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Stockholm is built on 14 islands and has 57 bridges, so as you can imagine water is always close by—and one of the best ways to explore and see the city is from a kayak. Rentals are inexpensive and you can either book a guide or head out on your own, although if you do choose to forego a guide make sure you’re very alert to boat traffic, as it’s heavy in the center of the city.
A warm summer’s day will always attract hoards of people to the steps of Stockholm’s Royal Dramatic Theater, known as Dramaten. Grab an ice cream, take a seat, and watch the city walk by.
The tower at Telefonplan is covered in lights and with just your mobile phone, you can control tcolorsurs of those lights. The permanent light installation, Colour by Numbers, can be controlled by calling a number or using the app. It’s great fun late at night after a few drinks.
Summer isn’t all that long in Stockholm and that means city dwellers take advantage of every bit of sunlight they can get their hands on. Eriksdalsbadet is open year round and while the inside pools and diving areas are great fun, it’s during summer, when three pools open up, that the place really rocks. Keep an eye out for fit swimming stars—this is where the Swedish National Swimming Team trains.
This sprawling park on Kungsholmen overlooks Lake Mälaren and is the ideal spot to have a picnic in summer, cross-country ski in winter, play volleyball, see a free outdoor concert, or enjoy a theatre performance. It’s basically brimming with energy all day long, all year round.
There are plenty of secondhand shops scattered around Stockholm but Södermalm is where you’ll find the highest concentration. From tiny little holes in the wall to the legendary Lisa Larsson’s, Söder is where you want to head for cool finds that will lift your style stakes.
Arguably the best photography museum in the world, Fotografiska holds four major exhibitions each year, as well as around 20 smaller ones. It also has an excellent café on the top floor that has views across to Djurgården, Gamla Stan, and beyond. Yes, you will take a lot of pictures while you sip your coffee.
One of Stockholm’s classic cafés, Vete-katten, retains an old world charm and while plenty of grand ladies take tea here it also attracts the younger crowd, who know that this is where fika gets serious.
Urban Deli on Nytorget gained such an enormous following that they opened up at a second location, and it’s bigger, cooler, and more interesting, with a rooftop bar, high-speed WiFi, plenty of places to sit and tap away at your laptop, and great food and drink. There’s also one in Nacka.
Konserthuset on Hötorget is where the Nobel ceremonies are held. The steps leading up to it are where Stockholm workers gather after grabbing lunch at Hötorgetshallen. The steps overlook the outdoor market on the square and it’s ideal for people watching.
Götgatan slices right through the middle of Södermalm, beginning on one end at Slussen and running all the way to the other end at Skanstull. Shop after shop lines the street, with several gallerias’s along the way, as well as restaurants, cafés, bars, and even some green spots. The top half is car-free, so perfect for strolling along.
Södermalm is trendy and Stureplan is posh. This is where the beautiful people of Stockholm go to party at night, with clubs such as Sturecompagniet keeping the dance floors filled well into the early hours of the morning. This isn’t the place for tattered jeans, it’s where you put on the glad rags, the heels, and plenty of makeup.
Stockholm’s favorite rock club is sweaty, loud, and crowded, so pretty much exactly what you’d want a rock club to be. Debaser is a great place to see up-and-coming acts from both Sweden and abroad. This is the place for the true rock devotee.
Come Saturday morning the hipsters of Söder head to Hornstulls Marknad to find bargains, grab a bite to eat, or simply sit by the water. It’s a buzzing place and can get quite crowded but the people are friendly and the atmosphere is perfect.
Summer concerts at Stockholm’s city amusement park Grönalund are legendary, mainly because the stage is intimate, the crowd is right up close, and there really isn’t a lot of room for all that many people. That you can hop on a ride between sets adds to the fun, as does the top international acts who play here.
In the summer you head to Kungsträdgården for concerts, food festivals, and people watching. In the winter you head here for some ice skating. The rink is beautifully tended, with traditional wooden huts for changing into skates, vendors selling hot chestnuts and coffee, and sparkling lights illuminating the dark winter days.
Rumor has it that there are more than 30,000 startups in Stockholm and that means there is an entire industry growing up alongside it. The city has plenty of startup hubs, such as SUP46 and Epicenter, and they all host mingles, seminars, focused talks, and plenty more—and most are free. Get on their mailing lists and plan ahead.
Stockholm’s food truck scene continues to grow, with everything from great burgers to top notch Thai on offer. On weekdays they can be found in the business districts, while on the weekends one of the best places to sample them is on Katarina Bangata, where more than a dozen usually gather each Saturday.
In Sweden, it’s almost a tradition to take a booze cruise to Finland at least once in your life. The boats leave from Stockholm, head across the Baltic, dock in Helsinki for a day or so, then come right back. It’s a fast 24 or 48 hours and people barely sleep. They just dance, drink, and party like it’s 1999.
When death metal Gods Entombed released their iconic debut album Left Hand Path the giant metal cross at Skogskyrkogården was immortalized forever after. Metal fans make pilgrimages to the beautiful church yard from around the world. While you’re there enjoy this absolutely stunning Unesco World Heritage Site.