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    11 Reasons to Book a Trip to Stockholm Yesterday
    It may seem counterintuitive to visit high north Europe now, after high summer, but it’s actually a particularly stellar time of year to visit. Locals roll back into what has been a ghost town part of July and most of August and revel in those last couple of months before things get ice cold. Go now and check off all these experiences.

    Photo by @therichdale
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    This killer restaurant, which just reopened
    For most of the summer, the team from Agrikultur, a new restaurant from a recent Chef of the Year winner, retreated to the dreamy vacation island of Gottland. Come mid-August, it reassumes its home in Stockholm. The staff does all the hunting, foraging, and fermenting on their own and adds local touches like juniper to create light, beautiful, never-going-to-forget dishes.

    Photo by @agrikulturrestaurant
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    The most stellar Swedish massage in Sweden’s capital
    To state the obvious, there’s no better place in the world to try a Swedish massage and no spa in the city runs a tighter ship than the Grand Hotel. All of their masseuses attend the renowned Axelsons Gymnastiska Institut and receive additional training in a trademarked technique developed by an ex-Six Senses resorts consultant. Their staff’s intuitive hands have an uncanny rhythm and work out kinks in long, effortless strokes.

    Photo by Daniel Persson/Flickr
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    The Modern-Yet-Traditional Rooms at the Skeppsholmen
    The beauty of a stay at the Skeppsholmen is that it feels so remote. Outside, people are lounging in the sun and playing tennis. Inside, rooms are designed like a modern Scandinavian country home. When you’re there, you are, in a way, removed. The hotel is built on an island of the same name that is essentially only shared by the Museum of Modern Art. Yet that island is only a five-minute walk from central Stockholm so you won’t sacrifice access.

    Photo by @therichdale
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    This store’s kitschy-cool and original antiques
    The eagle-eyed owners of An Ideal for Living in Sodermalm, hands-down the coolest neighborhood in the city, scour Northern Europe for one-of-a-kind objets and records. They pick up pretty much anything that’s a beautiful throwback: old suitcases; wooden children’s toys; groovy ’60s Scandinavian rugs; and hand-painted plates and vases, to name just a few.

    Photo by @anidealforlivingsthlmab
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    The heavenly cardamom buns
    Cardamom buns, or kardemummabullar, are impossible to avoid at any Stockholm bakery or coffee shop. Fragrant cardamom is worked right into yeasty dough and baked. The outsides are brushed with a syrup and topped with superfine or pearl sugar. They taste a bit like a cinnamon bun with the flavor turned way up. Enjoy a perfect one with coffee at Kaffeebar in Sodermalm.

    Photo by Hartsell/Flickr
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    The floating sauna at Island Lodge
    Just outside the city in the archipelago, Island Lodge offers no-frills, luxury camping in geodesic tents. By day, hike the island and stand-up paddleboard in the still waters. By night, enjoy simple, rustic Swedish dishes made with mushrooms and berries from the island, and top things off with a chilly late-night swim and schvitz in the lodge’s floating sauna. You’ll sleep like a log after.

    Photo by @therichdale
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    The Chic Shopping Scene
    The area near the Östermalmstorg subway station is a bulls-eye for good boutique shopping. You’ll find both Nordic brands you may have heard of (Acne, Marimekko, Filippa K, BLK Denim) and some local favorites (Hope, Whyred).

    Photo by @marimekkodesignhouse
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    This Magical Garden Where You Can Pick Your Own Flowers
    You could easily spend an entire day at Rosendal Garden, a collective of culinary shops, cafés, delis, and orchards for enjoying fika (an afternoon sweets-and-caffeine fix) or a bottle of wine. Before leaving, you can visit the rows of flowers and pick your favorites, which are sold by the weight.

    Photo by @therichdale
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    The Coolest Party Under a Bridge
    Scandinavian building and drinking laws are notoriously strict, and so the existence of Trädgården at Unter Bron, a giant party under Johanneshovsbron Bridge, is nothing short of a miracle. During warm-weather weekends, Swedes gather for hours to drink, play bocce and ping-pong, and dance to DJ sets well after the 10 p.m. sunset.

    Photo by @tradgarden
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    The Drunken Crayfish Parties
    At summer’s end, Swedes gather for kräftskiva. The opposite of Midsummer, this one is about ushering in the Fall. Large buckets of fresh crayfish are boiled and served with dill. Loud songs are sung. And shots after shots of aquavit are thrown back.

    Photo by @lisaoerik
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    This museum about alcohol
    After visiting Stockholm in the ’60s, Susan Sontag famously said that the Swedes aren’t fixated on sex, unlike Americans; they’re fixated on alcohol. The Spritmuseum dives deep into the complicated drinking history of the country—from Viking mead-chugging traditions and class-based aquavit rations to current-day infusing practices and a realistic simulation of what it’s actually like to be drunk in dead-of-winter Sweden. After, enjoy some alcohol yourself at the natural-wine-only restaurant outside.

    Photo courtesy of Spritmuseum
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11 Reasons to Book a Trip to Stockholm Yesterday

Why hitting Stockholm in the off-season is the best idea, ever