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Beyond Retro, Stockholm
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The 12 best places to go shopping in Stockholm

From vintage stores to flea markets and bookstores to a huge IKEA, Stockholm has it all.

Written by
Madeleine Hyde
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Stockholm is one of those places which is effortlessly cool, and effortlessly good-looking. Minimalist but chic. Trendy but not try-hard. And how do you think they do it? Well, with a ton of great shops to choose from all the time, obviously. So if you’re in the Swedish capital for a trip, you’d be crazy not to see what all the fuss was about. 

Here, there’s everything from cosy bookshops to vintage stores, so you can spend an entire day mooching around and bagging bargains. Or spend your Sunday checking out a flea market for some hidden gems. And if you’re more of a home decor person, never fear. Stockholm is home to the biggest IKEA in the world. Yep, you heard us. Here are the best places to go shopping in Stockholm right now. 

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Where to shop in Stockholm =

Swedish high street fashion
Photograph: Marco Verch / Flickr, www.flickr.com/photos/30478819@N08/32497462595

1. Swedish high street fashion

Well, it’s not a list of the best stores in Stockholm without first dealing with the high street. Of course, if you’re an H&M fan, this is the best place on earth – there’s pretty much one on every other street here, which lends itself to a whole load of stores owned by the same guys (hello, Weekday and & Other Stories). These high streets aren’t tacky ones, they’re full of that classic Swedish style – block colours, blue denim, and some retro influence. 

Art and secondhand shops on Hornsgatan
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2. Art and secondhand shops on Hornsgatan

Arty types will love it on Hornsgatan, which is full of independent art shops showcasing local artists. If you start at Slussen station, you can spend a few hours on a line of them, and then continue on to just beyond Mariatorget, which is home to a ton of great charity shops and secondhand stores. Some examples are Myrorna and Stockholm Stadsmission, but you’ll definitely find a bargain somewhere. 

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NK (pronounced a bit like ‘encore’) is Sweden’s answer to Selfridges or Macy’s. Under the rotating gold ‘NK’ sign that juts into the skyline, you’ll find this gorgeous, storied department store at locations including Kungsgatan, the avenue linking Norrmalm and Östermalm. Inside, there are luxurious food halls, pricey mini-boutiques and the occasional Swedish celebrity signing books. On a budget? You don’t have to splash out to enjoy the experience – it’s worth going just to browse. 

Dating to the 1880s, this food hall in Östermalm is a staple of Stockholm’s shopping scene, plus a fabulous example of Nordic Classicism. The striking main building has been closed for renovation for a couple of years, but its temporary home hosts the same array of local cheeses, jams, pickles, fish, bread and other luxury deli goods. Check the website for updates on the old building.

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Antique stores in Vasastan
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5. Antique stores in Vasastan

Vasastan is fast becoming one of Stockholm’s most desirable central neighbourhoods, the sort of place where wealthy yopros are flocking en masse to snap up studio apartments – and indulge in its increasingly buzzy food scene. Walkable from the central station, but with a cosy suburban feel, you’ll find a cluster of fascinating antique shops specialising in all sorts, from Swedish designer lamps to all things nautical. A feast for the eyes, for sure, but wallet-emptying if you want to take any of it home.

An opulent square of art deco hotels, a neoclassical concert house and grand cinemas, Hötorget (Haymarket) is the scenic backdrop to a weekend afternoon market brimming with secondhand books, homeware and antiques. That’s in addition to the fruit and flower stalls set up here every day, even in winter. The square’s also opposite the superb Kungshallen food court on buzzing Kungsgatan.

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Beyond Retro’s sprawling vintage emporiums can be found in Shoreditch, Brighton or a handful of places across Sweden, two of which are in Stockholm. The Drottninggatan outpost is Sweden’s largest vintage shop, with two floors of floral dresses, denim jackets and sequins galore. The Zinkensdamm store on Södermalm, which has a warehouse feel, is perhaps better located for its 1990s Adidas-loving locals. Beyond Retro also organise clothes-swapping events in parks, so check their social media for updates.

Filled with the latest pieces from up-and-coming Swedish makers, Designtorget’s compact stores are the perfect place for gift-hunting. From decorative homeware to classic Swedish novels in English, artsy postcards to eye-catching wall-hangings, expect to walk away with a one-of-a-kind souvenir (sorry – present for someone else). The retailer’s relatively new but expanding fast, and there are now small outlets in several Stockholm shopping malls. The flagship is at Sergels Torg, on the basement level outside the giant Kulturhuset cultural centre. 

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Take home a Swedish noir thriller or a chunky compendium of local recipes from this intimate and friendly bookshop. Their sister store in Uppsala has won international awards (and drawn comparisons to Paris’s legendary Shakespeare and Company), and this Stockholm store down a cosy side street in the SoFo area replicates that at-home feeling. Doctor Who or Harry Potter fan? The store also offers a geeky range of franchise paraphernalia. 

The world’s largest IKEA
Photograph: Shutterstock

10. The world’s largest IKEA

Based on the architecture of New York’s Guggenheim, the original IKEA superstore at Kungens Kurva feels like at once a shop and a museum. The outlet’s five expansive floors lead you in concentric circles through their latest, sure-to-be-iconic products. There’s a café on every level, but definitely save room for the giant restaurant at the top – it serves everything from vegan cake to Christmas dinner buffets. A free IKEA bus runs hourly from Central Station.

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From late April to late August, Hornstulls Strand (the promenade along the southwest edge of Södermalm island) hosts a flea market every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Here you can find charity stalls, food trucks, and stands selling secondhand clothes, books and records. If the sun’s out, there may even be a band playing.

Längholmen’s seasonal markets
Photograph: Николай Семёнов / Wikimedia Commons

12. Längholmen’s seasonal markets

The castle-like structure on Långholmen island, once home to a prison, is now a hotel-cum-theatre-cum-museum that hosts seasonal markets and craft stalls on weekends. In December, it draws crowds away from the Old Town square to its maze of artsy stalls overflowing with typically Swedish gifts, accompanied by the whiff of mulled wine and sausage. Check the website for upcoming events. 

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