10 Non-Touristy Things To Do in Stockholm

The Stockholm Public Library is a must-see sight for everyone
The Stockholm Public Library is a must-see sight for everyone | © Hemis / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Judi Lembke
26 June 2020

So, you’ve seen the Vasa, performed on stage at ABBA the Museum, and explored Old Town (Gamla Stan). Now what? Time to make like a Stockholmer and do some non-touristy things in the city. Here’s your top 10 list.

Strandvägen

Architectural Landmark, Historical Landmark
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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 early on a Sunday afternoon, along the water. Stop and grab a fika or some ice cream and walk to Djurgården and beyond. And remember, Swedes walk whatever the weather, so don’t let a little snow and ice put you off in winter.

Hornstull Marknad

Market
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If ever there was an ultimate hipster flea market, this is it. Located along the waters of Hornstull, this market has everything from old film projectors and vintage clothing to books you never thought you’d find – it’s basically the perfect flea market. The fact it also attracts the best of Stockholm’s food trucks makes it extra attractive.

Nystekt Strömming

Food Kiosk, Swedish
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Strömming is a type of delicious Swedish fish; at this kiosk, it’s served fresh, fried and slightly (but only 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. To make like a local, enjoy your portion either down by the water or on one of the benches close by. Both spots are perfect for people-watching.

Östra Station Järnvägsrestaurangen

Pub, Restaurant, Swedish, $$$
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If you walked by this 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, complete with original tables and chairs. If you’re on a diet, forget about it – it’s cream and butter all the way.

Rosendals Trädgård

Cafe, Swedish
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Rosendals Trädgård is a plant nursery, a cafe and a spot where Stockholmers flock to both during the summer and holiday season. Located in the heart of Djurgården, this delightful spot has rows of greenhouses to wander about – and perhaps pick up some greenery. For a pause among the plants, stop by the cafe, which has indoor and outdoor seating, serving up delicious fare. Get your food to go and sit in the adjoining park under the trees.

Vete-Katten

Cafe, Swedish, $$$
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One of the oldest cafes in Stockholm, Vete-Katten is where you’ll see everyone from little old ladies and local tech stars to kids trying to be on their best behaviour. This Östermalm classic is a warren of small rooms that all feel like you’re visiting an elderly relative’s charming home. The food includes traditional pastries, strong Swedish coffee, delicate sandwiches and hearty pies.

Färgfabriken

Art Gallery, Market, Museum
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Opened in 1995, this former paint factor has been a cultural feast of art, architecture, parties, club nights and flea markets ever since. The space makes optimal use of its lofty ceilings, vast open spaces and huge windows, and you never really know what it’s going to unveil next. Throw in a cafe and a small gift shop stocking well-chosen items, and you’ve not only avoided hoards of tourists but also discovered a hidden part of Stockholm.

Stadsbiblioteket

Library
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The Stockholm Public Library is the largest in the country, and it has over half a million books in more than 100 languages just waiting for your curious eyes. The building itself is a stunning example of Nordic Classicism, both inside and out, and while books are the main attraction, there are also readings, incredibly knowledgeable staff and plenty of computers to work on. This is where you’ll find local students, parents with kids, older folks reading the paper and everyone in between.

Skogskyrkogården

Park
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In 1994, the Woodland Church Cemetery joined the World Heritage list, becoming the second cultural heritage site to be named in the last century. Being a Unesco World Heritage site means this gorgeous, peaceful and expansive woodland is to be protected forever. Once you’ve wandered through the gardens and woods, enjoy the cafe, which is typically Swedish.

Bröderna Olssons Garlic and Shots

Restaurant, Swedish, $$$
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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, head to Södermalm classic Garlic and 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.
These recommendations were updated on June 26, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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