The Stockholm Guide
First settled in the Stone Age, Stockholm wears its ancient history well, deftly blending it with all the innovations of a modern city, from New Nordic cuisine to one of the most exquisite hotels, ever. Sprawling over fourteen islands in the Scandinavian archipelago—it sits where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea, making it a strategic harbor back in the day—it’s actually shockingly easy to navigate, whether by train, boat, car, or bike. There are ample opportunities to make use of all modes, though in warm months, we prefer getting around by bike, as there’s a city rental program with plenty of drop racks (you can buy cards at all 7-11’s). If you hail cabs, keep in mind that there is no standard fare, so check the car’s window before hopping in.
While Stockholm is the perfect destination for aimless wandering, it is dotted with must-sees to punctuate the days, including Moderna Museet, the Vasa Museum, Rosendals Garden, and a world famous amusement park and ABBA museum if so inclined.
FabriqueRosenlundsgatan 28, Södermalm | +46.839.0737
You'll find several outposts of Swedish wood-fired bakery Fabrique across the capital, but the Söder location is our favorite. With Moroccan-style tiles on the floor contrasting with all-white tile walls, you'll struggle to find a prettier bakery spot to enjoy a kardemummabullar, the more modern, cardamom-spiced, buttery sister to the better-known cinnamon bun.
Reggev HummusRingvägen 145, Södermalm | +46.864.058.01
As the name suggests, this hole-in-the-wall Lebanese spot specializes in varieties of hummus, which can be ordered from the chalkboard menus that hang behind the counter. It's a great option for a light lunch or dinner, and an indispensable resource for vegetarians in this meat-centric city.
StikkiNikkiGötgatan 46, Södermalm | +46.739.190.227
Started by an American ex-pat who settled in Stockholm after a few youthful years traveling the world, StikkiNikki now has eight shops in Stockholm and the surrounding suburbs. They make all of the gelato by hand using organic ingredients and offer a dairy-free vegan version that's among the best we've tried at home. Some of their locations are seasonal (meaning they close for the winter months), so double check what's open on the website before heading out.
Vete-KattenKungsgatan 55, Normalm | +46.820.840.5
Occupying their grand old building for almost 100 years, Vete-Katten is a Stockholm institution. The bakery, which makes all of its pastries and breads from scratch, was founded in 1928 by Ester Nordhammar, one of the very few female business owners in the city at the time. In the early days, Nordhammar employed only women (in fact, the bakery didn't employ a single man until she died in 1961). Today, you can find them churning out the same delicious pastries, breads, cakes, sandwiches, and biscuits daily. It's a worthy pilgrimage.
Moderna Museet KafeExercisplan 2B, Skeppsholmen | +46.851.956.291
Museum cafes can be hit or miss, but the Moderna Museet's cozy lunch spot, with a beautiful view overlooking the canal, more than does one of the city's best museums justice. Lunch is straightforward and unfussy, with a salad and sandwich buffet and a blue plate special that rotates daily, but everything from the sandwiches to the home-made cakes tastes fresh. For something lighter, stop by their on-site coffee bar.
Parlans KonfektyrNytorgsgatan 38, Södermalm | +46.866.070.10
The founders of this adorable caramel shop first bonded over their mutual love of the 1940s–when, it turns out, caramels first became the rage. Their caramel factory is open to the public, with wide glass windows where you can peek through and view the copper kettles boiling down their ingredients. Their gift boxes and mason jars full of caramel sauce make excellent souvenirs.
Kafé OrionNorrtullsgatan 10, Vasastan | +46.842.866.361
You'll know you're in the right place by Kafé Orion's emerald green walls and sleek wooden bar, which has a backdrop of sunny yellow tile. The main attraction is the coffee (they use Da Matteo beans, which are roasted in nearby Gotenberg), but they also have a great selection of little sandwiches, salads, and omelettes that make a good snack or breakfast to-go.
Ostermalms HallenÖstermalmstrog 114, Östermalm
Stockholm's most famous food hall occupies a grand old brick building that was built at the founding of the market in 1888 and includes original wooden stalls for all twenty or so vendors. In 2016, the city embarked on a major renovation and refurbishment project that ended, to spectacular results, in early 2018. In addition to full-service restaurants and bars, there are stands with smørrebrod and fresh juices, plus vegetables, seafood, and a butcher featuring duck and elk in addition to the requisite chicken and beef.
Café PascalNorrtullsgatan 4, Vasastan | +46.083.161.10
Café Pascal is a beautiful, stylishly rustic space with exposed brick walls, contemporary low-hanging lights, and communal-style tables. The glass display cases are brimming with incredible looking sandwiches, cakes, and bakery goods, but there are plenty of healthier options like avocado toast and chia pudding if your sweet tooth is maxed out. Coffee is courtesy of what is arguably Stockholm's best roaster (Koppi and Love) and comes served in pretty, delicate turquoise cups and saucers.
Drop CoffeeWollmar Yxkullsgatan 10, Södermalm | +46.763.698.070
Few businesses treat crafting the perfect cup of coffee as seriously as this Söder café. Joanna Alm and her team are committed to elevating the lives of the farmers who produce their beans, all of which are direct-trade, sourced from plantations in Bolivia, Colombia, Ethiopia, and Kenya. In 2012 Drop Coffee constructed their own roaster nearby and have enjoyed their status as Stockholm's consistent coffee roaster champions ever since. This is the spot for one (or several) cups of coffee you can feel really good about.
Green RabbitTegnérgatan 17, Norrmalm | +46.820.4626
Green Rabbit is prolific Stockholm chef Matthias Dahlgren's version of a fika-centric bakery. A small but charming space with a checkerboard tile floor and rustic chalkboards, the Green Rabbit specializes in sustainability and seed-saving. Dahlgren makes his signature rye bread with a rare grain (heritage grains are being lost forever through the modification and excessive refining process demanded by modern mass production), and uses only organic ingredients to create his traditional Swedish smorgasbords—perfect for lunch or a bigger breakfast.