There’s nothing like finding that one vinyl you’ve been searching for.
With so much music available just a phone tap away, people are still craving the experience of buying physical albums. According to Quartz, vinyl sales rose 51% to 41.7 million in 2021! So if you’ve been collecting vinyl for years or if you picked up the habit during lockdown we decided to put together our favorite spots just for you! Here is our list of the
1. Vinyl Junkies Record Shack, South Park
Vinyl Junkies Record Shack is located in the fiercely independent neighborhood of South Park, right across from the popular Whistle Stop Bar. This shop has new, used vinyl, CDs, cassettes, and among them an incredible selection of hard to come by albums! This is a great spot to hang out in, the interior has a mid-century aesthetic and that along with the knowledgeable staff and great gems will definitely have you coming back.
They have a lovely back patio where they regularly host live performances.
Location: 2235 Fern St, San Diego, CA 92104
2. M-Theory Music, Mission Hills
M-Theory is the go-to spot for all things Indie in San Diego! You’ll find this family-owned business in the heart of Misson Hills. Although their indie selection is top-notch, they also carry a range of other genres, this is a great spot to pick out your newest gem. You’ll find both new and used vinyl, CD, cassette, and turntables here! If you can’t find that new release or reissue you were looking for, they can get it. The shop is very active in the local scene and hosts DJs, so you’ll be sure to have a great time at M-Theory.
Location: 827 W Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103
3. FeeLit, East Village
FeeLit is a smaller but stocked downtown shop. You’ll find a diverse selection ranging in genres and decades. They carry brand new and preloved vinyl, cassettes, and CDs. They also have an excellent T-shirt collection and other music memorabilia. FeeLit is a great spot for music lovers who want to connect with the local scene as the shop is very active and regularly hosts events and album release parties. FeeLit also special orders titles that may be out of stock, so it’s a great place to get that hard-to-come-by records.
Location: 909 E Street San Diego, CA 92101
4. Soul Shack Records, Normal Heights
Soul Shack Records is easily one of our favorite music shops. We highly recommend Soul Shack if you’re into hip-hop and soul and funk; they carry so many impressive records you’ll have a great time searching. However, they also have an excellent selection of other genres. Soul Shack also has one of the largest collections of 45 records in the whole city, well over 20,000 45s! Chuck, Mark and Rob
Location: 3535 Adams Ave San Diego, CA 92116
5. Normal Records, East Village
Normal Records is a small San Diego record shop with friendly and helpful staff that keeps its impressive collection organized. Their prices are very affordable, and you’ll see new vinyl at hard-to-beat prices. They have a great range of records, from less mainstream artists like Nujabes to current chart-toppers like Dua Lipa. Normal also carries new and used cassettes and CDs.
Location: 4201 30th St, San Diego, CA 92104
6. Beat Box Records, Barrio Logan
Beat Box Records is a Barrio Logan gem. This cozy spot specializes in vintage vinyl of all types. You’re sure to find rare original pressings among their varied selection. Beat Box Records hosts live music, so be sure to keep an eye out for event dates. After finding a record you can easily stop by The San Diego Vintage Company just behind, and continue your day out in Barrio Logan.
Location: 2148 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113
7. Folk Arts Rare Records, Normal Heights
Folk Arts Rare Records has been over 50 years of experience. This is a one-of-a-kind spot filled to the rim with unique and rare picks of all genres. You’ll find both new and used vinyl. Their prices are very reasonable, they even have some records for under a dollar!
Location: 3072 El Cajon Blvd., San Diego, CA 92104
8. Fivespace, North Park
Fivespace is the best spot in San Diego for rare hip-hop records. The shop is very small and you’ll find a high-quality selection there. You’ll find new and used vinyl as well as an incredible collection of hip-hop tapes!
Location: 2305 University Ave #101 San Diego, CA 92104
9. Nickelodeon Records, Normal Heights
Nickelodeon Records has been around since 1984 with Ruth and Elizabeth at the helm of this Normal Heights institution. You’ll find a variety of records here. Ruth and Elizabeth have a keen eye for the unique. A great example of this is that, behind one section of the shop titled “Music for Dining” is a “Smoking Section,” which is made of artists pictured holding cigarettes. This eclectic shop is a fantastic option if you’re looking for a unique selection of folk and rock.
Location: 3335 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116
10. Red Brontosaurus Records, North Park
Red Brontosaurus is a unique spot since they specialize in punk, pop-punk, hardcore vinyl, and other subgenres of rock. However, you can find different genres of records here too. You can also find a wide selection of preowned video games and consoles, as well as VHS and blu-rays.
Location: 3044 N Park Way, San Diego, CA 92104
11. Cow Records, Ocean Beach
You’ll know you’re in the right place when you spot the wood-paneled walls adorning this eclectic shop. Cow Records carries a fantastic selection of new and used vinyl, as well as CDs, cassettes, and DVDs. They have a lot of classic rock here, so if that’s what you’re looking for this is a perfect place for you. Cow Records truly feels like a slice of Bohemian SoCal life. You’ll have a wonderful time exploring different titles and then heading to the coast only a few blocks away.
Location: 5040 Newport Avenue, San Diego, CA 92107
12. Re-Animated Records, La Mesa
Re-Animated Records is a family-run business in La Mesa. You’ll find new and used vinyl, cassettes, and CDs in a range of genres. They also have DVDs and VHS perfect for your next movie night! Speaking of which, Animated has a fantastic selection of all things horror movies, like vintage T-shirts and posters.
Location: 8320 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942
13.TAANG! Records, Hillcrest
TAANG! Records is both an excellent shop where you can buy new, used and rare original pressings as well as the headquarters for its own label of the same name. Its founder Curtis Casella has an amazing collection of rare punk vinyl, which is a real treat for punk fans.
Location: 3834 5th Avenue, San Diego, CA 92103
14. Full Contact Rock-N-Roll, North Park
As their name implies, Full Contact is all about Rock-N-Roll! Their atmospheric shop is in a repurposed house. Each of the rooms is completely filled with all the records and cassettes you could want. You’ll also find an amazing vintage band t-shirt collection and other fun merch!
Location: 2834 N Park Way, San Diego, CA 92104
15. Record City, Hillcrest
Record City has been in the business for almost 20 years. They have an excellent collection of popular genres on vinyl, CD, and cassette, DVDs, and VHS tapes! Their band t-shirt collection is fantastic, and you can find an awesome quality tee for just 12 bucks! However, many customers have complained that both customers and employees don’t always keep their masks on, so do keep an eye out for that.
Location: 3757 6th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103
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