Real Vinyl Record Stores

Analog vs Digital Music

Back in the day (not so long ago), you were required to actually physically travel to real vinyl record stores, maybe more than a few, to find a new record release or a remembered classic you don’t yet have. We have the ability today to quickly and efficiently electronically browse through hundreds of titles online. While that may may save a lot of time and effort, we have lost something in the process, in my humble opinion.

There was a ritual and excitement about going to the local record store that can’t be duplicated staring at the computer screen. They usually smelled “funny”, had various levels of “service” and weren’t always fully stocked – and they weren’t always in the nicest part of town.

But that was part of the fun. Because even if you didn’t always find exactly what you were looking for, almost inevitably while browsing new and used, you found something you didn’t know you needed to have – right now. The record store was the mecca of impulse buying.

While many stores had listening stations so you could check out your selections, in the end you had to hear it on your own equipment to see if it was everything you had hoped for. The music could sound very different from what you heard in the store – for better or worse. But for used records it was a must, to make sure there was an acceptable level of “hiss and crackle”.

The Survivors

Fortunately, there are still quite a few of these dinosaurs around. Although there have been many losses over the last couple decades (RIP Oarfolkjokeopus / Treehouse), several of my favorite shops are still chugging along. Please make a visit if you live in the area, it’s well worth the trip.

This is a nice forum discussion on the Steve Hoffman music site about Twin Cities music stores. Please take a look and maybe join in if so inclined.

Here is also a great site to find record stores in your area, please check it out since I am only listing stores I have personally experienced.

Store NameLogoLocation(s)Products / GenresComments
The Electric Fetus2000 4th Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN
All products / All Genres
Clothing, other products
A favorite of Prince, a Minneapolis institution, 50 years and going strong
Cheapo Discs (Records)2600 Nicollet Avenue Minneapolis, MN
71 Snelling Avenue N Saint Paul, MN
170 89th Avenue NE Blaine, MN
Used and new, all formats / All genres
Posters, T-shirts
As the name implies, not fancy, just a lot of good merch.
Hymie's Records3820 E Lake Street Minneapolis MNFocus on Vinyl / All genresVinyl purists, caters to the artist and music lover
Roadrunner / Landspeed4304 Nicollet Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN
Focus on Vinyl / All genres
CDs and DVDs
Urban Lights1449 University Ave W
Saint Paul, MN
All formats / All genresMostly on this list for nostalgia - was my go-to store in college (as Northern Lights)
Down In The Valley8020 Olson Mem. Hwy
Golden Valley, MN
5586 W Broadway Ave
Crystal, MN
13633 Grove Dr
Maple Grove, MN
All formats / All genres
Movies, T-shirts, Tickets
Suburban version, staple in the Twin Cities for decades

Before We Go

This is an interesting piece on a record store in the city I was born, Mankato MN. I have actually never been there but will go soon and update in our GTM News and Views on the experience.

WCCO Viewers’ Choice For Best Record Shop In Minnesota