I love Sweden and its flagship city and capital Stockholm, is one of the most design-oriented and fashionable cities I have ever visited. Artistic expression is seen through the clothes people wear, the food they eat and the galleries they frequent.
Södermalm For the Vintage & Quirky
Södermalm, or “Söder” as it’s more commonly called by locals, is the southern island in Stockholm. The bohemian vibe has become the prime location for independent shops ranging from quirky design stores to vintage shops. Within the island of Södermalm, the SoFo (South of Folkungagatan) area is the most lively. I slipped into a few coffee shops, one of which hat allows patrons to purchase the second-hand furniture they’re sitting on. For a little bit of everything, wander down the streets surrounding Nytorget city square and playground.
Head to Grandpa or Brandstationen for 50-70s design, Retro.etc for 60s ad 70s fashion or Wigerdals Värld for nostalgia. Just above Folkungagatan Street is Monica Förster (Östgötagatan 18), one of the most famous contemporary designers and also nearby is 10-Gruppen (Götgatan 25) features colorful, uncompromising designs that never go out of style.
Hornsgaten for Artisan Crafts
There are a few different areas to purchase the best crafts Stockholm has to offer and Hornsgaten is one of them. The neighborhood is also located on Södermalm in the north western tip of the island. This is one of the prettiest areas in my opinion, partly because parts of the neighborhood are located on top of a hill overlooking the Old Town. Formerly nicknamed “Knife Söder, this neighborhood has undergone a complete revamp over the years. Now a popular spot for flea markets, locally brewed beer and top-notch restaurants, some people have started calling Hornsgaten “Knife and Fork Söder.”
Hornsgaten, between Slusen and Mariatorget, is home to several ceramics and art galleries. There’s literally a hump in this area so that’s a clear indicator that you’ve reached the right spot. There are plenty of stores here, with Konsthantverkarna, Blås & Knåda, Kaolin and The Glassery among the most renowned. For traditional Swedish crafts, Östermalm may be a slightly better bet.
Östermalm for Great Sweden Design
I spent three hours walking through Östermalm, if that gives you any indication of how much there is to discover here. Located in Central Stockholm, this is one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods, at least when it comes to interior design. Asplund is Swedish minimalism at its best. Shop for everything from high-quality furniture to rugs and lamps or just look around like I did. Skultana Concept Store (Grev Turegatan 18) is a 17th century brass factory store that somehow manages to feel contemporary and even a little modern.
Östermalm is also a great place to shop for high-end antiques. Most of the auction houses and antique shops are located along Arsenalsgatan, Sibyllegatan and Nybrogatan. I slipped into a few, including Rehns Antikhandel (Sibyllegatan 26) and was blown away by all the items up for grabs. Also in this area is an indoor food market where people can stock up on groceries or just enjoy a leisurely lunch with friends.
Norrmalm for Fashion & Shopping
Norrmalm is a great area to shop for clothing. Besides global brands like H&M, there are plenty of other options like NK, Ströms and MOOD Stockholm. Åhléns is a popular department store selling many of Sweden’s most popular brands, so this might be a good starting point if you want an overview of current fashion trends.
Don’t skip town without strolling through Biblioteksgatan, one of Stockholm’s most famous streets and home to Sweden’s premier fashion brands. Here you will find the original flag ship store for Acne, one of Sweden’s biggest success stores. There’s also a mix of established and up and coming Swedish labels, with styles ranging from preppy to glam. Filippa K for great for simple yet stylish pieces with timeless appeal while Hope focusses on tailored outerwear, purses and shoes. WeSC, or We Are The Superlative Conspiracy, promotes diversity and human rights.
Gamla Stan for Architecture and Conscience Crafts
The Old Town may feel a bit touristy, but that’s hardly a reason to skip it entirely. In fact, thanks to a few helpful readers who suggested I walk through Gamla Stan in the early morning before most people are awake, I was able to enjoy the historic buildings and quiet streets all to myself. In terms of design, stores range from typical souvenir stores to conscience crafts. Kalikå (Österlånggatan 18) sells Fair Trade toys while Iris Hantverk sells crafts made my blind artists. There’s really something for everyone in Gamla Stan so take your time.
In terms of architecture, The Old Town is simply stunning. The Royal Palace, Stockholm Cathedral and The Nobel Museum are all located in this area and feature various styles of architecture. Dating back to the 13th century, the medieval alleyways and romantic cobblestone streets are reminiscent of North German architecture and give visitors a glimpse into what life was like hundreds of years ago.
If you have time I’d also recommend visiting both Kungsholmen and Vasastan. Also primarily a residential island, Kungsholmen has tons of restaurants, bars and cafes especially along Hantverkargatan and Fleminggatan. If visiting during the summer, there are a few places on the island to swim. Vasastan, another residential area, also has a slew of restaurants. Most of them are concentrated around Odenplan and St. Eriksplan. There are also several vintage stores here and when you need a breather from all that shopping, stop for a picnic in Vasaparken.
This trip was hosted by Visit Sweden and Visit Stockholm. All opinions are my own.