Stockholm in December is a very dark place. But it’s also cozy and magical and full of life. Early in the month, George and I spent a weekend with a couple friends exploring the Scandinavian city. We were able to fit a lot into the weekend, so we made this quick guide of all the places we stopped!
& Hotel | What I loved most about this hotel was its location: right next to a metro stop, with an Urban Deli around the block and loads of shopping nearby. Of course, we booked last minute so our options were limited. But this hotel was one of the least expensive we could find with comfortable rooms and breakfast included. Book a family room for more space!
Generator Hostel | Our friends stayed here and told us it was really nice and well designed. They also have private rooms, which we considered because of how inexpensive they are. However, the nearest metro was a ten minute walk. Not a problem for most people, I know, but it did feel a bit far away from everything.
Miss Clara | Although we did not stay here, this is where I would have liked to stay. Originally a girl’s school, this boutique hotel has well-priced rooms with modern Scandinavian design. It’s also really well located near some of the best shopping streets.
Shopping was one of our main reasons for wanting to visit Stockholm. We can’t get enough of Scandinavian design, even if we aren’t willing to pay the exorbitant prices. But it’s still fun to look! Here are some of our favorites:
Grandpa | Simple and beautiful home goods, clothes, and more. Very hipster. There is one located in Södermalm and another closer to the train station.
& Other Stories | Women’s fashion, beauty products, and accessories. I loved the jewelry here and actually bought something for myself. The prices were not as bad as other stores, comparatively.
Stockholms Stadmission | This is one of the second-hand chain stores in Stockholm. They have multiple locations throughout the city and an amazing selection, if you ask me.
Granit | Minimalist home decor and home organization.
Snickarbacken 7 | A café, shop, and art gallery in one! The shop wasn’t initially open when we arrived, so we just admired the art while sipping our coffee.
I wanted to stop in every café we passed for Fika (the Swedish tradition of gathering with friends around coffee and cake). Each one was so inviting and perfectly designed. That did not happen, however we did have some pretty amazing food in Stockholm.
Meatballs for the People | Swedish meatballs. Need I say more?
The Flying Elk | Centrally located in the old town, our meal here was surprisingly delicious and comparatively affordable. I would describe it as quality Nordic cuisine in a modern casual setting. Each of us thought we had chosen the best dish, which I suppose shows the strength and diversity of the menu. Book before you go!
Fabrique | This café has the best buns! I thought I would like cinnamon best, but I actually preferred the cardamom. Either way, with locations throughout the city it’s definitely worth a stop.
Urban Deli | While we did not have a full meal here, we stopped into the shop a few different times just to look. Picture a cross between a grocery store, restaurant, bakery, and market. We picked up saffron buns here on more than one occasion.
Pharmarium | Drinks in the main square of the Gamla Stan on the site of the first Swedish pharmacy from 1575. You know it’s good when the bartender spends a minute or two to personally explain each of your drinks.
SEE & DO
There were seriously so many museums I wanted to see in Stockholm. Some were closed for the winter (like Carl Eldh’s atelier) while others were simply not in the direction we were going. For the most part, we ended up choosing shopping over museums, which I do not feel bad about. However, it definitely necessitates a trip back.
Vasa Museum | If you only have time for one museum, as we did, I recommend this one. It contains the only preserved 17th century ship in the world. It sank in the harbor minutes into its maiden voyage for reasons you’ll learn about if you visit the museum!
City Hall | There is a beautiful view of the city from here. For some reason, the tower is closed during the winter, so we were not able to climb it. But it’s totally free to walk around the courtyard and out to the water’s edge.
Skansen | Under normal circumstances, I’m not sure I would recommend Skansen (Stockholm’s open-air museum and zoo). But because their Christmas market was going on, I absolutely loved it. It had such a traditional feel, but there were also stalls selling products with more modern designs. Go here over the Christmas market in the old town…it was awfully small and absolutely packed with people.
Södermalm | By far the coolest neighborhood in Stockholm. We originally intended to stay here, but Airbnb turned out to be a more expensive option than hotels in the less hipster areas. Anyway, Södermalm is filled with crazy cool shops and cafés worthy of an afternoon spent wandering its streets.
Gamla Stan | The Gamla Stan or Old Town is one of the city’s main attractions with its cobblestone streets and pretty façades. It is quite touristy as evidenced by its many souvenir shops and constant influx of people (also an alarming number of 12 year olds chasing Pokémon). However, that is easily avoided by simply waking up earlier.
I am sure we’ll be back to Stockholm again before our time here is over. It is, after all, one of the cheapest places to fly from London. But also, I’d just love to see the city and archipelago during the summer. Until next time!