Believe it or not, Atlanta's unhealthy concentration of upscale shopping malls has served as a lure for deep-pocketed tourists from across the country and — while the dollar was in the toilet — much of the rest of the world.
But you don't have to be a moneybags to enjoy a bit of shopping around the city. If you don't mind picking through piles of stuff, wearing other people's clothes or getting your hands schmutzy, then you can find a ton of deals and some outright steals around town if you know where to look.
The trifecta for Atlanta bargain-hunters consists of yard sales, thrift stores and antique shops. Say what you will about the Peach City, but it has enough of all three to please even the most retail-averse consumer. Keep in mind, however, that each section of town has its own individual advantages, depending on whether you're looking for estate-sale furniture, vintage barware or random tchotchkes.
CHAMBLEE Ground zero for antiquing. Chamblee's Antique Row has a score of shops, from mammoth multidealer antique warehouses to specialty shops selling vintage hardware. Don't miss the collection of old tin signs at Biggar Antiques. www.antiquerow.com. www.biggarantiques.com.
CHESHIRE BRIDGE ROAD This seriously weird stretch of pavement is home to Antiques and Beyond, one of the more eclectic of the intown antique malls. www.antiquesandbeyond.com.
DECATUR/AVONDALE ESTATES Decatur's young, affluent citizenry has enough yard sales to keep you occupied on Saturday morning, while Avondale boasts two sizable Finders Keepers consignment shops and a Salvation Army. Nearby is the justly celebrated Kudzu Antiques. Oops, there goes the rest of the day. www.finderskeepersconsignment.biz. www.kudzuantiques.com.
FOREST PARK This modest Southside burg is home to the famed monthly Scott Antique Market, but you can troll for bargains down there any day of the week at several large thrift stores, including Value Village. www.scottantiquemarket.com. www.valuevillageatlanta.com.
GRANT PARK/ORMEWOOD You never know what you'll find at a yard sale in this still-gentrifying part of town: boxes of LPs, designer clothing, old magazines or brand-new porch furniture. And Grant Park's annual community-wide yard sale, held in August, is arguably the largest in the city. grantpark.org.
INMAN PARK/LITTLE FIVE POINTS Between the weekend yard sales and L5P's numerous used-clothing stores — Clothing Warehouse, Psycho Sisters, Rag-O-Rama and Stefan's — there's always some great find waiting to be discovered. www.psychosistersshops.com. www.ragorama.com. www.theclothingwarehouse.com. www.stefansvintage.com.
MARIETTA In and around the Marietta Square lies an entire day's worth of antiquing. Don't miss DuPre's Antiques & Interiors, Antiques on the Square and, a few blocks to the east, the voluminous Cobb Antique Mall. www.dupresai.com. www.shoponthesquare.com.
ROSWELL Roswell is home to a number of respectable antique stores, such as the Historic Roswell Antique Market and Canton Street Antique Market, but also boasts more great down-and-dirty thrift stores — Value Village, Goodwill, etc. — per square mile than anywhere else around. www.roswellantiques.com. www.cantonstreetantiquemarket.com.
SOUTH BUCKHEAD If you're on the lookout for a somewhat swanker level of home furnishing or better labels in your second-hand clothes, you need to hit the estate sales in lower Buckhead. But don't bother with Tuxedo Drive or other havens of the have-mores — those folks don't resell, they donate. www.buckhead.net/sobu/.
VIRGINIA-HIGHLAND/MORNINGSIDE On sunny summer Saturday mornings, yard sales in Va-Hi are typically so plentiful, you could almost abandon your car and simply walk between them. And, what with high home values and frequent turnover, the stuff you find is often top-notch. www.virginiahighland.com.