and you'd like a shabby-chic shelf or table. Lexington Vintage has you covered.
Don't be fooled by the country drive or the warehouse look of Junk in the Trunk. the store is 10,000 square feet of retail space with over 80 vendors, making for a huge variety of vintage and upcylced furniture, home decor, collectibles and gift items. Here, you might find designer furniture from Eames or Bertoia, or you might find a stuffed jackalope or a love potion. The family-owned business is a great spot for a treasure hunt. Who knows what you'll find?
Clothing & Fashion
Sustainability, locality, and sweet southern charm are wrapped up into a delightful store called Community, owned by Sanni Baumgärtner. Right downtown, by Athens Bagel Company (so you can grab brunch while you shop, obviously), the fashion-forward store is a step up from traditional consignment stores since the clothing items are updated by local designers and given a trendy twist. Find beautifully designed and upcycled clothing, local arts and pottery, and even at-home spa treatments. With so many lovely elements coming together to form a lovely whole, the store really lives up to its name.
Owned by fashionista Cat Bobon, Cillies Clothing is home to vintage designer items and much, much more. From intricately beaded wedding gowns to well-made coats perfect for fashion gurus, Cillies has it all. Personally, as a teen I bought an infinitely trendy hair feather here, and thus my love affair with the shop was solidified. Right downtown, Cillies was already a fantastic hub of gorgeous vintage chaos, but now Cillies also shares some space with Junkman's Daughter's Brother, creating a shop full of oddities, stylish flair and fandom fun that embodies Athens.
Sparkle, denim, and fur throughout Dynamite creates the perfect opportunity for those wanting to wow others with their standout style. Walking down into the cozy store feels a bit like stepping back in time, if "back in time" was endlessly stylish and incredibly sparkly. A high-end selections of jeans and jackets sit side-by-side with an array of sunglasses, hats, and other eye-catching fashions. Add some spice to your daily outfits or find the perfect little number for your weekend plans. Life-of-the-party folks find everything they need at Dynamite.
Luxury vintage fashion lovers celebrate Agora Vintage's assortment of lavish shoes, handbags, coats, dresses, and accessories. Airee Edwards, owner of Agora, has a keen eye for all things high fashion. Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Prada are among the gorgeous brand names that fill the store, creating a high-end name for this downtown shop. Music aficionados will also be pleased with the quality selection of original band T-shirts, including The Eagles and Bon Jovi. The artistic layout of Agora and the fashion that will never go out of style creates an atmosphere perfect for fashionistas and pursuers of all things classy.
Indie South is one of my favorite stores in Athens. Whenever I have friends in town, Indie South always makes the itinerary. It's gift shop and modern makers market on Hawthorn Avenue, just a few miles from downtown, and for years it's been one of the best places to find tarot cards, crystals, and gorgeous and offbeat home decor. Now the back room of the store is made up of booths for handmade and vintage vendors that reflect the eclectic yet curated Indie South vibe. A selection of vintage clothing, records, and books is a huge draw, making Indie South even more of a must-see on your trip to Athens.
Athens, GA showcases a variety of stores that capture all types of personalities and passions. The stores are in walking distance of each other in downtown Athens near East Broad Street, or just a short drive away. Even visitors in the mood for window shopping will appreciate the cool finds and even cooler company within Athens vintage stores. Grab a friend that appreciates craftsmanship and style for a day full of adventure and surprise.
Want to know more about shopping experiences in Athens? Here's an Athens shopping guide.
This blog was initially written by intern Kayla Nichols in 2018 and has been revised, expanded and updated by Shannon Dominy in August 2021.