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The word “used” is so passé. We prefer pre-loved when talking about vintage vinyl—it just feels more appropriate. Whatever generation-leaning jargon you’re using to describe vintage vinyl, one thing goes without saying: there is always more music to be discovered amid crates of records packed into the indie shops of America. And audiophiles scouring the best vintage websites and making pilgrimages to the most sought-after record stores never miss a chance to investigate a new vintage vinyl spot. So, for those looking to expand their record collection, these are the best vintage vinyl stores in the U.S.—you can even shop their offerings online.
Waterloo Records, Austin
Deep in the heart of Texas, you’ll find Austin’s own Waterloo Records. A staple for music lovers in the South, Waterloo has been selling pre-loved vinyl since 1982. While in-store shopping here is a rite of passage for record enthusiasts, you can shop their supply online via Amazon, where they have a seller profile for used DVDs, CDs, and records.
Grimey's Music, Nashville
There is no music city more iconic than Nashville, and no Tennessee record store more iconic than Grimey’s Music. Known for their used books and records, you can shop their vintage vinyl—including their underground indie collection—on their webstore as well as on the ground in Nashville. The Nashville shop on East Trinity Lane made headlines this year when Taylor Swift, amidst the pandemic, stepped in to pay employees and supply their health care during the store’s temporary closure.
Stranded Records New York City
Stranded Records has three outposts—one in Oakland, one in San Francisco, and one in New York City. All three storefronts buy and sell vintage vinyl (both in-store and online), while also offering new records. The NYC store, on East 5th Street in NoHo, is a music lovers’ paradise, but visiting all three emporiums certainly earns you an audiophile badge of honor.
Jackpot Records, Portland, Oregon
A favorite among Oregonian audiophiles, Jackpot Records has been a Portland staple since 1997. The new and used vinyl shop has a large selection of punk, but also amazing classic albums that run the genre gamut between folk, rock, and soul. Record fanatics can pre-order vinyl from Jackpot Records to get first dibs on their new offerings—for the most coveted selection, browse the Out of Print section on their website.
Tunnel Records, San Francisco
It’s not a true San Francisco shop unless it’s fusing vintage vinyl with hip beach essentials. That’s exactly what Tunnel Records does—they buy, sell, and trade vinyl to curate a hard-hitting collection of records, while also selling California-chic beach accessories. Newer to the music scene, Tunnel Records opened in 2017, but you’d never know it by their far-reaching musical offerings.
Shangri-La Records, Memphis, Tennessee
While browsing the shops in Nashville, why not double down on the Tennessee music scene and hit a few Memphis record stores as well? Memphis has a few noteworthy record stores, one headliner is Goner Records, and the other is Shangri-La Records. So named because it originally opened as a relaxation space in 1988, Shangri-La pivoted in the ‘90s to carrying albums by independent labels, and today has an expansive new and vintage vinyl collection.
Amoeba Music, Los Angeles
No comprehensive record store list is complete without a mention of Amoeba, and we wouldn’t dare omit this vinyl mothership. Amoeba Music, taking up an entire block of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, has been open since 2001, though they also have locations in Berkeley and San Francisco. While Amoeba doesn’t ship internationally, they are happy to sell mint-condition vintage vinyl online and ship in the 50 states.
Reckless Records, Chicago
Reckless Records has three locations in Chicago: Wicker Park, Lake View, and Millennium Park. And it should be noted that the Wicker Park shop’s interiors served as inspiration for the 2000 High Fidelity movie (the John Cusack one, remember?). It may seem gauche to say that their bread and butter is everything—but really, it is. From early 2000s pop CDs to records from previously unknown bands, Reckless Records—which was originally founded in London, where they still run a SoHo shop—has it all.