Georgetown Records. Photograph by Amy Vaughn.
Jump to Your Neighborhood:
Ballard / Belltown / Capitol Hill / Central District / Columbia City / Denny Triangle / Downtown / Fremont / Georgetown / Greenwood / Greenlake / Lake City / Lower Queen Anne / Phinney Ridge / Ravenna / SoDo / University District / Wallingford / West Seattle
Since the longtime Bop Street Records closed, Ballard’s main drags have only one record store. Luckily, it’s one of the best in the city. At Sonic Boom you’ll find a big catalogue—both deep and ranging—along with excellent in-store concerts (when such things are allowed).
This little shop lives in the back of Chocolat Vitale, which sells chocolates, coffees, and other fineries. With relatively few crates, Stumbletown manages to cram a lot of albums many vinyl buyers will seek (if they don’t own them already), like Roxy Music, the Replacements, and Wu-Tang Clan. Bonus: It smells like chocolate and coffee instead of dust.
This shop hearkens to an older, crustier Belltown. Neon blazing in the windows, a Hellraiser statue in the corner. Naturally, the emphasis is on punk and metal.
The emphasis on Porchlight lands more on the coffee, than the records. But the small, white-walled shop on 14th spins vinyl and offers a modest selection of new and used albums for sale, including a handful from its own label, like Seattle singer Tomo Nakayama’s wonderful Melonday.
Here you’ll find a little bit of everything as far as physical media goes—new and used, cassette and vinyl—along with “other random junk.” Owner and operator Jason Grimes, in fact, says he resists any myopic focus.
Come to the corner of 12th and Pike for the niche, the obscure, the esoteric. That means lots of avant-garde, world, electronic, and jazz—a store, says one of the owners, “for the adventurous listener.”
This Pike Street shop carries it all—hip-hop, indie, jazz, and plenty of metal. Flocks of T-shirts float angelically above the crates.
Opened in 2019, this shop is the size of a nook and fills a niche, focusing on imported and underground dance music. It’s aimed particularly at DJs who are looking for, say, a new 12-inch dance record from Spain.
This neighborhood staple of a coffee shop (with waffles!) added a record store upstairs in late 2020. Its stock of records is pan-genre—you might find a new Fleet Foxes album or The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. And while it’s small, it turns over constantly.
Seattle’s indie giant now has its own record store with all the label’s in-print releases, as well as loads of branded merch and a sticker wall. Fittingly for Sub Pop, it sits in the bottom of an Amazon tower—balanced paradoxically between corporate and indie.
In Pike Place Market’s underbelly, this window-lined shop focuses on rare vinyl and CDs. The selection skews older, but that can mean a Gustave Mahler double LP or a promo cassette of the Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head.
This Fremont Avenue stop is now situated in a former garage space and if you visit by day is filled with light and plenty of plants. The selection extends across genres and is not huge, but it’s quality.
As its name suggests, this store in the center of the Center of the Universe is a nexus for used rock, jazz, and soul records. The shop also runs the square of bargain bins in the Fremont Vintage Mall across the intersection.
Sharing its space with Fantagraphics Bookstore, which publishes comics, Georgetown focuses on used albums, with a handful of reissues, so the selection leans older. It doesn’t sell online, meaning you don’t have to compete with a collector in Florida for a rare find.
You’re as likely to come out of this shop with an “Up Around the Bend” single as you are with an impulse to actually round that bend on foot. True to its name, this shop slings records and hi-fi gear alongside tents and backpacks. Ready your PNW hashtags.
Yes, skateboards and their affiliated paraphernalia. Also, yes to a surprisingly solid record selection—heavily punk and metal but interesting enough to throw, say, a Sonny Rollins LP in the mix.
A relatively new addition to Lake City, this shop opened in late 2019. It’s run by musicians, and the focus—in books and vinyl—is on curation instead of bulk. Come for choice rock, jazz, and folk picks, but expect plenty of digressions.
Lower Queen Anne
Snuggled against KEXP, this local label’s store offers its own releases—all reissues of important records, whether that’s some old Lee Moses albums or one of Haruomi Hosono’s beautifully beguiling LPs.
This Greenwood Avenue vintage shop splits most of its small footprint between clothing and (mostly used) vinyl, which tends toward rock, jazz, and soul.
Another hybrid shop: Tucked away behind Ravenna’s main drag (65th Street) M&L trades in a solid selection of vinyl and a bunch of toys. You might need to move that Power Ranger to grab a copy of Raw Power.
Silver Platters as a local chain has diminished a bit, closing its Northgate location a few years ago, but its warehousy SoDo spot still sports what has to be the biggest selection in the city–whether you need vinyl, CDs, or even books and DVDs.
This University Avenue staple offers all the physical media you might want, from VHS to Blu-ray, Game Boy to Wii—and of course piles of vinyl.
Entering this record store just off University Avenue, sequestered beneath the similarly named music venue above, is like stepping into some vinyl geek’s basement hideaway—down a staircase, into a dim space crammed with used records.
This new shop, situated where the Ave gives way to Ravenna, may well be the smallest record store in Seattle, about the size of a decent walk-in closet, but the selection is idiosyncratic. Britney Spears vinyl? Sure. Cannibal Corpse rarity? Yep.
A relative newcomer (it opened in 2018), Fat Cat sits just off Wallingford’s 45th Street. The emphasis here is on used records—especially soul, reggae, and jazz. But you’ll find a decently eclectic mix, from rock to classical to hip-hop.
This longstanding shop—with its yellow paint job and Abbey Road mural—is packed with vinyl and boasts a solid selection of most older genres but sets itself apart with its jazz, soul, folk, and 45s.
Opened in 1988, just as Seattle music was situated to roar into the international consciousness, Easy Street is the city’s definitive record shop. Nowhere else has as much lore, as famed of a list of in-store performers (Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Shabazz Palaces, Brandi Carlile)—as well as scores of record crates to dig through.
A note about this list: These are independent stores with physical retail locations in Seattle and a significant emphasis on analog music. Notice a store that should be on this list? Let us know at [email protected]