The Best Teen Magazines

Updated July 20, 2017

Even in an era when American culture is saturated with electronic media, magazines aimed at teenagers are still popular. In fact, the teen 'zine industry didn't take off until the late 1990s. Until then, the three stalwarts of American teen culture were Seventeen, YM and Teen. But with the burgeoning Echo Boomer population, the number of teenagers in the United States rocketed to 33 million. The number of teen mags tripled over the decade to more than 19 from about five in 1990.


Sports Illustrated Kids is a top-selling teen magazine that offers a range of sporting news, information and entertainment to young people. ESPN Insider offers a similar variety of hot sports news. In addition to the general sports 'zines, several magazines cater to sports that are popular with teenagers. Skateboarding offers how-to, tips, tricks, news and product reviews for those interested in riding the rails. BMX Plus does the same for BMX bike enthusiasts.

All in One

Seventeen is considered the world's most popular magazine for teenage girls. Topics in this glossy monthly include relationships, beauty and fashion, fitness, careers and entertainment. The magazine includes a fiction feature each month. As the first teen magazine to grace the stands, Seventeen has had a strong presence throughout its almost 70 years, and withstood trying times in the early 2000s when its long-standing competitor, YM, folded.

Beauty and Fashion

Seventeen continues to thrive as the top teen culture 'zine, while Teen Vogue is considered a No.1 pub specifically for teen beauty and fashion. Elle Girl and Cosmo Girl offer similar menus, focusing on beauty, fashion, hair, relationships, and style. The Australian magazine, Dolly, has provided that country with its beauty magazine, with a niche focus on alternative music, since 1970. Australia's Cleo magazine is a more general teen mag.

Entertainment and Celebrities

J-14 is currently the top celebrity magazine for teens, especially younger teens. Publishing since 2000, it offers gossip, posters and celebrity news 10 times a year.

Popstar! Magazine and M magazine are also popular, Popstar! having a reputation for celebrity scoops and excellent photography. Twist and Bop also rate in this category for familiarity and popularity among teens.


Word Up! offers a special focus on diversity, delivering content ranging from news and information to interviews and gossip, particularly focused on music, film, sports and entertainment. Other magazines such as LaTeen focus on a specific culture or area.


A host of magazines aimed at hobbies offer a strong teen component. American Cheerleader publishes training tips, competition details, cheerleading culture stories and how-tos six times a year in a glossy magazine format. Game Pro is considered a top seller for boys. It offers monthly product reviews, news, tips and downloads of the latest electronic games. PC Gamer offers similar content and is also popular. Sloppy Noodle is a magazine aimed at Christian teens. Relate is another that focuses on values and teen culture. The New York Times Upfront is a news magazine aimed at teens.


Many niche magazines, such as Figure Skating and Junior Baseball, appeal to this age group. For girls, Girls Life, or GL, publishes six times a year, aiming its content at girls ages 10 and older. Content includes fashion, quizzes, self-development, celebrity stories, and general preteen information. Tiger Beat is an entertainment tween 'zine, offering the latest news, gossip, photos, scoops and insider trivia on the day's hottest stars. Cobblestone is a history magazine for young people, and serves to engage those with an interest in history in an alternative to the textbook and teacher.

Young Adults

Youth Outlook (YO!) features news and information, first-person essays, poetry and art of young people ages 14 to 24, particularly in California. It is categorised as a literary journal. The content is written by young people, for young people, and is pushed out over the Pacific News Wire. From its inception in 1952 to today, America's longest running humour magazine deserves a special mention. Mad magazine has not only reflected the culture and society of the last half-century, but it has helped to shape it with its popular satirical takes on current issues and emerging trends.

Canada's Top Teen 'Zine

Faze is Canada's top teen 'zine. Faze offers a wide variety of content from entertainment and style to technology and horoscopes. Special sections offer advice on work, education, careers, relationships, fitness, travel and global news. Faze entered the scene in 2000, amid a cackle of new teen magazines, promising to offer a "refreshing break from the standard dumbed-down youth magazines that only serve up regurgitated American pop culture and prom diet tips." Ten years later, its print and online presence has solidified into a strong pillar of Canadian teen culture.

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About the Author

Jeanne Pengelly is a published author, print and broadcast journalist and communications specialist. She has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing for television, radio, print and online media, and has also served in public relations for a school board in Canada. Pengelly holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and a postgraduate certificate in creative writing.