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Things to Do in Stockholm – Understand
Stockholm is a city of 2 million people, near the Baltic Sea, with much better weather than you’d think given its northern latitude. Stockholm will impress you with its urban design, high-tech mantra and liberal thoughts.
The city has over 70 museums and more than its fair share of modern cuisine, third wave coffee and places where you can spend your last dollars on drinks. This ultra-modern city comes with good safety and has almost completely banished cars. It’s very pedestrian-friendly and you should plan on long walks to explore the city.
At almost 60 degrees north latitude, Stockholm has 16-18 hours of sunlight a day during summer; this alone is a huge motivation to see the city.
Things to Do in Stockholm – Safety
Safety is not an issue in the inner city neighborhoods at day or night. It might be different in a few select neighborhoods, though I doubt it. There is no real police presence; it seems crime has been wiped out together with cars in this city.
Things to Do in Stockholm – Get Around
You will see so few cars all over Stockholm it will make you wonder where everyone went. In fact, most traffic is banished to underground tunnels and hidden freeways. The little urban traffic that is left is restricted by a congestion charge and many closed roads and one-ways. So if you drive there, you will likely not encounter traffic, but parking and traffic violations may cost you.
The best way to get around is on foot or by using the metro.
Uber is in town, but it is expensive. Don’t even think of using taxis, as the MINIMUM fare can be as high as $50 – don’t do it!
There are a number of airport bus companies that get you downtown for $11 (if you pay for your ticket online or on your phone). The train is a bit faster and charges almost $30 one-way.
Things to Do in Stockholm – Sights
For a small city, Stockholm just has too much to see. The city has wonderful design, old and new architecture, many parks, bridges and those 70 museums, which all make it hard to just pass through and tick that ‘Stockholm box.’
During my 24 hours there, I chose to focus on these sights.
The Riddarholm Church, located on the island of Riddarholmen, is Stockholm’s only preserved medieval monastery church and where Swedish monarchs have been laid to rest. The entrance fee is SEK 50 for adults (less than $6).
The Nobel Museum is right in the middle of the oldest part of Stockholm, Gamla Stan, and has a good exhibition about the history of the famous Nobel Prize. The admission fee is a hefty $12 per person and the museum is rather small.
This fantastic contemporary art museum is located on Skeppsholmen Island in a gorgeous setting. It hosts a huge selection of beautifully presented contemporary art.
Admission is FREE for the permanent exhibition, though the temporary exhibition is priced at $18. For most of us, that money might be better invested in a healthy lunch at the lovely museum cafe.
Monteliusvägen is a fantastic vista point where you can see the old town of Stockholm from up above. The area itself has a number of historic buildings too. It’s a great way to discover yet another Stockholm neighborhood.
Things to Do in Stockholm – Eat & Drink
In general, you’ll get fresh, high quality food if you search a bit in Stockholm. It’s more expensive than in the US, but the portions are usually big. Most food I tried came out more bland than I wanted; spices aren’t something you’ll find easily here.
Keep in mind that alcohol tends to be expensive unless you look for cheaper places (I managed to find a beer in a bar for under $2).
La Neta is a rustic setup with a few outdoor tables and has tacos and quesadillas for a fair price. This is a good option for a simple lunch or dinner.
Pizza Hatt fetches tons of positive reviews for its pizzas and beers, but when I was there it was closed for a (one month!) vacation.
Kalf & Hansen rules this city for Swedish food inspiration at moderate prices. I did not have a chance to go, but I feel I would have loved it.
This very stylish interior and setup does not translate into superior coffee unfortunately. The staff are friendly and the tables are inviting for an hour of creative work, though.
This seems to be Stockholm’s most interesting coffee shop and you’ll drown in options for your favorite brew. Give this place a try.
Sempre is a decent Italian coffee shop in a good location and it serves delicious panini sandwiches as well.
This is another great option if you crave NY-style pizza in Stockholm.
Things to Do in Stockholm – Where to Stay
Stockholm is richly endowed with several Club Carlson properties. I chose the Radisson Blu SkyCity Hotel, Arlanda Airport, which is just off the airport grounds (and has a free shuttle). It has excellent rooms and is fully equipped. The breakfast is fantastic too. I think it ranks in the category of some of the best airport hotels worldwide.