Design

What Magazines Make You Happy?

The Best Magazines

I love podcasts and Instagram and reading the news on my phone — but there are few things that give me as much joy as getting ahold of a fresh magazine. Do you feel the same way? I subscribe to some, and others I buy individually when the mood (or an airplane flight) strikes. Here are five favorites, and I’d love to hear yours…

The Best Magazines

Every time an issue of Bon Appetit arrives in the mail, I sit down and devour it from cover to cover. The art direction is at the top of its game, and the writing is funny and smart. Marissa A. Ross gives unpretentious wine advice — like four outdated wine rules and an illustrated guide to drinking wine at Thanksgiving. Also, the recipes are inspiring without being intimidating.

The Best Magazines

New York magazine gives me my politics and lifestyle fix in one dose. I love how it manages to keep its New York City sensibility while covering topics that are nationally and globally relevant. (This recent piece about plus-size model Ashley Graham was classic New York magazine, putting its finger on the pulse of a cultural shift.) Also, the Approval Matrix on the last page is the ultimate zeitgeist barometer.

The Best Magazines

In the women’s magazine category, I find Elle to be the most compelling — whether you’re reading a fashion designer profile or an intense piece about rape kits. (And I will never tire of E. Jean’s advice column.)

The Best Magazines

Apartamento has a cult following and I am a card-carrying member, hoarding my issues forever. It only comes out twice a year, but is always worth the wait if you love interior design and peeking into the homes of intriguing personalities like Martha Stewart, Frances McDormand or Jason Schwartzman.

The Best Magazines

When I’m craving news analysis or an investigative longread, Mother Jones, named Magazine of the Year in 2017, always hits the spot. (This article, for which the reporter worked for months as an undercover prison guard, was truly unforgettable.)

What magazines do you read?

P.S. Seven of the best magazine covers, and the most beautiful thing you’ve ever read.

  1. Kerri says...

    From a loyal print journalism junkie, thank you for this post and specifically for including Mother Jones! I subscribe, too, and have been blown away by their coverage of the current administration – they hold nothing back and are keeping laser focused on the most important issues facing our country. I’m strongly considering gifting *certain* relatives with a MoJo subscription this holiday season.

    My other favorites are The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, and believe it or not Teen Vogue has been absolutely killing it lately — It’s so heartening to know that there’s a good source of empowering information for girls out there.

    • KRA says...

      Love Teen Vogue with their political bent nowadays. Sad to hear they stopping their print publication.

  2. a.c. says...

    The New Yorker for the wonderfully in-depth articles and The Sun for its raw honesty and inspiration.

  3. Amy U. says...

    I subscribe to Vogue and eagerly await it’s arrival every month. I read it for the articles! :)

    Gourmet was and always will be my all-time favorite. I still mourn it’s closure.

  4. Seraphim says...

    The Week… all the news you want edited to perfection.

  5. Catarina R says...

    KINFOLK magazine is my absolute favorite! I love it so much I have started buying old issues.
    It’s trimestral and every issue is developed around a main theme. Japan, Relationships, The weekend, Vacations have been some of the subjects of the last months.
    It always inspires me in such a way that I feel it makes me a better person. It gives me time and peace.

  6. Shira says...

    I know this will make me seem like I’m 80, but I just love Reader’s Digest! It’s small in size, so it easily fits in my purse. It has short articles, and I love their jokes. I used to read it when I went to my grandparents’ house, and now I have my own subscription.

  7. Sara says...

    Another Garden&Gun fan, as well as my niche picks of Science, amirisu (Japanese Knitting) and PomPom (British Knitting).

  8. Lucy Rice says...

    Aussie mag Lunch Lady is my current fave: loads of delicious, easy recipes (and often wheat/dairy-free which is a bonus for me) plus intelligent, irreverent articles on kids and parenting.
    And Martha Stewart Living lines our living room shelves. As a USA-loving Brit, I love the articles on different areas and businesses in the States and the crafty things and recipes.
    Plus a shoutout to a gorgeous independent UK mag called Lionheart, beautiful articles and photography.
    I’ve worked in magazines myself for over a decade and while many areas of this media are declining, print is very much alive and let’s hope it continues to thrive through the established favourites and the new wave of independent mags with thoughtful, inspiring content and high production values.

  9. Denise says...

    BUST is my absolute favorite — I always squeal when I find it in my pile of mail. It always feels like such a treat, and balances offbeat fashion spreads with really hard-hitting journalism. They also feature the most interesting people and cover models.

    When I’m back at my parents’ place in Canada, I really love reading my mom’s Chatelaine. The magazine has definitely evolved into a more contemporary readership that appeals to all ages, but it still gives me a sense of comfort when I read it.

  10. Edith says...

    Hi there,
    I moved to San Francisco from the Netherlands about 15 years ago. One of the things I have missed here is magazines, which I always loved to read. I enjoy them less here because many of them are focused on celebrities (not interested:) and full of ads. I just wanted to let you know that I really like to read Cup of Jo because it reminds me so much (in style, subject and tone) of Dutch magazines!

  11. catherine briand says...

    Oh…and If Cup of Jo had one, I would be the first to subscribe :)

  12. catherine briand says...

    Must say: the Sunday Gazette and Country Living British Edition!

  13. Katie says...

    Magazines bring me so much joy! It really doesn’t matter what magazine it is, either. I just get so happy everytime I have a new little book to flip through. My favorites are Kinfolk, Collective Quarterly, Runner’s World, Brooklyn Magazine (gives me a dose of NYC/Brooklyn now that I live in Aspen), Trail Running Magazine (based just right down the road from where I live now!), and Ultrarunning Magazine (geeky for sure). I also love looking through Food & Wine and I’ve always wanted to buy one of King Arthur’s magazines at Whole Foods!

  14. Emily Kunkel says...

    I love a magazine from Australia called Womankind. It is an ad-free quarterly publication written by women for women and it is such a fantastic magazine. One highlight I love is that they interview women all over the world about their daily lives and pieces such as being a woman, work, motherhood, and more.

    • I have never heard of this magazine and just looked it up. I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!

  15. Katie says...

    I love Real Simple! The pages are so empty (sometimes I wonder what I’m paying for…), and that helps me focus on the content and relax, rather than have my eyes be assaulted by ads and perfume samples.

  16. Over here in London, I have subscriptions for Good Housekeeping (hello, middle age!), Ideal Home (full of gorgeous photos and great ideas, but can induce house envy), Who Do You Think You Are? (dedicated to all things family history) and The Simple Things (which is as exactly as the title suggests). They tend to arrive within a few days of each other and I spend a happy week to 10 days reading them, and I continue to flick through them as the month progresses.

  17. Catherine I says...

    Hollywood Edition of Vanity Fair
    September Issue of Vogue.

    Only two mags I’m allowed buy on my budget, I SO look forward to them. All others are reserved for library time and grocery aisle browsing.

  18. Jess says...

    I love all the British mags as a rule, they seem to have a tone of voice that just works for me – a bit funny and self-deprecating and not too highbrow!

    Also, I work for an Australian magazine called Fete/Life, a minimal/monochromatic living and design mag, of course I am biased, but it’s quite lovely and calming to read!

  19. brianna says...

    I love People (mostly for the crossword puzzle), but also because they report on a current news in a way that’s quick to get through. I can get through a couple of articles while I’m taking a lunch break, or eating dinner.

  20. I says...

    Audrey is an AMAZING magazine made by Asian women. I have learned so much from it, been introduced to really different things and generally enjoyed this high quality magazine.

    Gather is a really sweet food magazine that has stories that accompany every recipe.

    Cherry Bombe is one of the best magazines out there. It’s also food, but it’s a fashion food magazine. It’s hard to describe, but the interview really interesting women and the photo shoots are amazing.

    Nautilus is a fun magazine for culture science and tech. It’s worthwhile picking up, but I didn’t love my subscription. The articles are very long

    Bust, obviously, is amazing. It’s a wonderful feminist magazine. It made me see how incredible women are, including ones that I thought I knew like Dolly Parton.

    I loved Lucky Peach. I’m heartbroken that it’s closing. But the back issues are definitely worthwhile reading. The articles are thoughtful, deep and really make me think differently about worlds that would otherwise be invisible to me.

    Sunset magazine is a fun west coast one. So much media is focused on the East Coast and NYC. It’s fun reading something that’s about how awesome and beautiful the west coast is.

    Southern Garden and Gun has kind of a scary name, but it’s a fantastic magazine. It has great tips, fun articles and is about an under represented region of the US in contemporary media.

  21. grace says...

    The magazine they put in with the The Sunday Times newspaper! I save it for the tube on monday morning!
    G -London.

  22. LB says...

    I love Sunset (think it’s on the brink of going under but since I no longer live in California it always takes me back to favorite coast). Vanity Fair just for the proust questionnaire. GQ for the articles that are smart and funny .

  23. Rochelle says...

    I loved Gourmet magazine. I was heartbroken when they decided to stop producing it. Architectural Digest puts me in a good mood now a days.

  24. Anna says...

    I love the New Yorker; I read it all the time and am always happy when I do.
    I love to take the Atlantic on a plane and read it cover to cover.
    Bon Appetit is devoured the day it arrives.
    A friend introduced me to Tricycle, a zine published out here in the Northwest. It is like the Sun only better.
    And finally, The Economist. Reading about the USA from an international perspective is always eyeopening.

  25. I go to magazines when I need to chill out and relax, so titles like Better Homes & Gardens and HGTV Magazine are usually what do the trick. I also loved Lucky but I don’t think it’s in print anymore. For news, I love Time even though it’s usually out of date by the time I get it since the news changes hourly *sigh*

  26. Stacy says...

    It’s not really a magazine, more of a catalog. But I live for when the Anthropolgie Home and Restoration Hardware catalogs comes out. I love perusing through them!

  27. April says...

    Kinfolk!
    I want to live in the pages of this magazine!
    And I love the smell of whatever paper/ink they use

  28. EMILY RICHEY says...

    Ugh…I am such a magazine hoarder! They make me so happy, and there is nothing like lying in with a stack and a cup of tea. Favorites: Bon Appetit, House Beautiful, Porter, and the UK Country Living….The last is sort of random, but it indulges my anglophile side and inspires my writing!

  29. Meg says...

    One of the best gifts, besides socks, is a magazine subscription. It is usually pretty affordable and who doesn’t love getting mail! There are so many good ones out there but my Mom always gives Highlights to all of the kiddos in her life.

  30. wendy says...

    anyone read the lovely British magazine Oh Comely?
    I also love Yoga Journal and Lion’s Roar.

    • Sequoia says...

      Super late but I love Oh Comely! It’s so thoughtful, and it has depth without being heavy. Def a new fav!

  31. TS says...

    YES to bon appetit! Everything about that magazine is awesome.

  32. Apart from the occasional Elle Decoration I get here in Ireland, I usually wait to buy magazines when I visit my family in France because I really like the French ELLE and Milk Decoration, as well as the many many incredible food magazines. I also like getting my hands on Real Simple (US) and Frankie (Australia).

  33. Apartamento looks amazing, I will definitely be checking that out! Love the sound of it. I am very typical, I always reach for Vogue – basically because I can’t resist. Also love Aesthetica and Dazed, both brilliant publications. Thanks for the recommendations!

    Holly from The Art of Being Holly xo

  34. Love this question as I am a HUGE magazine junkie. My list of subscriptions include include Cherry Bombe (an amazing magazine about women in the food and restaurant industry) Bon Appetit and Food & Wine, Elle, Sunset (for ideas on trips to take) and GQ ( I really enjoy the mag’s cheeky writing).

  35. Abbey Leroux says...

    I love love love The Gentlewoman. It’s a British women’s magazine that lamentably only comes out twice a year.
    It is hefty, gorgeous, and in-depth. Each issue is made up of lengthy interviews with inspiring women across many fields of influence, fun and/or insightful profiles, and unusual and often stunning fashion spreads.
    It’s sophisticated without taking itself too seriously. I try very hard to savor each and every article as slowly as I can because the six-month wait is dreadful…. but so worth it.

    • I second that Abbey! It really is delightful….so unique and love how the profiles aren’t just famous actresses, but also women in such different and interesting fields. I like to take save a new issue for vacation and curl up with a hot cup of coffee when I have all the time in the world…

  36. Jacqui says...

    There is nothing as good as time with a magazine that really fits your interests. I still have some of my Blueprint magazines, and my O at Home, and the original Domino. Sigh. Those were really excellent days for magazines. Currently I subscribe to Vanity Fair and Oprah, and read monthly, Red (an English fashion/lifestyle magazine), NZ House and Garden, Jamie (the Jamie Oliver cooking magazine, also from the UK) Martha, and Real Simple and two monthly, NZ Life and Leisure and Donna Hay (an Australian cooking magazine). I might be the only one here with those particular reading habits!

  37. Katrina says...

    Mental Floss. And it’s going out of print. I am devestated. Not really, but disappointed. It’s full of random information about anything and it’s perfect for an absolutely curious person!

    • Rebecca says...

      I agree :)

  38. Kaylen Giannini says...

    I’ve been reading Dance Magazine since I was a kid and am still a subscriber. I love Parents magazine as it has a great mix of toy ideas, new research, and tips that make me feel like I’m getting the best-edited information. My biggest surprise of the past year has been Glamour. I hadn’t read fashion/women’s magazines in years as I’m not beauty/fashion obsessed. However, I have been stunned with their strong and diverse representation of all kinds of women, including moms, who I assumed were excluded from magazines like Glamour.

  39. gfy says...

    All of your featured ones are great. I also love Glamour – picking it up a few years ago after not reading it since my teen years shocked me with how intelligent and supportive it actually is! It’s like a secret source of power and support, cloaked in that silly name! I especially love the column that interviews high level exec’s (women of course) for the truly excellent and detailed questions (or editing, hard to say which it is from the outside) about their ascent and challenges. The answers seem far more genuine than other interviews.

  40. Donna says...

    As someone who used to buy and subscribe to lots of magazines on fashion, design and food, I now prefer to borrow them from the library. I’ve kept my Bon Appetit subscription for now, but as my interests have changed (for example, I’m really into running and working out more than fashion at this stage of my life) so has what I read. I still like Elle, Vogue (for book reviews actually), Bust and Martha Stewart, but I also regularly read Runners World, Bicycling (I bike for transportation, not sport, but hope to in the future), and Outside (I don’t go camping or hiking – although I’d like to -but I’m hooked on Outside because they profile interesting people and have great features on global issues). I do miss the old Domino and Blueprint thoug

  41. Daniela says...

    Bon Appétit always, Cosmo or Glamour for guilty pleasure plane reading!

  42. Tanith says...

    Everyone is already saying all the amazingly beautiful magazines out there like Frankie, Kinfolk, and maybe not mentioned but still beautiful, Japanese magazines like Liniere… I wanted to throw out my favorite magazine for being an entrepreneur:

    Wired UK – specifically the UK version, which has more helpful information than the US version which is mostly fluff.

    I’ve never felt more invigorated to starting my own company or pushing forward with my own ideas than I have with the information from this magazine. Hopefully this is helpful to anyone who is interested in starting their own techy business!

    • gfy says...

      True, I love wired articles and Fast Company too.

  43. Lauren Lyons says...

    I have a carefully curated selection of magazines, which I absolutely adore: Kinfolk, Darling, Collective Quarterly, Frankie, Sweet Paul, Bella Grace, Porter, Vogue, Country Living Modern Rustic, Professional Photography, + Aperture.

    Looking forward to checking out Apartamento