Stockholm’s Sofo (the area south of Folkungagatan) is the trendiest neighbourhood in Stockholm, known for its hip cafés, cool shops, and plethora of bearded hipsters. The area is small in size but bursting at the seems with things to see and do. Getting to Sofo is as simple as jumping on the subway’s green line and hopping off at Medborgarplatsen, then heading south. Here are some tips on how to best enjoy the coolest part of the city.
Where to eat
The heart of Sofo is the bustling square Nytorget and it’s here – or near here – that you’ll discover some of the best cafés and restaurants. Urban Deli is the original hipster café in Stockholm and while it’s branched out to other locations, the one on Nytorget remains the best. You can enjoy a weekend brunch, a filling yet reasonably priced lunch or dinner, grab a coffee to go, or simply pick up a few items from the deli. Café String, just off the square on Nytorgetsgatan, is another great option; known for its eclectic interior, which is made up of found or donated items, String is cosy, comfy, and the perfect place to chill out. The food is delicious (particularly the cakes) and extremely cheap (for Stockholm) and the staff is known for its friendliness. Of course, you can’t come to Stockholm without trying some meatballs so why not try to score a table at the tiny and very popular Meatballs for the People, which is just a few doors away from String? Even Stockholmers were surprised at how many ways there were to make meatballs when this place opened up back in 2013. All ingredients are organically sourced and you can take your pick from among scintillating delights such as wild boar, veal, fennel – or even classic Swedish meatballs.
What to do
Katarina Kyrka is the imposing church that dominates the skyline of Sofo. The original structure was built in the mid-1600s but in 1723 a fire completely destroyed it. Rebuilding began immediately under the supervision of city architect Göran Josua Adelcrantz, but then in 1990 the church burned down again, with nothing but the external walls remaining. So Stockholm rebuilt it – again. Why visit this church? It has lunch concerts for free, the interior and the surrounding park and graveyard are beyond peaceful, and a number of famous Swedes are buried here, including assassinated Foreign Minister Anna Lindh.
Stockholm’s Spårvägs Museum (The Stockholm Transport Museum) is a hidden – and cheap (it is just SEK50 (£4.50) for entry) – little gem. You can sit in a horse tram from the 1800s, drive an subway train, as see how Stockholmers have gotten around the city through the ages. And how do you get yourself to this museum? Take the number 2 bus from Slussen heading towards ‘Sofia’ and get off at the Spårvägsmuseet stop.
For culture vultures who are tired of museums take some time to visit the Centrum för Fotografi at Tjärhovsgatan 44. CFF holds six annual shows featuring the best of both Swedish and international photography, with an eye towards supporting the efforts of professional photographers by bringing their work to the people.
Vita Bergen is the park on the hill where people watching is at a premium. Grab some lunch to go and settle on the grass and just watch the parade of cool, trendy Stockholmers do their thing. After the relaxing is over, explore the nearby wooden houses, which date back hundreds of years. During summer, there is free theatre in the evenings, where you can sip a glass of wine and make new friends.
Where to party
Sofo isn’t exactly crawling with high-octane nightclubs with music that throbs through your brain. Things are a little more laid-back here, with live music the name of the game. Lilla Baren at hotel Scandic Malmen is one of the best places to get your party on, with a very local crowd, live music or DJ nightly. Vampire Lounge has, as expected, something of a Dracula theme, which extends even to the toilets. It’s all in good fun, though, and the lounge mixes up some of the best cocktails in town in an atmosphere where the emphasis is on enjoyment. Underbara Bar and Bara Bistro Bar are practically next door to one another and for good reason – they share an owner but offer slightly different experiences. Underbara is a bit more club-like, while Bara Bistro is laid-back and meant for serious talk and drinking. Mosebacke is a theatre, a restaurant, a club – and it has one of the best terraces (with a killer view) in the city. Sit up here in the summer, sip a drink, enjoy the live music, and gaze across the waters to Djurgården and beyond.
Where to stay
Stockholm’s tourist industry has been growing so quickly that the city can’t build hotels fast enough to accommodate all the visitors. Nofo Hotel (technically north of Folkungagatan) oozes charm and style. With rooms to fit every budget and a wine bar to boot, you only need to step onto the street to be in the thick of things. Then, of course, there is Sofo Hotel, one of the newest additions to the scene. The rooms might be small but the styling is cutting edge – and you’ll have a flat screen TV, free Wifi, and en-suite bathrooms. At Hotel Point you start your day with a breakfast buffet after a restful night in the notoriously comfy beds. Located in the heart of Sofo, Hotel Point is the perfect place to stay if you want to explore all Sofo has to offer.