Sometimes the most exciting shopping finds can be made in thrift stores or flea markets, especially when you’re in a tropical and exotic country like Brazil. So if you’re prepared to put in a bit of effort and search for that special keepsake or souvenir, here are some of the best flea markets and thrift stores in Rio de Janeiro.
Feira do Rio Antigo
Also known as the Feira do Lavradio, Feira do Rio Antigo is one of Rio’s most beloved outdoor markets. For the fleeting traveler though, you have to be lucky to catch it – it only happens on the first Saturday of each month. Those who manage to go will be among the 20,000 visitors who explore the fascinating range of vintage and antique items that this fair is renowned for. Dip into the open-doored house to peek into the past through aging furniture and rusty treasure chests, or stroll between the stalls lined up in the street to pick up unique and intricate handmade items.
Feira Rio Antigo, Rua do Lavradio, Centro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, +55 21 2224 6693
The Sociedade de Amigos das Adjacências da Rua da Alfândega – to give its full name – comprises makeshift stalls on the outside which hide a warren of narrow corridors and eclectic stands that sell anything and everything. The local saying of “if you can’t find it in S.A.A.R.A., then it doesn’t exist anywhere” rings true as you’re greeted by stalls of bikinis, fancy dress, electronic items, baseball caps, souvenirs, cell phone cases, and pretty much anything else you could want. The quality is sometimes dubious, but the market is more about the lively and comical atmosphere rather than picking up the next big find. For basic souvenirs and obscure items, it is one of the best places in Rio to go.
Whether you want brand new, modern brands of clothes such as secondhand H&M and Zara clothes and accessories, or vintage pieces such as wooden clogs and quirky print dresses, Fast Fashion is the place to go. If you are lucky, or willing to put in a bit of effort and dive in among the items, you may find rare vintage bags that are genuine Chanel, Prada, and Louis Vuitton in excellent condition yet for a fraction of the original price.
Brecho de Salto Alto
One of the best places in Rio to pick up vintage and wonderfully preserved secondhand clothes and other bits, Breco de Salto Alto has been catering for thrift store lovers since 1998. It’s known for its diverse collection of items from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, and is a great place to rummage through to pick up unique, retro furniture, quirky lamps, classic vinyl, and charming clothes for men and women.
Emporium do Futuro
Its prime location in wealthy neighborhood Leblon means that this thrift store mostly sells the secondhand items of its rich surrounding neighbors. As a result, head to Emporium do Futuro to pick up high-end brands for a fraction of the price, with names such as Juicy Couture and Lacoste regularly popping up among the racks of well-organized clothes. The accessories are in pristine condition and the shop has a surprising number of trench coats – ideal for Rio’s winter or when visiting the south of Brazil where it’s a bit cooler.
A high-end thrift store in Gavea, Anexo Vintage is a hotspot with the local socialites, artists, and actors in the Rio scene. It beautifully mixes classic vintage, with exclusive items from brands such as Gucci, Prada and Pierre Cardin. The store is a world away from the traditional image of a stuffy room with piles of aging clothes with its modern furnishings, low lighting, and well-kept items.
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