One of the many islands that make up Stockholm, Södermalm has experienced a renaissance—morphing into a trendy hotspot from its grittier industrial days. Similar to Brooklyn and Oakland, Söder (as the locals call it) is known as the cool part of Stockholm that’s more down to earth and eclectic, reflecting the artists and musicians who revived it. There’s a solid café/vintage store/park scene. But as the mainstream starts encroaching, even-more-hip areas start to emerge that take things to another level, like SoFo—South of Folkungagatan. (I’ve never been more thankful for an acronym.) Here are five can’t miss SoFo stops to fill an afternoon.
Besides having the best restaurant name in the world, Meatballs for the People is a legitimate take on Köttbullar, the classic Swedish meatball. The setting is lodge-like, with communal seating at rustic wooden tables and an animal skin rug. For lunch, it’s traditional meatballs with lingonberries and potatoes. But at dinnertime, the meatballs get really inventive—try salmon, falafel, or elk.
The upscale Swedish clothing label that started as an advertising agency before getting into jeans has their smaller, more humble outpost here. (Its bigger, ritzier store is in Östermalm.) The collection runs the gamut from jackets and shoes to sweaters and all kinds of casual-chic pieces for men and women, including their trademark jeans.
This eclectic café-boutique has a cool surfer vibe—the name is surfer lingo for thick wetsuits. Unlike 99.9% of stores, here you can sip espresso while shopping the packed racks of Patagonia, Scotch & Soda, and like-minded Nordic labels. It’s artsy with oriental rugs, but they’ve been known to pitch a tent in there. They also sell wetsuits and surfing gear, naturally.
Another iconic Swedish item: clogs. This minimalist flagship store showcases their ‘70s-inspired-wooden-shoes in not-so-traditional styles on a long teak center counter and on white shelves lining the wall, with a few plush velour chairs to soften the sparse layout. They’ve got all kinds of shop-exclusive versions, which means you probably won’t leave with just one pair—at least I didn’t.
This market is ideal for stocking up on picnic goods like cheese and charcuterie for a park visit at Nytorget. Alternatively, they serve coffee, wine, and cocktails and have sidewalk seating for my favorite travel activity: people watching.