In the age of illegal downloading and iTunes, locally owned and independent music stores are becoming increasingly hard to come by. Somehow, though, D.C. has been able to sustain some great family and locally owned businesses, and it is definitely not lacking in vinyl shops. When you’re itching to blast your favorite tunes at home and plugging in headphones just won’t do, stop by one of these vinyl shops in D.C. to pick up music how it was originally intended to be heard.

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Arlington Neighborhood

Hours: Mon – Fri 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sun 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.

A favorite among music fans since its inception in 1992, CD Cellar has tens of thousands of titles to choose from on everything from CDs and DVDs to LPs. The shop is equipped with a listening station so you can play before you pay, ensuring  buyer’s remorse is a thing of the past for CD Cellar customers. If you have music you no longer listen to, bring in your unwanted CDs to sell for an average of $5 per CD, or trade your discarded CDs for new tunes.

Adams Morgan Neighborhood
Hours: Mon 1:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.; Tues – Fri 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Sat 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Changes in the world of music have not stopped Crooked Beat from maintaining the largest selection of new vinyl in the DC area. If you been scouring the globe for an obscure record, it’s likely it was in front of your nose in Adams Morgan the whole time. Crooked Beat specializes in rare and hard-to-find vinyl records, both new and used. You can also bring in used CDs to trade, and the shop even hosts in-store performances by local artists.

Dupont Circle Neighborhood
Hours: Tues – Thurs 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Fri – Sat 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.; Sun 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.

One of D.C.’s newer vinyl shops, Red Onion Records & Books is an independently owned and operated shop founded in 2006. From music and books to live performances and record fairs, this store has everything you need to satisfy your creative soul. Red Onion will also buy, sell and trade vinyl from the 1950s to today.

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Adams Morgan Neighborhood
Hours: Mon – Thurs  2 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Fri 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.; Sat 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sun 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

Smash Records opened its doors in the early 80s and specializes in punk, indie and alternative rock and roll CDs. The store also buys used LPs, CDs and vintage apparel. If you need some new clothes to look the part, you can also pick up vintage and indie designer fashion attire  at Smash Records. From music to shoes, this place is one-stop shop for indie fans.

U Street Neighborhood

Hours: Mon – Sat 12 p.m. – 9 p.m.; Sun 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.

At Som Records you can buy, sell and trade used, new and imported vinyl. Claiming to carry the “most varied selection” of vinyl in D.C., music lovers can find everything from punk and funk to soul and samba at this U Street record store. Follow Som Records on Twitter for the latest updates on sales and new arrivals.

The DC metro area has a dynamic music nightlight, check out the Best Underground Music and Arts. If you are into live music and entertainment, it’s crucial that you know the capital’s go-to music venues.

Kelly Johnston is a freelance writer living in D.C. She is a soon-to-be University of Alabama graduate who hopes to have a successful career in fashion journalism. Her major is Apparel and Textiles with a Concentration in Fashion Retail and Merchandising and her minor is Journalism. Her work can be found at

Comments (2)
  1. Joe's Record Paradise says:

    Another hardly researched article, good job.

  2. Hunter says:

    No Joe’s?
    C’mon now.

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