The Stockholm Bucket List

Sweden

The Stockholm Bucket List

Stockholm is located on the central east coast of Sweden, where infinite canals and Lake Malaren, the third largest freshwater lake in the country, flow into the Baltic Sea. When you are floating through Stockholm, you’re on one of the most beautifully extensive waterways on earth as a continuous archipelago made up of 30,000 islands defines this stunning city.

Stockholm is an amazing array of 14 islands, 38 parks and hundreds of miles of water. This paradise should make it onto any planet-loving human’s bucket list just on those statistics alone. With so much water visible from everywhere, it’s no wonder people say the city appears to be floating.

Whether your lifelong desire is to visit the top attractions, go island jumping to visit each and every varied district of the city or to bask in a winter wonderland, Stockholm does not disappoint. So grab an Airbnb, a hotel or a couch surfer’s kind hospitality and come for a visit.

Quick Facts

  • Stockholm is language friendly – almost everyone speaks English and is welcoming to visitors.
  • This is a year-round destination featuring 20 hours of summer sunshine per day. Shops, festivals and events often stay open well past midnight.
  • It is surrounded by spectacular northern European landscapes and nature.

Attractions

We easily could list hundreds of attractions, but that’s what the numerous travel review sites are for. Stockholm has it all: castles, medieval towns, museums, galleries, restaurants and night clubs. Here are a few of our favorites that you might not think to look for:

  • Observatorielunden – Photo via Regionbibliotek Stockholm

    Some of the best views of the city can be found from Observatorielunden, a park on the hill where the Stockholm Observatory is located. Another excellent vantage point is at the corner of Fjällgatan and Monteliusvägen, located in the district of Södermalm.

  • Skansen is the world’s first open-air Museum built is 1891 and covers five centuries of Swedish history. It’s made even more authentic by the period dressed guides.
  • Stockholm City Hall is located near Stadhusparken and is home to the Nobel Prize award ceremony and banquet.

Cuisine

Stockholm boasts some of the best award-winning chefs in the world. The city offers an international palate: Nordic, American and Indian to name a few. Seek out delectable Swedish pastries, pancakes and cakes at Vete-Katten, one of the oldest and best bakeries in the city. Check out some of our other Umgås entries to learn more about some of our favorite restaurants around the city.

Islands/Districts

Each island/district is unique, stylish and totally charming and distinctive in its own way. Most districts are on self-contained islands, and you will quickly recognize the well-defined areas:

Djurgården - photo via Trixi Skywalker
Djurgården – photo via Trixi Skywalker

Djurgården is a green island where many residents live on their boats year round. This green oasis is a short walk from downtown and is home to Sweden’s best museums and attractions. Go enjoy the best walking and cycling in the city then relax at a waterfront café or pack a lunch and pick your spot for some of the best views.

Gamla stan is located on a small island and once was Stockholm’s bustling city center. Step back in time with the narrow streets paved with cubic rock. Take a historic tour through a maze of small squares, alleyways, ancient churches and the Royal Palace.

Södermalm is where the popular movie “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was filmed. It is also home to the hipster, eclectic district of SoFo, which stands for “South of Folkungagatan” a street in the district. There is not an ugly building to be found, only bright colored walls, elegant furnishings and rooftops that are seen mimicked in movie sets or children’s story books. SoFo is also known for its high fashion shopping, mixed with eclectic couture. It’s also laid back, trendy and definitely place to seek out and explore.

SoFo is home to some of the coolest businesses in all of Europe. Be sure to check out:

  • Louie Louie: A 1950s rock and roll-influenced café. (Yes, in Stockholm)!
  • Pärlans Konfektyr: Although it looks like a furniture store from the outside, it’s NOT. It is a delectable candy store with its wares displayed elegantly in wrapped boxes on shelves. You can observe the creation process through a glass panel into what’s called “the making room.” From fudge and licorice to coconut and lime, don’t dare leave without some samples from this treat of a shop.
  • Meatballs for the People. What? Yes, that’s the name of this very different shop that specializes in additive-free meatballs. Take them home to cook yourself or eat-in, seated at their long wooden community tables. Go classic or be adventurist and try Elk Balls with creamy mushroom or reindeer balls with port. Check out our Q&A with the Meatballs for the People team here.
  • Pet Sounds: is a prohibition-style bar. Diverse following, it doesn’t have music every night, so check the listings before you go.
  • SoFo Nights: The last Thursday of every month turns your shopping and browsing experience into a musical affair. Many places stay open until 9 p.m. and offer DJs and/or live music.
Norrmalm - photo via Nicolas Boullosa
Norrmalm – photo via Nicolas Boullosa

Norrmalm is Stockholm’s commercial center and locally referred to as “City.” A development program that began in the 1960s when most of the older buildings were torn down continues today as new modern office spaces are built. In addition to the ultramodern hotels, this is the place to check out restaurants and nightclubs, museums and of course, shopping. The more residential district of Vasastaden has antique shops, charming pubs and restaurants.

Östermalm & Gärdet is the place to party. The main focus is the huge Stureplan Square, where the concrete rain shelter Svampen (the mushroom) is centered. It not only is a clubber’s paradise, but it also it offers the most upscale shopping experience in the city.

Kungsholmen is home to the focal point that basically dwarfs anything else on the island.  The majestic Stadshuset (City Hall) is visible from far and wide. The island is just short of a mile in circumference and has a great benefit for joggers on its waterside – walkways for those seeking a run with a view!

Stockholm has something for everyone, which is a great reason to put it your bucket list now and check it off sooner, rather than later!

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