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7 magazine subscriptions that open your mind

Whether science, history or travel is your thing, a magazine subscription is a great way to lift your spirits and expand your thinking

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There’s not much better than receiving your favorite magazine in the mail, rushing inside and sinking into a cushy armchair with your favorite beverage while you flip through the pages. Check out our top 7 magazine picks for recreational and educational reads.

National Geographic

National Geographic is an excellent magazine with beautiful nature photography and interesting articles. Kids are in awe of the pictures (okay, we are, too), and older readers enjoy the unique editorial content covering topics as diverse as spelunking, Sputnik or an inside look at the life of a key-keeper in the Vatican.

national geographic magazine cover
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  • Nature, science and technology
  • $24 a year, 12 issues

Buy on Amazon

Condé Nast Traveler

The name “Condé Nast” is reasonably well known, but not many people know the secret behind the Condé Nast Traveler magazine. Its writers travel anonymously to stunning locales around the world and pay their own way — no company credit cards here. As a result, writers must find affordable, accessible sights to see and places to eat. The magazine reads like a sleuth revealing his or her mission findings, and the pictures are something to behold.

conde nast traveler magazine cover
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  • Written by travelers visiting covertly
  • $5 a year, 8 issues

Buy on Amazon

Popular Science

Science is a fascinating subject, but we’ve found some magazines are too technical for everyday readers. However, Popular Science is a good option for a more laidback read. The magazine covers the latest in gadgets and technology while remaining down-to-earth, focusing on products families and ordinary people might purchase someday.

popular science magazine cover
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  • Covers new, cool technology
  • $3 a year, 6 issues

Buy on Amazon

Popular Mechanics

Popular Mechanics appeals to more than just those interested in tinkering with electronics and household appliances. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “How does that work?” then Popular Mechanics is for you. The magazine explains how everyday products function and has recommendations for several household items.

popular mechanics magazine cover
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  • Discusses cars, electronics and health
  • $12 a year, 6 issues

Buy on Amazon


Smithsonian is an excellent choice for exploring general interests, covering topics like science, pop culture and the arts. Recent subjects include how other cultures celebrate Mother’s Day, how to virtually adopt a plant and the world’s most fascinating insects. One cool perk of subscribing to Smithsonian is receiving dining discounts for when you visit the Smithsonian Museum in person.

smithsonian magazine cover
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  • Covers popular culture, arts and sciences
  • $12 a year, 11 issues

Buy on Amazon


Our favorite thing about Discover is its monthly columns — one recently included a doctor explaining a real-life medical emergency and how it was resolved. Other sections involve quick write-ups of the latest scientific breakthroughs, and the Blinded by Science column mixes humor and scientific inquiry for an amusing but enlightening read. It’s the priciest mag on our list, but we like its human touch and whimsical approach to learning.

discover magazine cover
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  • Good for political and science fans
  • $29.95 a year, 8 issues

Buy on Amazon


If you ask us, Ask is a great option for kids, especially those 6 - 9 years old and interested in science and learning. Topics include the solar system, animal behavior and ecology. The reading level is challenging but not overwhelming, and we also like that the magazine is ad-free.

ask magazine cover
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  • Fun for kids 7 - 10
  • $24.95 a year, 9 issues

Buy on Amazon

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