27 Breathtaking Record Stores You Have To Shop At Before You Die

Surely the best thing about traveling the world is finding all the best record shops, right?

1. Amoeba Music in Los Angeles, California

ID: 1508741

The world-renowned Amoeba Records lives up to its hype. With a frequently changing stock of new and used media, you can basically get whatever you want here. Oh, and did I mention that it’s gigantic? The entire store is 24,000 square feet and houses over 100,000 CDs, vinyl records, cassettes, DVDs, laser discs, and more.

ID: 1508912

2. 12 Tonar in Reykjavik, Iceland

ID: 1504903

Like many small record shops, 12 Tonar doubles as a label for local Icelandic acts. While it might not be impressive in size, it is incredibly influential and serves as a meeting place for musicians like Björk and Sigur Rós.

ID: 1509079

3. Aquarius Records in San Francisco, California

ID: 1504924

Aquarius Records has been a fixture of San Francisco’s music scene since 1970, making it one of the longest-running record shops in the United States. The store carries a wide range of stock, but is most famous for its extensive selection of psychedelia, metal, and drone music.

ID: 1509109

4. Tower Records in Tokyo, Japan

ID: 1504996

For many, Tower Records was the place to discover music. Tower shuttered in 2006 after 46 years of existence — that is, everywhere except Tokyo! Japan is known for its incredible record stock, so I can only assume its Tower Records is one of the best to ever exist. Like, ever.

ID: 1509182

5. Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, New Jersey

ID: 1519203

Heaven is a place on earth! Perhaps the most uncreative name for any music store ever — Princeton Record Store Exchange gets straight to the point — affordable albums of every genre for every music fan. If you’re in the market for rarities, look no further.

ID: 1509223

6. Spacehall in Berlin, Germany

ID: 1515892

You cannot even begin to talk techno or house or dub or any electronic music for that matter without bringing up Berlin’s Spacehall. The beautiful minimalist design of the store suits its refined, highly stylish musical aesthetic.

ID: 1509284

7. The Thing in Brooklyn, New York

ID: 1505222

A crate digger’s dream: The Thing in Brooklyn appears to be a regular secondhand store… that is, until you walk into the back room and uncover stacks on stacks on stacks of records. A lot of its stock isn’t in the best condition, but that doesn’t even matter. if you spend a few hours in there you’re sure to strike gold. And unlike other NYC institutions like Other Music, Academy Records and Kim’s, it’s doubtful you’ll find another store on Earth anything like it.

ID: 1509297

8. Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas

ID: 1505406

It makes sense that the “live musical capital of the world” would be the home of a record shop famous for hosting amazing in-store performances. Even better, Waterloo is a truly massive shop that you could get lost in for hours.

ID: 1509310

9. Forever Young Records in Grand Prairie, Texas / Via Pitchfork
ID: 1505482

Forever Young is so massive that it’s more like a permanent record fair than a regular record store. Located in the middle of Grand Prairie, Texas in a series of strip malls, the store represents that if you look hard enough, you can find an amazing record store anywhere.

ID: 1509325

10. Mabu Vinyl in Capetown, South Africa

ID: 1512735

Mabu Vinyl is a must music shopping in South Africa. Spanning genre, mediums, and decades, its beautiful store has something for everyone. They even have a large stock of music-related zines.

ID: 1514921

11. Pet Sounds in Stockholm, Sweden

ID: 1512800

Everyone knows Sweden is the greatest place on earth for music, so the fact that both Stockholm and Gothenberg are hubs for independent music stores is totally predictable, but completely awesome. Pet Sounds in the nation’s capital is arguably the best of them all, and often doubles as a bar in the evening.

ID: 1514946

12. Reckless Records in Chicago, Illinois

ID: 1507932

There’s no shortage of record stores in Chicago, but Reckless just happens to have one of the town’s most active, and the inspiration for Championship Vinyl in High Fidelity. After opening in 1989, the store has branched off into two additional locations, but just make sure to check out the original on Broadway.

ID: 1509531

13. Mississippi Records in Portland, Oregon

ID: 1508141

Mississippi Records is nowhere near the largest record store in Portland — that distinction goes to Jackpot — but it’s definitely the most interesting. The store began as a label specializing in music from Thailand and West Africa, but the shop stocks a wide range of obscure and amazing music, including old blues, country, and folk.

ID: 1509683

14. Grimey’s in Nashville, Tennessee

ID: 1508215

Nashville is a town of institutions and Grimey’s is no exception. It’s a store beloved by the city’s residents, and has a sort of hometown family feel. And who knows? Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll visit at the same time as locals like Taylor Swift or Ke$ha.

ID: 1509975

15. Electric Fetus in Minneapolis, Minnesota

ID: 1508799

1) Electric Fetus is the best name for anything, ever. 2) It’s so awesome to know that a town that hosts THE MALL OF AMERICA can also support an independent record store. 3) For music fans in the Midwest, this is the go to. 4) For people on tour, it’s a lifesaver.

ID: 1510181

16. Rough Trade East in London, England

ID: 1508652

When they say England invented punk rock, they’re probably just talking about Rough Trade East. Countless legends have walked through those doors, many of them have played inside. The images and memorabilia on the walls are museum worthy, making this a necessary pilgrimage for all music nerds.

ID: 1510107

17. Exiles Records in Buenos Aires, Argentina

ID: 1510657

The number of independent music stores in Buenos Aires rivals that of the largest cities in the United States. Exiles Records specialize in all things indie while still accurately representing Argentina’s impressive musical history. The store truly might be one of the best on the continent.

ID: 1514629

18. Retroactive Records in Mexico City, Mexico

ID: 1512453

Retroactive Records has been around since 2004, holds about 36,000 titles at any given moment, and exclusively carries vinyl. While some shops begin as labels, Retroactive is going in the opposite direction, and is planning to launch a reissue label in the near future.

ID: 1514668

19. Flake Records in Osaka, Japan

ID: 1515921

Japan’s third largest city is also one of its most dynamic, and a hub for record collectors everywhere. Flake Records is especially representative of that, and is known for being a treasure trove of rare imports.

ID: 1514774

20. Souffle Continu in Paris, France

ID: 1512856

Souffle Continu is a gorgeous record store in the heart of Paris with a name that translates roughly to “continuous breath.” The shop, which has a striking modernist design, stocks a wide range of current independent artists from around the world while promoting and celebrating its local acts.

ID: 1515006

21. Keltainen Jäänsärkijä in Helsinki, Finland

ID: 1512964

Keltainen Jäänsärkijä is an eclectic shop proves Finland isn’t all black metal, and regularly updates its stock for the latest and best in rock and pop.

ID: 1515027

22. Purple Record in Seoul, South Korea

ID: 1513363

Purple Record specializes in independent music, and is extremely popular with visitors to South Korea. It’s also just minutes away from Hongik University, so expect a crowd of arty college students perusing the shelves.

ID: 1515162

23. Love Music in Glasgow, Scotland

ID: 1513488

Scotland may have invented indie pop, but they’ve certainly perfected the sale of it. Love Music is the twee-est name for any record store ever, but don’t let it fool you: A careful eye could find just about anything here.

ID: 1515204

24. Piccadilly Records in Manchester, England

ID: 1513539

Piccadilly Records is great for many reasons, but the one that might be most noteworthy is that it is well known and respected for having a GENUINELY FRIENDLY STAFF. Like, when’s the last time you went to a record store and the clerks were pleasant?

ID: 1515245

25. Elastic Witch in Dublin, Ireland

ID: 1513593

Elastic Witch in Dublin prides itself on having the latest and greatest in independent music, acting as both a community space and a discovery zone for all curious shoppers.

ID: 1515299

26. Atom Heart in Montreal, Quebec

ID: 1513638

In recent years, Montreal has proven to be a mecca for all thing indie electro pop, Atom Heart lives up to the title. Its European decor invites shoppers in, but the diverse selection keeps them there.

ID: 1515369

27. Pushkinskaya 10 in St. Petersburg, Russia

ID: 1513727

While Russia’s relationship with punk rock isn’t the best — just ask Pussy Riot — it is reassuring to know that spaces like Pushkinskaya 10 exist. More of a community arts center than record store, the space allows people young and old to explore underground interests and ideas.

ID: 1515416

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