When you think about places you have visited, what place completely surprised you with just how much you loved it that you didn’t expect in advance? Stockholm, Sweden is on that list for us. We spent a week there this summer, and while I was of course excited to explore someplace new, I have to admit, Stockholm was never on my top 10 list of places to travel to. But now, I would return to in a heartbeat.
From beautiful interiors to seasonal vegetarian food everywhere we went to kid-friendly everything, Stockholm was such a beautiful city in all regards. Below are the highlights from our trip!
Where To Eat
Art Bakery—This spot has excellent (and super pretty) pastries and baked goods, plus a full coffee bar. Hello, fika! Plenty of seating too, the cafe was incredibly spacious. The cardamon cinnamon buns? A total hit.
Tip: They sell sammies and baguettes here (so fresh, so good), so if you’re planning a picnic at any point during your stay this is the perfect spot to get supplies.
Hotel Diplomat—We grabbed Sunday brunch at this spot. Loved that there was cozy couch seating (perfect for a toddler who needed to lounge for a bit), but it also felt really regal and special. Think: green velvet couches, cool photography on the walls, and long stemmed candles on the tables. The American style blueberry pancakes were surprisingly memorable!
Nybrogatan 38—We stumbled upon this spot quite accidentally, but immediately loved their outdoor seating (complete with heat lamps and lap blankets!) and the ‘between meals’ menu.
Oaxen Slip—My favorite dining experience in Stockholm! They feature a different vegetarian meal daily, depending on what is in season and fresh (I had a pumpkin dish that was chock-full of interesting flavors.) The space is huge and soaked with sun, and has cool boats hanging from the ceiling.
Fotografiska—The restaurant located atop the photography museum of Stockholm, this was a close runner up to my favorite spot to eat. Sitting right on the water, the views are gorgeous. We marveled multiple times as to what they used to clean the windows, the view was so clear you’d think there was no glass! Vegetable focused and locally sourced, the menu was simple but delicious. They have a prefix for around $25 that allows you to have a soup, entree, dessert, and tea. The pea soup was “the best soup I’ve ever had” according to both my husband and I. Another perk? The meal counts towards your admission for the museum below, so it’s actually a pretty great deal!
Tip: While there is a more relaxed “cafeteria” section to eat in, I’d recommend making a reservation in advance for the dining room. The dishes are totally worth it!
What To Do
Junibacken—Love Pippi Longstocking as a child? Me too. Needless to say, I had just as much fun at this interactive “museum” of Astrid Lindgren’s works as Augusten did. There’s a story book train ride, plenty of play spaces (both indoors and outdoors), a life size Pippi house, and a fantastic bookstore filled with Swedish children’s literature.
Skansen—An outdoor historical museum of what it was like to live in olden day Sweden, complete with actors! That was my favorite part, but they also have Nordic animals (think: lynx and reindeer), farm animals, a petting zoo, rides, games, and a playground.
ABBA Museum—We love how interactive this place is! You scan your ticket and can pull up your ABBA karaoke sessions, ABBA photographs, ABBA stage appearances, etc.! Not to mention there’s plenty of history and music and sparkles to keep you entertained.
Fotographika—Sweden’s premier photography museum, this spot offers large, quality exhibits that leave you thinking. One we keep talking about was a photo exhibit that documented world atrocities, such as wars, famines, the AIDSS crisis, terrorist attacked, immigration struggles, and even race issues in America. SO powerful, we highly recommend it.
Fjaderholmarna—Just a quick 30 minute boat ride from Stockholm, this is a great way to explore one of the 30,000 islands surrounding the area! The island is small and easy to navigate, with plenty of spots for GORGEOUS dining right on the water, picnic areas, play areas for children, and several small gift stores. The sunset here is an absolutely beautiful memory.
Stockholm is a super walkable city, and we used our own two feet as much as possible (but were obviously a little limited with a toddler in tow!) Their public transportation system is very easy to navigate, and between the trams, buses, and trains you can get mostly anywhere. You can buy paper tickets at the station or download the SL app onto your phone and just buy tickets that way (although there is a time limit of 75 minutes to use the ticket, so don’t purchase too far in advance!) And of course, bikes and scooters are everywhere for rent.
Other Things To Note
–I had the notion that Scandinavia was going to be ridiculously pricey, but the prices here were totally on par (and often times much less) than NYC. For example, coffee was $3, and even the most expensive meal we ate at a Michelin Star restaurant with multiple courses for three people still came out to less than $100 (although we didn’t have alcohol, perhaps that would have made a difference?) But definitely a pleasant surprise!
- English is spoken everywhere. It’s a very easy spot to navigate because of this.
- The weather can be really moody, even in the height of summer. There wasn’t a day it didn’t rain at least a little, so prepare yourself with rain gear or an umbrella, and plenty of layers.
Check the Stockholm Tourism website before you go for local activities. While we were there Augusten participated in their “junior olympics” they had, and we also enjoyed two concerts and children’s arts activities through the Stockholm Culturefest. All free, and provided hours of fun!
Would love to know…have you been to Stockholm? Share your highlights below!
p.s. an excellent book to bring Swedish living into your NYC home is Lagom: The Swedish Art of Balanced Living.