These are the ten best record stores in the world that every music lover should visit at least once.
There is something so magical about taking a new record out of its case, placing it on a record player, dropping the needle, and hearing the melodic sounds escape. Sure, records are available online, but there is something truly special about stepping into a record store and discovering new music in person.
Some music lovers travel far and wide for concerts, including the most iconic UK music festivals and Australia’s most famous music festivals. Some people even travel to Liverpool to see Beatles-themed attractions. Another exciting vacation idea for music enthusiasts is a record store road trip across America, traveling from Nashville to Memphis or Seattle to Portland.
There are spectacular record stores worth visiting all over the world, however. Below are ten record stores every music lover should visit at least once.
There are plenty of essential Australian experiences to have when visiting Australia, including feeding dolphins in Monkey Mia and learning to surf in Byron Bay. Music lovers who find themselves in Melbourne must visit Wax Museum Records. This record shop features a wide variety of music, including rap/hip-hop, electronic, dub/reggae, rock/pop, jazz, and funk/soul. Wax Museum Records also sells several books and magazines- a perfect souvenir.
This record store also prides itself in promoting and nurturing local creative talent, so be sure to check out the unique selection of locally produced music.
Paris is filled with underrated places to visit, including the local record shops. In Superfly Records, colorful record sleeves line the walls while catchy tunes flow through the store’s speakers. The store is well stocked with soul, funk, disco, jazz, and Latin albums.
To get a feel for Superfly Records before visiting, check out the store’s blog, which features “dig of the week” posts, music videos, and various blog posts.
Reckless Records has been a Chicago staple since 1989. There are currently three locations throughout the Chicago area, specifically Lakeview, The Loop, and Wicker Park. The Wicker Park location is surrounded by some of Chicago’s finest shops, restaurants, and vintage stores, making it the perfect spot to spend an afternoon.
With posters lining the walls, light reflecting in from the large store windows, and endless rows of vinyl, CDs, and DVDs lining the store, this record shop provides a unique and enjoyable atmosphere.
South Africa’s Cape Town is known for its spectacular natural attractions, such as Table Mountain National Park and Signal Hill. One of Cape Town’s stellar indoor attractions, however, is Mabu Vinyl. From bright orange walls to rainbow-colored records to posters plastered on every wall, Mabu Vinyl exudes a fun and playful vibe. This shop specializes in vintage and pre-owned vinyl, making it a great spot to hunt for rare and vintage records.
Rough Trade West in London, England, is perfect for all music lovers. This shop sells a mix of mainstream and experimental vinyl and CDs. The shop also possesses a large collection of signed books, musician memoirs, art books, and magazines. Rough Trade West has endless music genres to choose from when looking for new music, including alternative, metal, psychedelic, new wave, house, blues, and Krautrock.
Travelers looking for unique souvenirs will appreciate Rough Trade’s vast collection of shop merch, including Rough Trade sweatshirts, stickers, keychains, guitar picks, and beanies.
Tower Records is the largest record store in Tokyo, stretching across seven floors! The first floor primarily features K-pop albums and record players. Vacationers looking to explore a new genre should check out Tower Records’ collection of Japanese hip-hop CDs and records, as well as Japanese contemporary music. Tower Records also contains a large collection of anime soundtracks on vinyl.
After purchasing a vinyl at Tower Records, continue shopping for the other amazing things worth buying in Tokyo, including Omamori charms and Japanese beauty products.
The iconic Waterloo Records in Austin, Texas, is the best spot to search for alt/indie, rock/pop, country/folk, R&B/soul, and rap/hip-hop records. The store is always well stocked with both mainstream and lesser-known albums. Waterloo Records’ website features the option to preorder upcoming releases, a helpful option for vinyl collectors.
What makes this record shop so unique is its in-person events. Waterloo Records hosts plenty of record signings and in-store performances by talented musicians.
Amoeba Music is an indie music lover’s paradise. While Amoeba sells a wide variety of music, from bluegrass to gospel to kids’ music, their selection of indie and alternative records is unmatched.
Amoeba Music should be added to every music lover’s bucket list due to the shop’s frequent free concerts. A full schedule of upcoming shows can be found on Amoeba Music’s website. Vacationers looking for a keepsake to remember their trip will enjoy the record shop’s merch collection, featuring t-shirts, posters, keychains, stickers, and iron-on patches.
When embarking on unique things to do in Buenos Aires, travelers should set aside time to stop by Eureka Records. This unique record shop offers up an ambiance that is unmatched by other stores. The interior of the shop features soothing warm lighting, hundreds of colorful records dangling from the ceiling, album art pasted along the tiled floors, and a mind-blowing selection of records lining the walls. Eureka Records is a great spot to search for unique records and explore new genres of music.
A truly legendary record store is 12 Tónar in Reykjavík, Iceland. Tónar has been around since 1998 and is a major part of Iceland’s music scene. This unique record store doubles as an indie music label. Guests can shop for records, catch a live show, and even grab a cup of coffee at this all-in-one store. Guests looking for a souvenir are in luck; 12 Tónar sells t-shirts, postcards, and tote bags.
Steffi Haenicke is a freelance writer. No stranger to list content, Haenicke wrote several list articles while working at Clique Magazine, a fashion and lifestyle digital magazine. Haenicke is also quite the traveler. She makes a biennial trek to Germany to visit relatives and explore the country.