Music has long played a role in Seattle’s culture. It is hard to argue that the city isn’t deeply connected to music. Walk around the streets, you are sure to hear someone humming nearby or a busker singing their heart out for change.
There’s been a resurgence of vinyl record sales lately, but Seattle has always been one step ahead in the music game, with many local shops doing business for over 20 years.
To help find the perfect gift for the music lover in your life — or even a rare present just for you — here are some of the best Seattle record stores to visit.
Coffee AND records? Now that’s a treat. Porchlight Coffee and Records not only carries new and used vinyl from a wide variety of bands and labels, but is a label within itself. The label currently supports over five bands and sells their records in store.
Known to some as record heaven, Daybreak Records is a Seattle shop that will not disappoint. Not sure who you want to listen to? Ask the staff. With all genres of music and tons of knowledge, these professional music aficionados will certainly point you in the direction of amazing new artists.
Everyday Music is special in the fact that they specialize in used CDs, DVDs, and records. Bring in music or DVDs that you would like to sell, and they may make an offer. You are sure to find titles that are limited releases or hard to find anywhere else. Since 1995 the company has worked hard to remain independent and not a corporate chain.
A couple of guys with a dream is what started the dog-friendly, independent record mecca. In 1997, during the surge of grunge music, Jason Hughes and Nabil Ayers decided to secure a lease and open Sonic Boom Records. The record store took off when they decided to host in-store performances (which they still host) a year later, in 1998. Since then, Sonic Boom Records has carved its place as a treasure of Seattle. Come down to Sonic Boom to not only sift through history but to stand in it as well.
Shop until you are hungry enough for a meal. Not your average record shop, Easy Street Records is a whole record store, coffee bar and diner rolled into one. With vegetarian options as well as every genre of music available, you will not go wrong with choosing to shop here. The shop stocks new and used CDs, vinyl records, DVDs and BluRays, new books, magazines, and company-branded merchandise. Easy Street Records and Cafe also hosts in-store performances which they stream via their YouTube channel.
Buying, selling, and trading is a cycle at Spin Cycle. The shop opened in 2011 due to the owner’s collection growing out of control. All of the used vinyl in the store is purchased from visitors to the shop who are paid in cash or offered to trade the pieces for store credit. Unlike many other record shops in the area, all items are priced individually at a flat percentage of what it is sold for.
Address: 321 Broadway E, Seattle
Ranked the Best Place to Buy Vinyl in The Weekly’s Best of Seattle Awards, Jive Time has records for all price points. If you are looking for fillers in your collection, the $1 and $3 bins are where you should be headed. Jive Time is the perfect store for people who want to experience Seattle’s best as it was also featured in Rolling Stone Magazine’s Top 25 Record Stores in the USA.
If you find yourself in Georgetown, pop into Georgetown Records. Besides selling records, the spot hosts live music, book signings, and art events with their neighbors, Fantagraphics Books. The shop focuses on used vinyl and buys records on Saturdays from noon to 5 pm. If you are searching for cheap vinyl, Georgetown Records has a well-stocked 50-cent bin that is perfect for anyone who loves a good hunt.
Self-proclaimed as the shop to carry the largest selection of both new and used CDs, DVDs, and vinyl in the Northwest, Silver Platters has such a large collection that it spans three separate locations. The shop offers a view into their catalogue online, where you can sift through their endless collection of music and movies before you head into the store.
When you go into Holy Cow, you are going for the experience. Talk to the staff, they have a seemingly infinite wisdom about various artists. Although most of us avoid the Pike Place area, Holy Cow gives a great reason to visit. The small shop should be your go-to for rare vinyl LPs, 45s, and other music memorabilia.
Sounding more like a dating app than a record store, this is definitely one of the best record shops for all of the punk music lovers. Conveniently located near grunge-era landmarks, the store is outfitted with punk collectibles and thousands of new and used vinyl of all genres. If you can’t seem to find the record that you are looking for, the staff will happily help you order it in.
The best spot for vinyl oldies is Golden Oldies. They specialize in hard-to-find and out-of-print records, as well as having excellent customer service. If you can’t seem to find what you are looking for, let the staff know. They’ll jot down your record collection wish list and notify you if the items are found.
Unique is how to describe Wall of Sound. This is where to find your fix of avant-garde, Japanese, noise, industrial, art-rock, indie, alternative, free-jazz, folk, experimental, world, electronic, and neoclassical music. If you want a record that is sure to impress your fanciest friends, you now know where to go.
Address: 1025 E Pike Street #1C, Seattle
Light in the Attic started out as a record label after Matt, the founder and co-owner had met a Spanish record label owner after an unfortunate crash. They made headway in Seattle after producing sold-out live concerts, gaining them a reputation in the Emerald City. The shop now stocks its own artists, as well as other staff picks. The catalogue is available online.
The best band tees are not from Hot Topic or being sold for $70 at concerts, they are at Zion’s Gate. With over 45,000 items on offer, it is impossible to walk out of there empty-handed. Although they specialize in music of every genre, the store is particularly favored by metalheads due to their great selection of metal subgenres.