The 20 Best Record Stores in Los Angeles (and Beyond)

Techno legend Frankie Bones DJs at Dr. Freecloud's in Fountain Valley
Techno legend Frankie Bones DJs at Dr. Freecloud's in Fountain Valley
Peter Vincent

Record collecting culture is alive and well in Los Angeles.

In fact, with venerable institutions such as Rockaway and Poo-Bah still going strong, and new shops opening all the time, you could argue that L.A. now has the best assemblage of record stores in the country. And as more and more music consumers grow disenchanted with the ephemeral nature of downloads and streaming, that assemblage is likely to keep growing (though perhaps not at the breakneck pace of 2009-2012, when it seemed like every vacant storefront in Northeast L.A. was destined to be filled with turntables and old 45s).

Though Highland Park, Silver Lake and Echo Park remain the hub for this movement, they're not the only places in SoCal where you can still crate-dig for obscurities or stock up on limited-release cassettes by local punk and noise bands. To compile our list of what we consider to be our region's best record stores, we did what all serious collectors do and logged some serious miles, venturing as far afield as Pomona, Tarzana, Montebello and Fountain Valley in our quest for tunes.

So enjoy, discuss and debate our picks for L.A.'s best record stores. And above all, if you love music in all its tangible forms — vinyl, cassette, CD, posters, T-shirts, zines — do yourself a favor and visit some of the stores on this list you haven't tried yet. There are always new discoveries out there.

Burger RecordsEXPAND
Burger Records
Courtesy Burger Records

20. Burger Records
Burger’s cultural currency is normally measured in the empire-building prowess of rock & roll nerds Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard, who’ve turned a shop located in an Orange County strip mall into an underground movement. Their fast-paced, cassette-based release schedule often overshadows their slime-green brick-and-mortar home, which now also claims a satellite location in Cypress Park. Both are weed-friendly clubhouses for teenage rock fans looking for cassettes, wacky merch and access to Burger’s handpicked collection of bubblegum vinyl. 645 S. State College Blvd., Fullerton, 92831. (714) 447-4280,  —Art Tavana

Record RecyclerEXPAND
Record Recycler
Liz Ohanesian

19. Record Recycler
There once was a time when you could dedicate an entire day to South Bay record stores and come home with a car loaded with everything from punk to Hi-NRG. Those days are long gone, but you still could while away an afternoon at Record Recycler. It's located near El Camino College in Torrance, in a spot you might miss if you're speeding down Crenshaw Boulevard. The store is packed with an eclectic mix of used vinyl that requires your attentive eyes. You'll flip through a bin remarking, "Got it. Got it. Can't stand it. Oh, shit! I need this one in my life!" The cycle repeats until you realize that you need at least a quarter of what's in the store. 17312 Crenshaw Blvd., Torrance, 90504. (310) 704-2320, —Liz Ohanesian

Zoinks RecordsEXPAND
Zoinks Records
Andy Hermann

18. Zoinks Records
Tucked away in the Pomona Arts District, around the corner from the Glass House and the Fox Theater, Zoinks packs an impressive array of vinyl into a tiny space, with especially solid (and, compared with L.A., super-cheap) selections of used rock, soul, punk, hardcore and dark wave. Higher-end rarities line one wall, while the other is devoted to vintage punk and metal T-shirts, and a case near the door overflows with band pins, some of which you probably haven't seen since high school. They also make custom record cases for you DJs who keep it old-school and still lug your vinyl to gigs. 226 S. Main St., Pomona, 91766. (909) 865-4758, —Andy Hermann

Rockaway RecordsEXPAND
Rockaway Records
Gustavo Turner

17. Rockaway Records
Rockaway has been around since 1979 — since even before the CD revolution. The reason Rockaway has survived is its willingness to roll with the constant changes in the business of used media. Currently, Rockaway is focusing on better, rarer and more expensive titles (vinyl, CDs, DVDs), a change from the crate-digger days of well-stocked $2.99 bins. It's also a classic-rock memorabilia powerhouse, which makes the store a little like a private museum, too. Currently on the wall: the original surfboard featured on the cover of early Beach Boys records — yours for $100,000. 2395 Glendale Blvd., Silver Lake, 90039. (323) 664-3232, —Gustavo Turner

Bagatelle Records
Bagatelle Records
Courtesy Bagatelle Records

16. Bagatelle Records
Bagatelle is a place for DJs to scour some dusty old vinyl in downtown Long Beach, and it’s been around since the mid-’70s. Owner Steve Mintz originally was in the furniture game and just dealt a few records on the side, but he realized music was where his heart was. And he wouldn’t have to deliver couches anymore. Bagatelle is cash only and has listening stations (which, shockingly, many on this list do not). It features a bevy of rock, jazz, country and 12-inches (rap, disco, boogie), and Mintz let me walk out once with an IOU when I didn’t have enough cash. 260 Atlantic Ave., Long Beach, 90802. (562) 432-7534, —Jonny Coleman

CD Trader
Andy Hermann

15. CD Trader
As the vinyl resurgence continues apace, this Valley mainstay — in operation since 1995 — stubbornly stays focused on its namesake format. About two-thirds of the floor space here is devoted to those allegedly obsolete, little silver discs, and the used prices put Amoeba's to shame, with even popular and hard-to-find titles selling for as little as $4 a pop. Their vinyl section is nothing to sneeze at, either, with an especially impressive collection of experimental and Moog/synth LPs, as well as test pressings, picture discs and most major new releases in every genre. 18926 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, 91356. (818) 705-3544, —Andy Hermann

Record JungleEXPAND
Record Jungle
Liz Ohanesian

14. Record Jungle
You're rummaging through a mess of old vinyl. You pick up a record, look at the track listing and notice a song that you remember hearing on the radio when you were a kid. Even though you probably haven't heard this in rotation since the days when you were buying new music on cassette, the song floods your mind. You remember the melody that you would hum in the car as your mom drove you to school. You even remember some of the lyrics. You used to love this song. So you buy the album just for that one memory, listen to the whole thing and wonder how you went so long without this in your collection. If a record store is judged by the quality of the song recollections it triggers, then Record Jungle is one of the best. 2461 W. Whittier Blvd., Montebello, 90640. (323) 725-0940, —Liz Ohanesian

Techno legend Frankie Bones DJs at Dr. Freecloud's in Fountain Valley
Techno legend Frankie Bones DJs at Dr. Freecloud's in Fountain Valley
Peter Vincent

13. Dr. Freecloud's Record Shoppe
Who needs Beatport? New and classic rave vinyl is still available at SoCal’s last and greatest dance music record shop: Dr. Freecloud’s, owned by DJ legend Ron D. Core and his wife, Helen Liang Dedmon. Nowhere else can dance DJs crate-dig to their heart’s content, preview records on fully equipped listening stations, fight over rare treasures with local all-star DJs like Lostboy, R.A.W. and DJ Dan, and then end up in the middle of a dance party inside the store where said DJs or special guests like Frankie Bones pop in to make an appearance. 18960 Brookhurst St., Fountain Valley, 92708. (657) 888-4695, —Joel "DJ Deadly Buda" Bevacqua

Freakbeat Records
Freakbeat Records
Courtesy Freakbeat Records

12. Freakbeat Records
Valley favorite Freakbeat has been doing its thing and serving vinyl, tapes and CDs for the majority of this century, specializing in psych, garage and generally stuff in the Nuggets ballpark. The staff is particularly friendly — especially by record-store standards — and can help you track down special and rare requests. Oh, and there’s a entire room dedicated to 99-cent items for all you bargain diggers out there to sift through and find gold. 13616 Ventura Blvd, Sherman Oaks, 91423. (818) 995-7603, —Jonny Coleman

Permanent RecordsEXPAND
Permanent Records
Gustavo Turner

11. Permanent Records
A Chicago institution since 2006, Permanent Records established a sister store in Eagle Rock five years ago. In 2014 they moved to York Boulevard in Highland Park, and a few months ago they opened a second L.A. location, taking over the former home of Origami Vinyl in Echo Park. Owners Lance Barresi and Liz Tooley curate a no-filler selection of rock & roll in all its variety and related subgenres, including whole sections like Japanese psychedelia, minimal synth or 20th-century avant-garde. The store also has a thriving label, which just put out a record by local garage/psych band Frankie and the Witch Fingers. 5116 York Blvd., Highland Park, 90042. (323) 739-6141, —Gustavo Turner

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >