Getting Warmer

A Guide to Seattle-Area Record Stores

A rundown of where to go crate digging in and around our very musical city.

By Stefan Milne and Sophie Grossman

Georgetown Records. Photograph by Amy Vaughn. 

Jump to Your Area:

Bainbridge Island / Ballard /  BellevueBelltown /  Burien / Capitol Hill / Central District / Columbia City / Denny Triangle / Downtown / Fremont / Georgetown / Greenwood / Greenlake /  Kirkland / Lake City / Lower Queen Anne /  Lynnwood / Phinney Ridge / SoDo / University District / Wallingford / West Seattle

Sonic Boom Records still holds down Ballard's Market Street. 

Bainbridge Island
Backstreet Beat

A short walk from the ferry terminal, this neat little shop oozes small-town charm. Alongside LPs, the store also stocks a deftly selected used book selection, and is open until 8pm the first Friday of the month as part of Winslow’s Art Walk.

Sonic Boom Records

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).

Stumbletown Records

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.

Silver Platters Bellevue

The Bellevue iteration of this local indie chain is more modest than its sprawling counterpart in SoDo, but it still delivers a fairly colossal spread. Check out the bargain bins by the register for some hidden gems.

Singles Going Steady

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.

Time Tunnel Records

This spot has a small but mighty selection of rock, soul, and R&B that’s refreshed frequently, earning it a loyal contingent of regulars.

Clone Press Studio & Records

This combined screen print studio and vinyl shop also serves as a community gathering and event space. The '70s and '80s are particularly well-represented here.

Capitol Hill
Porchlight Coffee and Records

The emphasis at 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.

Spin Cycle Records, Movies, and Games

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.

Spin Cycle: physical media and "other random junk."

Wall of Sound

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.”

Zion’s Gate Records

This Pike Street shop carries it all—hip-hop, indie, jazz, and plenty of metal. Flocks of T-shirts float angelically above the crates.

Central District
Selector Records and Apparel

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.

Columbia City
Empire Roasters and Records

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.

Empire added a record store above its Columbia City coffee shop. 

Denny Triangle
Sub Pop on 7th

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.

Holy Cow Records

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 Gustav Mahler double LP or a promo cassette of the Beastie Boys’ Check Your Head.

The very fenestrated Holy Cow Records. 

Daybreak Records

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.

Daybreak Records moved into new digs across the street from its old spot. 

Image: Stefan Milne

Jive Time Records

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. 

Georgetown Records

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.

Georgetown Records keeps it IRL. 

Image: Amy Vaughn

Turntables and Trails

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.

Black Market Skates

Yes, skateboards and their affiliated paraphernalia. Also, yes to a surprisingly solid record selection—heavily punk and metal but interesting enough to throw a Sonny Rollins LP in the mix. 

Vortex Music and Movies

About 65 percent of this decade-old store’s inventory is vinyl, with a focus on classic rock. It also offers a wide DVD and CD collection in service to Eastside analogphiles. Owner Daren Compton notes that his Kirkland shop doesn’t have much local competition, at least compared to the jam-packed market across the water, which is perhaps why it’s maintained its status as an unassuming but beloved neighborhood nook for ten years.

One of the newer additions to Seattle's small-but-curated variety of record stores. 

Lake City
Hex Enduction Records and Books

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
Light in the Attic Record Shop

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.

Silver Platters Lynnwood

Though the Northgate link in this local chain is long gone, the three remaining appendages still admirably carry on the legacy. The Lynnwood spot is notable for its considerable collection of films.

The Vinyl Garage

You might note that this one doesn’t have a website. That’s because vinyl nerd Kevin Grigsby runs this operation out of his actual garage in Lynnwood, at
21130 22nd Avenue West, with stacks of records crowding every available surface and music memorabilia plastering the walls. His collection is all vintage, with “nothing this side of 1990” to be found, and Grigsby, the self-proclaimed “least capitalistic person you’ll ever run into” prides himself on letting them go for a fraction of the price you’ll find at most record shops.

Phinney Ridge
Beats and Bohos

This Greenwood Avenue vintage shop splits most of its small footprint between clothing and (mostly used) vinyl, which tends toward rock, jazz, and soul.

Old records and old clothes at Beats and Bohos. 

Image: Stefan Milne

Silver Platters SoDo

Silver Platters as a local chain has diminished a bit, 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.

University District
Al’s Music and Video Games

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. 

Neptune Music Company

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.

Yes you can get a Logan's Run soundtrack at Seattle Records. 

Image: Stefan Milne

Seattle Records

This newer shop, situated where the Ave gives way to Ravenna, used to be distinguished as perhaps the smallest record store in Seattle, clocking in at the size of a decent walk-in closet. It's moved two doors down to a bigger space, but its selection is still delightfully idiosyncratic. Britney Spears vinyl? Sure. Cannibal Corpse rarity? Yep.

Fat Cat Records

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.

Golden Oldies Records

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.

Note: Golden Oldies is temporarily closed, as of March 2022, with a reopening date TBD.

Abbey Road on Wallingford's Second Ave NE. 

Image: Stefan Milne

West Seattle 
Easy Street Records and Cafe

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.

Nothing defines record shopping in Seattle so much as Easy Street. 

Image: Jane Sherman

A note about this list: These are independent stores with physical retail locations in Seattle and its surrounding area. Notice a store that should be on this list? Let us know at [email protected]

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