My grand love affair with paper products began when I was six or seven; mom took me shopping for my first notebook and pen at a Paperchase store in Singapore. The colors, designs, and textures got me hooked.
This was also when I first learned financial management; I used to set aside pocket money each week for new erasers or other items from my school’s bookshop. Stationery became the thing I asked for at birthdays and Christmas. By the time I was in high school, I had collected such a massive collection of blank notebooks and writing pads that my mom enforced a strict no-purchasing rule until I finished using the ones I already had. It didn't work.
Fast forward to today. I've taken my addiction worldwide, pushing the limit of my check-in allowance to bring home greeting cards, pretty maps, vintage postcards, notebooks, handmade paper … it goes on. The result? A very minor storage problem and this working list of a dozen cities with destination stationery shops.
I can't talk about stationery and not talk about Japan. Stationery bloggers wax lyrical about their Midori traveler's notebook and Hobonichi techno planner. Not to mention decorative washi tape MT. Many of these great brands can be found at proper Japanese department stores and book shops. MT has pop-ups around Japan all year long.
My favorite,Tokyu Hands, has multiple locations around the city, but their Shibuya location has an entire section dedicated to washi tape. I also love Kinokuniya's main store in Shinjuku, and, of course, Muji (Yurakucho is their largest location).
New York City
Greenwich Letterpress is a West Village favorite. Carefully curated greeting cards line mint green walls. International and made-in-the-USA sticky pads, pens, and gifts overflow on the center table. I'm always struggling to resist the quirky enamel pins strategically sitting at the checkout counter.
I love to drop by Bowne & Co. Stationers at South Street Seaport for vintage maps, port history, and to see 19th-century letterpress printing happening in real time. And if I'm ever in Brooklyn, I head to Papel in Cobble Hill for the impressive selection of family-oriented greeting cards and crafting inspirations.
At Grove Street Press, two cousins bring together southern sensibilities and traditional letterpress printing. It makes for a fun stop when you're wandering around the Warehouse District. Stop by to say hi to Mildred, their spotted Labradoodle.
This is Miami, so of course the folks at Wynwood Letterpress know how to throw a party. It's a one-stop shop, paper-wise, from beautiful paper plates to gift tags to coasters to colorful confetti.
If you're anything close to the stationery nerd I am (I spent a whole afternoon in a shop that only sells pencils), then you might want to head north to Winter Park, Florida, to see the flagship store and working studio of the wildly popular Rifle Paper Co.
It's chic, and fun, and reminds me Kate Spade. Sugar Paper designs and prints greeting cards you've probably already seen nationwide. Visit their downtown LA studio or head to their retail store in Santa Monica's Brentwood Country Mart for custom designs.
Urbanic Paper Boutique in Venice specializes in all the printed details for a proper wedding, but they also have an impressive collection of gifts, general greeting cards, and desk accessories.
While you're there, see if you can squeeze in a brush lettering workshop or letter-writing social with Oh, Hello Friend in Fullerton.
In downtown Bellingham, the bright and happy Spruce makes me want to throw a paper party every day. At the back of the shop, colorful printed wrapping paper lines the wall in front of a table where they hold workshops and host dinners.
In Le Marais, Papier Tigre does the best prints. On everything. It's an abstract explosion of notebooks, greeting cards, folders, tote bags. Prepare to have your mind blown.
When you find yourself roaming around Le Bon Marche, don't miss the fantastic stationery section featuring a large selection of European designers (Moleskine, Hay, Diptyque).
Meticulous Ink sticks with classic printing methods like die stamping, foiling, litho, and thermo processes. Their store sells bespoke stationery and cards, and — if you're lucky — you might be able to catch Athena typesetting in the store.
Le Typographe's reporter notebook line and quirky letterpress cards have made their way into boutiques around the world. I was thrilled to find that they have a brick and mortar in their Belgian hometown.
Stepping in to Il Papiro feels like stepping back in time. You're surrounded by the classic marbleized pattern that dates back to the 17th century. Pick up that pattern on wrapping paper, notebooks, paper fans, or learn how to do it yourself at one of their ongoing workshops. They have multiple stores in the city and more around the country.
Swedish design principles inspire the bright and always colorful stationery and organization collection by Kikki.K. Swede founder and stationery lover Kristina Karlsson opened her very first store in Melbourne almost ten years ago. Now there are multiple locations in Australia and around the world. (I've been using their annual planners for five straight years.)
Millimeter Milligram (MMMG) is one of my favorite Korean stationery brands, and their Itaewon outpost has a great cafe taking up half the store. Stationery cafes are big in Seoul, and another one I love is Spring Come, Rain Fall by O-Check. They have locations in Myeongdong and Seogyo-dong.
Iconic Design opened their flagship store this year in Jongno (Exit 1 at Anguk station). Also in the neighborhood, Portfolio's showroom features paper goods from local artists.
Paperways is an especially popular brand. Artbox is a stationery-addict's heaven with multiple locations stocking almost all major Korean brands.