July 22, 2024
Great Wisconsin Record Stores, including Black Circle Records in Lake Geneva

45+ Great Wisconsin Record Stores to Explore on Road Trips

Road trips around Wisconsin can lead you to some great shopping, including independent record stores across the state. We tracked over 45 of them in all corners of the state where you can uncover some hidden gems!

Music helps define our lives, our cultures, and our experiences. Ever since the 1870s when music was first preserved on a recordable and playable medium, we have embraced the ability to hear our favorite songs, concerts, even spoken word recitals, on demand in some form. Today we can access just about anything digitally, often with the phone in our pocket (who would have seen that coming in the 1970s or 80s??) But let’s face it: there’s nothing quite like physical media and holding a record in your hands. Originally wax, not vinyl, records were the dominant way of saving and playing back music from the very early 1900s through the 1970s and 80s, when cassettes and CD took over.

However, vinyl has been making quite the comeback over the past several years, reflected in a resurgence of independent record stores. Here’s a nice selection of record shops across Wisconsin, where you can stop, browse, and buy (or even sell sometimes) while on a fun road trip!

Skip to geographic section:
Southeastern Wisconsin/Milwaukee Area
Southwestern Wisconsin/Madison Area
Eastern/Northeastern Wisconsin
Central/Western Wisconsin
Northern/Northwestern Wisconsin

Southeastern Wisconsin/Milwaukee Area

Milwaukee: Rush-Mor Ltd. Music & Video

2635 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee, 53207, (414) 481-6040, Website, Facebook page

One of two great record stores within two blocks of each other on Highway 32/Kinnickinnic in Milwaukee’s Bay View district, 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.

Milwaukee: Acme Records & Music Emporium

2341 S. Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53207, (414) 882-9797, Website, Facebook page

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 Highway 32/Kinnickinnic Avenue in Milwaukee’s Bay View district, 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.

Milwaukee: Musical Memories

833 E. Kilbourn Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202, (414) 271-0666, Website

A small shop along Milwaukee’s Kilbourn Avenue, Musical Memories has been around for many decades, with the neon sign sporting the phone number beckoning people in to shop. They have plenty of classic records, including an impressive selection of jazz. They have a reputation for the good condition of their used records, too. They’re a block north of eastbound Highway 32 (Wells Street) and south of westbound 32 (State Street) in the East Town area of Milwaukee’s downtown. We have conflicting information on hours, but according to Yelp they’re 11am-4pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
(Photo credit: Joseph Hines)

Milwaukee: Lilliput Records, Brady & Farwell, Milwaukee

1669 N. Farwell Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202, (414) 271-8590, Website, Facebook page

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. You’ll find Lilliput right on Highway 32 on Milwaukee’s famed East Side by Brady Street!

Milwaukee: Bullseye Records

1627 E. Irving Place, Milwaukee, WI 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.

Milwaukee & Cedarburg: We Buy Records

Two locations:
904 E. Center Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212, (414) 232-7606, Website, Facebook page
7481 Wisconsin Highway 60, Cedarburg, WI 53012 (inside the Fermentorium Brewery)

As the name implies, We Buy Records is as into buying records as sell them. They’re open 7 days a week from noon to 4pm for both buying and selling at their location in Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood, between Humboldt Avenue to the east and Company Brewing, about a block and a half to the west. They actively seek vinyl LPs and 45s in a wide variety of genres. They’ll also buy some CDs, cassettes, and stereo gear – SOME… they’re rather discerning on those. They’re not into old 78s, or certain genres like country, Christmas, big band, Broadway musicals, easy listening, stuff like that. They have a lane. You’ll find them right by Ebb & Flow, a home goods store (this area of Riverwest has a lot of cool things to check out!) They have another location in Cedarburg right along Highway 60 inside the Fermentorium Brewery, if you like a little brewski to go with your music shopping; they also have a sister location in Winchester, Illinois, in the west burbs of Chicago.

West Allis: Record Head

7045 W. Greenfield Avenue (Highway 59), West Allis, WI 53214, (414) 453-3900, Website, Facebook page, Instagram

Right along the Greenfield Avenue stretch of downtown West Allis just east of the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds you’ll find Record Head, a longtime fixture among Milwaukee area record stores. They’ve been at it since 1972, when vinyl ruled, 8-tracks and reel-to-reel tapes were an option, and cassettes were barely making a dent. Offering a huge selection of new and used of vinyl, games, turntables, music accessories, DJ and studio equipment, music instruments, and even stereos, Record Head is very active with buying and selling both in-store and online. Their website is well-organized, as is the store. Their hours are 9:30am-6pm on Sunday, 9:30am-7pm Monday-Thursday, 9:30am-6pm on Fridays (4pm for closing during the winter), and they’re closed Saturday. You’ll find Record Head on Highway 59/Greenfield Avenue, just west of the 70th Street intersection, which offers a direct line to and from I-94’s Exit 307, which is a mile or so north.

Greenfield: Volta Records

5026 S. 74th Street, Greenfield, WI 53220, (414) 281-6644, Website, Facebook page

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.

Thiensville: Stardust Records & Collectibles

106 S. Main Street, Thiensville 53092, (262) 242-7600, Website, Facebook page

Looking for a good record shop in Ozaukee County? Thiensville is your stop, right along Main Street across from the cheel restaurant. 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.

West Bend: The Beat Goes On Records & More

144 N. Main Street, West Bend, WI 53095, (262) 334-7101, Website, Facebook page

The Beat Goes On Records and More in downtown West Bend, Wisconsin (photo credit: The Beat Goes on Facebook page)

This was the original 1956 location of The Exclusive Company, the longtime Wisconsin chain of great record stores. When Exclusive closed up shop everywhere, local residents Joe & Mary Zaremba stepped in and established The Beat Goes On Records and More in 2022, keeping the historic location right along Main Street in downtown West Bend.
The Beat Goes On stocks new and used vinyl and often hosts listening parties and other events. Stop in and check out the mix of old and new in this lovely little downtown area, where plenty of other shops, bars and restaurants, the Museum of Wisconsin Art, and the historic Bend Theater are all within easy walking distance. It’s along the historic U.S. 45 route within two blocks of Highways 33 and 144.

Waukesha: Vinyl Vault Records

275 W. Main Street, Waukesha 53186, (262) 765-1350, Website, Facebook page

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.

Paramount Record Shop along Highway 19/Main Street in Watertown, Wisconsin

Watertown: Paramount Record Shop

402 E Main Street (Highway 19), Watertown, WI 53094, (608) 513-1158, Website, Facebook page

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, just a few minutes off Highways 16 and 26, which today bypass the heart of the city but their Business routes bring you right through on their old alignments. Paramount’s hours are Noon-5pm Thursday and Friday, 11am-4pm on Saturday, also available Monday-Wednesday by appointment.

Racine: Longshot Vinyl

1505 Washington Avenue (Highway 20), Racine, WI 53403, (414) 750-6843, Website, Facebook page

Longshot Vinyl just relocated in February 2024 from its old 6th Street location to a point a little further southwest – but still along Highway 20 – in Racine. Original owner Jada Pfarr sold the business to the owners of Rooted, a shop in Racine’s Uptown neighborhood that lets you immerse yourself not just in music, but plants, herbs, crystals, workshops, and all the holistic feels. The store’s motto: “Live by the seat of your plants.”
The selection of vinyl continues to expand in their new digs and they continue to sell turntables and other accessories. 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 Wednesday-Sunday 11am-5pm, Mondays and Tuesdays by appointment only.

Sturtevant: Time & Again Music & More

9602 Durand Avenue (Highway 11), Sturtevant, WI 53147, (262) 358-2138, Facebook page

Right along Highway 11 between I-94 and Racine and within a close shot of the Amtrak station in Sturtevant you’ll find Time & Again Music & More – the “more” being art and antiques. Store hours are 1pm-6pm, seven days a week.

Lake Geneva: Black Circle Records

516 Broad Street, Lake Geneva, WI 53147, (262) 812-4040, Facebook page

Black Circle is on the north edge of downtown Lake Geneva right on Broad Street (Historic Highway 120), 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.

Hemptations, which sells CBD AND Records, on the main drag along Highway 11 in Delavan, Wisconsin

Delavan: Hemptations CBD & Records

314 E. Walworth Avenue (Highway 11), Delavan, WI 53115, (262) 724-0456, Facebook page

Well, THIS is an interesting combo: medicinal CBD products and a growing selection of vinyl records in one store that also serves as a Dish and DirecTV retailer, all in one building along the brick pavement downtown section of Highway 11 in Delavan. So it’s eclectic before you even go in. Hemptations is adding to their collection, having started primarily with new and used rock records with pop, metal, and other genres starting to make their mark. They also buy and sell CDs and cassettes. Hemptations is cash-only; their hours are 11am-6pm Wednesday-Friday and 9am-3pm Saturday; they’re closed Sunday through Tuesday. And yes, the store is pretty pro-hemp. Highway 11 brings you right there, just west of the west end of Highway 50 and within close range of I-43.

Southwestern Wisconsin/Madison Area

Mad City Music on Atwood Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin

Madison: Mad City Music

2023 Atwood Avenue, Madison, WI 53704, (608) 251-8558, Website, Facebook page

Mad City Music is a fantastic record store on Madison’s east side, with a healthy selection – we’re talking hundreds, possibly thousands – of options for new and used vinyl, CDs, and more. They buy and sell and have everything from classics you might expect to one-offs you never might. If you like 45s, this is a great place to explore. While not a huge store square-footage wise, don’t be shocked if you find yourself spending hours in here. They’re on Atwood Avenue in a great district just blocks off U.S. 151/East Washington Avenue, actually along the original route of Historic Highway 30 (the road that first directly connected Madison and Milwaukee.) The Barrymore Theater and quite a few eclectic shops, restaurants, and more are all within walking distance.

Madison: B-Side Records

514 State Street, Madison, WI 53703, (608) 255-1977, Website, Facebook page, Instagram

Located in the heart of Madison on Street Street, B-Side Records has been a hotspot for vinyl since 1982. They recently moved a block to their current location, staying on State Street but offering a larger space. Hours are 10am-6pm Monday-Thursday, 10am-7pm Friday and Saturday, and 11am-5pm Sunday. A recent film was made showcasing B-Side and the move called Keep Spinning, and it is!

Madison: JiggyJamz Vinyl & CDs

1734 Fordem Avenue, Suite A, Madison, WI 53703, (608) 622-7176, Website, Facebook page, Instagram

DJs inside JiggyJamz Vinyl & CDs in Madison, Wisconsin

On Madison’s near East Side just off Highway 113, JiggyJamz Vinyl & CDs specializes in the music many club DJs covet: lots of techno, hip-hop, dance, electronica, and alternative. In fact, there’s a good chance one of them will be spinning when you walk in.
JiggyJamz supports the local artist community and has a lot of their art, shirts, and more available.

Madison: Strictly Discs

1900 Monroe Street, Madison, WI 53711, (608) 259-1991, Website, Facebook page

How strict is Strictly Discs about strictly having only discs? Not very. And that’s okay. Since 1988, Strictly Discs has been stocking new and used CDs, vinyl, and more while also offering studio gear for sale or rent. Plenty of selection with a vibe filled with colors, stickers, and opportunities to win tickets to local shows. It’s a little southwest of the UW-Madison campus on Monroe Street at the intersection with Harrison. You can get to it from the campus area by heading southwest on Monroe from Camp Randall Stadium, or going northeast via Verona Road from the Beltline (U.S. 12/14/18/151) and following the signs; it’s only a few minutes away. Hours are 10am-6pm Monday-Thursday, 10am-8pm Friday, 10am-6pm Saturday, and 11am-5pm on Sunday.

Strictly Discs in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of StrictlyDiscs.com
Strictly Discs in Madison, Wisconsin. Photo courtesy of StrictlyDiscs.com

Madison: The Door

4509 Monona Drive, Suite C, Madison, WI 53703, (608) 867-3954, Website, Facebook page

The Door specializes in Metal & Punk, Hard Rock, New Wave, Progressive, and Psychedelic music – as they like to say, “Loud & Fast & Weird” despite opening quietly in 2020 during Covid. Even their overall vibe is “questionable” – their words – being located along busy Monona Drive but set back a bit, almost like it’s trying to hide but lurk at the same time. In 2023, they expanded into the nail salon that used to be next door, so now their presence is a little easier to spot. Don’t be surprised if you walk in there and your ears start ringing right away – they’ll blast some interesting stuff in there. Being as “4-day weekend store,” hours are Thursdays Noon-7pm, Fridays Noon-8pm, Saturdays & Sundays 11am-5pm.

Baraboo: Spin Shack

136 3rd Street, Baraboo, WI 53913, (608) 356-6071, Website, Facebook page, Instagram

Baraboo may be known for its circuses, but it has several great music stores and a good record shop – Spin Shack – on 3rd Street in the downtown area. Spin Shack has been at it since 1999 and buys and sells vinyl along with movies, DVDs and BluRays, video games of all kinds, and more. Spin Shack is open Monday-Friday 10am-5:30pm, 10am-4:30pm Saturday, and is closed Sunday. You’ll find Spin Shack just off Highways 33 and 113 in town, a few miles east of the Highway 136/Baraboo exit off the U.S. 12 freeway. Here’s a shot of their storefront with Nemo, courtesy of their @spinshack99 Instagram!

Fun sign to spot outside Spin Shack in Baraboo, Wisconsin

Janesville: Robot Fighter Records

500 N. Parker Dr., Janesville, WI 53545, (608) 751-7959, Website, Facebook page

Robot Fighter Records took a long enough break from fighting robots to open their independent record store in 2023. Located in downtown Janesville within easy distance of U.S. 51 and Highway 26 (as well as the original routes of U.S. 14 and Highway 11, bypasses annoy us sometimes), Robot Fighter focuses on indie records but stocks a wide selection.

Tin Dog Records in downtown Beloit, Wisconsin

Beloit: Tin Dog Records

312 State Street, Suite B, Beloit, WI 53511, (608) 207-3913, Website, Facebook page

In the heart of downtown Beloit, Tin Dog Records has an almost clandestine entrance – you have to go behind State Street storefronts – specifically Rock County Rocks & Gems – and enter their shop from the back parking lot. Being located about three blocks north of the Illinois state line, we’ll go out on a limb and say this is Wisconsin’s southernmost record store, too. Owners Jeff and Jennifer sell new and used vinyl LPs along with a curated selection of 45s, CDs, DVDs, and other music-related gift items. The breadth of genres is wide here, with an eye on the eclectic. They’ll buy your collections or individual selections, too. And in case you’re wondering, there really is a Tin Dog: Stella. You can bring you dog and they can sniff each other while you browse.
Tin Dog Records is now open 7 days a week: Monday, Thursday, & Friday Noon-6pm, Tuesday & Wednesday 10am-4pm, and Saturday & Sunday 11am-4pm.
You’ll find Tin Dog Records on the back end of State Street within a block of both Highway 213 and U.S. 51 between the heart of downtown Beloit and ABC Supply Stadium, home of the Beloit Sky Carp MiLB High “A” baseball team. And yes, Illinois lurks just blocks away.

Eastern/Northeastern Wisconsin

Fond du Lac: Mad Hatteur Music

459 S. Main Street, Fond du Lac, WI 53094, (920) 921-3720, Facebook page

The Mad Hatteur describes itself as a “quaint little music shop” and they are, right on FDL’s Main Street which is in the midst of a great strip of shopping, restaurants, parks, and hotels. Mad Hatteur offers both new and used CD’s and plenty of concert DVD’s, posters, incense, collectible albums and sundries. All of their employees are musicians in their own right, and they’ll special order any music you might want that they can get their hands on.

Oshkosh & Appleton: Eroding Winds Record Shop(s)

Two locations:
436 N Main Street, Oshkosh, WI 54901, (920) 230-7433, Website, Facebook page (for both locations)
229 E. College Avenue (Highway 125), Appleton, WI 920-815-3946

Eroding Winds is a two-store independent record shop with locations in Oshkosh and Appleton – both downtown. They started as online-only in 2015 and had their brick-and-mortar shop by the end of the following year. Both locations stock new and used vinyl, CDs (mainly newer), along with some cassettes. Hours for both record stores – at last check – are Tuesday-Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 11am-6pm, and Sunday Noon-4pm, closed Mondays.

Green Bay: Rock N Roll Land

838 S. Military Avenue, Green Bay, WI 54303, (920) 230-7433, Website, Facebook page

Open since 2011, Rock N’ Roll Land focuses on music lovers with a huge selection, service, and a focus on independent artists and listeners. They host a lot of free live performances and musical events while laying claim to “one of the most diverse and affordable selections of vinyl LPs found in Wisconsin.” Rock N’ Roll Land buys used records, LPs and other Rock n’ Roll related items, including certain memorabilia. With live music hosting and more, they like to be a meeting place for Green Bay’s most colorful community of progressive and creative minds. Check out their selection, they’re not far from Lambeau Field and the whole Titletown District. It’s just short drive north on Military Avenue off I-41 and Highway 32/Lombardi Avenue!

Sheboygan: The Music Boxx Records

1119 N. 8th Street (U.S. 10), Sheboygan, WI 53081, (920) 458-0951, Website, Facebook page, Instagram

Downtown Sheboygan’s main strip on 8th Street has a wide variety of shops, restaurants, bars, parks, museums, even performing arts centers… and it has a great record shop, too. The Music Boxx opened in 2004 a block north of Erie Street (the one that extends past the east end of Highway 23 coming into town) and has navigated the changes in the industry and consumer demand, which despite streaming’s dominance has enjoyed a vinyl revival the last several years. The Music Boxx buys and sells new and used LPs, 45s, cassettes, and CDs. Their hours are Tuesday-Thursday Noon-6pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-6pm, and Sunday 11am-4pm. Closed Monday. They’re at the northern edge of Sheboygan’s downtown, which coupled with the Harbor District has a ton of great stuff to check out – see more from Visit Sheboygan!

Doctor Freud's Institute of Fine Recordings, downtown Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Manitowoc: Doctor Freud’s Institute of Fine Recordings

925 S. 8th Street (U.S. 10), Manitowoc, WI 54220, (920) 684-6700, Website, Facebook page

You rarely see the word “institute” in the name of a record store, but Doctor Freud, who presumably sees a certain angle with everything, prefers the atypical. An institution in Manitowoc for over 45 years, Dr. Freud’s Institute of Fine Recordings features a wide array of vinyl across the spectrum, specializing in hard-to-find titles and will take challenging special orders. Both its original location and its current one along 8th Street, where it’s been since 2006, has hosted many a musical session with numerous artists, creating plenty of folklore staff members just might be willing to share. Along with the records to thumb through, Dr. Freud’s offers a wide variety of clothes – especially t-shirts – along with toys, gifts, and more. Open 11am-5pm Monday-Friday, 11am-4pm Saturday, and whenever special events get hosted.

Bay Vinyl Records, just off Business 42/57 in downtown Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Sturgeon Bay: Bay Vinyl Records

325 Kentucky Street, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235, (920) 559-8695, Website, Facebook page

Inside Bay Vinyl Records, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Right in downtown Sturgeon Bay on the “island side” of town just off 3rd Street/Business 42/57 (aka the main drag) you’ll find Bay Vinyl Records, a cool little shop with tons of vinyl, cassettes, CDs, music videos and albums on tape, memorabilia, and more in a cozy space. They cram a huge, curated selection of new releases, re-issued titles, and used vinyl. If you need a turntable, they specialize in Audio-Technica models.

Their hours can change through the seasons and even based on weather – it can get wild on the peninsula – but their Spring Hours are generally 11am-5pm Tuesday-Friday and 10am-4pm on Saturday; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Again, that can change during the other seasons. A legacy of COVID, they still offer curbside service if you call ahead with a record order; their number is 920-559-8695. A great stop when visiting Door County!

Ephraim: Rusty Dusty Vintage & Records

9222 Water Street (Highway 42), Ephraim, WI 54204, (920) 854-6223, Website, Facebook page

Tucked into a little shopping area along Highway 42 in Ephraim across from the beautiful waters of Eagle Harbor, Rusty Dusty Vintage & Records has a variety of records, vintage clothing, and memorabilia matching the vibe of this lovely Door County village. Just down a driveway from the main road is where you’ll find parking and the main entrance; in the same lot you can enjoy some tasty selections at Prince of Pierogi, a sought-out destination for visitors to the peninsula. Rusty Dusty is open Thursdays – Mondays, 10am-4pm.

Rusty Dusty Vintage & Records along Highway 42 in Ephraim, Wisconsin

Waupaca: Back to the Vinyl

102 Water Street, Waupaca, WI 54981, (715) 204-4884, Website, Facebook page, Instagram

Back to the Vinyl opened in 2023; owners Marty and Jennifer Milner are big Back to the Future fans, in case you’re wondering how the shop got its name. This cozy little shop down by the river on the edge of downtown Waupaca has thousands of vinyl records, CDs, and cassettes stocked up and available. They also sell turntables, replacement needles, posters, and more. They’re open Monday – Thursday Noon – 6pm, Friday & Saturday 10am-8pm, and Sunday 10am – 4pm. Head downtown from U.S. 10 or Highways 22, 49, or 54 to get there (they all run around town on bypasses, which irks us!)

Back to the Vinyl Record Store in Waupaca, Wisconsin

Central/Western Wisconsin

Good Day Sunshine Records, downtown Marshfield, Wisconsin

Marshfield: Good Day Sunshine

107 S. Central Avenue, Marshfield, WI 54449, (715) 898-1011, Website, Facebook page, Instagram

Good Day Sunshine is more than just a cheery Beatles song – it’s a great record shop that opened up along the bustling Central Avenue downtown strip in Marshfield in 2022. Dani, the owner, ensures they have all the new vinyl issues (Taylor Swift’s April 2024 release was available the DAY it came out at GDS, as they live to abbreviate it) and a wide selection of used titles in a very clean, organized store. Good Day Sunshine is open Wednesday – Friday Noon – 6pm, Saturdays and Sundays Noon – 4pm, closed Monday and Tuesday. You’ll find them along Business Highway 13/Central Avenue in a very walkable downtown area filled with shops, metal sculpture art, restaurants, and both historic sites and public performance and recreation spaces within a few blocks. Definitely a nice stop to shop and stretch your legs a bit! And don’t be surprised if you come home with a LOT of records for your collection.
A drive down U.S. 10 or Highways 13, 80, or 97 bring you to Marshfield, where you’ll find a lot of other fun things to explore! More from Visit Marshfield…

Good Day Sunshine Record Shop along Central Avenue in Marshfield, Wisconsin

Stevens Point: Radio KAOS Records

968 Main Street, Stevens Point, WI 54481, (715) 344-4419, Website, Facebook page

With a logo inspired by Roger Waters’ album of the same name (and by extension, a book from a famous disc jockey named Jim Ladd, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole), Radio KAOS is right on Main Street (tucked inside the different directions of Wisconsin’s Route 66) in the bustling downtown of Stevens Point, one of Wisconsin’s most vibrant college towns and home to the World’s Largest Trivia Competition every year. Inside the funky storefront you’ll find a wide variety of new and used vinyl and plenty of collectibles. Need to store a bunch of your media? Or get some cool displays for them like frames for album covers? They have those, too. Radio KAOS is open Tuesday – Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-2pm; closed Sunday and Monday.

Wausau: Inner Sleeve Records

209 Scott Street, Wausau, WI 54403, (715) 842-8297, Facebook page

Slip into Inner Sleeve in downtown Wausau and you’ll find a whole host of new and used vinyl, CDs, and more in a cozy space. They’re right along Business U.S. 51/Scott Street in the beautiful Landmark Building, which mentally prepares you for the throwback treasures inside. They’re closed Sundays but open the rest of week, Noon-5pm Monday-Wednesday, Noon-6pm Thursday and Friday, and Noon-4pm on Saturday.

Deaf Ear Records along U.S. 53 in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin

La Crosse: Deaf Ear Records

112 S. 4th Street (U.S. 53), La Crosse, WI 54601, (608) 782-7829, Website, Facebook page

Deaf Ear has been a record store in downtown La Crosse since 1978, and under its current name since 2001. Right along U.S. 53/4th Street just down from Pearl Street and the legendary Bodega Brew Pub, Deaf Ear has a huge selection on vinyl and a plenty of equipment. They also carry CDs, incense, comic books, vintage toys, collectibles, and even a smoke shop area. They’re open every day, hours are 10am-7pm Monday-Thursday, 10am-8pm Friday & Saturday, and 11am-6pm on Sunday. You’ll find Deaf Ear right along northbound U.S. 53 in La Crosse’s vibrant downtown, just off Pearl Street. U.S. 14/61 and Highways 16. 33. and 35 all bring you close!

Viroqua: Driftless Books & Music

518 Walnut Street (Highway 56), Viroqua, WI 54665, (608) 638-2665, Website, Facebook page

Recently reopened as of April 2nd, 2024, Driftless Books & Music is located inside a historic warehouse and while it’s primarily a bookstore (as you might suspect), Driftless Books & Music offers rare titles on both books and music, with a lot of eclectic art around to enhance the shopping experience. Their hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday Noon-4pm. Closed Mondays. You’ll find it on Walnut Street in Viroqua’s Warehouse District, one block north of Highways 56 & 82 and just a few blocks east of U.S. 14/61 and Highway 27.

Bad Axe Records, Viroqua Wisconsin (photo credit: their Facebook page)
Bad Axe Records in Viroqua, Wisconsin (photo credit: their Facebook page)

Viroqua: Bad Axe Music

119 W. Court Street, Viroqua, WI 54665, (805) 709-2832, Facebook page

Being the original home of producer Butch Vig and increasingly a destination for artists and creatives, it’s no surprise that Viroqua – a town of about 4,500 residents – has more than one record store. Bad Axe is more focused on records than Driftless Books & Music, but the two complement each other well when you’re browsing for musical gems in this town. Located across from the iconic Driftless Cafe on Court Street, Bad Axe Music stocks up on new and used vinyl, CDs, cassettes, and music memorabilia. They host live performers periodically in their little space, too. Their hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday Noon-4pm, closed Monday. They’re a block west of U.S. 14/61 & Highways 27 & 81 and also a block south of Highway 56.

Eau Claire: Revival Records

128 S. Barstow Street, Eau Claire, WI 54601, (715) 514-4202, Website, Facebook page

Eau Claire’s music scene continues to emerge, and Revival Records is a hotspot for staying on top of the action and music. Billing itself as “Eau Claire’s only independently owned vinyl record store,” Revival Records has been owned and operated by Billy Siegel since 2009. It’s right downtown and offers a wide selection of new and used vinyl and other media, including VHS tapes (you know you still have a VCR somewhere, right??) Need a turntable? They have a nice selection – after all, you have to have something to spin them on.

Revival Records in downtown Eau Claire, Wisconsin

Eau Claire: Abraxas Wax

320 Graham Avenue, Eau Claire, WI 54601, (715) 598-1509, Website, Facebook page

A newer addition to Eau Claire’s bustling downtown, Abraxas Wax opened in September 2023, with owner Seth Larson naming the store after an influential Santana album from 1970 and pursing his dream of discovering and sharing a wide variety of music genres. Abraxas carries new and used vinyl records, cassette tapes, CDs, a self-proclaimed “silly selection” of VHS tapes, music memorabilia, all types of books, posters, new + gently used clothing, and locally made textiles and rugs, too. Musically, they focus on new and eclectic music, especially international styles. It’s designed to be a place where people discover whole new genres, one reason why there’s a designated “listening corner” in the store. The store itself has plenty of flair with creative design, and some comfortable furniture for listening to the music or taking a break while shopping. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday 11am-7pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. They’re currently closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Hudson & River Falls: Riverfront Vinyl

Two locations:
503 2nd Street (Vendor 15, inside the Abagail Page Market), Hudson, WI 54016, (715) 381-1505, Website, Facebook page
125 N. Main Street (Vendor 15), River Falls, WI 54022, (715) 629-2040

Riverfront Vinyl, similar to a few others on here, aren’t store locations by themselves but mini-shop vendors inside other markets; many stores start like this as they aspire to their own brick-and-mortar. But you can sell find, buy, and sell vinyl and other media at these places, and Riverfront does so as its Hudson and River Falls locations. The Hudson location is generally open from 10am-5pm Monday-Saturday, Noon-5pm on Sunday. The River Falls location is generally open 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday, ’til 5pm on Sunday.

Highway 35 connects the two locations; you’ll find the Hudson one right along Highway 35 in the heart of downtown and the River Falls location on what USED to be Highway 35 heading through downtown on Main Street, just blocks from Swinging Bridge Brewing Company and the UW-River Falls campus!

North/Northwestern Wisconsin

The Globe Books & Records at the corner of U.S. 2 and Highway 35 in Superior, Wisconsin

Superior: Globe News (and Records)

1430 Tower Avenue (Highway 35 at U.S. 2), Superior, WI 54880, (715) 392-2090, Facebook page

The iconic neon sign on the corner calls you in to Globe News, a Superior institution. Located inside a beautiful brick-and-stone structure constructed in 1889 right at the intersection of Tower (Highway 35) and Belknap (U.S. 2) – two of Superior’s most major thoroughfares – this long-time destination began as a newsstand and evolved into part comic book store, part sports cards and collectibles, part gaming, and part record store. The Globe operated under owner Tom Uterberger for over 40 years before he sold to a group of newer owners in 2023 who continue The Globe’s traditional offerings – even beefing up the record collection. You’ll find a variety of LPs and 45s here, and the opportunities for finding other goodies beyond records brings people in from far and wide. Hit the junction of U.S. 2 and Highway 35 (Wisconsin’s longest state highways) and you’ll find The Globe!

Herb Alpert album cover at Globe News, Superior, Wisconsin

Washburn: Vinyl Vault (inside the Washburn Cultural Center)

1 E. Bayfield Street (Highway 13), Washburn, WI 54891, (715) 373-5591, Website

The Vinyl Vault Record Shop inside the Washburn Cultural Center along Highway 13 in Washburn, Wisconsin

The Vinyl Vault is a very small but cool record store that opened in 2017 inside the Washburn Cultural Center, one of the most historic buildings in Bayfield County. The beautiful brownstone structure that opened in 1890 originally housed a bank, and today it’s a veritable museum of history, with artifacts, clothes, art galleries, a gift shop, and vinyl records. The records are in the Vinyl Vault, inside the original bank vault. In this small (but evidently secure) space, a series of carefully curated records are maintained for sale, both new and used. They manage to squeeze a few more things in there too, from guitars to vintage sheet music, music books, posters, even some stereo equipment. They will sell items on consignment too, if you’re looking to trim your own library.

There is another Vinyl Vault that you’ll find in Wisconsin, down in Waukesha. No, they’re not related! This Vinyl Vault is in the heart of Washburn, Bayfield’s county seat, right along Highway 13.

Hours at Vinyl Vault vary through the year, as do the hours for the Washburn Cultural Center. A general rule of thumb is Noon-5pm Wednesday-Saturday and also by appointment at 715-373-5591.

Bayfield: Honest Dog Books & Vinyl

40 S. 2nd Street #1455, Bayfield, WI 54814, (715) 779-5223, Website, Facebook Page

To be honest, Honest Dog is a bookstore first and a vinyl/record store second. But they still have a nice selection of records to go along with their impressive selection of books. The bookstore’s main entrance is on 2nd Street in downtown Bayfield; the record store entrance is around the corner on Moneypenny Avenue. Either way, you’re in for a treat. Highway 13 brings you to this charming town nestled between Lake Superior and the sizable hills that make the Chequamegon National Forest and host all those orchards and wineries that help make Bayfield famous. Honest Dog is a good stop when visiting the area,

Honest Dog Books & Vinyl, Bayfield, Wisconsin

Minocqua: Rock Shark Records

415 Oneida Street (U.S. 51), Minocqua, WI 54548, (715) 356-2050, Website, Facebook page

Located inside Gaslight Antiques along southbound U.S. 51 in the heart of downtown Minocqua, Rock Shark Records focuses on classic rock vinyl LPs and “other hard to find stuff,” as they put it. Check out their booth next time you’re road-tripping through Minocqua!

Rhinelander: Crate Digger’s Music & More

8 W. Davenport Street, Suite A, Rhinelander, WI 54501, (715) 892-9744, Website, Facebook page

In the heart of the North Woods, you’ll find Crate Digger’s Music & More in Rhinelander. We all love to go through crates and find the musical gems, right? That’s what they’re all about here. They look to buy, preferably in bulk, old (but obviously good or decent condition) records and some CDs, perhaps other media they find interesting (if you have old Betamax tapes or lazer discs, you can try.) You’ll find them by downtown Rhinelander on Davenport & Stevens Streets, formerly U.S. 8 and Highway 17 through town (darn bypasses…) Their hours have varied at times, but they’ve announced starting in May their new schedule: starting in May they’ve announced they’ll be open Tuesday & Thursday 5pm-8pm and Friday & Saturday Noon-5pm. While generally closed Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday, you can make an appointment during their off-hours at 715-892-9744.

Is there a record store we missed?

We know more record stores lurk throughout Wisconsin and we’ll keep researching. But if you know of an independent record store in the state to share here, let us know!

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