Written by: Jackson Englert
From its decline in the late 1980’s to the 41 million units sold in 2022, vinyl records are becoming a core part of music culture again with the resurgence within the last few years. Luckily, Pittsburgh is one of the best cities to shop for vinyl records and the music scene is alive as ever. Some stores in Pittsburgh are some of the most historic and recognizable in the country due to their long history and selection of vinyl. No matter what you are looking for, from Record Store Day releases, indie exclusive releases, or that old record you’ve been wanting to find, one of these stores will have it.
The Attic Record Store
Photos via vinylseeker.com and yelp.com
Located in Millvale is The Attic Record Store, the oldest record store in the Pittsburgh area. They have been in business since 1980 and are still growing to this day thanks to the vinyl resurgence that has happened in the past few years. Owner Fred Bohn has created a music heaven for all music lovers and collectors alike. Whether it is vinyl you are looking to buy, or maybe CDs and cassettes, they have it all. When you walk in, you are immediately greeted by staff and the countless bins full of vinyl records you can search. Near the front of the store are bins and shelves full of new releases, soundtracks, boxsets, and new used arrivals. The Attic makes sure to always keep on top of every new release on Fridays and will constantly restock previous releases as well. The further you explore the store, the more you see how vast it is. There is wall to wall shelves full of vinyl records of all genres that will keep you coming back to explore more and more of what The Attic has to offer. This is an experience you cannot get at any other record store in the area. It feels like a huge archive of music begging to be listened to and bought. Even if they do not have something you want, they are willing to create special orders for you through their access to distributors and get you the specific piece of music that you are looking for. It may not be the most glamorous or modern looking record store, but the heart that is found here cannot be replicated in any other way.
If you find yourself interested in exploring the thousands of records in this store, you can find The Attic at 513 Grant Ave. in Millvale or check out their website.
The Government Center
Photos via NEXTpittsburgh.com and @thegovernmentcenter on Instagram
The Government Center, located in North Side, is a relatively new record store in the Pittsburgh area. Even though it was recently established, it has quickly risen to be one of the hubs that keeps our city’s music scene going. Owner Josh Cozby’s goal with this record store is to create a center for the music community that is not seen anywhere else within Pittsburgh. The record store is stocked with a lot of different genres but has a huge stock of rock and pop music across the many different subgenres within. Another nice touch is that the employees also have their own section where they include their current listens and favorite recent releases so if you go in not knowing what you want, they have great recommendations for you to choose from. Not only is The Government Center a great record store constantly in stock with new and old releases, it is an amazing hangout space to talk and discuss music. Unlike other record stores, this one has a bar, a café, and a small stage to hold concerts so they can interact with the community around them as much as possible. It is truly a unique experience to come in on an early Sunday morning and grab an iced latte and search their bins for some new music. The café is stocked with pastries sourced from vendors in the area and there are many different drink options as well. With the bar, it opens at 4pm every day and stays open until the store closes. Then concerts they hold also feature upcoming and smaller artists from around the country but with most of the performances you will find that they are from the Pittsburgh area.
If you want to be a part of this community, you can find The Government Center at 715 East Street and view their upcoming events on their website.
Music To My Ear
Photos via Musictomyear.com
In the North Hills sits Music To My Ear, a small record store that opened in 2012. What makes this record store unique compared to the others on this list is that it specializes in high fidelity audio systems like headphones, speakers and turntables. Specifically, they are the exclusive dealer of Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab products in the Pittsburgh area. If shopping for audio systems, they even have testing chairs to sit and try different audio systems to make sure you get one that best fits your taste and your budget. Even though they have a focus on audio systems, Music To My Ear still has an amazing selection of both equally sized new and used vinyl that spans many genres of music. It is truly impressive the things you can find in this store given that it is the smallest one on this list. The employees also have a “Look Here First!” section at the front of the store where they put some of their favorite finds to give some customers recommendations on their next purchase. Overall, this is a gem in the Pittsburgh area if you are in need of new equipment or just want to have a small cozy browsing experience.
If you want to visit Music To My Ear you can find them at 3003 Babcock Blvd or see their website.
Photos via onlyinyourstate.com and tripadvisor.com
In the heart of Squirrel Hill sits the largest and most historical record store in Pittsburgh, Jerry’s Records. Founded in 1985, this record store has almost a million albums, 12” singles, 45s and EPs on its shelves and even has more media, including CD’s and cassettes. This store is the most recognizable when it comes to discussing record stores in Pittsburgh and even in the United States of America. Jerry’s Records gets its national recognition by holding some of the oldest recorded music at such a sheer volume. Because there are so many vinyl records in the store, they will sometimes give some away for free or for a dollar or two due to the volume of music they have. When visiting, you may not get what you initially search for due to the store being entirely made up of used vinyl, but there will always be something in there for you. They make sure to have a best seller’s section to make it easier for customers to come in and search the store. If you desire to look through the rest of the store, it may take you over a week to go through it all. To also make decision making easier, Jerry’s Records has listening stations throughout their store so you can sit and listen to records you think you may want. This store has it all (literally) and provides a key location for any music lover to explore the sounds and history of music.
To find this national treasure, it is located at 2136 Murray Avenue on the 2nd floor, or visit their website.
A few other stores to check out!
- Pleasant Dreams Records – A vinyl haven for all punk music lovers. Find them at @pleasantdreamsrecords on Instagram!
- Preserving Record Shop – Also a concert venue that happens to sell vinyl. They specialize in punk genres and have plenty of others too. See them at https://www.preservingconcerts.com/about-1
- Needle & Bean – Grab some coffee and browse some records in this cozy shop! See them at https://needle-bean.webflow.io/