Here are 10 true record stores in the Milwaukee area for National Record Store Day
It’s National Record Store Day on Saturday, April 22nd. And we all know how awesome record stores are. The bad news is, they’re not as plentiful as they once were; we miss places like Radio Doctors, 1812 Overture, Mainstream…. even places like Musicland back when malls had record stores. But the GOOD news is that vinyl has been making a HUGE comeback – and record store are doing the same! You have some really great choices now when searching for vinyl and other physical music media in and around Milwaukee, and here are a bunch of choices from Racine to Thiensville, and from the East Side to points out in Watertown and Lake Geneva.
2635 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee, 53207
One of two great record stores within two blocks of each other on KK in Bay View, Rush-Mor offers both new & used vinyl, CDs, DVDs, t-shirts, and more. The music genres focus around modern and hard rock, punk, hardcore, progressive rock, Eurorock, rockabilly, and heavy metal. Might be an ABBA album loose somewhere in here, but probably no Lawrence Welk. Not that you’re looking for one. But if you’re seeking imports, they have a pretty good selection. They will special order for you. They’re open Tuesday-Sunday Noon-6pm, closed Mondays.
2341 S. Kinnickinnick Avenue, Milwaukee 53207
Here’s the second (not necessarily in ranking, but in order in this article) of two great record shops within two blocks of each other on KK in Bay View, this one is just south of Lincoln. Acme opened in 2012, although the ownership has been buying and selling vinyl since the 1990s. They have quite a selection and donate generous portions of sales and profits back to community groups. They’re open from noon to 7pm on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays; 1pm-7pm on Thursdays, and noon – 5pm on Sundays. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
1669 N. Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee, 53202
Lilliput is one of those records shops that emerged after the passing of Mr. G of The Exclusive Company in 2022, leading to those stores closing. Two employees from its time as Exclusive, Tanner Musgrove and Brian Kirk, ended up buying the shop (after first securing the massive inventory) and keeping it a record store. Located right where Brady and Farwell meet, Lilliput offers a huge variety of new and used records and CDs; they stay on top of new releases, too. Lilliput also offers stereo equipment and accessories. They’re open 10am-7pm Monday through Saturday, and 11am-5pm on Sunday. They have plenty going to National Record Store Day!
1627 E. Irving Place, Milwaukee, 53202
(414) 223-3177, Facebook page
Bullseye offers new and used records and CDs as well as equipment, we found a sweet picture of some old school speakers on their Facebook page. They’re just a little north of Lilliput off Farwell & Prospect at Irving on the East Side and they promise a great variety and high quality on their used offerings. They’re closed Mondays, otherwise hours are 11am-6pm Tuesday-Thursday, 11am-7pm Friday & Saturday, and 11am-3pm on Sunday.
5026 S. 74th Street, Greenfield, 53220
Another former Exclusive Company location, Volta Records launched during July 4th weekend of 2022 when employees bought out the store and went out on their own. Located just north of Southridge in Greenfield, Volta offers a wide selection of artists and genres in their vinyl, new and preowned movies, plus music-related merchandise like t-shirts, patches, and stickers along with a healthy array of vinyl accessories. Hours are 10am-8pm Monday-Saturday and 11am-6pm Sunday.
106 S. Main Street, Thiensville 53092
Looking for a good record shop in Ozaukee County? Thiensville is your stop, right along Main Street across from the cheel restaurant that they’re rebuilding. Stardust is really retro, with an emphasis on 50s, 60s, and 70s music but offering vinyl across everything from rock to psychedelic to jazz to Soul/R&B and Northern Soul. They have an impressive collection of 45s and their picture sleeves. They have limited hours; you gotta catch ’em on Friday from Noon to 7pm or Saturday 11am – 5pm. Or, you can call and place orders at (262) 242-7600.
275 W. Main Street, Waukesha 53186
Located in the heart of downtown Waukesha – “Guitartown,” if you will, Vinyl Vault opened in 2021. A music store called Soundwaves was in the same location from 1991 to 2008 and was owned by Dan Schneiderman, who along with his wife Michele, owns Vinyl Vault now. Remarkably, Michele’s father also owned a store in the same location in 1978 called “The King Of Rock.” Vinyl Vault got started with a wide variety of vinyl, CD’s, tapes, 8-Tracks and even reel to reel tapes. They buy, sell, and trade. Their hours are 11am-7pm Tuesday-Saturday and 11am-4pm Sunday; closed Monday.
316 6th Street, Racine 53403
Longshot Vinyl is right along 6th Street in downtown Racine, offering a wide variety of used vinyl – some of which spins on turntables to which you have access. They also sell turntables if you need to stock up. One cool twist, their dividers between record sections are record-shaped instead of the straight-up flat dividers. With all the variety of used vinyl, it’s not much of a longshot you’ll find something you’re looking for. They’re open Thursday & Friday 2-6pm and Saturday 11am-4pm.
516 Broad Street, Lake Geneva 53147
(262) 812-4040, Facebook page
Black Circle is on the north edge of downtown Lake Geneva, and with all the visitors from the Chicago area and internationally, this cozy record shop often ends up with some unique titles in their used vinyl library. Black Circle is open 11am-5pm every day but Tuesday.
402 E Main Street, Watertown 53094
Paramount in Watertown is owned by Kenn Fox, who also owns Paramount Guitars and has collected, bought, sold, and traded records for over 45 years. Paramount’s used stock rotates quickly and they specialize in rare finds, audiophile import labels, and special limited edition pressings. Along with vinyl records they stock books, concert DVDs, and accessories. They’re right along the main drag in Watertown on Highway 19, maybe 40 minutes west of Milwaukee. Their hours are Noon-5pm Thursday and Friday, 11am-4pm on Saturday. Also available Monday-Wednesday by appointment.