Welcome to the second part of my guide to Stockholm! In this installment, I give you suggestions on where to drink and what to see and pack.
If you would like information on where to stay and eat, please check out the first part of this guide.
Let’s get started!
Where to Drink
This is a tough question to answer because almost every good restaurant in Stockholm also has excellent cocktails, wine, and beer. I had such great booze everywhere I went that I never made it to an actual cocktail bar. Instead, I’ve put together a list of the cocktail bars that were recommended to me by restaurant owners while I was there. They are all going on my bucket list for next time I visit.
Surfers. This place is actually a Chinese restaurant with a super cool vibe that also happens to be renowned for its cocktails. It was recommended to me by one of the managers at Babette, a pizza place I included in the first part of this guide. Their cocktail list looks inventive and fun; they even have a Bloody Mary made with Sichuan vodka.
Bar Central. This is another restaurant that also does really great cocktails. They serve mostly Eastern European food and reviewers can’t stop talking about how good their beer selection is. That’s something else you should keep in mind about Sweden: they really like beer, so they make an effort to feature a selection of really interesting ones in most restaurants.
Cloud Nine. The food and drinks at this place look to die for. Any restaurant that has a whole section for aperitifs is my kind of place, so I’m definitely hitting this spot first next time I’m in Stockholm. Did I mention they do Dim Sum?
What to Do/See
Gamla Stan/Old Town. Stockholm is a pretty modern city, so I strongly recommend that you visit Gamla Stan to get a better sense of what it used to look like centuries ago. This charming part of the city is full of winding cobblestone streets, colorful historical buildings, and imposing government buildings. I didn’t really plan out what I wanted to see; instead, I chose to simply walk around. My bet paid off because as I turned a corner, I got to see the change of the Royal Guard. It was truly a spectacle with a huge marching band and a procession of guards on the most beautiful horses.
Visit a museum. Like any big city, Stockholm is full of world-class museums. After hitting almost every museum I could in London, I was a bit tired of them by the time I got to Stockholm. I tried to be really selective and only visited Moderna Museet or the Museum of Modern Art and Fotografiska, a photography museum. Both were outstanding, and I would happily go back. Moderna Museet has the added bonus of being located in a lovely island full of walking paths and historical buildings. I had very limited time to walk around, but it looked absolutely beautiful, and I look forward to going back and exploring the island at length. Fotografiska is a small museum with exhibits that change every couple of months. This makes it perfect for those of you who might not enjoy spending hours and hours at a museum. Also, don’t forget to check out their coffee shop. It has a gorgeous view of the archipelago.
Visit Stockholm’s Colorful Metro Stations. This was probably the coolest thing I did during my stay in Stockholm. I had read about the beautifully decorated metro stations before leaving the States, but I completely forgot about them once I got to Sweden. It wasn’t until I stepped off one of the trains and was greeted by a colorful painted ceiling and playful statues that I remembered this secret attraction. I only got to see two stations, but I wished I had taken the time to visit all of them. They truly look otherworldly and will remind you to stop rushing to wherever you are going and take the time to just stroll around and be awed.
Take a stroll through Sodermalm. This neighborhood, also known as SoFo, is supposed to be one of the coolest in the world. As a rather uncool person, I’m not the best one to judge, but I will say that I really enjoyed popping into all the indie clothing stores and quirky shops to look around. There are also lots of trendy and fun restaurants in this area, and it’s relatively close to Fotografiska.
Take a boat ride through the archipelago. My husband and I almost didn’t make it onto the boat because that was the day that I happened to get us lost, but boy am I glad we did. The boat ride is not only fun and relaxing but also super informative. As you travel through the archipelago, you can listen to a narration in English that highlights all of the historical buildings that are visible on shore. It also gives you some insight into Swedish culture and their annoyance at how their ancestors are portrayed in “Vikings.”
What to Pack
Sweden is known for being rather cool for most of the year, so taking a sweater or two is always a good idea. I went during the spring and was prepared for it to be cold and rainy the whole time, but we ended up having the most perfect sunny weather the whole time we were there.
Having said that, I would recommend taking a waterproof layer if you are going in the spring or fall. I also try to pack a pair of super comfy but stylish shoes so that I can do all the sightseeing I want without worrying about getting blisters. If you are interested in some of my favorite travel clothes, check out my previous post.
Finally, Swedes like to dress up when they go out to a fancy dinner or cocktail bar, so make sure to take some formal clothes if you do plan on hitting the town after dark.