12 Unique Trader Joe's Stores You'll Find Across The US

Going to Trader Joe's is a far cry from a trip to a regular grocery store. The brand does so much to set itself apart from the norm. The stores have a welcoming seafaring and tiki theme, inspired by the Trader Vic's cocktail bar, with nautical wooden details decked out with colorful locally inspired murals. It's perfectly kitschy, quaint, and pleasant, and every location is a vibe — one that's effortlessly replicated at over 500 locations nationwide.

Of course, being different from your standard supermarket isn't all that Trader Joe's has going for it. Private-label products are expertly hawked by some of the nicest store employees you'll meet, and prices are generally approachable. And then there are the stores that really set Trader Joe's apart. They're in historic buildings, scenic locations, and surprisingly tiny spaces, but these unique Trader Joe's stores still deliver (not literally — Trader Joe's doesn't even allow apps like InstaCart to bring their products to you). Trader Joe's super fans, get out your maps. These are the unique and iconic Trader Joe's stores you'll want at the top of your must-visit list.

The original Trader Joe's: Pasadena in California

Trader Joe's has been welcoming shoppers looking for quirky products, great value, and a friendly atmosphere (with tiki flare) since 1967, and if you're a super fan, you won't want to miss the original TJ's location in Pasadena, California. It's not the biggest — even the brand itself jokes about the tiny parking lot — but it's full of history and shows how a national chain can also be the heart of a neighborhood.

If you stop by for a visit, don't miss a few key photo opportunities. First, there's a sign on the palm tree out front that welcomes shoppers to the original location and notes the opening date: August 25, 1967. Next, snap a shot of the Pasadena mural behind the floral display, including a nod to another Pasadena claim-to-fame, the iconic Rose Bowl. Finally, after you've done your shopping, don't miss the sign by the exit, thanking you for visiting the original location.


(626) 568-9254

610 S Arroyo Pkwy, Pasadena, CA 91105

The smallest Trader Joe's: Back Bay in Boston

Small but mighty, the Trader Joe's location in Boston's Back Bay (at 899 Boylston Street) is the tiniest store in the chain — clocking in at a mere 5,200 square feet, which is ⅓ the size of the average Trader Joe's store. A sign at the entrance — styled after Massachusetts' town signs — refers to the location as the "smallest Trader Joe's in the known universe."

But that doesn't stop Bostonians from flocking to this underground market. Expect low ceilings, tighter aisles, and a single checkout line (that leads to multiple registers, don't worry). Pro tip: If the line is long, grab a basket or cart and do your shopping as you snake through the aisles. A smaller space doesn't mean there's less variety, though. Each location only stocks about 4,000 products (or SKUs), so the shorter shelves don't mean you'll miss out on your TJ favorites. However, Trader Joe's fans in Back Bay don't have to be content with the small location for much longer, as the franchise is opening another, larger location in the same neighborhood, which will reportedly be bigger than the average Trader Joe's store at over 16,000 square feet.


(617) 262-6505

​​899 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02115

The busiest Trader Joe's: 72nd & Broadway in New York

If you don't mind a little bit of chaos, you'll be right at home at the 72nd and Broadway location of Trader Joe's. To accommodate all the hustle and bustle New York City has to offer — this TJ's is just off Central Park — the store has three floors, two elevators, four escalators, and three times as many registers and employees as a normal Trader Joe's. And all of that is underground. The escalators can transport shopping carts between levels, and signage lets shoppers know what to find on each floor.

But when it comes to Trader Joe's, does bigger mean better? Maybe not. Journalists from New York University's independent student newspaper noted that the layout is "bizarre" — and pointed out that the underground location means no cell service, which is not good if you need to call home to confirm what you need to buy or just want to refresh your online shopping list. (The student newspaper ranked the Upper West Side location as its favorite.) But if you're hoping to visit every iconic Trader Joe's store, be ready to brave the lines — and marvel at the cart escalators.


(212) 799-0028

2073 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

The one under a bridge: Bridgemarket in New York's Upper East Side

Let's start simply: This Trader Joe's is gorgeous. We haven't looked at interior photographs of all over 500 locations, but we can't imagine anything beating the vaulted ceilings, stunning tilework, and stately columns of the Bridgemarket Trader Joe's, located inside a designated New York City landmark.

Bridgemarket itself is an architectural marvel. The structure features Guastavino arches and vaults, which use thin tiles expertly arranged for incredible support. This towering, enchantingly curved ceiling design is also on display at the Grand Central Oyster Bar, among other iconic structures worldwide. Unlike other stores with cramped aisles or windowless underground locations, shopping at the Trader Joe's on East 59th Street looks totally serene.

The space was a public market from 1914 into the 1930s, then lay vacant and was used as storage until a Food Emporium opened in 1999 (though it closed in 2015). Thankfully, the spectacular space is a grocery store again.


(212) 935-3870

405 E 59th St, New York, NY 10022

The one in an old movie theater: Alabama Theater in Houston

Every Trader Joe's location features murals that highlight the area's attractions and history. The signage is hand-painted by local artists who work to customize and personalize the space and enhance TJ's quirky ambiance. At one location in Houston, the vibe of the store wasn't hard to find. Situated inside a 1939 art deco Alabama Theater, this Trader Joe's is ready for its close-up.

The building was a movie theater from the 1930s to 1983, then housed a book store until it became a Trader Joe's in 2012. The walls are decked out in film reels, the demo counter is a concession stand, and the old-school marquee is used to invite customers inside. You can even see some of the original seating intact, as the mezzanine has been left virtually untouched since its cinema days.


(713) 526-4034

2922 S Shepherd Dr, Houston, TX 77098

The one in a former armory: Media in Pennsylvania

The stately stone facade of the Trader Joe's in Media, Pennsylvania is enough to stop you in your tracks — but just wait until you get inside. The Media Armory was opened in 1908 and served members of the state's National Guard — many of whom served in World War I and World War II. Later, the building was used as a gymnasium for local schools and hosted sock hops in the 1950s and 1960s.

The building became home to Trader Joe's in 2004, but that's not all that is inside. Downstairs, you'll find the Pennsylvania Veteran's Museum, a free museum dedicated to preserving the living history of the United States military. The sign on the front of the building, memorializing the 111th Infantry of the Pennsylvania National Guard, keeps the building's past front-of-mind as you shop.


(610) 891-2752

12 E State St, Media, PA 19063

The one in a bank: Brooklyn in New York

In 1924, the South Brooklyn Savings Institution opened its location at the corner of Court Street and Atlantic Avenue, a limestone building with arched windows and high marble ceilings. On the exterior wall, a plaque commemorates Gen. George Washington's presence at that spot during the Battle of Long Island in 1776 — a fact that just might make this the most historic of all Trader Joe's locations.

While the teller windows no longer remain, it's hard to forget that this space used to be a bank. (There's even an old vault in the back room, though that's not accessible to patrons.) The décor is more subdued than in other locations, with photographs of Brooklyn landmarks where there would otherwise be bright and colorful murals. It's not so surprising, however, once you learn that the building is a protected historic landmark. Plus, who needs murals when there are deals to be had and an abundance of natural sunlight?


(718) 246-8460

130 Court St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

The one with the most wine: Woodland Hills in California

Trader Joe's liquor stores have a bit of a cult following — you can thank Two Buck Chuck for that. But there's more to their wine, beer, and liquor selections than a great value, especially if you're shopping in Woodland Hills, California.

Of course the shop features Trader Joe's private-label reserve wines — sourced from producers around the world, sold in limited quantities, and priced under $20 per bottle (though most are under $13 a pop). The Woodland Hills Trader Joe's has the biggest wine selection on the West Coast, featuring both local California and global varieties (including some you can't find at any other Trader Joe's location). Plus, the store offers wine tastings! The wine, beer, and liquor shop is located in the store's dedicated wine, cheese, and snacks room, making it easy to find your perfect wine and cheese pairing.


(818) 712-9475

21055 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills, CA 91364

The highest-altitude Trader Joe's: Santa Fe in New Mexico

There's a Trader Joe's in almost every state. Only the far-flung ones — Alaska and Hawaii — and a smattering of other states, including Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming, are outside of the brand's reach. Still, in the other 42 states, there are Trader Joe's locations ranging from sea level (hello, California coast) to over 7,000 feet in elevation. The highest-altitude Trader Joe's store? Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The city of Santa Fe is situated at 7,198 feet above sea level — the highest-altitude capital city in the United States. There are some pretty epic mountain views from the parking lot, but you'll also notice something unique inside the store: puffy bags of chips. Why? Atmospheric pressure. There is less atmospheric pressure at higher altitudes, which means the gas (aka air) inside sealed snack bags can expand until it tests the limit of the bag itself — and might even pop under the right conditions. Your shopping cart full of your favorite Trader Joe's snacks is safe, just exercise caution when opening so you don't wind up with a potato chip explosion.


(505) 995-8145

530 W Cordova Rd, Santa Fe, NM 87505

The Trader Joe's on top of an Aldi: Lincoln Park in Chicago

It's no secret that Trader Joe's is owned by Aldi Nord, the German grocery company and sibling company to Aldi Süd, aka Aldi, another beloved grocery store chain. But, while Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd are related companies, that doesn't actually mean that the Aldi grocery chain owns Trader Joe's. The brands are separate and fill distinct spaces within the industry. But there is one place where the two butt up against one another, literally: At the corner of North Clybourn Avenue and West Wisconsin Street in Chicago.

In the Lincoln Park section of Chicago, within the RANCH Triangle just near the river, you'll find a Trader Joe's uniquely situated on the second floor of a brick-faced commercial building, directly on top of an Aldi grocery store. And it just might be the two-for-one combo you've been waiting for. Shoppers get the benefits of Trader Joe's unique private-label products, as well as Aldi's affordable store-brand offerings (that are as good as or identical to their big-brand counterparts). Both are limited assortment grocery stores, meaning there are only one or two choices per item type (e.g. one smooth and one chunky peanut butter versus the dozens of brands and styles at a traditional grocery store). It saves space, streamlines your shopping experience, and saves you money.


(312) 274-9733

1840 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60614

The one with a dose of wildlife: Marina Del Rey in California

Any Trader Joe's superfans surely know about Trader Joe's in-store scavenger hunts, where kids can search for store mascots and get a prize if they spot them. But did you know there's a location where you can spot real wildlife on your way out the door? The Trader Joe's in Marina Del Rey, California, is right on the water, overlooking the marina and nearby Burton Chase Park. That view would be exciting enough for a grocery store, but the park has another unique feature: sea lions. The park features a series of docks where boaters can tie up (maybe for a quick trip to Trader Joe's?), and sea lions love to lounge there in the sun.

The park is also full of great places for a picnic. Add your favorite prepared Trader Joe's salad or sandwich and make an afternoon of your shopping excursion, wildlife viewing included.


(310) 301-4461

4675 Admiralty Way, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292

The Trader Joe's in a former naval training station: Point Loma in California

California is home to about 200 Trader Joe's locations. They range from the very first store to coastal settings, as well as a location in a former naval training station. The Naval Training Center, San Diego — now Liberty Station — operated from 1923 to 1997, supporting the United States Navy throughout World War II and the Cold War. The design was influenced by architect Bertram G. Goodhue, who helped bring Spanish Colonial architecture to California. In 2000, the city of San Diego took over the property and began transforming it into a stunning — and historically significant — town square.

The Point Loma Trader Joe's is situated in one of the base's Spanish Colonial-style buildings, with a tiled roof, columns, and a series of arches along the facade. It is located in the Quarter, the central portion of Liberty Station that is home to shopping, restaurants, and gathering spaces. The shop brushes shoulders there with pizzerias, juice bars, burger shops, and breakfast spots, making for a complete shopping experience. 


(619) 758-9272

2401 Truxtun Rd, San Diego, CA 92106