After you get your fill of music this week, put on your walking shoes and prepare for a stroll through the Record District of DC. This five stop tour will take you through five of the best record stores in the area AND they’re the perfect distance apart to hit in an afternoon.

You can start at the bottom or the top of the list and find some magic around every turn. <3

Songbyrd Record Cafe

Ok, don’t be scared when you walk into this one. It’s not your typical record store. Then again, it may be the perfect place to start or end your tour because it’s a café first and a record store second, or a cafe with a record store, or a small restaurant that sells records… however you want to put it. It’s not the biggest selection in the city, but it’s got enough bonuses, including a 220 person live concert venue.

Smash Records

It’s been around since 1984. If you haven’t heard of it, you have to ask yourself if you even like records? Many also consider this beast the premier punk, rock, and alternative music clothing store in DC. If you’re looking to buy OR sell records, VHS, or clothing of a punk rock inclination, you’ve found it.

Red Onion Records

There are many layers to this onion and with records from as far back as the ’30s, every level of collector will find something here. And while it may not be a café or big venue, they do host a monthly live music event where customers can listen to music while they’re perusing the LPs. They’ve also got a few books and cassettes for sale, if you’re into that kinda thing.

Joint Custody

Being that this store is owned by musicians, producers, record collectors, label owners, and show promoters, we can only guess that that’s how they got their name (which is awesome). This place has got it all, thrash metal to free jazz, psych to hip-hop, and rare soul to shoegaze. They’ve also got all kinds of rare vintage clothing from the ’30s through the ’80s, instruments, and vintage electronics. This place has a lil’ something for everyone.

Som Records

Finally, the only place on the list that has free records waiting to be plucked out front. That’s right, the owner Neal Becton is that kind of music lover. Also, you may just miss this store without having those record crates outside. Inside you’ve got records on the walls and a diverse section of new and used albums. According to their website, they’ve got the “most varied selection of new and used vinyl in DC!” Go let them prove it.

walking tour of Record District DC

If you want an easy map to follow on your adventure, you’re in luck! [GOOGLE MAP]

Did you do it? What else did you find on your journey? Tell us on Twitter!


Go out tonight, and any night. Jukely is a concert subscription that gives members guestlist access to hundreds of music events – for one price. Whenever you want to go out, you’ll always have something to do. Learn more and sign up at jukely.com.