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7 Amazing Independent Record Stores In San Francisco

Picture of Courtney Holcomb
Updated: 9 September 2016
San Francisco is known for its rich musical history, hosting the evolution of genres like rock and jazz. While most music stores in the city have jumped ahead into the digital age, there are still a number of high quality independent record stores thriving in the heart of the city. Read on to explore our favorites.
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Amoeba Music

Amoeba Music is a popular record store with three locations throughout California, including San Francisco, Berkeley and Los Angeles. This shop sells a huge selection of music in both CDs and vinyl in addition to movies on DVD, Blu-Ray, VHS and laserdiscs. What Amoeba is most known for, though, is the awesome series of events that it offers — every location hosts a series of live performances, DJ sets and signing events, all of which are open to all ages and 100% free to attend.

Amoeba Music, 1855 Haight St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 831 1200

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Explorist International Records

Explorist International Records opened in October 2010 on 24th Street in the Mission, offering an eclectic selection of new and used records. The shop prides itself on promoting albums that are usually hidden in the back of commercial record shops, claiming that ‘by spotlighting jazz, international folk and pop, early blues and Americana, and vintage and modern experimental, we feel like we’ve helped expand people’s definitions of heavy, psychedelic and soulful music.’ Visit the shop to check out some unique records and take some time at the in-store listening station to make sure you’ll enjoy whatever you purchase.

Explorist International Records, 3174 24th St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 678 5691

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Rooky Ricardo’s Records

Rooky Ricardo’s Records opened thirty years ago in the Lower Haight district, offering a selection of thousands of records. Today, the store stocks over 100,000 LPs and 45s, expanding weekly with new arrivals. Among its many genres, the store specializes in soul, classic rock, girl groups and oldies from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Stock up on cheap records, sold at $2 per 45 (or three for $5) and about $10-20 for an LP. There is a separate selection of rare records for collectors, and there are four listening stations you can visit. Extensively knowledgeable, the staff is happy to help you find whatever you’re looking for.

Rooky Ricardo’s Records, 448 Haight St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 864 7526

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Jack’s Record Cellar

Jack’s Record Cellar is a vinyl-lover’s heaven that’s tucked away in the Lower Haight district. The atmosphere is laid back and takes you to a long-ago version of San Francisco. The shop has a huge selection of genres, specializing in classic jazz, rock and soul, with records ranging from 33s to 45s, plus a huge collection of 78s. The prices are reasonable, and the ultra-knowledgeable staff is often known to knock a few bucks off the listed price, just because. The shop doesn’t keep typical hours, but is regularly open on Saturdays.

Jake’s Record Cellar, 254 Scott St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 431 3047

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Rasputin Music

Rasputin Music is a chain independent record store with locations all over the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Campbell, Pleasant Hill, Fresno, Modesto, San Lorenzo, Stockton, Fairfield, Newark and two Berkeley locations. The San Francisco store sells music and movies, with one room displaying CDs and vinyl, and another displaying DVDs, Blu-Ray, and VHS. The T-shirt selection at this location, displayed at the back of the store, is better than any other record store in the city. Other locations sell other media as well, including books and video games, and allow you to sell any of your media at any of the locations. Before you visit, clip coupons from the Rasputin website for a chance to save a few bucks.

Rasputin Music, 1672 Haight St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 863 2448

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Originals Vinyl

Originals Vinyl is a record shop in the Mission with a smaller selection, including genres like jazz, hip hop, soul, blues, rock, and folk. The stock is constantly growing, with new arrivals daily. While the selection is smaller than at other San Francisco record stores, this shop stands out for its quality. Originals specializes in ultrasonic cleaning and de-warping services, restoring vintage records to their prime — you can even bring or mail in your records for a meticulous cleaning. Plus, the shop will buy your high quality used records, even making house calls to pick them up if necessary.

Originals Vinyl, 3150 18th St #105, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 660 8779

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Vinyl Dreams

Vinyl Dreams is a record shop founded by Mike Bee, the former overseer of the San Francisco Amoeba’s dance and electronic section. This venture seeks to bring together members of the global dance music community, curating the best of electronic music from genres including house, techno, ambient, electronica, disco, cosmic, hip-hop, reggae, dubstep, garage and more. Mike is incredibly knowledgeable about the genres, curating his selection to perfection. The space is small, but there are several listening stations for visitors to enjoy.

Vinyl Dreams, 593 Haight St, San Francisco, CA +1 415 379 0974

By Courtney Holcomb