There really is no better way to listen to music than on a classic record. With crisper sound, iconic album art you can hold in your hands, and even autographed covers for the lucky, vinyls are still a superior way to savor music. In a city as big as New York, it can take tons of time to find a store with a good variety, or even that limited edition vinyl you’ve been searching for. For this guide, we’ve compiled the best of the best record stores in NYC to make discovering epic sounds exciting yet effortless (and every bit worth it).
1. Stranded Records NYC, East Village
Known as one of the best of the record stores in NYC, Stranded Records certainly won’t leave you stranded for choice! With wall-to-wall options of both “New Arrivals” and “Best Selling” records, looking through records here is made simple thanks to their organization. Their online catalog is also a perfect place to start, which allows you to check out their inventory before you head to the store. What sets Stranded Records apart from the crowd is their access to international records you likely won’t find anywhere else. Thanks to their cross-country connection to a sister location in San Francisco, they have some rare gems in-store. They even offer an extremely limited selection of music books and zines that will thrill any collector.
Where: 218 E 5th St
2. Rough Trade NYC, Midtown
Rough Trade NYC might be one of the most recognizable record store names in NYC (and even the entire country!), and their location in Rockefeller Center is a heaven for vinyl and music lovers. They have a mind-blowing assortment of new and older records to browse through and also carry exclusive album editions, memorabilia, posters, and more. Why we love it in particular though is the different music events they also host. From live performances to album signings, Rough Trade brings in huge artists to create intimate experiences for music fans. Check out their website to see what events are coming up and to browse their vinyl inventory!
Where: 30 Rockefeller Plaza 6th Avenue
3. Village Revival Records, Greenwich Village
If you’re a jazz-fanatic seeking the best place to find your kind of records, Village Revival Records is the perfect spot for you. With piano tunes playing in store as an added bonus, you’ll be able to unearth all your long-time favorite artists while discovering dozens of new ones with ease. Operating for 30+ years in the heart of Greenwich Village, Village Revival is family owned and operated, and offers the family charm to all their customers. If you’re looking for something in particular you’ll probably be in luck, but if you’re up for some fun, we suggest buying one of their Mystery Vinyl LPs or CDs which puts your next find in the hands of fate!
Where: 197 Bleecker St
4. Westsider Records, UWS
For a one-stop music shop that caters to any taste, Westsider Records promises you won’t leave empty-handed! Specializing in LPs and CDs in all genres, even the most picky music connoisseur will discover something worth snatching up. Although they have a bit of everything, some of their main genres are opera, classical music, jazz, popular music, and theater. If the classics aren’t your style, they have a fine offering of R&B and rock options as well. No matter what era and artist you’re on the hunt for, you’ll certainly find something to take home. Plus, the owner Bruce oozes passion for music and offers tons of budget friendly options and discounts. This is definitely a great spot to meet other music lovers and chat about different vinyls.
Where: 233 W 72nd St
5. Academy Records, East Village
When you’re in need of a place to sell records in NYC, Academy Records is top-tier and offers competitive prices! Being one of NYC’s two longest-running record shops, Academy thrives by upholding its reputation of paying the best prices for used vinyl. With both an East Village and Brooklyn location, and cash paid on the spot, Academy takes the questioning out of just how much your old vinyl is really worth. You can sell to them seven days a week, and they are even willing to travel anywhere in the Tri-State area for larger collections. They even purchase music related memorabilia from all eras, like T-shirts to posters to magazines, so the selling opportunities here are endless.
Where: 415 E 12th St
6. Generation Records, Greenwich Village
With over 8,000 unique records for sale, and many of them at a great price, Generation Records is a deal-hunter’s dream. Specializing in rock and roll, this record store allows you to shop with like-minded souls for all sorts of sounds. With stocked shelves full of punk, hardcore, black metal, alternative rock, and indie rock being just the tip of the iceberg, you can get lost in the rock styles alone. But don’t worry, there’s still plenty here for lovers of other genres! They have over 1,000 electronic selections, and hundreds of jazz, pop, funk and soul records too! The best part of this store though is the care they show their records, with the vast majority of their inventory being Mint or Near-Mint.
Where: 210 Thompson St
7. Mercer Street Books & Records, Greenwich Village
If you’re in search of rare music books, magazines, and more, Mercer Street Books and Records promises you one-of-a-kind finds. Fully staffed by writers from a variety of fields, Mercer Street is where all the culture of the city settles, waiting to be unearthed. They’ve been around for over 20 years and have some of the most interesting books and employees in all of NYC.
Where: 206 Mercer St
8. Human Head Records, East Williamsburg
From first-timers to seasoned audiophiles, Human Head Records caters to all customers’ needs and is one of our favorite record stores in NYC. With over 5,000 pieces of new and used records to pick from, and all at the fairest prices around, you get a true bang for your buck. Plus, with discount bins filled with lost treasures waiting to be rediscovered, you never know what you might find. Owners even warn that they sell so many vinyls that they’re not even entirely sure what’s in stock. If only you needed another reason stop by, you may find a hidden gem!
Where: 289 Meserole St, Brooklyn
9. Brooklyn Record Exchange, East Williamsburg
Brooklyn Record Exchange is a record space in collaboration with NYC record label Mexican Summer. Located in the same eclectic venue as Elsewhere in Bushwick, this w00d-paneled store is full of the latest releases from the label alongside tons of other vinyls, films, books, and more. This NYC record store fits right in with the vibes of the surrounding Bushwick neighborhood and is a great spot to uncover some brand new tunes. They also just opened a second location in Greenpoint in June!
Bushwick – 599 Johnson Ave
Greenpoint – 87 Guernsey St
10. Vinyl Fantasy, Bushwick
Last but not least on our list is Vinyl Fantasy, a vinyl and comic book store combo you didn’t know you needed. Shop everything from records across all genres all the way to music magazines and of course, comic books. We love the idea of snagging a new vinyl and graphic novel in the same outing, and having some “me-time!” They also offer exclusive items as well as fun music accessories like cassette tapes, stickers, postcards, and so much more! Be sure to check out their Bushwick location to see what they have in-store.
Where: 194 Knickerbocker Ave