Stockholm

Things to do in Stockholm

Wondering what to do in Stockholm? Prepared to be blown away by the number of enticing options. As the corporate and cultural headquarters of Nordic Europe, Stockholm is in the spotlight on the international stage. Medieval ruins and verdant parks share space with museums, important cultural institutions, world-class eateries.

Stockholm is one of the most museum-dense cities in the world—in all, there are over 100 museums in the city alone. The most famous is the Nationalmuseum, which holds Sweden's largest collection of art and artifacts. It is the primary caretaker of local artistic heritage, showcasing Swedish masters like Alexander Roslin, Carl Larsson, and Anders Zorn alongside other European painters like Rembrandt van Rijn. Sweden's Moderna Museet, or modern art museum, is also worth placement on any list of things to do in Stockholm. Visit it to see works by Picasso and Dali, amongst others. Stockholm's art scene is vibrant on the gallery level, too. The city is home to a number of internationally-recognized commercial galleries, the best of which are in the gallery district Hudiksvallsgatan.

Here's something outside the ordinary for your list of things to do in Stockholm: ride the metro. The Stockholm metro opened in 1950, and its stations are renowned for being artfully and creatively decorated. The 65.7 mile long system has been called the “longest art gallery in the world.”

Still wondering what to do in Stockholm? Try attending a sporting event. The national football arena, home of Sweden's beloved soccer team, is just north of the city center. Afterward, you can explore the old streets of Gamla Stan, Stockholm's old town and one of the few places in the city not transformed by modernism. The streets of Gamla Stan are still on the medieval layout and are the site several old churches, palaces, and mansions.

Busy Slussen square is Stockholm's answer to Grand Central. The main attraction here (besides a major subway stop) is the humble Nystekt Strömming (fried herring) wagon, encircled by picnic tables crowded with locals on their lunch break.

Scottish owner Andrew Duncanson scours the globe for the best in vintage Scandinavian furniture for his shop in Östermalm. Serious design junkies are awed by the stock, including Wilhelm-Kage pottery and a limited-edition 1955 rosewood daybed by Helge Vestergaard Jensen.

The spare storefront and neon sign on Sveavagen don't hint at the gifts and pieces of art to be found in the Society for Swedish Handicrafts (Svensk Hemslojd).

Open only from mid-December to mid-April, the Absolut Icebar, within the Icehotel in the small village of Jukkasjärvi, in northern Sweden, holds steady at around 23 degrees. Sure, it seems like every few months an ice bar pops up somewhere: even Vegas has one.

In existence since the 12th century, Gotgatan (Goth Street) is one of the longest streets in Soldermalm. The street begins at Slussen and the Stockholm Stadsmuseum (Stockholm City Museum) and ends at the Globen Arena. In between is a wide selection of pubs, restaurants, and shops.

A vast selection of 20th-century Scandinavian and Italian housewares. Murano-glass vases by Gio Ponti and Bianconi line the walls, and vintage pieces, like a Swedish birchwood sofa from the 1929 Barcelona furniture World's Fair, fill the floor.

Acne (Ambition to Create Novel Expression) began when Jonny Johansson gifted friends and relatives with 100 pairs of raw denim, red-stitched jeans. The fashion company then grew to 21 stores (called studios) worldwide, with the flagship studio on Norrmalmstorg and another in Gamla Stan.

Don't leave Stockholm without indulging in a real Swedish massage. At Sturebadet, masseurs knead out knots in treatment rooms surrounding a 1902 Art Nouveau pool.

Karl Lagerfeld was so smitten with the duo's jewelry that he snatched up 11 designs for one of his recent collections. Their first store opened last December, where standouts include 18-karat-gold chicken-bone necklaces and gold-plated cuffs with circular cutouts.

At just over 594,000 square feet and four levels, the IKEA south of Stockholm in Skarholmen is both the company's first location and largest store in the world.

The Vasamuseet, located on Djurgarden, is the most popular museum in Sweden. It houses the Vasa, the oldest known completed ship, built in 1628 during the reign of King Gustavus Adolphus II.

For cutting-edge Swedish labels, head to this 17th-century industrial building turned high-design mall. Browse the racks of denim at Dry Lake, or try on geometric-patterned jersey dresses at Whyred and skintight satin pants at Filippa K.

H&M

The Swedish fashion company Hennes & Mauritz opened in 1947 and has since expanded to 2,300 stores in 41 countries. Of the Stockholm locations, this H&M in Norrmalm is the largest and receives the season's newest styles first.

The Moderna Museet, on the island of Skeppsholmen, is home to an extensive collection of modern and contemporary paintings, sketches, photography, films, and videos from Sweden and the international arts community.

Take a tour of Grythyttan Vin, located in the rural northwest about three hours from Stockholm. The winery, started in 1999 by the Fritzell Brothers, produces both fruit and mulled wines and fruit vinegars—all from wild plants.