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.

You can spend an entire night at this three-story restaurant, bar, and concert venue. Start with a cocktail at the standing-room-only Entrée lounge; then move upstairs, where long-haired, leather-booted hipsters chat beneath tulle-shaded lamps; the third floor hosts Stockholm's latest bands.

After 10 p.m., move on to Laroy, a decadent bar-club that pulls in a fashionable set.

Three royal palaces—including Haga Palace, where the current monarch, King Carl XVI Gustaf, was born—can be found in this sprawling 6,700-acre conservation tract (complete with roe deer, owls, and pine martens) right in the center of the city.

After 11 p.m., the black-and-white–“walled pan-Asian restaurant turns into a nightclub with techno beats, sexy lighting, and a creatively named cocktail menu. Don't leave without trying a Polish Waitress: peach liqueur, Campari, lemon, sugar, and orange juice.

A meal among the city’s elite in Café Opera a gilded and frescoed salon with a rich, seafood-heavy menu, is a must. Then head through to the Opera House to catch a performance.

This shop carries an eclectic range of accessories by Swedish designers, including hand-printed dish towels and colorful kids' toys.

If you're lucky, you can catch a classical music concert at Stockholm's central cathedral. Take a seat on a wooden pew and enjoy the dusky evening light as it filters through the leaded glass windows and shimmers off the golden angels on the high brick ceiling. Divine.

A shrine to the whimsical patterned fabrics of the late Josef Frank, who became the store's designer in 1934. Choose from 45 of his vibrant animal, avian, or floral prints, and create a lampshade, sofa, or bag (the store will custom-make and ship your items home).

Read labels carefully before you order a scoop in Stockholm. Lakrits can look like dark chocolate or even chocolate-chip ice cream, but contains local favorite salmiakki, or salty licorice.

A store that specializes in handmade items by visually impaired artisans.

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.

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.

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).

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.