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Your Guide to 11 Record Stores in the DC Area

Where to spend a day sifting through new and used albums to build your vinyl collection.

Byrdland record store. Photograph by Eric Weed.

If you grew up in DC during the 1980s, you remember when record stores were popular and plentiful. You couldn’t walk a block in Georgetown or Dupont Circle without hitting at least one new- or used-­vinyl shop. Even in the wake of streaming services, you’d be mistaken if you thought record stores had gone the way of the dodo. Vinyl sales have rebounded enough that there’s still a healthy supply of independent stores in the Washington area. If you’re looking to drop a needle on some new-to-you tracks, follow these itineraries and pretend it’s the ’80s all over again.


Total distance: 6.5 miles

You don’t need to leave the city to navigate this group of stores.


HR Records

location_on 702 Kennedy St. NW

language Website

Photograph by Magdalena Papaioannou.

Looking for rare jazz and R&B? If you follow HR on Instagram, you know it regularly acquires heavy hitters such as Funkadelic original pressings as well as records from the legendary local jazz label Black Fire. In fact, the shop’s owner co-produced a documentary about the imprint, which has influenced jazz and hip-hop artists around the world.

Hours: Monday through Thursday 1 to 7, Friday 1 to 8, Saturday 11 to 8, Sunday noon to 6.


Smash Records

location_on 2314 18th St., NW

language Website

Photograph by Magdalena Papaioannou.

Since its early days in Georgetown, this store has been a must-visit for punk, hard-core, and metal collectors. In addition to T-shirts and other music memorabilia, you can even pick up a skateboard.

Hours: Monday through Thursday noon to 8, Friday and Saturday noon to 9, Sunday noon to 7.


Joint Custody

location_on 1530 U St., NW

language Website

Photograph by Magdalena Papaioannou.

There’s a strong selection of punk, R&B, and DC artists, but what distinguishes this shop are the rare punk zines and a wide selection of vintage concert-tour T-shirts.

Hours: Daily noon to 8.


Som Records

location_on 1843 14th St., NW

language Website

Photograph by Magdalena Papaioannou.

This 14th Street basement is small but well curated, with a focus on jazz, R&B, and Brazilian music. Searching for a discount gem? The dollar bin is more varied than any thrift store in town.

Hours: Monday through Saturday noon to 7, Sunday noon to 6.


Byrdland Records

location_on 1264 Fifth St., NE

language Website

Photograph by Magdalena Papaioannou.

This shop near Union Market is run by the same folks as the intimate music venue Songbyrd, down the street. The store operates the New Columbia Record Club, bringing the mail-order vinyl clubs of yore into the 21st century.

Hours: Tuesday through Thursday noon to 8, Friday and Saturday 11 to 9, Sunday 11 to 8.


Silver Spring

Total distance: 1 mile

For an itinerary you can tackle on foot, head to downtown Silver Spring, where record shops are clustered close to one another for easy access without wheels.


Joe’s Record Paradise

location_on 8700 Georgia Ave.

language Website

Photograph by Magdalena Papaioannou.

After years of wandering around Montgomery County, this longtime favorite has a current home that’s as big as ever and better organized. The inventory in the massive basement space includes plenty of releases by local artists, plus vintage memorabilia, from posters to press photos.

Hours: Friday and Saturday noon to 8, Sunday noon to 6.


Record Exchange Silver Spring

location_on 8642 Colesville Rd.

language Website

Photograph by Magdalena Papaioannou.

The shop has a well-curated selection, but the real draw is the bargain room. With thousands of dollar albums and cheap CDs, you could spend all day exploring the offerings.

Hours: Wednesday through Friday noon to 6, Saturday 11 to 6, Sunday noon to 6


Bump ’n Grind

location_on 900 Wayne Ave.

language Website

Photograph by Magdalena Papaioannou.

This hybrid coffee shop/record store has two locations in Silver Spring. The permanent shop, inside Silver Spring Library, provides a fix of java and vinyl, and a pop-up down the street (923 Gist Ave.) operates in a former estate-sale venue Thursday through Sunday.

Hours: Daily 8 to 6.


Northern Virginia

Total distance: 29 miles

Hop in the car for this vinyl adventure that weaves through Virginia.


CD Cellar

location_on 105 Park Ave., Falls Church

language Website

Photograph by steve loya/Flickr.

This shop was born in the digital era but still has one of the area’s biggest selections of vinyl. The deep and varied inventory is available at a wide range of prices.

Hours: Monday through Saturday 10 to 6, Sunday 11 to 6.


Mobius Records

location_on 10409-D Main St., Fairfax

language Website

Photograph of Mobius by Dempsey Hamilton.

This full-service store not only sells new and used vinyl, but you can also have it flatten warped LPs and clean your dusty grooves on heavy-duty machines. It also stocks new merchandise, including lava lamps and T-shirts featuring Dischord Records bands Minor Threat and Void.

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 11 to 6, Sunday and Monday noon to 5.


Crooked Beat Records

location_on 2417 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria

language Website

Photograph of Crooked Beat by Brandon Hirsch/Flickr.

A former Adams Morgan staple, this shop has left its original location for more spacious pastures. Now it has additional storage for memorabilia and plenty of elbow room for digging through the bins.

Hours: Monday through Wednesday 1:30 to 7, Thursday through Saturday noon to 7, Sunday noon to 6.

Compact Discs

Along with the renaissance of records, compact discs are having a revival, thanks to Gen-Z’s infatuation with all things 2000s. The format tends to be less expensive than vinyl, and the resurgence means a gold rush for cheap used CDs at thrift stores. Any of your major thrift chains, from Value Village to Goodwill, will have a good selection. Some record shops also offer small but carefully selected used-CD collections. Locations hawking vintage discs include Red Onion Records (4208 Gallatin St., Hyattsville), Sonidos! Music & More (11011-B Baltimore Ave., Beltsville), and CD Cellar (105 Park Ave., Falls Church).


Cassette Tapes

For diehard vintage-music fans, most of the record shops listed here are likely to have a handful of cassettes for sale. Because production costs are much cheaper than for records, many contemporary bands are now releasing new albums on tape, from major-label efforts (think the Guardians of the Galaxy movie mixtape) to a slew of independent artists on Bandcamp. But perhaps you’re wondering: What do you play tapes on in 2023? The cassette company We Are Rewind has resurrected the Walkman with a Bluetooth-friendly portable player that comes in three colors ($164). Thrift stores are also good spots to find used players, along with some tapes to pop inside. For those looking to blare their cassettes on a new boom box, we recommend the Panasonic RX-D55GC-K ($165).

This article appears in the November 2023 issue of Washingtonian.