I have a new found hobby ignited by my recent birthday present, a Victrola vintage style record player and I’ve been playing my new records non-stop!
Now, whenever we are exploring Raleigh, my frequent search term on my phone has gone from good coffee near me to record stores near me.
I’ve been on the hunt for records stores in Raleigh, and am finding some cool and unique ones. Half the fun of vinyl record collecting is browsing and buying vinyls in a totally cool place. It’s helping us get to know our city on a deeper level and discover more of the stories it tells.
There is something magical about listening to music on a vinyl. It forces you to be more present with the music, to listen to the lyrics, and connect to the stories.
As they are like prized possessions (and expensive ones), you tend to spend more time listening to the music rather than just let Spotify run in the background for fill in noise.
There’s a meditative act or ritual that comes with moving from one track to another and deliberately seeking out a special tune.
And the sound of a vinyl with its cracks and pops just can’t be beaten! And I am not alone with my record hobby, records have now overtaken sales of CDs.
As it is an expensive hobby – new vinyls can cost on average between $20 – $40. Of course my favorite artists always seem to be at the higher end.
I’m starting my collection looking for classics and vintage tunes – looking more for used records for the now. Each record has been carefully selected to tell a story or recall a memory from my childhood.
The diversity ranges from Oklahoma – the first musical I watched as a little girl with my parents, to Pearl Jam’s VS – an amazing concert experience in my early twenties, to current Harry Styles’ Fine Line, our family favorite.
Below are some cool record stores in Raleigh for you to build a vinyl collection that tells your story.
hunky Dory records
Hunky Dory Records is my favorite record store in Raleigh. Again, we discovered it through a Google search. It only opened in July in Seaboard Station in the location where the old Brew Coffee shop used to be before they moved to Gateway Plaza.
It’s not just a record store, it is also a tap room with a curated selection of beers on tap! What better experience than to browse through vinyl collections with a local craft beer in your hand?
I could have spent all afternoon there reminiscing with each new album I picked up and the stories of my crowd surfing youth.
After a grapefruit hibiscus cider, I walked out of there with one of the greatest albums of all time: U2’s Rattle and Hum and a few old favorites for just a few dollars each. And on my most recent visit I picked up Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged in New York and Pearl Jam’s VS and Ten.
They have a large selection of old and used records. Don’t miss the side wall at the back filled with crates of $1 vinyls. Thank you Jan and Dean and Oklahoma!
Hunky Dory’s original store is located in Durham.
I liked the way this Raleigh record store was organized. New records are alphabetized with a section for used ones for that alphabet and genre.
They do have a very large section of $2-$3 vintage records which are all bunched together. Browsing that way can be a drain, so at least they have the modern used records organized in a more helpful way!
Craig rates SchoolKids Records as his second favorite in Raleigh (behind Hunky Dory). This retail indie record store is located near NC State Centennial Campus, so very handy for students and those in South Raleigh. You can also order online and they have another store in Chapel Hill.
FUN FACT: SchoolKids Records is not just a record store, it’s also a record label. Since 2008 they have had their own record label, originally releasing albums under the name Second Motion Records.
Nice Price Books + records
Any kind of music style is catered to in Nice Price Books & Records. It has the quirkiest collection of vinyls I’ve seen: new and used. This may be the place you find a rare LP gem.
I found Cold Chisel’s LP, East here and paid a bargain $3 for it. Cold Chisel are a classic Australian band and this album has some of their best songs. You know how many Americans break into singing Don’t Stop Believing in bars at 1am. Australian’s will break out to Cold Chisel’s, Khe Sahn.
It’s located near NC State and Cup a Joe coffee shop on Hillsborough St and has a cool hipster student vibe, and you can pick up a few books while here as well. Remember to support local businesses!
Currently only allowing 5 people in at a time so be prepared for a wait. Get there early and avoid weekends.
Father & Son Antiques
Bring your savings account as this store is on the pricier side of vintage, but the items they have are gorgeous.
They have an upstairs section filled with a wide collection of used records. It’s possible any kind of music lover will find something here. I almost walked out with a $5 Abba album. I may go back for it.
Pour House music hall & record store
The Pour House is known as one of Raleigh’s best live music venues, but did you know it also has a record store upstairs?
Go down the alley and up the stairs to find a large selection of records new and old. They have tubs filled with $1 records. I am sure you’ll find a few nuggets in there. We didn’t have much time to look properly, but I intend to go back.
Hopefully COVID will be gone and restrictions lifted so I can order a drink from the bar while I peruse. You can look over the balcony at the stage set while there. Pour House is another funky record store in Raleigh.
But you can order vinyls online, including mixed bag lucky dips for the $1 records, for pick up! The Pour House is located in Moore Square in Downtown Raleigh.
Sound Off Records and Hi-Fi
Hidden in the basement of the Carter Building on Glenwood Ave. We discovered Sound Off Records & Hi-Fi walking past and spied a few records sitting outside. Inside you’ll find a large collection of used records and hidden treasures.
You may be lucky to find a few collector items in here.
Craig found a Chris Cornell album with all his best hits, but for $120 we’ll think more about that one. While we’d love to splurge that on our record collection (we love Chris Cornell and Soundgarden/Audioslave) but it’s not something we can spend during these challenging times!
Sorry State Records
I haven’t been inside Sorry State Records yet, but Craig has and this is where he bought my birthday present and first record that helped kick of my new record collecting hobby, Queen’s Greatest Hits.
COOL FACT: This Raleigh record store began as a record label in 2005, releasing a 7″ vinyl record called Nuclear Tomorrow, the second EP by Direct Control. Since then they have put out nearly 100 releases!
We discovered the TrunkShow after my Google search for records stores in Raleigh. It was a 2-minute walk from Pine State Coffee near Mordecai where we’d stopped for a coffee on the morning of my birthday. We walked over and fell in love with this store!
It’s not just records, but a vintage store filled with locally made art, vintage clothing and Mid-Century furniture.
Kalyra bought a gorgeous black dress from here and I was tempted with these boots and vintage suitcase. (Who had one of these growing up?)
TrunkShow is all about vintage, homemade, funk.
They have a pretty good record collection. As it was the first record store we visited, I held off in purchasing too much. Now I look back and I wished I grabbed a few more that peaked my interest and I intend to go back.
If you’re ever heading to Roanoke, Virginia and you want an incredible records store, check out Olds Cool in Rocky Mount, Virginia. We shared it in our post of things to do in Roanoke. I got 15 classic records for $75!
This could be a fun place to collect some of those really old memory stores, or Christmas records. “Tis the Season.
Fun thing you could try with family and friends: Lucky Dip 5 records and you have to listen to every song together and choose a favorite – or laugh at how bad they all are.
What is the story behind your record collections?