There's something to be said about the rush a vinyl enthusiast gets after spotting that rare find. The sport of collecting records is all about the hunt. Or perhaps it's about the act of holding the record in your hands, admiring the album art, and dropping the needle that satisfies. Is it the best way to listen to music? It is for many.
For the uninitiated, it's time to get out there and start your record collection. Support your local record stores and explore South Florida's six best.
1. Sweat Records. If you've ever wondered where all of Miami's music nerds congregate, look no further than the building with murals of music icons, better known as Sweat Records. Situated next to Churchill's Pub in Little Haiti, this thriving independent shop is a well-known pillar of Miami's music scene. It hosts various monthly community events ranging from live in-store performances on its small stage to movie nights. Its Classic Album Sundays event was dubbed "Best Way to Spend a Sunday" by New Times this year. A strong sense of community can be felt at this spot. Not only does the intimate shop offer an impressive selection of both new and used LPs across genres (including music by some of your favorite locals), but you can also find some really neat gifts (don't miss the Miami-themed lapel pins), CDs, books, and so much more. Be sure to grab a cup of coffee and a vegan treat from the store's coffee bar after a day of crate digging. Sweat Records forever. 5505 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-693-9309; sweatrecordsmiami.com.
2. Radio-Active Records. The electric-yellow building on North Federal Highway in Fort Lauderdale beckons music fanatics to sate their vinyl appetites. If you're questioning the trek from Dade to Broward, just don't. This music treasure trove is worth crossing the county line. The independent store was named "Best Place to Buy CDs" this year by New Times. The store carries a solid collection of new and used vinyl in a variety of genres, including punk, hip-hop, indie rock, classical, country, and house. Immerse yourself in South Florida's music scene by attending in-store events such as new-release listening parties, live performances, and book signings. So be sure to keep up with the shop's happenings via its Facebook events page. If you're looking to sell some of your prized collection, the store also buys records. Radio-Active has you covered with cassettes too. For those with vinyl fever, park your U-Haul truck behind the store. 845 N. Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale; 954-762-9488; radio-active-records.com.
3. Brooklyn Vintage & Vinyl. Less than a year old, Brooklyn Vintage & Vinyl has already been crowned "Best Record Store" by New Times. The cozy Allapattah spot specializes in used vinyl. In a 2016 interview, store owner Diane Perez told New Times: "It's pretty much all records. There are some cassettes and T-shirts we made up with the store's logo for sale. I've bought some collections over the years, so there are a couple records that are still sealed, but we're not selling anything right now that is less than 15 years old. Everything is pretty much from the year 2000 or earlier." Listen to previously loved finds at the store's listening station, equipped with comfy chairs and a serious living-room feel. Be sure to pass by the shop's Spiked Records + Jam event, offering live music every third Sunday of the month. 3454 NW Seventh Ave., Unit C, Miami; 305-575-9160; brooklynvintageandvinyl.tumblr.com.
4. Yesterday and Today Records. The overwhelming amount of incredible music housed in this 36-year-old record shop is enough to make a true wax worshiper ugly-cry. Yesterday and Today is a haven for vinyl vultures. Located on the second floor of a shopping plaza on Bird Road, the small store is jam-packed with wax. Clear your schedule, 'cause you'll be digging here for a while. According to the store's site, it specializes in new and used domestic/import LPs and carries garage, psychedelic, metal, and beyond. The owner is always more than willing to help you find what you seek. Pro tip: Don't miss the crates under the waist-high bins. 9274 Bird Rd., Miami; 305-554-1020; vintagerecords.com.
5. Museo del Disco. Surrounded by warehouses in Southwest Miami-Dade, this hidden gem should be on all music junkies' lists. Organization is key when offering an overwhelming collection of CDs, DVDs, and vinyl, and Museo del Disco does just that, with a friendly staff to boot. Like badges of pride, framed photos of some of the most notable customers hang on the walls inside this red and white shop. To better navigate this labyrinth of music, let us guide you: The right side houses an enormous Latin selection. If it's vinyl you desire, hang a left for rows of wax in genres ranging from pop to reggae, jazz, and classic rock. But you won't find any used vinyl here. Don't forget to check out the selection of band tees hanging on the racks. And if you're shopping with an unenthusiastic companion, park him or her at a bench at the front of the store. 1301 SW 70th Ave., Miami; 305-267-5511; museodeldisco.com.
6. We Got the Beats. A record-store shopping experience can sometimes be intimidating. But thanks to the welcoming staff at this neighborhood spot in Fort Lauderdale, you'll immediately feel right at home. We Got the Beats is divided into two sides — A and B — and organized by genres including disco, soul, R&B, 1990s-2000s dance, rock, and hip-hop. If you're record-hunting on a budget, check out the new arrivals in crates loaded with $3 used selections at the front of the store. And if you're lucky, the 25-cent crate will be outside when you visit. Dance music lovers, this spot is for you. 5130 N. Federal Hwy., Suite 2, Fort Lauderdale; 954-671-9482; wegotthebeatsrecordstore.com.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.