Best Record Shops in San Diego

Today is Record Store Day!  It's a day where you can visit your local record shop to pick up some exclusive releases that are released just for Record Store Day. In a world of digital music where everything's available at your fingertips, why on earth would anyone collect dusty old records that take up space in a home?

Well, as a music fan and self-proclaimed record hoarder, there's something about feeling the record, cover, and smelling that distinct scent of something that's made in the 1960s right in your hand. 

Back when I was spinning actual vinyl, I was able to tell you all the producers, release dates, who the bassist was on the recording, and even know what the artist looked like just from reading the record cover. Nowadays, when music comes to me in an e-mail from the record labels, it just gets added to a "sea of music" playlist where songs may run the risk of getting lost through time. 

For me, I personally love the sound and style of music between 1969 and 1979.  There's something about the way things were recorded back then. All instruments were played by actual humans. Things didn't sound computerized or "perfect".  Back then, you didn't really need to look like a model to put a record out... you had to have the skills. An artist would sound the same LIVE as they did on the record because things weren't digitally enhanced and altered in the studio. You either had it or you didn't. Even the artists who didn't really "make it" had some pretty decent songs. Music pre-1979 was somewhat magical. 

It's also humbling to know that at some point, each music artist was on top of their game... only to end up in a used record bin 20-30 years later.

As a vinyl collector, I can say that most of these recordings were never converted to a digital format like CD or mp3. They live forever in record stores while collecting dust... and I intend to find them! 

Here are some of my favorite record stores in San Diego... listed in no particular order.

Normal Records

North Park 4201 30th St San Diego, CA 92104 Phone number (760) 212-7794

Selection is great including lots of great obscure and less recognized stuff.


4240 Kearny Mesa Rd #128, San Diego, CA 92111

This place is my personal favorite for used books and bargain classic records.  You'll also find used music instruments, electronics, TVs, and toys.


East Village 909 E St, San Diego, CA 92101Phone number (707) 733-3548

Lots of gold gems no matter what genre, classic or newer.

M-Theory Music

Mission Hills 827 W Washington St, San Diego, CA 92103 Phone number (619) 220-0485

One of my favorites for digging.

Alma Music & Audio

Kearny Mesa 7847 Convoy Ct, San Diego, CA 92111 Phone number (858) 281-0332 

Alex and Fabio are awesome and they know their stuff. 

Vinyl Junkies

South Park, North Park 2235 Fern St, San Diego, CA 92104 Phone number (619) 794-2399

Another go-to spot for new or old records.

Folk Arts Rare Records

North Park 3072 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104 Phone number (619) 282-7833

Beat Box Records

Barrio Logan 2148 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113 Phone number (614) 747-1112

Right next to Salud tacos.

Lou's Records

434 N Coast Hwy 101, Encinitas, CA 92024

Red Brontosaurus Records

North Park 3044 N Park Way San Diego, CA 92104 Phone number (619) 795-1282

They've got a nice collection of classic games and vinyl. Win, win!

Pack Ratt Records and Junk

Rolando 4744 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92115 Phone number (619) 581-9168

As the name suggests, a great place to find gems.

Full Contact Rock N Roll

North Park 2834 N Park Way, San Diego, CA 92104 Phone number (619) 414-7352

The owner is very friendly and knowledgeable.

Stereo Unlimited

Midway 3191 Sports Arena Blvd, San Diego, CA 92110 Phone number (619) 223-8151, 

This one is one of my favorite hidden gems in San Diego. This is an audio snob's heaven. They have an amazing curated collection of records, and they've also got very high end audio gear.

Re-Animated Records

8320 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942 Phone number (619) 825-8363

Taang! Records

Hillcrest 3834 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103 Phone number (858) 880-8754

Nickelodeon Records

Normal Heights 3335 Adams Ave San Diego, CA 92116 Phone number (619) 284-6083

If you're looking for vintage, classic records, this is the spot!

The Consignment Shack

7835 El Cajon Blvd La Mesa, CA 91942 Phone number (619) 460-1822

You'll find a good collection of records and books here.


North Park 2305 University Ave San Diego, CA 92104 Phone number (619) 632-7503


8806 La Mesa Blvd La Mesa, CA 91942 Phone number (619) 496-6816

Quirky Carousel

3146 Tiger Run Ct, Carlsbad, CA 92010 Phone number (760) 933-9440

Joe and Rita are really awesome and friendly. They've got a nice collection of vinyl records, furniture... you just never know what you'll need until you walk through this place. 

Barnes and Noble

If you've gotta drag your "bored" significant other along with you while you dig for vinyl, this place might be a compromise for you both.  He/she can check out a few books or read a magazine while having coffee from their cafe inside the store.  

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