DC/NoVa Adventures, music

7 Record Stores for Vinyl Lovers in the DC Metro Area

Shopping for vinyl is a big deal. It would be easy for me to simply hop on the Ebay and just buy exactly what I want, but 90% of the fun is flipping through the endless racks and searching for the one you want. The thrill in finding your own white whales is the best. If you’re like me you go to different record stores for different things. One might have a huge stock of rotating new arrivals, one might have a killer bargain section and one might be the one that has all the good jazz. After living here in the DC Metro Area for seven years I’ve found my rotation of record stores that I like to visit regularly. And while I do occasionally check out the local thrift stores, those are mostly good for classical and jazz records. Side note – I had a recent experience at a thrift store nearby where I actually think that someone just took a stack of their parent’s records and just dumped them at the thrift store. The records that were in this pile were insane! Blood, Sweat and Tears Greatest Hits, Best of Cream and the very first US Beatles record. Almost a week later and my brain is still trying to process it.

{click the image to get my record player and speakers!}

Anyway…on to the list!

R&R Records and Rarities ~ Springfield Town Center, Springfield

This place has a really large collection of records and this is where I’ve been able to score some of my white whales, and their pricing is fairly decent. They really make sure to rate the records well and I’ve never had an issue. The staff is extremely helpful, and because of their system, they can actually look up a record for you! If you aren’t in the mood to spend forever flipping through the records then that is an option for you. You would have thought such a great place would be in a shopping mall?

Mobius Records ~ 10409 Main Street, Fairfax

Located in the old town portion of Fairfax is Mobius Records, a smaller and funkier record shop. Mobius says that they specialize in new releases and reissues. I would absolutely agree. They have a great section of these types of records, and I would say that if you are going to look for your typical used vinyl you might not find it here. The staff is really amazing and will help you with anything. One time I walked in and was looking around and whatever was playing on the speakers I was like “I don’t know what this is, but I need this right now!” They walked over to the rack, found one for me and told me all about it. I love that. They interact with their customers which I think is another fun part of record shopping. They clearly love records as much as I do so we can talk about them while I shop around. My very favorite part about this store is their bargain section. While the shop might not have your typical selection of used vinyl, this section is where it’s at. I’ve found a lot of good jazz and more random rock n roll stuff in there for only a couple of dollars. IT is probably one of the better bargain sections in this whole list.

Record and Tape Exchange ~ 9448 Main St, Fairfax

Record and Tape Exchange is the very first record store I went to in this area. It is has been around since 1976! Not only can you find vinyl here, but i’ve also been known to pick up a few movies and CDs as well. When I shop here I painstakingly go through the New Arrivals section. Unlike other stores in the area the stuff in here moves fast! I’ve gone within a week of each visit and have seen over half of the new arrival section be completely brand new. Their regular section is small, so very few records make it past New Arrival. They also have a crazy collection of 45s, which I have never seen anywhere else! You can also get Laser Disks here, which cracks me up! Since these guys have been around for so long they know what they are doing. Their pricing is decent and they have amassed quite a collection of really collectible records, which are neat to look at. R&T also repairs records, xbox discs and cds! I know, how cool is that? I don’t know of anywhere else that does that as they do. As a result of that, you can trust that the vinyl they sell is going to be in really great condition. This is a great place to add to your shopping rotation.

McKay Used Books ~ 8345 Sudley Rd, Manassas 

Not exactly the place you would like of for records, but McKay does have some, and is worth being added to my regular rotation. The benefit of going here is that they have a killer used Book collection (which is their main bread and butter) as well as used DVDs for as low as 25cents! The vinyl section is small and doesn’t rotate quite as often as the other stores in the area, but I have stored three of my most recent random Chicago finds at this place, as well as my most recent Rhapsody in Blue vinyl. So, you can’t count it out for sure!

Dragon Song Records ~ 8767 Mathis Ave, Manassas

One of the more random record stores I’ve been in is Dragon Song Records in Manassas. Located out of the way, and little hard to find, its near McKays so I can easily add it in when I visit there. It is small, and therefore has a really small collection of vinyl AND  a super weird one! The other thing about this place is that the records are more expensive here, priced at Collector pricing that you might find online. The flip side of that is that I think is that you will find some really cool stuff here that you won’t. I found Chameleon by Maynard Ferguson here, which I figured I would eventually have to search for online. There isn’t an obvious listening station but the owner is super nice and very cool. Just let him know you want to check the records out. He’ll probably insist that you do when you bring them up to the record. Be prepared as this shop also sells incense (it’s such a weird little place) and I usually get a headache by the time I leave. I’m kind of a pansy though. For a serious collector who is willing to pay higher prices to find that one hard to find place its worth checking this place out.

Red Onion Records ~ 1628 U St NW, Washington, DC

Moving into our first DC record store we have Red Onion Records. It is a small record store, so there is not a huge inventory. They do have a lot of rare and strange records, which are cool to look at. I also believe that they have a lot of regular turnover in records, so going back often is recommended. The pricing is also very good, and you can get a decent record without breaking the bank. They also have a lot of vinyl in the bargain area, but that’s not sorted in the best way, so make sure you have some time to check it out. Their Jazz section is probably the best out of all the sections. They also have listening stations right by the front window.

Smash Records ~ 2314 18th St NW, Washington, DC

Smash is one of my top ones in this list, and a part of that is the vibe inside. I can’t actually explain it, so you’re just gonna have to go in and check it out for yourself. They have a very large collection of records. It might be the largest on this list, up against Record and Tape Exchange. They also carry a lot of new, or more modern vinyl which is nice for a lot of collectors. Pricing is great and the selection is also wide. I’ve found several white whales here as well, including the Best of Cream that I’d been searching for!

 

               do you have a favorite DC Metro Area record store that didn’t make the list?

I’d love to hear from you!

 

If you’re looking for a record player, you can visit my Amazon Storefront

to see what record player and speakers I purchased!

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