Three places in Denver to buy music while you look cool

Looking cool has never been more cool than when in Denver buying cool music. Except for maybe rolling your own cigarettes and sipping an espresso on a patio in Paris.

Just kidding, that doesn't make you look cool, it makes you look like an a-hole.

But buying music at these three record stores in Denver won't only make you look cool, it will make you feel awesome for supporting local businesses. Plus you'll be able to gaze at the cover art of that Father John Misty vinyl for weeks to come.


Twist & Shout

New city. Same Friday rituals for inspiration. @twistandshoutdenver

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Twist & Shout has been a Denver-music institution for nearly 30 years, weathering every trend that's come along. You can still trade in or buy used CDs here, but the magic is in the collector's dream of a vinyl room — that's right, since they moved into the historic Lowenstein Complex on East Colfax, you no longer have to cross the street to peruse the wax (I felt dirty saying that).

I've spent many a Saturday simply listening to music here, and inevitably head out with all those hard-to-find rarities that no one else seems to carry. The fact that every employee and shopper has tattoos of Japanese-style waves will also make you feel like a kick-ass bartender at a local dive bar. Thus, the coolness factor.


Wax Trax

"Guess I'll have to be satisfied with cats and old records" #waxtrax

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This record store, focused almost entirely on vinyl (hence the "wax" in their name), has been an icon of Denver's Capitol Hill neighborhood for nearly 40 years. In record-store years that's like half a millennium.

Flipping through records in the narrow isles will immediately up your coolness ratio, but if you really want to look the part head a few blocks west to the nearest Buffalo Exchange for some "gently-used" (aka hipster-priced) knee-high boots and a "Coloradical" t-shirt.


Bowman's Vinyl & Lounge


If you haven't noticed a theme here, then you are decidedly uncool, and you should never be seen in public. Or at least never be seen inside a record store that actually sells vinyl.

Bowman's not only offers a great selection of vinyl tunage, but you can catch a buzz on a local craft brew (or something else, but again, if it's something else what are you doing in public?) while browsing. Not digging the music they're playing? Bring your own super-obscure Smiths album and use one of the free listening stations.

They also host a smattering of small shows every month. It's difficult not to be cool when you're dancing to live music with a drink in one hand and a new record in the other. (And one giving a high five. Or something.)

James Kerley is a Senior Editor at MapQuest and has been living in the Denver area for 17 years.