10 Best Record Stores in California

California plays home to some of the most significant musical influences in history. So it shouldn't surprise you that it's also home to some of the coolest, most extensive record stores in the country. From legendary stores in Berkeley to low-key record shacks in San Diego, you'll find just the vinyl you're looking for at these 10 record stores in California.  

Amoeba Music, Berkeley, CA

Billed as the world’s largest independent record store, this location is the flagship, first to open in 1990. It is one of three throughout the state. All are huge, offering every kind of music from top 40 to hip-hop, soul, electronica, roots music and experimental music. If you’re looking for that hard-to-find addition to your vinyl collection, you’ll likely find it here. Either wander through the store or scroll through their online catalog.

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Streetlight Records, San Jose, CA

Before music became something you downloaded to an electronic device, music lovers listened to records. For more than 30 years, this store has been a hangout for those record-player holdouts still spinning vinyl. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience with everything from the latest sounds to the oldies and goodies. Special events highlight indie artists. Join the Monthly Vinyl Meet-up Group to listen and chat about records.

Tigers & Daggers Records, Merced, CA

Step inside this funky store and you’re greeted with a mix of good music playing in the background, punk artwork on the walls and bins of punk, indie, metal and pop LPs lining the store. Music buffs can also get guidance on finding just the right sound system for playing records. New stock arrives regularly of both the latest and vintage music. 

Tower District Records, Fresno, CA

The owner of this store, a lifelong collector, is passionate about records. This store features treasures from his collection, as well as records from others looking to sell or trade. The focus is on rock, but you’ll also find jazz, blues, R&B, folk, hard-to-find LPs plus records of the 60s through the 90s. Vintage turntables, receivers and speakers for those looking to jump into the vinyl resurgence. 

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Vinyl Junkies Record Shack, San Diego, CA

Some old, some new, that’s what’s happening at this independent record store. It’s a go-to place for collectors and those new to the vinyl world. Whether you like rock, soul, hip-hop, electronic, jazz, metal or blues, you’ll find something to buy. Owners buy, sell and trade. A pop-up record swap happens bi-monthly at a local rock club, and they have a mobile store as well that pops-up at various record shows. Turntables, stereo gear and memorabilia also part of the store merchandise.

People’s Records, Arcata, CA

The town’s oldest and largest record store opened its doors in 1981 and has been providing all types of music to the community since then. A true old-school vinyl shop, you’ll find an eclectic selection of current and vintage records and albums. They’re proud to say they “don’t discriminate against genres.” Owners also buy, sell and trade new and used records, plus you’ll find turntables and audio equipment.

Armadillo Music, Davis, CA

Let your fingers do the walking through the bins of record albums stacked on tabletops and you’re sure to find that hard-to-find or out-of-print gem that completes a collection. A longstanding business in the downtown community since the 1990s, customers come to browse through the inventory of classical, jazz, reggae, rock, county and punk records. Sign-up for the frequent buyer club for specials on purchases.

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The Record Parlour, Hollywood, CA

The store, smack dab in the heart of Hollywood, is as diverse as the town. It’s quaint, warm, funky ambience is a welcoming invitation to come in and browse. Vintage restored audio gear shares space with more than 15,000 LPs spanning all types and price ranges, organized by title and genre and easy to sort through. There are even $1 bins. Rare jukeboxes, turntables, antique radios, consoles, guitar amps and speakers are scattered throughout for purchase.

Port of Sound Record Shoppe, Costa Mesa, CA

The OC is home to one of the largest collections of vinyl records in the world, at this tiny shoebox of a store. The selection leans more to newer releases and reissues, but original pressings are well-represented. You can buy, sell or trade new and used LPs. If you find something you like, you can take it to the listening center for spin before purchase. Extremely organized inventory makes browsing fun.

The Next Record Stores, Santa Rosa, CA

Spend an hour or a day at this longstanding mainstay of the local community and rediscover the joys of a music store. What begin in the 1970s is still going strong decades later. Stock on hand includes a huge selection of LPs of all kinds. Dig around for a bit and you’re sure to find something you didn’t even know you wanted. The $1 bin is a grab bag of full of surprises. In store performances showcase local musicians.

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