The 20 best things to do in Stockholm
One accurate way to describe Stockholm would be to call it a gorgeously stylish fairytale. That ticks many of the boxes here, and you’ll struggle to find a city that straddles the line between futuristic innovation and quaint tradition like the Swedish capital. The best things to do here cover all that and much more, and it generally doesn’t take long for visitors to fall head over heels in love with the city sprawled across a cluster of islands where Lake Mälaren meets the Baltic Sea. Stockholm is a compact city, a delight to explore, with a vibrant restaurant scene and some truly excellent museums. The best things to do in Stockholm? Let’s get into it.
The 10 Stockholm attractions you shouldn’t miss
When it comes to camera-ready sights, you could hardly do better than photogenic Stockholm. With its 14 island coastlines, the majestic parks and gardens that cover a third of the city, and excellent cultural things to do every which way you turn, this compact metropolis crams in top attractions like Swedish Surströmming (herring). Best of all, many of the most awe-inspiring outdoor landmarks can be taken in for absolutely nada – from Old Town square Stortorget’s rainbow-hued townhouses to the 27-square-kilometre Royal National City Park on Djurgården island. Public museums stopped charging entry fees in 2016, but unfortunately the city’s most cutting-edge cultural attractions still come at a price. Art and photography galleries Artipelag and Fotografiska earn their spots on our list with accessible, carefully-curated exhibitions and fantastic food offerings. And the cringe stakes were high for Abba The Museum, which opened in 2013, but the tech-savvy Swedes behind it have created an unmissable interactive experience that shines a spotlight on the nation’s biggest musical export. Not to mention all manner of pioneering bars and restaurants that have become tourist magnets in themselves (you could spend your whole trip pretty much just hopping from meal to meal). Foodie or not, and whether you’re here just for the weekend or much longer, these top attractions in Stockholm are sure to fit your bill. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best things to do in Stockholm This article in
The 14 absolute best bars in Stockholm
We’re all about the positives here, but sometimes you have to face the elephant in the room head-on. Yes, going out in Stockholm is an expensive business, but this is common knowledge at this point. After all, you pay for what you get, and what you get on a night out in Stockholm is caught up in the excitement of one of Europe’s most magnificent cities. The medieval cobbled streets and waterfront terraces of Stockholm are home to a litany of beautiful attractions and delicious restaurants, but the Swedish capital more than holds its own when it comes to the party as well. From the central islands to nearby suburbs, finding somewhere for a tipple or three isn’t hard in Stockholm. So yes, it is pricey, but we’d happily pay more to drink with these breathtaking views. The best bars in Stockholm? Let’s go. Drank somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDrinkList. You can also find out more about how Time Out makes recommendations and reviews bars.
The 12 best restaurants in Stockholm
Whisper it, but Stockholm might be the most exciting upcoming foodie destination in Europe. The Swedish capital has always been a haven for those with curious appetites, but the city’s ever-increasing diversity has brought with it all manner of international cuisine, everything from Middle Eastern to American. When you add these spots to the impressive roster of traditional Swedish restaurants, you’ve got yourself a gastronomic city worth celebrating. Of course, fine dining in Stockholm comes at a hefty price. Scandinavia’s high prices are common knowledge, but a booming street food scene in the Swedish capital offers plenty of affordable bites for the penny conscious. Many bars here also have budget-friendly lunchtime buffets that pick up around midday, so make a point to feast out when you can. Whatever your budget, you’ll find something to love in our pick of the very best restaurants in Stockholm. Smalig måltid! Eaten somewhere on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutEatList.
Your guide to public transport in Stockholm
Stockholm is a visitor’s dream when it comes to public transportation. The city’s subway network is intuitive and efficient and runs through the night on weekends. Buses, trams, commuter trains and ferries also connect the capital’s 14 islands – and all their top attractions. Almost all these options are operated by the same company, Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL), so you can easily switch between different transport modes. Paper or mobile tickets cost 44 SEK for a 75-minute journey. But it’s usually better value to buy a plastic SL card for 20 SEK and top up with credit, or buy a 24-hour, 72-hour or weekly pass if you’re planning frequent trips. Whether you’re finding your way to your hotel or just want to get lost in the city – and then find a great bar or restaurant along the way – we’ve got you covered. RECOMMENDED: Your essential Stockholm travel guide
The best time to visit Stockholm
Stockholm has been favoured with four distinct seasons, transforming from a snowy winter wonderland that sees locals skating across its frozen waterways into a summer playground warm enough for outdoors-all-day things to do like lakeside swimming and evening picnics. The best time to visit Stockholm really depends on what you'd like to do: If you’re here for the white stuff, January and February are the best months to visit. For a better chance of balmy weather, book to arrive during July or August. Most of Stockholm’s historic and cultural attractions are easily accessible year-round; the cobbled Old Town and the city’s creative district, SoFo, are both compact and crammed with cozy bars and coffee shops if you need to warm up. Many museums and exhibitions stay open until 8pm (Fotografiska’s photography gallery shuts at 11pm), which is ideal if sunny weather pushes you to stay outdoors during the daytime. RECOMMENDED: Your essential Stockholm travel guide
Listings and reviews (41)
Glowing pastel-coloured neon signs, exposed giant silver pipes and walls lined with chaffed white square tiles set the tone for this industrial-chic bar. Located in the on-trend Mariatorget district—packed with art galleries, thrift shops and up-and-coming Scandinavian fashion labels—it draws in edgy locals as well as creative types priced out of this increasingly gentrified former working class heartland. Drinks-wise there’s plenty of lagers and locally-sourced ales to choose from and a short but decent cocktail list. DJs are a frequent addition on weekends, playing to the crowd from a mini loft above the back bar area. Time Out tip: If you don’t feel well-groomed enough to blend in, there’s a boutique barber shop in Morfar Ginko’s basement.
The Grand Hotel
Swedes have a penchant for hotel bars and The Grand Hotel is, as its name suggests, a classic high-end choice for those after a decadent tipple. It’s a waterfront landmark, looking out towards Stockholm’s Royal Palace, so grab the perfectly-plumped oversized sofas by the windows in the light and airy front lounge section to get the best view. Alternatively, bed down in the moodier, mahogany-paneled back area where the bar itself is located. Unsurprisingly it’s all a little pretentious, so this place won’t be for everyone. But the Grand Hotel’s impeccable service reflects the fact that it’s been welcoming the city’s well-heeled elite, alongside global intellectuals, dignitaries and celebrities for more than a century. The sommeliers here really know their stuff, although beware wine and spirit prices are steep, even when compared to other swanky spots in the city. Time Out tip: The Grand Hotel’s waterfront bar is also one of Stockholm’s classic afternoon tea spots. If you don’t want to splurge on the full menu, a basic cuppa or a coffee is affordable and on weekdays you should have plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the view.
This jetty bar is packed with blooming plants and flowers, string lights popping with primary colours and an unpretentious gay-friendly crowd. Floating on the water next to one of the city’s most stunning tree-lined footpaths, Norr Mälarstrand, Mälarpaviljongen also boasts incredible views towards Södermalm island (ook out for the iconic red-brick former brewery, Munchenbryggeriet). Sipping a glass of champagne or a rosé on the wooden sun deck at Mälarpaviljongen during a hot day is about as good as it gets during Stockholm’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it summertime. On cooler days, look out for the soft grey woolen rugs dotted around the venue and wrap up with a coffee and a slice of cake from the cafe area closest to the walkway. Note that Mälarpaviljongen is typically closed between October and April. Time Out tip: The beautifully presented snacks lined up along the bar (think luxury nuts in hinged jam jars and strawberries stacked in giant wine glasses) look tempting, but they are well overpriced even by Stockholm standards.
You probably won’t be able to nap on the giant double bed or homey sofas inside Laika, a loud industrial-vintage venue with a focus on live acts and DJs. Offering everything from techno and indie to spoken word and stand-up comedy, it’s one of creative Södermalm’s most sociable spots, pulling in twenty and thirty-somethings from across the capital. Be prepared for long queues after 11pm on weekends. During quieter evenings, there are retro board games to keep you occupied. You’ll find Laika on the second floor of a sprawling angular glass building known as Hornhuset, which also houses a tapas restaurant, a pizza-joint-slash-sports-bar and a small rooftop terrace. Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s an offshoot of a shopping mall, but do be aware this is a place beloved by bearded hipsters, in case that’s not your thing. There are tasty locally-brewed beers on tap, although the wine list is more limited. Time Out tip: The giant swing next to the DJ booth is worth queuing for.
Judit and Bertil
Cosy nostalgia envelopes this intimate spot named after it’s owner’s grandparents, who lived in the bar’s formerly working class neighbourhood, Hornstull, back in the 1930s. Bertil was a glassblower, while Judit had grown up on a farm. The pair met at a dance on Stockholm’s Djurgården island. Their names beam out from art deco neon lights on the building’s facade, while inside you’ll find the food and drink menu crafted from magnetic white letters stuck on a retro black letter board. There’s a fair wine and spirit selection, though don’t expect detailed suggestions from bar staff during weekends, when Judit and Bertil can lose a little of its rustic charm and get uncomfortably packed. Expect old skool hip hop or chilled electro on the stereo, alongside frequent appearances from live DJs. Time Out tip: If you’re peckish and fed up of Stockholm prices, Judit and Bertil is just around the corner from one of the city’s most underrated budget grub spots, Daisy’s. It’s a fast food cabin with waterside views, specialising in wraps, burgers and hot dogs. Find it at Hornstulls Strand 2.
Overlooking the cobblestones of Stortorget, Stockholm’s oldest square, this polished craft cocktail bar was once home to the city’s first pharmacy. In a nod to its medieval roots, the dark wooden walls are designed to look like a pantry of medicine drawers, each labelled with Latin words for traditional apothecary ingredients. A changing roster of creative drinks infused with herbs and spices are available from the green marble bar. Elsewhere, you’ll find a souq-style lounge area flanked by embroidered carpets and red-fringed armchairs. Expect a low-key, romantic vibe during the week, with live DJs encouraging a more sociable atmosphere over the weekend. Book ahead to guarantee a table. If you’re feeling hungry, don’t miss the snack pairings, specifically designed to complement individual cocktails. Time Out tip: While Pharmarium is hands-down one of the best winter venues in Stockholm, it opens up a cute wooden terrace during summer that often lacks the crowds of the city’s famed waterfront hangouts.
An unassuming 1960s former office block (that’s also currently home to student accommodation and a shopping centre) is the somewhat improbable location for one of Stockholm’s best-loved high-altitude drinking spots. Himlen is on the 26th floor of a skyscraper slap-bang in the middle of the artsy Södermalm district. The panoramic views from floor-to-ceiling windows take in the island’s most colourful park, Tantolunden, and the green nineteenth century spires of Sofia Church. You can also see the iconic Ericsson Globe (known to locals as Globen), the world’s largest spherical building, which hosts concerts and sports games. Himlen’s cocktails are fantastic: strong, well-balanced and presented with flair. The bar’s location away from Stockholm’s somewhat snootier districts typically draws a varied and interesting crowd. Time Out tip: Head up to Himlen at sunset for the best photo opportunities, or sneak a peek over lunch, when the normally pricey restaurant area offers great value daily deals.
Exposed red brickwork, low-hanging metal lampshades and daily specials scrawled on paper posters set the tone for this understated neighbourhood restaurant in the Vasastan district. Lilla Ego translates as “small ego” in English, but its self-effacing efforts exist in parallel with a major buzz around its dishes. Locals clamber to get a table here—bookings are taken up to 90 days in advance and the small wooden tables are packed tightly together. There’s a short seasonal menu with a strong focus on Nordic root vegetables, fish and seafood, like a lobster dish with celery and ginger, slow-cooked pork accompanied by cauliflower, or chanterelle mushrooms with elder and buttered turbot. Time Out tip: There are usually a few unreserved drop-in seats at Lilla Ego’s bar. If that fails you’re a seven-minute walk from one of the city’s best unbookable options, Flippin’ Burgers, a gourmet fast-food joint which has a bar where you can wait until you get a table.
The first Asian restaurant in Sweden to get a Michelin star, this intimate Tokyo-inspired sushi bar has made a huge impact on Stockholm’s food scene since opening in 2014. Its head chef, Carl Ishizaki, spent two decades perfecting his unique twist on some of Japan’s most classic recipes before investing in his own tiny 20-seat venue. Here, customers are offered the chance to experience 15 of his signature dishes in one sitting via a seasonal tasting menu, scribbled up on a giant chalkboard. The interior is made up of floor-to-ceiling white square tiles and perfectly sanded wooden benches, and the atmosphere is relaxed and friendly. Time Out tip: Request a seat at the bar for the best view of Sushi Sho’s chefs preparing their dishes in the open kitchen.
This lively, sprawling Italian brasserie is a fail-safe and (comparatively) affordable option in the ritzy Östermalm district. Flanked by eye-wateringly priced boutiques, exclusive members’ bars and see-and-be-seen night clubs, Taverna Brillo delivers a warm, homey alternative and is perfect for larger groups. The pizzas are the stars of the savoury menu, piled high with fresh ingredients that change with the seasons, but there’s a wide range of pasta, meat and fish dishes too. For desert, expect Mediterranean classics including meringue and panna cotta and a wide selection of ice creams and sorbets. There’s also a separate gelateria and a top-notch bakery-come-coffee-shop in the entrance, plus a graffiti-scrawled cocktail bar, Växthusen, at the back of the venue. Time Out tip: For a classy pre-dinner tipple, start your night at the nearby Scandi-chic bar Kömmendören. It’s also a great eating choice, but trickier to book if there’s a big gang of you.
There are just five main courses to choose from at Häktet, an edgy modern restaurant inside a former eighteenth century jail for petty criminals who couldn’t afford to pay their bail. Classic European flavours with a contemporary twist are on offer, with the menu typically changing several times a year to make the most of seasonal ingredients. Think turkey served with pumpkin puree and cabbage in a buttery sauce on a cosy winter’s evening, or freshly caught crayfish and mussel soup topped with dill during the summer. There’s a venerable cheeseboard available year-round, ready to load onto traditional Swedish crispbread with a large dollop of marmalade. Häktet’s home in the creative Södermalm district pulls in a clientele of local writers, artists and academics alongside younger media types happy to splash out at one of the best-loved venues in the neighbourhood. Time Out tip: Don’t forget your dancing shoes; this place transforms into a buzzing bar after midnight and doesn’t close until 3am.
There’s “locally-sourced” and then there’s Rosendals Trädgård, which rustles up daily lunch deals from the fresh veggies, herbs and flowers plucked directly from its enormous biodynamic allotments. The bread, pies and pastries are baked by hand in a wood-burning oven next door. In the middle of Djurgården island, Rosendal’s land was previously part of the Swedish royal family’s back garden, now the city’s largest public park. Guests here get the chance to dine inside a light-filled greenhouse or from the spacious outdoor terrace, surrounded by leafy trees, creepers and flower beds. The kitchen is currently headed up by British chef Billy White, who specialises in hearty flavour-packed European fare. There are typically just two mains to choose from, alongside a vegetarian soup. Sadly, Rosendal’s cafe doesn’t offer evening meals, shutting up shop at 5pm. Time Out tip: Stop by for afternoon tea if you’re not in the area at lunchtime, but beware: the best cakes sell out quickly.