Baltimore Record Stores for Every Music Enthusiast
Discover the sounds of Charm City at these indie record stores.
It’s hard to walk around Baltimore without being immersed in our live music scene, from the buskers that serenade visitors along the Inner Harbor to the DJs that keep us dancing all night long. The city’s record stores serve as incubators for this original sound by providing relaxed environments for musicians and music lovers to explore new genres, discover local and regional talent, and build connections. And no two stores are the same, with some serving as storehouses for various genres and others offering more curated selections indicative of the neighborhood’s vibe. All, however, are worth a visit.
Celebrate National Indie Record Store Day on April 15 when many stores offer sales and specials.
Baby’s On Fire
The product of owners David and Shirlé Koslowski’s dual investment in Baltimore’s punk music and culinary scenes, Baby’s On Fire is a coffee shop plus record store located in the historic Mount Vernon neighborhood. The carefully curated new and used record selection spans genres, and the shop will even special-order items to help you complete your collection. As you flip through Baby’s bins, sip on locally roasted house blend drip coffee and snack on house-made sandwiches and pastries, including ample vegan options.
Celebrated Summer Records
Located in Hampden, Celebrated Summer Records specializes in punk, hardcore rock, jazz and soul music, though they carry records of all genres and time periods. Owner Tony Pence, a musician himself, has one of the most comprehensive collections of memorabilia related to Baltimore’s past and present punk scene, and the walls of Celebrated Summer Records are adorned with posters, fliers and setlists he’s compiled over the years.
El Suprimo Records
With an impressive assortment of used vinyls, LPs, cassettes, 8-tracks, 45’s & 78’s, its no surprise El Suprimo has been a Baltimore fixture fore more than 18 years. The store sits in the middle of the bustling Fell’s Point neighborhood, which is rife with bars, restaurants and specialty shops, plus a dreamy view of the Patapsco River. No need to finish your alcoholic beverages while browsing – owner Jack Moore invites you to keep sipping while you sort through El Suprimo’s 13,000+ collection.
Mount Vernon Records
After spending more than 20 years DJing, producing music and collecting records, William Hicks and Aaron Spence opened Mount Vernon Records in 2022 to provide the community with an accessible music resource and creative hub. They advance this mission by providing records, art, clothing and music supplies within a wide price range, as well as classes on DJing and music production.
Normals Books & Records
For more than twenty years, Normals has served as the watering hole to Waverly’s literary and musical communities—a place where creators and alternative thinkers could gather to share ideas and appreciate art. The store is the home to Red Room Collective’s High Zero Festival and it frequently hosts poetry readings, film showings, dance performances and more. As for the records, the store houses one of the best jazz selections in the city, plus rare gems from John Fahey, The Birthday Party, Singers & Players, Johnny Cash and more.
Protean Books & Records
One of the largest independent book and record stores in Baltimore (as in more than 20,000 titles large), Protean Books & Records is a cozy escape from the busy bars and restaurants in the Federal Hill neighborhood. You’ll find an eclectic music mix in the Protean bins, from Kendrick Lamar and Taylor Swift to vintage David Bowie records and movie soundtracks. In addition to records, Protean sells board and video games, books, clothing and costumes, turntables and novelty items.
The Sound Garden
Since opening in 1993, The Sound Garden has earned praise for its unparalleled selection of CDs and DVDs (they house more than 100,000), as well as video games, vinyls and LPs. They’ve won more than 50 Best-of awards, and in 2014 were voted the second-best record store in America by Rolling Stone.
It’s nearly impossible to stroll past Strawberry Fields on The Avenue without stopping to peruse the vintage costume jewelry, sketches and records parked outside the shop’s entrance. You’ll find just as many treasures inside, including rows of vinyl on the shop’s upper level. Recent standouts from the Strawberry Fields’ collection include “After Hours with Sarah Vaughar,” “The Best of John Coltrane” and Johnny Lytle’s “Blue Vibes.”
Rust-N-Shine in Highlandtown houses a vast collection of charming pre-loved trinkets, housewares, posters and records, plus a selection of locally-made products from Mount Royal Soaps and other Baltimore small businesses. Owners Kevin and Kinsley are passionate about repurposing vintage goods, and they search high and low to provide rare finds for affordable prices. Recent record finds include albums from rock legends like Paul McCartney, The Who, Buddy Holly, David Bowie, Mick Jagger and more. Rust-N-Shine is also committed to their community, often sponsoring fundraisers and hosting neighborhood events.
Vinyl & Pages
Beyond offering a curated selection of new and used records and books, this Black-owned store in the Bromo Arts & Entertainment District reserves space on its shelves for other small business owners and creatives to showcase their products. Every aspect of the store—from the art on the walls to the music playing in the shop to the prices of the merchandise—is intended to create an accessible, creative atmosphere that inspires imagination and collaboration. A community hub, Vinyls & Pages also hosts author events, book signings, art shows, game nights, music jams and more.