Wondering where to find and purchase postcards? You’re in luck: Since they’re easy to print and mail, postcards are available at at all kinds of different businesses, destinations, and cultural institutions if you know where to look!
Yet somehow, it often still feels tricky to find the perfect postcard when you need it.
Though postcards have remained incredibly popular and widely beloved for a century and a half—with as many as 2.8 billion postcards sent in a single year!—greeting cards are currently the more commercially available way to send a quick note, even though they use almost four times the paper and cost more to buy as well as mail.
But with the increasing desire to move away from constant use of our smartphones and reprioritize real connection in the void created by social media, postcards’ popularity is back on the rise—and you can find them everywhere from museum shops to art fairs to online postcard shops.
Here are nine of the very best places to buy postcards.
The most dependable places to find postcards are the retailers surrounding travel landmarks and other tourist destinations. These souvenir gift shops invariably have a rotating rack of postcards, most commonly consisting of an array of viewcards with similar high-gloss photos on the fronts.
These tend to be printed cheaply on medium-grade cardstock and don’t always offer a lot to choose from, but they certainly get the job done and are a popular way to share the sights a traveler has seen with friends and family back home.
These shops are the primary exposure most people have to postcards, but if you’re looking for something higher-quality, more design-forward, or featuring a specific sentiment, other options abound.
Online Postcard Shops
Online postcard shops like this one are a perfect place to buy postcards anytime. They offer a curated selection of postcards that can be purchased individually, so you can mix and match your favorite designs from different sets to create a postcard set all your own.
While there are a range of postcard price points available through various online shops, it’s good to note that many retailers charge more in shipping than the postcards themselves are worth, so be sure to take this into account when deciding where to place an order. Since postcards themselves are so cheap to mail, this can be frustrating for the consumer, and part of the reason I created my postcard shop was to be able to list actual prices up front and offer free shipping for all of my orders.
Bookstores are a great place to buy postcards—particularly in the form of postcard books or boxed sets with 10, 20, 50, or 100 similar postcards.
These sets generally offer great paper quality, and they provide an economical option for anyone who sends a great deal of mail (such as avid Postcrossers) or for those who don’t mind using up many similar designs prior to buying something else.
If you’re looking for vintage postcards in particular, the best place to find them is at antique shows, shops, and malls.
It feels like nearly every booth in an antique store offers at least a few old postcards, and often you’ll see a whole box you can sort through—some of which may be written, but many of which are as ready to be sent as they were on the day they were printed.
These postcard selections tend to feature picture-postcard offerings from the “Golden Age of Postcards”: Deltiologists (postcard collectors) define this period as extending from the early 1900s to the beginning of the First World War, during which time billions of postcards were printed, sold, and mailed throughout the US and around the world.
Museums are rife with beautiful art and artifacts, and since these are impossible for visitors to take home with them when they leave, you’ll often find representations of paintings, statues, and more in the form of postcards in museum gift shops.
Many upscale museums will also offer a beautifully designed postcard set or two—for instance, you can find the entire set of Paris vs. New York postcards by Vahram Muratyan in the MOMA Design Store in New York City.
Paper Stores & Gift Shops
Whether it’s a boutique stationer, a local letterpress, or an all-purpose gift store, retailers that focus on giftables and the art of giving them almost always have at least a few postcards for sale among their selection of greeting cards, wrapping papers, and other accoutrements.
It’s worth noting that specialty paper shops tend to offer far better quality, and thus higher prices, compared to souvenir shops, bookstores, and so on. They generally do not sell postcards in larger sets, but they’re a great place to find a specialty postcard for a specific occasion, such as for a friend’s birthday.
Whether they’re selling through a local gallery, at an art market, or on Etsy, artists often offer small prints of their work in the form of postcards!
These are often priced as small prints to be displayed, rather than as paperie to be mailed—thus, they may cost several dollars more than you’d normally spend on a single card. Still, they’re an amazing way to collect or gift work from artists you admire without breaking the bank on larger pieces!
A surprising number of gas stations offer a selection of postcards in a postcard rack! Since these locations are nearly always places you probably wouldn’t write home about, their cards tend to be locally printed and are often irreverent.
They often tend toward lower print and paper quality, but some of the most entertaining postcard designs I’ve ever found have been at gas stations!
Hotels, Bars, & Restaurants
Service establishments are less dependable postcard sources than most others on this list, but many lodgings, eateries, and drinkeries do offer custom postcards printed by their business that you can take, write, and maybe even send for free! Some of my personal favorite postcards have been picked up at places like Pépé Le Moko in Portland, The Everleigh in Melbourne, and Kafana in New York.
They may be stacked at the front desk, arrive as a souvenir with your check, or be kept behind the bar, so keep an eye out for these paper souvenirs! They’re great marketing materials for the business, which is why so many places offer them for free—and some places (especially hotels) will even stamp and mail the postcards for you, so be sure to ask!
Shop premium postcards with free shipping in our online postcard shop!