Whenever I visit someplace new, I look for two things: art and music. Usually, that means hitting up a few galleries before searching high and low for a cool record store. In most cities, I find a shop tucked into some up-and-coming neighborhood. These shops inevitably offer a fair mix of dusty, damaged old discs being passed off as vintage, along with overpriced, shrink-wrapped top 40 albums. But Miami? She’s different. There’s music running through her veins. In every corner of the city — from neon-lit Miami Beach to the suburbs of Olympia Heights — I find what I’m looking for and then some.
Maybe I should’ve assumed this going in. This is the city that celebrates the pulsating rhythms of Calle Ocho in Little Havana. This is home to Denzel Curry, 2 Live Crew, and the always relevant Celia Cruz. Of course their vinyl scene is on point. So on point, in fact, that what usually takes me a breezy afternoon of casual searching in other cities felt like a full-on quest in Miami.
Here’s what I uncovered in my search:
First stop: Lucky Records in Wynwood
I start in Wynwood. The neighborhood is literally teeming with street art, boutique shopping, beer, and, dare I say, quirk. An Uber drops me near the famous Wynwood Walls — backpack empty and stomach full. I round the corner and spot a big sign with a Maneki Neko, that ubiquitous lucky cat that beckons with its raised paw. I’ve made it: Lucky Records.
The record collection itself is on the smaller side at Lucky Records, but it packs a punch. Tucked into a tight corner of a larger complex that includes a bar and an enormous food hall, the shop is actually three low walls stuffed with vinyl. The shelves behind the register hold ephemera you’d find at a bodega: lighters, Japanese candy, a cooler full of juice and aloe water. If you had a laundry emergency and needed some detergent and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, you’d be sorted.
I’ve already started digging when my boyfriend, Michael, tagging along for this adventure, squeals — literally squeals — with delight. He holds up Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics. “I love this place,” he declares.
When you’re done flipping through records… walk a few feet over to 1-800-Lucky, the enormous food hall attached to Lucky Records. Treat yourself to a poke bowl or some dim sum, and then finish with a nice bowl of Japanese ice cream. If you’re here at night (because Lucky Records stays open ’til midnight), get wild and do some karaoke.