Vital vinyl: Explore the 4 best record shops in Chicago

Shopping for vinyl? Whether you're a longtime LP lover or just discovering that warm, crackly sound, Chicago's record shops may have just what you need. But where are the best places to settle in for an afternoon of crate digging?

Hoodline crunched the numbers to find the top vinyl record sources in Chicago, using both Yelp data and our own secret sauce to produce a ranked list of the best spots to venture next time you're in the market for records.

1. Gramaphone Records

Photo: Kesha J./Yelp

Topping the list is Gramaphone Records. Located at 2843 N. Clark St. in Lakeview, it's the highest rated record shop in Chicago, boasting 4.5 stars out of 68 reviews on Yelp.

Gramaphone was established in 1969 and its collection of vinyl records focuses on house, techno and classics. Hip-hop, drum and bass, electronic, dubstep and downtempo albums are also available. Check out the shop's website for more information.

"Fantastic homage to the birthplace of house music," wrote Yelper Will B. "Superb selection of new and old electronic music, from the popular to the obscure. Great selection of posters, T-shirts and other fare as well. If you love Chicago house music, you'll love this place."

2. Dusty Groove

Photo: de la soul 3/Yelp

Dusty Groove, located at 1120 N. Ashland Ave. in Wicker Park, is another top choice, with Yelpers giving the record shop four stars out of 99 reviews.

The business started as an online-only operation in 1996 and moved to a brick-and-mortar location in 1997, later relocating to its current three-story building. Nearly all genres are on offer here, from jazz and blues to reggae and rock 'n' roll. Books, magazines and clothing are also available, as are used CDs, eight tracks and turntable supplies. Check out Dusty Grove's website for a complete list of offerings.

3. Reckless Records

Photo: dee k./Yelp

Reckless Records in the Loop is another go-to, with four stars out of 88 Yelp reviews. Head over to 26 E. Madison St. to visit the store or stop by its other locations in Lakeview and Wicker Park. (There's a fourth shop in London.)

Established in 1988, Reckless sells new and used vinyl and buys records, CDs and DVDs. New albums arrive daily and the business's website has a search feature to see if the album you're hunting for is in stock. Expect everything from folk and alternative to rock, reggae and hip-hop.

4. Dave's Records

Photo: jamie n./Yelp

Over in Lincoln Park, check out Dave's Records, which has earned four stars out of 78 reviews on Yelp. You can find the vinyl-only store at 2604 N. Clark St.

Dave's shelves are strictly lined with vinyl records -- 40,000 of them. The store carries all speeds (33, 45, 78), formats (seven-inch, 10-inch, 12-inch, EP, LP) and has a variety of genres, such as jazz, soul, funk, hip-hop, house, disco, country and more. New arrivals come in daily and Dave's sells both new and used records. Here's the website.
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