Record stores used to be absolutely everyone, just as common as smartphone or tech stores nowadays, but as digital music started to take off, record store chains and independent locations began to fade away from city streets. Now, fortunately for music lovers, the concept of collecting records and seeking out vinyl, CDs, and music paraphernalia is starting to become more popular once again, with the music collection world witnessing something of a renaissance. Whether you’re a seasoned collector looking for the rarest records or just a casual music fan looking for a good place to shop, here are five of America’s best record stores.
If you’re in New York City, you’ve got a whole lot of options when it comes to record stores, but Good Records, over in the East Village, is by far one of the very best. An often overlooked treasure, Good Records has quite a subtle and subdued exterior compared to the neon signs and graffiti-covered walls of some other popular record stores around the city, but behind that mild-mannered exterior hides a whole lot of heart.
Records utterly fill the shop, which is neatly organized and arranged to help customers find exactly what they’re looking for, and you’ll find a huge variety of genres here too.
Several generations of music-loving Chicagoans (or Chicagoites, depending on who you talk to) have fallen in love with Reckless Records over the years. For about three decades now, it’s been the Windy City’s number one spot for vinyl and CDs, offering plenty of DVDs and other musical goods too.
It’s a record lover’s paradise, with bins and boxes and shelves utterly filled with old vinyl, and many frequent shoppers cite the store’s chilled out vibe as one of the reasons they come back time and time again.
It’s definitely got an odd name, but Electric Fetus is by far one of the best spots for record hunters in the Twin Cities. Prince himself used to shop here and was even spotted strutting off with a handful of CDs just a week before his death. Opened in ’68, Electric Fetus is a small chain, with a separate location over in Duluth.
It offers LPs, CDs, DVDs, and all kinds of music-related items like toys, clothing, and accessories. In short, for all your music needs in Minneapolis, Electric Fetus has got you covered.
A list of America’s top record stores just wouldn’t be right without featuring a spot from Music City itself. Grimey’s New & Preloved Music is beloved by locals for its friendly and knowledgeable staff; the people who work here really know their stuff and are committed to offering the best experiences for their customers, always eager to take on new challenges and seek out rare gems on request.
It’s actually become one of the top attractions to see in Nashville, even for those who aren’t all that interested in collecting records, and it hosts a range of in-store live performances from the likes of John Hiatt and Will Hoge too.
The home of the grunge scene, Seattle has played a special role in the development of music in the United States, so it’s only fitting that it houses one of the country’s finest indie record shops too, which also doubles up as a cafe.
A highly unique location serving up a fun menu of musical-related brunch snacks like Dolly Parton pancakes and James (Hash) Browns, Easy Street Records & Cafe is the sort of place you can spend hours and hours searching through reams of CDs and records, never needing to worry about getting hungry or thirsty along the way.