LifeMinute’s List of Best Places to Shop for Vinyl Records
Our list of favorite spots around the country to shop for your favorite vinyl gems
From the LifeMinute.TV Team
August 12, 2021
In honor of National Vinyl Record Day, which happens annually on August 12th, Lifeminute.tv is bringing you our list of favorite spots around the country to shop for your favorite vinyl gems.
Music enthusiast Gary Freiberg created National Vinyl Record Day as a way to honor the art behind vinyl music, as well as collecting and recording it. "The objective of Vinyl Record Day is to remember that whatever we go through, on a personal or national level, life has its goodness," explains Freiberg. "Music is the primary vehicle to our fondest memories. Vinyl Record Day is to celebrate and remember them,” he says.
Our list begins in the Garden State in historic downtown Princeton, NJ. Open since 1980, Princeton Record Exchange is only one hour from New York City and Philadelphia. It boasts an inventory of more than 100,000 LPs, CDs, and DVDs, and it's been consistently ranked near the top on best-of lists compiled by national sources, including Rolling Stone, CNN, Time Magazine, and USA Today. prex.com
Not far from Princeton, across the Hudson River, you can find many a place in Manhattan for new and used vinyl. But one of our favorites is Academy Records, along with their sister store in Brooklyn, Academy Record Annex. The crew at Academy have earned a stellar reputation not only for having a wide variety to choose from but also for their honesty with customers looking to sell or trade their collections. The Manhattan location is on E 12th Street, and the Brooklyn location is on Oak Street. academy-lps.com
Travel north to New England and be sure to make a stop at Newbury Comics on, you guessed it, Newbury Street. This is the original location and the flagship store of the chain. Newbury Comics has at least 29 locations in six states in the northeast. It was founded in 1978 as a comic book shop but expanded not long after to include vinyl along with all things pop culture. newburycomics.com
Moving in the midwest, we stop in Detroit, MI, to pay homage to Third Man Records. The store opened in 2015 in conjunction with the Third Man record label, launched in 2001 by renowned musician Jack White. The MI store is located in Detroit's historic Cass Corridor neighborhood and is home to a record and novelties lounge, mastering studio, and the Third Man Pressing manufacturing facility. One of the coolest features of the store is the 1947 Voice-o-Graph recording booth. Patrons can record themselves on this piece of history. If you're in the area, Third Man Records is a must-stop, and tours are available. There is also a location in Nashville, TN, which opened in 2009. Among other things, it is home to a record store and label offices. thirdmanrecords.com
A little further west in Chicago, IL, is Reckless Records. They have been in operation for more than 30 years and have expanded to three locations. The shop originated in London, UK, but the first shop in Chicago opened in 1988. To say they have a vast inventory among their three locations in Lakeview, Wicker Park, and the Loop is a huge understatement. On an interesting side note, it is said that the Wicker Park shop's layout served as partial inspiration for the record store in the John Cusack film High Fidelity. reckless.com
The Electric Fetus in Minneapolis, MN, opened its doors in 1968. Although it has had some tumultuous times and run-ins with the law, it has done nothing to prevent them from becoming one of the preeminent vinyl shops in the country. It is said to have been one of Prince's favorite local record shops. electricfetus.com
Travel south to our nation's capital of country music, Nashville, TN, and you will find a plethora of spots for vinyl. One of our favs is Ernest Tubb Record Shop, which has been in business for more than 74 years! It's known for having great vinyl in stock and for hosting the Midnite Jamboree. The jamboree is the 2nd longest-running radio show in history and is broadcast live from the back of the store every Saturday at 10 pm. Admission is free, and you can tune in to hear it on WSM 650. ernesttubb.com. Also in Nashville is Grimey's New & Preloved Music, in a renovated church on Trinity Lane. Their vinyl offerings can be found on the main level, while books, and some music, can be found downstairs. Aside from a wonderful selection, they've offered free beer on Saturday nights, making this the place to be. grimeys.com
Heading to Texas, one has to stop in Austin, the self-proclaimed "Live Music Capital of the World." With live music comes one of the most respected and renowned stores in the country, Waterloo Records. In business since 1982, Waterloo Records has been servicing the people of Austin with choice vinyl selections, CDs, and videos. The store is also known for booking stellar acts over the years for in-store performances. Artists who have played here include Rosanne Cash, Lyle Lovett, alternative rockers Spoon, and outlaw country legends like Willie Nelson and Billy Joe Shaver. Also, keep an eye out for Vinyl Happy Hour every Tuesday, where you get 10% off non-sale vinyl between 7 pm and 11 pm. waterloorecords.com
We can't talk about vinyl without mentioning the largest independent record store in the world, Amoeba Music. It opened in Berkeley, CA, in 1990, expanding to San Francisco in 1997 and then to Hollywood in 2001. In 2021, the Hollywood location moved from Sunset Blvd. to Hollywood Blvd. In 2007, Sir Paul McCartney played an unannounced show in the original Hollywood location. It was first released as an EP called Amoeba's Secret. And then later, in 2019, the concert was released in its entirety as Amoeba Gig. Amoeba is also known for its YouTube web show "What's In My Bag," which follows famous customers around the store as they make purchases. amoeba.com
Last but certainly not least, on our list of favorite vinyl shops is Easy Street Records in Seattle, WA. A favorite haunt of Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder (who helped work a shift at the counter in 1995 selling Mariners tickets and music), the store is a music and vinyl lovers haven. Located directly next door is Easy Street Cafe that serves up delicious music-themed dishes like the Hank Williams Western Omelet, James Browns (hash browns), and Hall and Oats (oatmeal and a side of fruit served with bacon and toast). easystreetonline.com