The Royal Palace
Slottsbacken 1, Gamla Stan
While the Swedish royal family no longer reside in this six-hundred-room palace on the lake (they now live in Drottningholm Palace just outside the city), the Royal Palace still brings plenty of drama and splendor. It is the polar opposite of the typically restrained Scandinavian aesthetic; here, the architecture and lavishly decorated 18th-century reception rooms and banquet halls are Italian Baroque through and through, which means plenty of gold and ornate stucco details. Watch the changing of the guard in the morning and explore the palace’s five museums detailing all aspects of Swedish royal life—past and present—from costumes, armor, and coronation carriages to jewelry and antique thrones.
Österlånggatan 21, Gamla Stan
This little store, owned by three friends, is full of ridiculously cute, tongue-in-cheek textiles—all made in Sweden from organic cotton grown in Europe. Take your pick from tablecloths, placeholders, coasters, and towels in a myriad of colors and patterns—the perfect place to pick up a gift for a loved one or for yourself.
The Flying Elk
Mälartorget 15, Gamla Stan
Chef Bjørn Frantzen is the brains behind this Nordic gastropub. Named after a Swedish folk tale (involving an elk, obviously) this space is warm and cozy, with a menu that is pure comfort food. Try the wild mushroom and Jerusalem artichoke casserole, or go classic with the fish and chips (with house-made pickles and grilled lemon) and wash it all down with a beer from their thoughtfully crafted list.
Stortorget 7, Gamla Stan
With an apothecary-meets-opium-den aesthetic, Pharmarium is a seriously atmospheric spot for a cocktail in picturesque Old Town. Inspired by Stockholm's first pharmacy (which opened in the same spot in 1575, no less) the antique-accented space is scented with herbs and spices to further the apothecary feel. This bar specializes in pairing food with drinks (some of the resulting flavor combinations are very interesting, like sweetbreads with chutney paired with a whiskey-based drink), but really it's the infused craft cocktails that are especially unusual, with many of the vegetables and herbs used grown in Pharmarium's own organic garden.
Lilla Nygatan 5, Gamla Stan
Stockholm loves a themed bar and Tweed is the perfect example. The space is intended to be a sort of anglophile gastropub with old British gentleman's club touches, like leather armchairs, tartan-papered walls, and a full cigar menu. In short, it's an incredibly cozy but classic spot in Stockholm's Old City to hunker down in for an intimate drink with a friend/lover.