The Perfect Weekend in Stockholm

Take in some of Stockholm’s best people-watching neighborhoods. Eat your way through Swedish cuisine traditional and, well, far less so. Shop shop shop. And wander some of Stockholm’s beautiful outdoor spaces as well as some of the city’s architectural wonders.

Ellensviksvagen 1, 131 52 Nacka Strand, Sweden
From the Adirondack chairs lazily spread across the pier and the seafood restaurant’s waterfront deck, it’d be easy to confuse the Hotel J for somewhere in New England. Even the rooms are decked out in a healthy dose of Americana, with tasteful white cotton and stars-and-stripes accompanying the natural wood furnishings and nautical memorabilia. And the seafood-focused restaurant—which, frankly, feels like a luxury yacht—channels American favorites in its brasserie-style menu.

But, fear not, the Hotel J is also very Swedish. Located on Nacka Strand 20 minutes from Stockholm, it capitalizes on the Swedes’ love of boating, especially in the summer months, when the archipelago’s 30,000 islands become day trip and vacation destinations for the entire city. Not only is it affiliated with a local kayak and canoe rental center—just ask if you’d like to spend a day on the water—but the ferry to and from Stockholm stops in front of the restaurant, allowing city dwellers to make pilgrimages to the eatery at will. The hotel’s sprawling, wooded grounds, too, are exceptionally Swedish, especially with the 19th-century summer mansions that dot them; most are used as event spaces now, but don’t let that curb your exploring.
Rådmansgatan 16, 114 25 Stockholm, Sweden
Modern Swedish food using locally produced ingredients and emphasizing simple, unfussy dishes is all the rage in Stockholm—and few places can beat this 50-seat restaurant opened by Adam Dahlberg and Albin Wessman in 2016. The pair previously worked with Mathias Dahlgren, one of Sweden’s most respected chefs. The five-course dinner will cost you just over $100 (wine pairing extra), or you can perch at the bar and order dishes one by one. The chefs also run a lunchtime-only restaurant next door called Tvätteriet, which is known for its delicious noodles.
Karl XII:s torg, Stockholm, Sweden
The name translates as “Back Pocket,” an apt description for this one-room restaurant tucked into the side of the Royal Opera House. The tiled room is decorated with opera memorabilia, and sometimes you’ll find yourself dining next to tuxedo-clad members of the orchestra between performances. Diners perch at the counter at little tables affixed to the walls or, during the summer, outside in the sun. The food is traditional Swedish cuisine—husmanskost, as it’s known—with particularly good seafood, and best enjoyed with a Swedish beer.
Stureplan 2, 114 35 Stockholm, Sweden
Sturehof manages to be many things to many people. It’s open every day of the week and almost every day of the year, from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. You can come for an after-work drink in the fresh air at the outside bar at the front, or a late night drink in O-bar in the back, or a business lunch, casual meal, or grand family dinner in the large restaurant. You’ll see grandparents with grandchildren, young couples on a date, and older folks celebrating an anniversary. The place has a somewhat formal look, with red-jacketed waiters buzzing about the place, but there’s nothing stuffy about the atmosphere. It is one of the city’s gems.
Nybrokajen, Stockholm, Sweden
At exactly 12 noon every Saturday and Sunday, this refurbished 1931 steamboat pushes out of Nybrokajen bay, and the three-hour brunch cruise sails to Vaxholm and back with impressive panoramic views of the archipelago along the way. The onboard brunch buffet is well stocked with everything from traditional Swedish classics—like Janssons frestelse (Jansson’s Temptation), all sorts of pickled herring, smoked and cured salmon, and roast beef—to a variety of warm dishes, salads, potatoes, breads, and desserts. The key to enjoying this brunch is to pace yourself on the cold starters. Once you start gorging on the cold dishes, the tables are cleared to bring out the warm sausages, meatballs, bacon, scrambled eggs, and other hot plates.
Kungsgatan 55, 111 22 Stockholm, Sweden
There’s a strong coffee culture in Stockholm coupled with a tradition called “fika,” where one shares multiple daily coffee-and-pastry breaks with family, friends, and colleagues. Head over to award-winning Vete-Katten on Kungsgatan to dig into Swedish pastries such as kanelbullar (cinnamon buns), appelkaka (light apple pie) served with vaniljsås (vanilla sauce), and kladdkaka (rich chocolate brownie-like cake). During the winter months of December through March, bakeries offer semlor, oval buns filled with marzipan and whipped cream.
Djurgårdsvägen 68, 115 21 Stockholm, Sweden
Abba, the most successful Swedish group of all time, enjoyed a global return to fame with the success of the musical and the film Mamma Mia! In its home country, however, its popularity never dimmed. The museum allows visitors to guest star in an Abba video and marvel at the gloriously over-the-top stage costumes. For hard-core fans, you can also go to the nearby Abba: The Party, where diners are “transported” to a Greek island for a rambunctious evening of food and sing-along entertainment.
Biblioteksgatan, Stockholm, Sweden
For high-end upscale stores and luxury brands, head over to the fancy shopping district of Biblioteksgatan, where many local and international designer labels are clustered.
14 Galärvarvsvägen
Located on the island of Djurgården, this purpose-built maritime museum is an extraordinary sight: It houses the massive warship Vasa, which sank just minutes after launching on its maiden voyage in 1628. Raised from the harbor in 1961, it was painstakingly reassembled to its original glory. Head straight to the auditorium to watch a documentary about the salvage, and then slowly meander through the rest of the fascinating exhibits.

107 70 Stockholm, Sweden
The Royal Palace located in the center of Stockholm and is a must visit. The grand structure is impressive just to walk by but when you enter into the palace it is amazing to see how royalty lived with the grand rooms, intricate art and furniture, marble stairs and learn more about the history. I also recommend getting a Stockholm Card if you want to see the main sites in the city. It is a great way to get discounts and get into places like The Royal Palace:
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