So you’ve seen the Vasa, performed on stage at the Abba Museum, and explored Old Town (Gamla Stan). Now what? Time to make a like a local and do some non-touristy things in Stockholm. Here’s your top 10 list.
If there’s one thing Stockholmers love, it’s taking a weekend walk. Strandvägen is the poshest, most glamorous street in the city, with architecture to die for. The best way to enjoy it is on an early Sunday afternoon, along the water. Stop and grab a fika or a ice cream and walk all the way to Djurgården and beyond. And remember, Swedes walk no matter what the weather so don’t let a little snow and ice put you off.
If ever there was an ultimate hipster flea market, this is it. Located along the waters of Hornstull, this market throws up everything from old film projectors to vintage clothing to books you never thought you’d find. So basically, it’s the perfect flea market. That it also attracts the best of Stockholm’s food trucks makes it extra attractive.
Mmmm… strömming, that delicious Swedish fish is served fresh at this kiosk fried and is slightly — slightly! — less smelly than its canned cousin. Nystekt Strömming is where Swedes rushing through Slussen stop to grab a quick bite of the healthy fish, which they either eat down by the water or on one of the benches close by. Both spots are perfect for people watching and some light flirting.
If you walk by a nondescript building as you pass through Östra Station you’d probably never realise there is a unique restaurant just behind the brick walls, serving up traditional Swedish food. It also has an interior that is virtually unchanged since it opened in the 1930s. This means the original tables and chairs are still there and if you’re on a diet forget about it: it’s cream and butter all the way.
It’s a plant nursery, a café, and a spot where Stockholmers flock both during the summer and during the holiday season. Located in the heart of Djurgården, this delightful spot has rows of greenhouses to wander about — and perhaps pick up some greenery — and a café, which has indoor and outdoor seating, serving up delicious fare. If you really want be a like a local, get your food to go and sit in the adjoining park under the trees.
One of the oldest cafés in Stockholm, this Östermalm classic is where you’ll see everyone from little old ladies to local tech stars to kids trying to be on their best behaviour. Vete-katten is a warren of small rooms that all feel like you’re visiting grandma in her slightly faded but still glamorous home. The food reflects this: traditional pastries, strong Swedish coffee, delicate sandwiches and hearty pies.
This old paint factory was founded in 1995 and it’s been a cultural feast of art, architecture, parties, club nights and flea markets ever since. The space makes optimal use of the lofty ceilings, vast open spaces and huge windows, and you never really know what they’re going to unveil next. Throw in a café and a small gift shop stocking well-chosen items and you’ve not only avoided the hoards of tourists, you’ve also discovered a hidden part of Stockholm.
Bibliophiles rejoice! Stockholm Public Library is the largest public library in the country, and it has over half a million books in more than 100 languages just waiting for your hungry eyes. The building itself is a stunning example of Nordic Classicism, both inside and out, and while the books are the main attraction, there are also readings, an incredibly knowledgeable staff, and plenty of computers to work from. Here’s where you’ll find local students, parents with kids, old folks reading the paper, and everyone in between.
In 1994 the Woodland Church Cemetery became number 558 on the World Heritage list, only the second cultural heritage site named in the last century. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site means this gorgeous, peaceful and expansive woodland is guaranteed to be protected forever. Once you’ve wandered through the gardens and woods, enjoy the café, which is perfectly Swedish.
How much do you like garlic? Do you like it enough to have it in every single thing you order? If the answer is yes, go to Södermalm classic, Garlic & Shots, and enjoy garlic to your heart’s content. And remember the rule: the more garlic you eat the less you’ll smell like garlic. In case that isn’t true, don’t go here for a first date.