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Louisville’s Vintage Scene Is Cheap and Amazing

Here’s where to shop in between the races and juleps this weekend.

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Known mainly for bourbon, baseball bats, and thoroughbreds, Louisville, Kentucky, is quickly becoming a travel destination for other reasons, like cool bars, cooler restaurants, the first 21C concept hotel and gallery, and of course, plenty of opportunities to shop. (The best way to see it all at once is the “First Friday Hop,” where you can jump on a free trolley and visit more than 40 shops, bars, and galleries; it’s happening this month on May 5th.)

While the NuLu area of Market and Main streets holds down the dining scene, you’ll want to head to Bardstown and Frankfort avenues for the city's highest concentration of amazing vintage stores. The vintage here is so affordable and of such good caliber that the Derby City is often a stopover for buyers that hail from the likes of San Francisco, Austin, and NYC — three cities known for their vintage scenes. Whether you're looking for ’40s slip dresses or ’90s flannel and leather, there's something for you here at a seriously awesome price.

On Saturday, big hats and bigger winnings will reign supreme, but "Loo-uh-vul" (as the locals say it) has some serious style up its sleeves — get out there and shop it.

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Tickled Pink

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Tickled Pink is a true deal-finders gem, but one you need ample time to visit (it’s not only brimming with goodies, but also the most remotely located on this list). It's overwhelming when you first wander in, as items are stacked on every surface, but the deals! You can find items like clip-on earrings, records, or adorable salt and pepper shakers here for as low as 25 cents. It may be cheap, but none of it is junk; the owner buys out estates and only puts out true, special vintage items. The only catches are that 1) the shop is closed Saturdays; and 2) on Sunday, it’s cash-only.

Tickled Pink’s Sign Photo: Instagram

Joe Ley

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There are more items packed into this antique store, filling an entire historic schoolhouse on an expansive two-acre space, than you could dream of. Carousel horses, car bumpers, gorgeous old windows and doors, clothing, jewelry, paper goods. and everything in between occupies every available corner. The inventory changes frequently, too, so each trip is a new adventure. Prices range wildly, but you can always find something to fit the bill.

Nitty Gritty Vintage

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This two-story shop has a colorful array of vintage coming mainly from the ’50s through the ’80s. If you’re after bold looks (’70s printed jumpsuits, 6-inch platforms), this is the place to go. There's a whole room upstairs of actual costumery to rent, and there's also a good selection of men's clothing and accessories. Prices here generally run from $15 to $40; it’s pretty much your best bet for snagging a last-minute Derby hat.

Nitty Gritty Vintage Photo: Yelp

Crazy Daisy Antique Mall

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As a true antique mall with rows of booths of different vendors offering furniture, home goods, men's and women's apparel, and accessories, you could spend hours unearthing find after find. As far as clothing and accessories go, fur and leather coats, printed scarves, and some killers suits are never far from reach. Prices range from a few cents to hundreds of dollars, and there's even a "junk room" with damaged furniture at a steal, for those game for a fixer-upper.

2023 is another trove of beautifully curated vintage pieces. It’s set up more as showroom than store, and it's clear that each piece is chosen very carefully. On display, you’ll find home goods as well as some spectacular women's jewelry and accessories (think lots of lucite, bakelite, and stunning rhinestone sets). It's on the pricier side, but you’re paying for quality.

The outside of 2023 Photo: Yelp

Elizabeth’s Timeless Vintage

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Right across the street from 2023, Elizabeth’s is a vintage collector's dream (though one that rings in at a higher price bracket). Each year, owner Elizabeth Schaaf travels to Paris to search markets for the best of the best. Her range spans from the 1800s to the ’70s, but items from the ’20s to ’40s are her speciality. If you can catch Elizabeth, she has some wonderful stories to share about the items she sells and vintage in general, which only adds to the experience.

Elizabeth’s Timeless Vintage Sign Photo: Yelp

Hey Tiger

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The smallest store on this list, Hey Tiger’s focus is more contemporary vintage, with men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from the ’80s and ’90s and a sprinkling of items from other decades (think a concentrated version of Nasty Gal in its heyday). There’s a selection of locally made items, too, like handmade leather wallets and belts, adorable animal jewelry, and tons of cards. This shop won’t break the bank, either, with sale items starting as low as $5 and things like a suede bomber jacket running you around $45.

Photo: Yelp

Acorn Apparel

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Acorn is a must-see, with a mixture of men’s and women’s clothes from the ’50s through the ’90s edited for those up on the current trends. Highlights include a fantastic selection of bottoms: high-waisted and wide leg pants, loads of leather skirts in bright colors, and denim for days. There’s also a huge selection of fun men's tees and plaids, and you can score some unique sterling silver jewelry among the funkier costume baubles. Everything runs in the $15 to $40 range here, too.

Acorn Vintage Window Display Photo: Acorn Apparel

Tickled Pink

Tickled Pink’s Sign Photo: Instagram

Tickled Pink is a true deal-finders gem, but one you need ample time to visit (it’s not only brimming with goodies, but also the most remotely located on this list). It's overwhelming when you first wander in, as items are stacked on every surface, but the deals! You can find items like clip-on earrings, records, or adorable salt and pepper shakers here for as low as 25 cents. It may be cheap, but none of it is junk; the owner buys out estates and only puts out true, special vintage items. The only catches are that 1) the shop is closed Saturdays; and 2) on Sunday, it’s cash-only.

Tickled Pink’s Sign Photo: Instagram

Joe Ley

There are more items packed into this antique store, filling an entire historic schoolhouse on an expansive two-acre space, than you could dream of. Carousel horses, car bumpers, gorgeous old windows and doors, clothing, jewelry, paper goods. and everything in between occupies every available corner. The inventory changes frequently, too, so each trip is a new adventure. Prices range wildly, but you can always find something to fit the bill.

Nitty Gritty Vintage

Nitty Gritty Vintage Photo: Yelp

This two-story shop has a colorful array of vintage coming mainly from the ’50s through the ’80s. If you’re after bold looks (’70s printed jumpsuits, 6-inch platforms), this is the place to go. There's a whole room upstairs of actual costumery to rent, and there's also a good selection of men's clothing and accessories. Prices here generally run from $15 to $40; it’s pretty much your best bet for snagging a last-minute Derby hat.

Nitty Gritty Vintage Photo: Yelp

Crazy Daisy Antique Mall

As a true antique mall with rows of booths of different vendors offering furniture, home goods, men's and women's apparel, and accessories, you could spend hours unearthing find after find. As far as clothing and accessories go, fur and leather coats, printed scarves, and some killers suits are never far from reach. Prices range from a few cents to hundreds of dollars, and there's even a "junk room" with damaged furniture at a steal, for those game for a fixer-upper.

2023

The outside of 2023 Photo: Yelp

2023 is another trove of beautifully curated vintage pieces. It’s set up more as showroom than store, and it's clear that each piece is chosen very carefully. On display, you’ll find home goods as well as some spectacular women's jewelry and accessories (think lots of lucite, bakelite, and stunning rhinestone sets). It's on the pricier side, but you’re paying for quality.

The outside of 2023 Photo: Yelp

Elizabeth’s Timeless Vintage

Elizabeth’s Timeless Vintage Sign Photo: Yelp

Right across the street from 2023, Elizabeth’s is a vintage collector's dream (though one that rings in at a higher price bracket). Each year, owner Elizabeth Schaaf travels to Paris to search markets for the best of the best. Her range spans from the 1800s to the ’70s, but items from the ’20s to ’40s are her speciality. If you can catch Elizabeth, she has some wonderful stories to share about the items she sells and vintage in general, which only adds to the experience.

Elizabeth’s Timeless Vintage Sign Photo: Yelp

Hey Tiger

Photo: Yelp

The smallest store on this list, Hey Tiger’s focus is more contemporary vintage, with men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from the ’80s and ’90s and a sprinkling of items from other decades (think a concentrated version of Nasty Gal in its heyday). There’s a selection of locally made items, too, like handmade leather wallets and belts, adorable animal jewelry, and tons of cards. This shop won’t break the bank, either, with sale items starting as low as $5 and things like a suede bomber jacket running you around $45.

Photo: Yelp

Acorn Apparel

Acorn Vintage Window Display Photo: Acorn Apparel

Acorn is a must-see, with a mixture of men’s and women’s clothes from the ’50s through the ’90s edited for those up on the current trends. Highlights include a fantastic selection of bottoms: high-waisted and wide leg pants, loads of leather skirts in bright colors, and denim for days. There’s also a huge selection of fun men's tees and plaids, and you can score some unique sterling silver jewelry among the funkier costume baubles. Everything runs in the $15 to $40 range here, too.

Acorn Vintage Window Display Photo: Acorn Apparel