Detroit is one of the great American music cities. From the gorgeous soulful ballads of Aretha Franklin, to the funk hits of Stevie Wonder and the garage rock jams of The White Stripes, the Motor City has been birthing incredible musicians since its inception. Equally receptive to major touring acts and local bands, the music scene in Detroit is nothing less than vibrant. It makes for a great stomping ground for audiophiles and vinyl collectors, but makes finding the best record store Detroit has to offer all the harder.
Whether you’re a Detroit native, a transplant, or someone just passing through, you’ll find no shortage of record stores. So, in order to narrow down the contenders for your next record store day pilgrimage a little easier, we’ve laid out a handful of the best record stores Rock City has to offer.
Founded by The White Stripes frontman Jack White in 2001, the Third Man Records label opened the doors of its first brick and mortar store in Nashville in 2009, and soon after launched its Detroit store in 2015. Located in the Cass Corridor, conveniently off of Wayne State University’s campus, the Detroit store is a one-stop shop for vinyl lovers looking to up their collection.
Functioning as a venue, record label, and store all in one, stepping into Third Man Records feels almost like you’re stepping into a planet full of music. If you’re in a merch mood, you can grab yourself anything from reversible bucket hats to trendy baby onesies for the infantile music fan in your life. Gearheads will find everything from flex pedals to high-quality Pro-Ject USA turntables (in-store), to festive peppermint slipmats.
The musical library runs the gamut from live recordings on 12’ records, to hip hop CDs, comedy specials, and cassettes spanning multiple genres. Given White’s own musical career, this is an ideal stop if you’re a fan of garage rock, indie, folk, or psychedelic rock, experimental or gospel.
Location: 441 W. Canfield St
Stepping into Peoples Records is all encompassing, with a special focus on funk, jazz, blues, and soul, this is a great spot for anyone looking for the Motown experience. This location is also home to the Michigan Audio Heritage Society Museum, a free museum dedicated to archiving the long legacy of Michigan’s music scene.
The large stock of crates will have you digging for gems, and the sense of local history will leave you feeling more connected to Detroit as a whole.
If you’re a collector hoping to trade or sell your LPs, Peoples Records buys well-preserved used vinyl, so you can enter with an oldie and leave with something shiny.
Location: 1464 Gratiot Avenue
First founded in 1956, Dearborn Music has a massive stock of both new and used LPs, CDs, and vinyl covering everything from reggae, rap and electronic music, to jazz, indie and blues. On any given day, you’ll find at least 50,000 different titles available. So if you’re looking to nearly drown in an ocean of beautiful vinyl options, while hanging out in one of Detroit’s oldest and most steady record stores, Dearborn Music is the place to be.
Location: 22501 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan
Located in Corktown, Hello Records is a pristinely curated spot for anyone looking to find consistent quality across multiple genres. As with any good record store, there are discount bins to dig through, but one of the selling points of Hello Records is just pre-screened many of the selections are. If you have questions, or a specific album you’re in search of, the staff are as warm as they are knowledgeable, and the environment feels simultaneously cozy and professional. You’ll find everything from CDs to DVDS to LPs to iconic memorabilia.
Location: 4165 Fort St, Lincoln Park, Michigan
Melodies and Memories is an absolute jewel for anyone who wants to feel like they’re stepping into a time warp. At least, this seems to be a consensus since the Metro Times has voted it Eastpointe Best Record Store multiple times, making it a contender for best record store in Detroit.
This vintage record store is a great place to score bizarre and charming memorabilia ranging from lunch tins to board games to band shirts. Vinyl collectors can sell used records for cash, and the crates for digging offer up plenty of opportunities to find something special. Whether you’re in the mood to pick up a DVD of a 90s horror film, a lunchbox of your favorite cartoon character, or a cassette tape of your favorite singer, Melodies and Memories is not a place that will disappoint.
Location: 23013 Gratiot Ave, Eastpointe, Michigan
6. Solo Records
Founded by the popular local jazz drummer Dan Levitt in 1982, Solo Records quickly made its mark as an essential stop for passionate music lovers. Whether you love to geek out on reel-to-reel tapes, vinyl LPs, 8 tracks, or 78s, or you collect obscure Blu-rays and cassettes, they are fully stocked with all the classic physical music mediums. If you want to rearrange your collection or lighten your load, Solo Records consistently buys and trades across mediums, so you don’t have to budget in order to walk away with a gem.
Location: 30118 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak, Michigan
Located in Warren’s Historic District, Village Vinyl is a fabulous stomping ground for vinyl lovers across the board, but especially rock and roll fans. The indie record store packs a lot of punch into a relatively small space, and gives you the classic feeling of stepping out of the digital age into a tactile space where people slow down, and really drink in their music options. When you settle into the corner of Village Vinyl, you’ll find everything from stacks of cassettes, to rare used vinyl records, to pins and adapters.
Location: 5972 Chicago Road, Warren, Michigan
8. UHF Records
If you’re a major fan of Record Store Day specials, then the offerings at UHF Records will not disappoint you. Every year, they offer a smattering of great deals on LPs, and the rest of the year the goodies are just as abundant. UHF Records is a prime spot if you’re looking for a space that is tidy and well-organized, the charm of the store lies not just in its selection, but the care with which everything is sorted, pre-screened, and categorized. If you’re not currently in the market for a new LP, you’ll find a well-stocked book section, magazines, artful posters, and music fans can buy tickets for shows at The Majestic, Magic Stick, and Royal Oak Music Theatre. This is also a solid spot if you’re super into movie soundtracks.
Location 512 S. Washington Ave, Royal Oak, Michigan
This is a standard type of article you’ve covered before very well. Feature Third Man Records as number one (if they have a proper shop) because we’re going to do a special phono cartridge with them soon. Otherwise, use your discretion here and try to find little localized details to make it sound almost like you’ve been there.
If you appreciate the art of fashion just as much as a great record, then Detroit Threads is the ideal collision of worlds. Functioning as both a vintage clothing store and record shop, this Hamtramck destination feels fully Detroit in the best way. If you’ve been searching for an 80s leather jacket, a psychedelic scarf from the 70s, or a sturdy timeless pair of jeans, you’re in luck. When it comes to musical genres, the store specializes in house, techno, soul, funk, and New Wave vinyl, so if those tick your boxes this will be a one-stop-shop on your album search. In the pre-pandemic times, Detroit Threads has been known to throw some stellar parties on Record Store Day.
Location: 10238 Jos Campau, Hamtramck, Michigan
If you think the best record store in Detroit should mary the soul of the city with the attentiveness of the most dedicated audiophile, then The Detroit Record Club is serving up what you want. This shop has a large selection of new releases, for anyone looking to keep up with the hottest jams, but also trafficks in super well cared for used vinyl. Many of the used records at Detroit Record Club are cleaned using ultrasonic cleaning methods, and vinyl collectors will be happy to find there’s plenty of turntable cleaning tools available for sale at the shop. On top of this, one of Detroit Record Club’s main focus points is helping people find a rare gem, so if you’re on a specific search, the staff there will join forces with you.
If your music collection is fully stocked, you can always snag a book about the history of jazz, or a shiny piece of vintage vinyl equipment.
Location: 28834 Woodward Ave, Royal Oak, Michigan
Honorable Mentions for Best Record Store in Detroit
As with any list of record stores, what constitutes the “best” is going to ultimately be subjective. We all seek out different experiences while record shopping, and it should be noted that the top ten list couldn’t cover it all. So, in honor of the other contenders, here are a handful of other fantastic Detroit options.
If you’re a devotee of jazz, funk, soul, Motown, and R&B, then the rich yet affordable selection at Street Corner Music in Oak Park will likely suit your fancy.
If you love video games and novelty t-shirts just as much as vinyl, then the Clawson destination Flipside Records is a great option. They’re constantly having sales, and are known to throw in-store parties and discount days, and of course, Record Store Day deals.
Located in Ferndale, Found Sound’s massive library of new releases will be a balm to anyone whose music taste leans more current.
If your ideal record store experience involves crouching to dig through crates of exclusively used vinyl records, then the distinctively charming and refreshingly weird vibe of Record Graveyard is idyllic. They refuse to stock new records on principle, but if you’re looking to sell, they’re on the same page as you.
Even with these addendums, it’s worth noting that Detroit is so rich in music there are great shops that aren’t included here. Which is to say, Motor City is a must-stop location for all things vinyl.
After you secure those much grailed records, check out our guide for storing records to ensure they stay in pristine condition.